In The Know: Governor’s authority to appoint agency heads discussed

In The KnowIn The Know is a daily synopsis of Oklahoma policy-related news and blogs. Inclusion of a story does not necessarily mean endorsement by the Oklahoma Policy Institute. You can sign up here to receive In The Know by e-mail.

Today In The News

Oklahoma governor appointment authority studied by lawmakers: Oklahoma lawmakers convened a legislative study on Wednesday on expanding the governor’s appointment authority to include the heads of state agencies and commissions, an idea critics said could make state government resemble the federal system and increase the influence of special interests. Supporters have promoted it as a way to cut the size of state government and make it more efficient [KRMG].

Charges Filed in OSU Parade Crash: A woman accused of purposely driving around a barricade and over a police motorcycle before crashing into spectators at Oklahoma State University’s homecoming parade has been formally charged with four counts of second-degree murder and 46 counts of felony assault. Payne County District Attorney Laura Thomas filed formal charges Wednesday against 25-year-old Adacia Chambers of Stillwater [KWGS].

Case Against Spine Surgeon Ended After Two Governors Intervene: Texas Gov. Rick Perry wasn’t happy when Oklahoma authorities wanted to revoke the medical license of a Tulsa surgeon accused of performing operations that left patients paralyzed, in perpetual pain – or dead. So Perry made a phone call to Gov. Mary Fallin and soon afterward, a three-year, $600,000 state investigation came to an end [The Frontier / NewsOn6].

Despite improvement, achievement gap still exists, ImpactTulsa study finds: ImpactTulsa, a collaborative partnership between several entities seeking to ensure a high-quality education for all Tulsa-area students, released its second annual report on Wednesday. The organization’s areas of focus are kindergarten readiness, third-grade reading proficiency, eighth-grade math proficiency, high school completion college- and career-ready, postsecondary enrollment and postsecondary completion [Tulsa World].

‘End the income tax’ broken record plays on: In a recent House interim study led by Rep. Mark McCullough, lawmakers returned to a subject that has been attempted several times in Oklahoma’s recent history. They once again looked at eliminating Oklahoma’s income tax or transforming it into a flat 3 percent rate for all incomes. To replace some of the lost revenue, they discussed expanding the sales tax to cover services [OK Policy].

Give and take: As a new effort gears up to boost support for schools through a dedicated 1-cent sales tax, many Oklahomans are asking: Why hasn’t the lottery already fixed our education funding problems? The short answer is that the lottery has grown state revenue by inches, while lawmakers have been pruning off yards [David Blatt / Journal Record].

Southwestern Bell Rate Case Hung up a Bit Longer: After 25 years, Oklahomans will have to wait a little longer to learn whether a Southwestern Bell rate hike approved on a bribed vote will be reconsidered. The case went in front of the state’s corporation commission, which is hung up on whether this is a judicial or legislative issue. That matters because there’s precedent for reopening cases judicial bribery, not legislative [KWGS].

Oklahoma lawmakers look at Rx painkillers that have abuse deterrents: Oklahoma leaders continue to discuss how the state can best combat prescription drug abuse, a statewide epidemic that has left hundreds of residents dead from overdose. Lawmakers on Wednesday met for an interim study on opioid painkillers with abuse-deterrent properties. These properties would include safeguards to deter crushing and snorting pills, which could range from making the pill more difficult to crush to changing the consistency of the drug once it is crushed [NewsOK].

Foster children becoming adults get an extra option: On Friday, Kevionne Easton is going to be celebrating his freedom and independence. That’s what turning 18 means to him. Even with the celebration of becoming a legal adult and free from state’s care, he doesn’t want to cut all strings. He will be among the first from Tulsa to be in a new, expanded program offered by the Oklahoma Department of Human Services to help teens aging out of foster care move into adulthood [Tulsa World]. Youth who age out of foster care face an increased risk of experiencing homelessness [OK Policy].

Oklahoma Tax Commission collects more than $92.8 million in past-due taxes: The Oklahoma Tax Commission has collected more than $92.8 million in past-due taxes over the past two months with the help of a new program to forgive additional costs and penalties. The PAYRight OK program has allowed the the Tax Commission to reap more than double the $35 million it was initially protected to help the state collect in past-due payments [NewsOK].

OKC Buys Goats After Successful Pilot Program: A herd of goats hired by Oklahoma City to eat away high grass at the Hefner canal are done with their duties for the year. The program was so successful, the city bought their own goats instead of borrowing them again next year. The city just bought 24 new goats at a livestock auction for $3,800 [News9].


Quote of the Day

“This region has to get a handle on that prekindergarten enrollment. That is low-hanging fruit. I would say if there is a Job 1, this is Job 1 — to figure out how to get those kids enrolled.”

– John Tapogna, a consultant working with ImpactTulsa to study best practices for education in the area. ImpactTulsa’s second annual report found that 3,000 eligible Tulsa-area 4-year-olds are not accessing available prekindergarten programs (Source)

Number of the Day


Percentage of occupied housing in Oklahoma with electric heating in 2014

Source: Census Bureau.

See previous Numbers of the Day here.

Policy Note

Obama administration calls for limits on testing in schools: Faced with mounting and bipartisan opposition to increased and often high-stakes testing in the nation’s public schools, the Obama administration declared Saturday that the push had gone to far, acknowledged its own role in the proliferation of tests, and urged schools to step back and make exams less onerous and more purposeful. Specifically, the administration called for a cap on assessment so that no child would spend more than 2 percent of classroom instruction time taking tests [The New York Times].

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Carly Putnam joined OK Policy in 2013. As Policy Director, she supervises policy research and strategy. She previously worked as an OK Policy intern, and she was OK Policy's health care policy analyst through July 2020. She graduated from the University of Tulsa in 2013. As a student, she was a participant in the National Education for Women (N.E.W.) Leadership Institute and interned with Planned Parenthood. Carly is a graduate of the Oklahoma Center for Nonprofits Nonprofit Management Certification; the Oklahoma Developmental Disabilities Council’s Partners in Policymaking; The Mine, a social entrepreneurship fellowship in Tulsa; and Leadership Tulsa Class 62. She currently serves on the boards of Restore Hope Ministries and The Arc of Oklahoma. In her free time, she enjoys reading, cooking, and doing battle with her hundred year-old house.

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