In The Know: Gov. Stitt makes first Supreme Court pick, Parole board to begin explaining denials, Schools seek new ways to reduce absenteeism

In The KnowIn The Know is your daily briefing on Oklahoma policy-related news. Inclusion of a story does not necessarily mean endorsement by the Oklahoma Policy Institute. Click here to subscribe to In The Know and see past editions.

New from OK Policy

Want healthier moms? Expand Medicaid: As a state, Oklahoma cares a lot about children and families, but we sometimes forget that a mother’s health is a critical piece of family health. When women are healthy, they have healthier pregnancies, healthier babies, and healthier families. But too many Oklahoma women die of child-birth related causes, and too many Oklahoma babies don’t live to see their first birthday. [OK Policy]

This Constitution Day, remember what counts: Over 230 years ago, the authors of the American constitution understood the importance of the Census. The Census is no less important today. [OK Policy]

In The News

Gov. Kevin Stitt makes John Kane first Supreme Court pick: Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt announced his first appointment to the Oklahoma State Supreme Court this afternoon: M. John Kane, IV, an Osage County district judge in the state’s 10th Judicial District. [NonDoc] Kane, 57, a registered Republican, has been a district judge in Osage County since 2005. He does not have to be confirmed by either house of the State Legislature. [The Oklahoman]

Parole board to begin explaining denials: A new plan to start giving inmates a reason for parole denials is being heralded as a major step forward in the state’s continued bid for criminal justice reform. Providing reasons for denials is considered one of the top recommended parole practices nationally, said Damion Shade, a criminal justice policy analyst with the Oklahoma Policy Institute. [CNHIThis is a good step forward in changing our broken parole system.

With kids’ futures at risk, schools seek new ways to lower chronic absenteeism: Measuring chronic absenteeism marks a paradigm shift in how schools look at and think about attendance. Previously, most schools used an attendance rate, an average number of students present within a certain timeframe, like a year or semester. [Oklahoma Watch]

‘If we lie to a legislator, we are dead’: Oklahoma lobbyists form association: A 12-year veteran of the contract lobbying world, former Bartlesville Sen. Jim Dunlap is a driving force behind the creation of a new trade group for his profession launched this summer: The Oklahoma Society of Professional Advocates. [NonDoc]

Authorities continue investigation into Oklahoma prison violence: Authorities are still investigating coordinated gang violence that erupted last weekend in six Oklahoma state prisons. [The Oklahoman] The Oklahoma Editorial: Oklahoma prison brawls merit attention [Editorial Board / The OklahomanOklahoma’s prison’s have been underfunded and understaffed for over a decade.

Lt. Gov. Pinnell: ‘Good things are on the way’: Oklahoma Lt. Gov. Matt Pinnell says he liked what he saw during a visit to McAlester and Krebs on Tuesday — and he said he’s ready to help the two communities do more to promote tourism in the area. [CNHI]

Oklahoma women’s group to push Equal Rights Amendment in 2020: The Oklahoma Women’s Coalition will push next year for Oklahoma to become the 38th and final state needed to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment. [The OklahomanDiscrimination and other factors still put women at higher risk of living in poverty 

‘Panic mode’: West Tulsa residents recall previous school consolidations, feel anxiety over what comes next with $20 million TPS budget crunch: Anxiety surrounding the potential of more school closures in west Tulsa filled the Webster High School cafeteria Tuesday evening as Tulsa Public Schools hosted its first community engagement meeting to address the looming budget shortfall. [Tulsa World]

Joshua Harvey died after an encounter with Tulsa police officers 13 months ago. His mother is still trying to find closure: The most difficult day for Roma Snowball-Presley in the year since her son died after an encounter with Tulsa police officers inside a downtown bank last year was not the anniversary of the event itself. [Tulsa World]

Ardmore Municipal Court Judge facing allegations of unconstitutional practice: The Ardmore Municipal Court Judge has recently come under fire for an alleged practice creating what has been referred to as a debtors prison. [The Ardomoreite]

Oklahoma County district judge indicted over tax issues: An embattled Oklahoma County district judge is being accused of intentionally disregarding the law by repeatedly filing state income tax returns late. [The Oklahoman]

Improvement at Tar Creek, but still many years to fully remediate area, says EPA official: Environmental Protection Agency Regional Administrator Ken McQueen touted how working together with the state and the Quapaw Nation has yielded many successes in the Tar Creek Strategic Plan, but there are many years left to restore the land. [Tulsa World] Tribal leaders cite work in Tar Creek cleanup [CNHI]

Climate change report: Native Americans face unique challenges: Higher temperatures, extreme weather events and water resource constraints could severely impact the ability of Native Americans in Oklahoma, Texas and Kansas to obtain food, water and shelter, as well as hamper their ability to preserve ancient cultural activities, according to the National Climate Assessment. [The Oklahoman]

Cherokee council approves record $1.16 billion budget, employee pay increase: Included in the budget is funding for Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr.’s employee pay raise plan, which will increase the tribe’s minimum wage to $11 per hour. [Tulsa World] Oklahoma’s minimum wage has been sitting at $7.25 for over a decade

Chuck Hoskin Jr.: The 184-year-old promise to the Cherokee Congress must keep: The Cherokee Nation is strong today because we rest upon this solid foundation. It is a foundation laid by a people of grit whose great suffering has been eclipsed by greater determination. [Chuck Hoskin Jr. / New York Times]

Levee study draft released, public comment sought ahead of October meeting: The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Tulsa District released its 161-page draft study on the Tulsa County levees Tuesday, four months after high water threatened Sand Springs and west Tulsa neighborhoods. [Tulsa World]

Quote of the Day

“Providing this feedback will help incentivize positive behavior and program participation if individuals know these factors can actually make a difference in our decision-making process.”

– Adam Luck, a member of the Oklahoma Pardon and Parole Board, on the Board’s new practice of providing explanations for parole denials [CNHI]

Number of the Day

$387.8 million

The estimated annual cost of untreated mental illness for the city of Tulsa in 2018.

[Source: Urban Institute]

See previous Numbers of the Day here.

Policy Note

What Juvenile Justice Needs: Care, Not Cages: In this era of criminal-justice reform, juvenile justice is often overlooked. Our systems share a common origin, rooted in the punitive treatment of youth deemed incorrigible and evil. Unsurprisingly, the most virulent forms of state-imposed child punishment have been disproportionately applied to poor youth of color. [Governing]

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Jessica joined OK Policy as a Communications Associate in January 2018. A Mexican immigrant, she obtained a B.A. in Political Science and Philosophy from Oklahoma City University as a Clara Luper Scholar. Prior to joining OK Policy, Jessica worked as an Inbound and Digital Marketing Specialist for an OKC based firm. She is an alumnus of both the National Education for Women (N.E.W.) Leadership Institute (2013) and Summer Policy Institute (2015). In addition to her role at OK Policy, Jessica serves as a Board Member for Dream Action Oklahoma.

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