In The Know: Governor asks for gaming compact extension, meth-related deaths in Oklahoma climbing, and more

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

(Guest Post: Matthew Gardner) More of the Same: Corporate tax avoidance hasn’t changed much under 2017 tax law: A new report from the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy shows that, based on the first year of financial reports released by companies operating under the new tax law, tax avoidance appears to be every bit as much of a problem under the new tax system as it was before the 2017 tax law took effect. [Matthew Gardner / OK Policy]

In The News

Stitt pitch to tribes: Sign temporary gaming extension: Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt announced he will be asking tribal leaders to sign an extension of the current gaming compact. Matthew Morgan, chairman of the Oklahoma Indian Gaming Association, reiterated the position that the Oklahoma Model Tribal Gaming Compact automatically renews Jan. 1. [NonDoc] Oklahoma’s governor has said tribal casinos will be operating in violation of the law on Jan. 1, while tribal officials have maintained it will be business as usual for casinos on New Year’s Day. [The Frontier]

Attorney General Mike Hunter withdraws from tribal gaming compact negotiations: Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter has withdrawn from tribal gaming compact talks, clearing the way for Gov. Kevin Stitt to be the state’s lead negotiator. [Tulsa World] The governor said it’s obvious the state won’t be able to reach a new gaming agreement with Native American tribes before Jan. 1. [CNHI]

A new drug scourge: deaths involving meth are rising fast: Today’s meth is far more potent than earlier versions, but because it isn’t an opioid, many federal addiction treatment funds can’t be used to fight it. Deaths associated with meth use are climbing in Oklahoma and in many other states, an alarming trend for a nation battered by the opioid epidemic, and one that public health officials are struggling to fully explain. [New York Times] OK Policy found additional addiction treatments would be available through Medicaid expansion.

Oklahoma schools vying to keep 4-day weeks despite new limits: With more restrictions coming for four-day school weeks, some education advocates are fighting to keep their shortened schedules intact. Supporters of four-day school weeks say newly proposed rules from the Oklahoma State Department of Education would force nearly all districts operating on shortened weeks to resume five-day schedules. [The Oklahoman]

Records show employee loss exaggerated at Oklahoma County jail: The number of Oklahoma County jail employees who have left their jobs because of management uncertainty seems to have been exaggerated, according to a review of data from the sheriff’s office. [The Oklahoman]

Task force approves guidelines for collecting, testing sexual assault DNA evidence: A task force that has been working to improve Oklahoma’s response to sexual assaults voted Tuesday to approve guidelines and procedures for collecting and testing DNA evidence that’s obtained in connection with a sexual assault. [The Oklahoman]

Thousands of state employees who owe taxes risk termination: Thousands of state employees are behind in their income taxes and risk disciplinary actions or termination if they don’t resolve the matter, according to data compiled by the Oklahoma Tax Commission. [Oklahoma Watch]

Grand River Dam Authority board authorizes sale of Vinita headquarters: The Grand River Dam Authority’s Board of Directors voted unanimously on Tuesday to authorize the sale of its headquarters building in Vinita for $1.5 million to a nonprofit organization that serves adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities. [The Frontier]

Election date set on sales tax for OKC park operations: An initiative petition filed by former Councilman Ed Shadid will be on Oklahoma City voters’ March 3 ballot. The City Council unanimously approved the election date this morning. [NonDoc] The proposed dedicated fund is analogous to the one-eighth cent voter-approved sales tax that helps to fund the Oklahoma City Zoo. [The Oklahoman]

Oklahoma City Council approves surf machine, changes personnel policy: In a meeting that was, at turns emotional, contentious, and extremely boring, the city council narrowly approved spending tax money on a surf machine, heard financial reports, and changed personnel policy to be a more inclusive employer. [Free Press OKC] The Council voted Tuesday to amend the city’s personnel policies to prohibit employment discrimination against individuals based on their gender identity or gender expression. [The Journal Record ????]

‘Do the math’: Bethany budget problem sucks up city savings: During a tense special hearing Tuesday evening, a certified public accountant told the Bethany City Council that a $3 million to $4 million transfer “error” years ago left the 20,000-resident municipality with far lower cash reserves than city leaders previously thought. [NonDoc]

Attorneys say OU sexual harassment case should continue: Attorneys for a man who claims University of Oklahoma officials were negligent in handling his sexual harassment complaint asked a judge Monday to deny a request that the case be dismissed. [CNHI]

Tribal Council passes Historic Registry Act: Proposed by Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr. and approved by the Council, the legislation will help tribe identify, protect and preserve properties of historical significance to the Cherokee Nation. The act makes it a crime to deface tribal property listed on its historic registry. [CNHI]

Health officials urge flu vaccine, prevention before holiday travel: Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH) reports, as of Dec. 7, three deaths and almost 170 hospitalizations associated with the flu since the season began in September. Those numbers are updated each Thursday. [CNHI]

‘Innocent Man’ inmate to walk free, but for how long?: An Oklahoma man is just days away from walking out of prison after a federal judge decided he has spent 35 years in prison for a kidnapping and murder that evidence indicates he likely didn’t commit, and yet his freedom could be short-lived. [AP News]

Quote of the Day

“The report also identifies 91 corporations—nearly a quarter of all the companies analyzed—that paid zero, or even less than zero, on their 2018 U.S. income last year. These companies include Amazon, Chevron, Halliburton, MGM Resorts and Netflix.”

– Matthew Gardner, a Senior Fellow at the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy commenting on its recent report about the impact of new federal corporate tax laws [ITEP]

Number of the Day


Number of children in Oklahoma who received healthy meals and snacks on an average workday in child care participating in CACFP. CACFP is the federal Child and Adult Care Food Program.

[Source: FRAC]

See previous Numbers of the Day here.

Policy Note

Mitigation Matters: Policy solutions to reduce local flood risk: Research from the National Institute of Building Sciences shows that every dollar spent on risk reduction measures—such as creating green space to help absorb floodwaters, buying out residents in at-risk areas who want to move out of harm’s way, and adopting the most up-to-date building codes and standards— saves an average of $6 in disaster costs. [Pew Trusts]

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Jessica joined OK Policy as a Communications Associate in January 2018. A Mexican immigrant, she was a Clara Luper Scholar at Oklahoma City University where she obtained a B.A. in Political Science and Philosophy. Prior to joining OK Policy, Jessica worked at a digital marketing agency in Oklahoma City. She is an alumna of both the National Education for Women (N.E.W.) Leadership Institute (2013) and OK Policy's Summer Policy Institute (2015). In addition to her role at OK Policy, Jessica serves as a board member for Dream Action Oklahoma in OKC and communications director for Dream Alliance Oklahoma in Tulsa.

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