In The Know: Governor’s executive order draws support and criticism; Advocates call for stronger seat belt laws

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.

Poverty Week at OK Policy

Census data confirms we must do more to help Oklahoma children and families: New data from the Census Bureau shows that poverty in Oklahoma is still well above the national average. In 2018, nearly 1 in 6 Oklahomans (15.6 percent) lived below the poverty line, earning less than $25,100 for a family of four. Although the share of Oklahomans and the share of Americans living in poverty dropped incrementally last year, too many of us are still left behind. 

The good news is we have proven solutions to help Oklahoma families build the foundations they need to thrive:

Read more about this new Census data.

In The News

Governor’s executive order draws support and criticism: An executive order signed by Gov. Kevin Stitt establishing new rules for state agencies, boards and commissions to follow in applying for grant funding has earned support from Republican and conservative leaders but also sharp criticism from leading Democrats in the Legislature. [Journal Record ????]

Advocates call for stronger seat belt laws as vehicle collisions lead to more child deaths: Oklahoma is the only state that doesn’t require most or all children to wear seat belts when sitting in the backseat of a vehicle. Supporters of stronger seat belt laws hope that after four years of trying to beef up Oklahoma’s child seat belt laws, next year will be the year Oklahoma’s Legislature gets on board. [The Oklahoman]

In Oklahoma, a discredited theory of reading is widely used: In classrooms across Oklahoma and the nation, students are taught to read using a theory that has been discredited by decades of research by brain scientists. Teaching these strategies actually makes it harder for kids to learn to read, studies show. [Oklahoma Watch]

Tribal officials tell Oklahoma lawmakers Medicaid expansion would help their citizens: Tribal officials told Oklahoma’s health care working group Medicaid expansion could make a difference in their under-funded health systems. The Oklahoma area is last in funding for Indian health care. [Public Radio Tulsa]

Oklahoma’s first case of vaping-associated lung injury found in Tulsa County teen, Health Department reports: The injuries of the patient, a Tulsa County resident younger than 18, are associated with a national occurrence of serious lung injuries related to e-cigarette and vaping product use. [Tulsa World]

Tulsa abortion clinic, doctor file suit over medication-abortion law, say it forces doctors to lie to patients: A Tulsa abortion clinic filed a lawsuit Wednesday contesting a law it says requires doctors to give patients false information. [Tulsa World]

(Audio) Energy lobbyist apartment, agency grant applications, Epic’s cease and desist order & more: This Week in Oklahoma Politics hosts talks about campaign reports showing House Appropriations Chairman Kevin Wallace is renting a garage apartment from former House Appropriations Chair and now OG&E lobbyist Ken Miller and Governor Stitt signs an executive order requiring all state agencies to get approval from his office for grant applications more than  $50,000. [KOSU]

OU economist says he doesn’t see a pending recession for now: An economist told bankers Thursday he doesn’t think it likely Oklahomans will see a recession between now and the middle of next year. [The Oklahoman]

Hamilton: Exploiting common good for profit: For a state that grossly underfunds its K-12 schools, Oklahoma sure squanders a lot of energy and taxpayer money on schemes to divert public dollars into private education. [Arnold Hamilton / Journal Record]

Tulsa Public Schools $20 million shortfall: Community members at McLain High School want to help find solutions: School district officials have made clear that almost nothing is off the table when it comes to potential reductions. Fewer teachers and support staff, less after-school programming, and cuts to athletics and transportation services all are being considered. [Tulsa World]

Search for graves from the Tulsa Race Massacre to begin next month; fourth location added to those to be explored: A fourth location has been added to the list of potential unmarked burial sites from Tulsa’s 1921 Race Massacre, an oversight committee learned Thursday evening. The sites will be examined with subsurface scanning equipment beginning Oct. 7, Amy Brown of Mayor G.T. Bynum’s office said. [Tulsa World]

Judge to decide fate of Kiamichi River, Sardis Lake water lawsuit: A Pushmataha County judge heard arguments on Wednesday in a lawsuit seeking to halt a state permit that would allow Oklahoma City to pull billions of gallons of water each year from the Kiamichi River and Sardis Lake. [The Frontier]

Winning with analytics: How big data is changing the oil and gas industry: The oil and gas industry is at the “tipping point” of change, thanks to the age of big data, but still faces resistance from those wanting to preserve the traditional methods of operation, industry experts said Thursday. [Journal Record ????]

D.C.’s Oklahoma Avenue has a mysterious history: Oklahoma Avenue, a diagonal, two-block-long residential street that sits two miles east of Capitol Hill, is one of the 50 state-named avenues in Washington, but it has an untraceable history. [Gaylord News]

Quote of the Day

“That new revenue into our health systems [through Medicaid expansion] … would allow us to continue to expand our access to services, bring more of those specialty services in-house and to add additional health care services.”

– Chickasaw Nation Division of Health Senior Advisor Melissa Gower, explaining the benefits of Medicaid expansion for tribal health services [Public Radio Tulsa]

Number of the Day


Oklahoma’s poverty rate in 2018 – slightly lower than in 2017, but still above the national rate

[Source: Census Bureau]

See previous Numbers of the Day here.

Policy Note

How many Americans live on $2 a day? The biggest debate in poverty research, explained: Interestingly, the Meyer methodology suggests that the vast majority of individuals in extreme poverty aren’t parents, but childless adults. The extreme poverty rate they find for single childless adults is 1.12 percent, amounting to 252,336 people. [Vox]

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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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