In The Know: High trauma rate among children in OK; life without parole for juveniles; Tulsa to examine potential mass graves…

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.

In The News

Summit: Oklahoma’s youngest, most vulnerable children suffer more trauma than those in any other state in the nation: State leaders in education, criminal justice and health came together Tuesday to begin to confront an alarming, new statistic: Oklahoma’s youngest, most vulnerable children suffer more trauma than those in any other state in the nation. A summit titled, “It Starts Here: Trauma-Informed Instruction,” brought thousands of educators from across the state to hear from national experts on childhood trauma and what brain science reveals about what teachers can do to help students both learn more effectively and heal. [Tulsa World]

Life without parole considered ‘sentence of death’ for juvenile offenders, study argues: A legislative panel was asked to keep life without parole for juveniles on the books, but also provide guidance on its use. On Tuesday, the House Judiciary Committee heard an interim study at the request of Rep. Emily Virgin, D-Norman, about how youths sentenced to life parole were affected. [Tulsa World] Ruling brings parole chance for those who killed as children [AP News]

Tulsa will examine three sites for possible mass graves from 1921 race massacre, mayor says: Mayor G.T. Bynum said Tuesday that the city will examine two Tulsa cemeteries and a third site to determine whether they include mass graves from the 1921 Tulsa race massacre. The city will begin with Oaklawn Cemetery before moving on to Rolling Oaks Memorial Gardens, formerly Booker T. Washington Cemetery, and property near Newblock Park. [Tulsa World]

Oklahoma State Election Board warning residents about potential scam: State officials are warning residents about a potential voting scam. The Oklahoma State Election Board says it was notified by the National Association of Secretaries of State and the National Association of State Election Directors about a potential scam targeting Oklahoma residents. [KFOR]

Candidates address state’s mental health challenges: Candidates for governor pointed to policies on taxes and management of state agencies in addressing Oklahoma’s shortcomings in the area of mental health care. Both Drew Edmondson and Kevin Stitt expressed support for increased spending on mental health services and addiction treatment, speaking individually at a forum Tuesday hosted by the Oklahoma Behavioral Health Association in Oklahoma City. [NewsOK] The two leading candidates for governor are airing commercials across the state, each pledging to improve Oklahoma schools and raise teacher pay. [NewsOK ????]

Edmondson pops Stitt, Gateway Mortgage over 2008 financial crisis: When Kevin Stitt discusses Gateway Mortgage on the campaign trail, he emphasizes entrepreneurship, hard work and a few large numbers: 1,200 employees; 3,000 loans per month; $18 billion worth of home loans serviced. [NonDoc] Gateway Mortgage, the company founded by Oklahoma gubernatorial candidate Kevin Stitt, is one of the defendants in a federal lawsuit that began today in the Southern District of New York. [KFOR]

Outsider challenges insider for attorney general: The two candidates for Oklahoma attorney general come from different backgrounds, but each stressed their desire to be an advocate for all Oklahomans during recent interviews with NonDoc. Republican incumbent Mike Hunter, who took over the state’s top law enforcement post in February 2017 after then-Attorney General Scott Pruitt left to head the Environmental Protection Agency, has served numerous positions in state government. [NonDoc]

Tim Gilpin, Kevin Hern define differing policy positions at 1st Congressional District candidate forum: First Congressional District candidates Tim Gilpin and Kevin Hern have their differences, and they own them. Not differences as in animosity, but differences as in policy positions. Hern, the Republican, is full-on free enterprise, tax cuts and President Donald Trump. To him, the Affordable Care Act is a bad word — or three of them wrapped up into one. [Tulsa World]

40 percent of the 2019 Oklahoma Legislature will lack political experience. Should we be worried? John Carpenter is a yoga instructor in Choctaw. He previously worked as a probation officer, and before that he owned a construction company. And Carpenter recently organized his community’s opposition to the Eastern Oklahoma County Turnpike. “Ultimately we didn’t stop the turnpike,” Carpenter said. “But it got me politically involved.” [KOSU]

Study: Tax credit helped finance 2,000 affordable housing units: The state’s affordable housing tax credit has helped finance more than 2,000 housing units since its inception, according to a new study commissioned by the Oklahoma Coalition for Affordable Housing. The coalition worked with the Oklahoma Department of Commerce’s Research and Analytics Division. [Journal Record]

DA: Investigation into state superintendent is ‘dead’: Any investigation into state schools Superintendent Joy Hofmeister for campaign finance violations is “completely over,” said Oklahoma County District Attorney David Prater. “It’s dead, it’s over, (the charges) will not be revived,” Prater told The Oklahoman on Tuesday. “There is nothing there to look at.” [NewsOK ????]

Oklahoma State Department of Education to receive $398,345 from the Department of Justice: The Department of Justice announced the Oklahoma State Department of Education will receive $398,345 in grant funding to bolster school security, educate and train students and faculty, and support law enforcement officers and first responders who arrive on the scene of a school violence incident. [KFOR]

How a teacher in rural Oklahoma started a science-fair dynasty: On March 9, a few days after teachers in Oklahoma threatened to walk out to demand more funding for public schools, I was standing next to Deborah Cornelison, a veteran science teacher, in the courtyard of Byng Junior High School. At 11 a.m., the school’s only outdoor space was already hot, and a group of teens moved underneath a large beige canopy to catch some shade. [The Atlantic]

OKC district sets public meetings for building project: Meetings to gather community feedback on a project that could result in school closures are set to begin Nov. 5. Oklahoma City Public Schools Superintendent Sean McDaniel said the input will be critical to the success of the district’s Pathways to Greatness Project. The goal of the project, which includes a facilities assessment and demographic study, is to align and district resources with instructional needs, McDaniel said. [NewsOK ????]

Medical marijuana fees generate millions, but agency can’t touch it yet: Oklahoma’s medical marijuana licensing fees have generated more than $4 million so far, including business and patient license fees. [Journal Record ????] The future is unclear for Oklahoma’s medical marijuana dispensaries, more than 400 of which have already gotten their commercial licenses. [Journal Record ????] The introduction of medical marijuana in Oklahoma means an influx of cash into the market as new businesses, including dispensaries and growing operations, work to get off the ground. [Tulsa World]

Gun seizure workaround high on priority list for medical marijuana working group co-chair: Nearly three months into its work to develop comprehensive regulations for the state’s medical marijuana program, Oklahoma’s Medical Marijuana Working Group is not yet ready to issue recommendations. One goal, however, is clear. [Public Radio Tulsa] A little more than three months after Oklahomans headed to the polls to approve a medical marijuana measure, state officials say thousands have already been approved for a license. [KFOR]

Oklahoma DHS could have sent private medical info to wrong addresses: Officials at the Department of Human Services said Monday that a small number of clients were affected this year by a computer error that labeled envelopes with incorrect addresses. A labeling error affected notices that informed patients and their guardians about changes to their plan of care. [NewsOK]

Tulsa World editorial: Oklahoma’s high uninsured rate impacts everyone, including those who have insurance: Oklahoma has the second-highest rate of residents without health care coverage in the nation, the U.S. Census Bureau says. An estimated 14.2 percent of the state population did not have health insurance in 2017, up from 13.8 percent the previous year. That’s more than a half million of our neighbors without proper coverage. [Editorial Board / Tulsa World]

Lack of medical residency spots hinders Alzheimer’s care: As America’s population ages and becomes more likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease, the unmet need for neurologists will grow, especially in Oklahoma. Alzheimer’s is common, but it can be difficult to understand, and some local advocates say physicians don’t receive enough education on it. [Journal Record]

Feeding Oklahoma Drive starts: Gov. Mary Fallin’s ninth annual Feeding Oklahoma Drive started Monday with the goal of raising enough food and funds to provide 2 million meals to families, children and seniors living with hunger in Oklahoma. The monthlong drive benefits the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma and the Community Food Bank of Eastern Oklahoma and their partner agencies across the state. [Journal Record ????]

Oklahoma tribes generate nearly $4.4 billion in gaming revenues: Oklahoma Indian gaming revenues have risen 15 straight years — reaching nearly $4.4 billion in 2016, according to a new report released Wednesday morning by Casino City Press. Revenues increased from $4.15 billion in 2015 to more than $4.36 billion in 2016, an increase of about 5 percent, according to the 2018 edition of Casino City’s Indian Gaming Industry Report authored by economist Alan Meister. [NewsOK]

Hunting season is spending season in Oklahoma: Available hotel rooms have decreased by about 20 percent across McAlester as hunters move into the area for the launch of deer season. “As an extended-stay hotel, we already have a lot of oil-field workers who stay with us,” said Jamie Muldoon, manager at McAlester Candlewood Suites on Highway 69 in the middle of town. [Journal Record ????]

Gathering Place officials mostly mum as ‘Second Amendment Rally’ outside park nears: Gathering Place officials are “aware” of an upcoming planned protest by an Oklahoma gun rights group, park spokeswoman Katie Bullock said in an email Tuesday. But they were mostly mum on how they would respond to the potential of hundreds of armed men and women descending on the gun-free park. [The Frontier]

Quote of the Day

Reducing the state’s uninsured rate increases productivity and tax revenue; it improves public health, makes rural hospitals more financially viable and makes urban hospitals more efficient. Everyone has a stake in improving this situation.

-Tulsa World Editorial Board, on the importance of addressing Oklahoma’s high uninsured rate [Tulsa World]

Number of the Day


Percentage increase in general fund spending on Oklahoma corrections since 1987

[ACLU 50 State Blueprint]

See previous Numbers of the Day here.

Policy Note

Key flaws of short-term health plans pose risks to consumers: Short-term plans are likely to offer some healthier people lower premiums (because the plans include reduced benefits and cover less costly populations), and thus will lure healthy enrollees away from the individual and small-group markets and leave a costlier group behind. This dynamic, known as adverse selection, raises premiums for traditional, more comprehensive health coverage and undermines ACA protections for people with pre-existing conditions. Meanwhile, healthy people who enroll in these plans may find themselves facing gaps in coverage and exposed to catastrophic costs if they get sick and need care. [Center on Budget and Policy Priorities]

You can sign up here to receive In The Know by e-mail.


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.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.