In The Know: Highlights of bills for upcoming legislative session, historical look at state’s gaming and horse racing industries, 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.

In The News

2020 bills: State cornbread, porch piracy law, increased minimum wage proposed for Oklahoma: The Tulsa World looked at some of the highlights among the 2,243 bills and resolutions Oklahoma lawmakers filed for the 2020 session, which begins Feb. 3. [Tulsa World] The Tulsa World also has published issue summaries in its Countdown to the Capitol series, which this week has included information on Medicaid expansion and criminal justice reform. 

Capitol restoration: What to know before visiting Oklahoma’s state Capitol: When Oklahoma’s legislative session kicks off Monday, the normal sounds of the state Capitol, the dull roar of political banter and high heels on marble flooring, will be mixed with the whir of power tools and hammering. [The Oklahoman]

Oklahoma’s tribal gaming compacts historically entangled with efforts to save horse racing: The state’s primary motivation wasn’t to bring Las Vegas-style gambling to Oklahoma’s Indian casinos or provide a lucrative source of new revenue for Oklahoma education. The goal was to save Oklahoma’s then-struggling horse racing industry. [The Oklahoman] Sports betting likely not a big deal if Stitt, tribes go for new gaming compact. [Public Radio Tulsa] The Muscogee (Creek) Nation has joined four other tribes in a gaming compact lawsuit against Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt. [Public Radio Tulsa]

CLEET boosts officer performance, credibility: Just as plumbers must pass tests to obtain their contractor’s licenses and attorneys must pass the bar exam, law enforcement officers have to meet certain standards to prove their effectiveness and understanding of their mission. [Tahlequah Daily Press] OK Policy has published a report recommending strategies for building trust between law enforcement and communities in Oklahoma.

Is Tulsa ready to handle its own jail? Is the city ready for the true costs?, Tulsa World editorial: The death of a 46-year-old woman with disabilities at the municipal jail is raising questions about the city’s preparation to handle a lockup. [Tulsa World / Editorial]

School Climate Transformation Project to be implemented in Tahlequah: A five-year, $3.7 million federal discretionary grant will include interventions preventing negative behavior, interventions targeting at-risk students and students who have problems related to Adverse Childhood Experiences, and collaboration with a local mental health agency. [Tahlequah Daily Press]

Positive Tomorrows hosts open house at new school building: Positive Tomorrows, Oklahoma’s only school exclusively serving families and children experiencing homelessness, held the first classes in its $15 million, 42,000-square-foot facility in December. [The Oklahoman]

Loan incentive increase helps attract rural physicians: A substantial increase in the amount of money Oklahoma will kick in to help new doctors pay off student loans may help to alleviate serious shortages of physicians in small towns across the state. [Journal Record ????]

Oklahoma election officials eyeing $5.8M federal grant: State officials want Oklahoma to lock down a $5.8 million federal election security grant. The grant is meant to help shore up election systems. [Public Radio Tulsa]

State’s three largest chambers of commerce announce joint lobbying efforts: The state’s three largest chambers of commerce on Monday released a list of issues and policies for which they will be lobbying together during the legislative session that begins Monday. [Tulsa World]

Oklahoma news organizations selected to receive legal support from national group: Oklahoma is one of five states selected by the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press to receive pro bono legal support to assist news organizations in pursuing public records and access to public meetings and in defending against legal actions. [CNHI] Editorial: Legal support should help restore, defend open government in Oklahoma. [Enid News / Editorial]

Leaders hope to push for more LGBTQ rights in Oklahoma in 2020: Leaders in conservative Oklahoma say they are looking for more legislative progress for LGBTQ people this year after notable strides in 2019. [AP / Public Radio Tulsa]

Oklahoma City budget envisions parks cuts: A proposed budget cut shows why Oklahoma City parks need dedicated funding insulated from turf battles when revenue slips, a former city councilman said Monday. [The Oklahoman]

Quote of the Day

“Our families are used to being the ones that are always on the sidelines. We want to help them realize they don’t have to stand on the sidelines for the rest of their lives.”

Susan Agel, president and principal of Positive Tomorrows, Oklahoma’s only school exclusively serving families and children experiencing homelessness [The Oklahoman]

Number of the Day


Average annual loss for Earned Income Tax Credit recipients in Oklahoma since the credit was made non-refundable in 2016

[Source: OK Policy]

See previous Numbers of the Day here.

Policy Note

Poverty grew in one-third of counties despite strong national economy: Despite an economic recovery that lifted people out of poverty in most areas of the country, poverty increased in at least one county in every state between 2016 and 2018. The poverty rate grew in 30 percent of counties between 2016 and 2018, according to a Stateline analysis of U.S. Census Bureau county estimates released this month. [Stateline / Pew Charitable Trusts]

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David Hamby has more than 25 years of experience as an award-winning communicator, including overseeing communication programs for Oklahoma higher education institutions and other organizations. Before joining OK Policy, he was director of public relations for Rogers State University where he managed the school’s external communication programs and served as a member of the president’s leadership team. He served in a similar communications role for five years at the University of Tulsa. He also has worked in communications roles at Oklahoma State University and the Fort Smith Chamber of Commerce in Arkansas. He joined OK Policy in October 2019.

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