In 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
Justice reinvestment offers a model to support vulnerable Oklahoma youth: Oklahoma should take advantage of declining youth incarceration to reinvest in services — such as therapy, substance use treatment, education, and family supports — for justice-involved youth. Doing so could help break the cycle of incarceration in Oklahoma by creating a fair and effective juvenile justice system. [OK Policy]
Prosperity Policy: A bright spot in our justice system: When it comes to criminal justice issues, Oklahomans never seem to confront a shortage of bad news and dreary statistics. But for Oklahoma’s youth, the trends are very different and extremely encouraging. [Journal Record]
In The News
Hospital executives tell lawmakers they must bring nine-to-one Medicaid match to Oklahoma: Whether it’s Medicaid expansion or an eligible Oklahoma plan, experts said Wednesday the state must find a way to bring in additional federal funds for its hospitals. Duncan Regional Hospital President and CEO Jay Johnson and OU Medicine President and CEO Chuck Spicer told members of the Oklahoma Healthcare Working Group the nine-to-one funding match would go a long way in increasing access to care and improving dismal health outcomes. [Public Radio Tulsa] OK Policy is endorsing SQ 802 to expand Medicaid – click here to read why
Purdue Pharma bankruptcy won’t affect Oklahoma settlement: The Oklahoma Attorney General’s office says Purdue Pharma’s recent bankruptcy filing won’t change its settlement with the state. In March, Purdue Pharma agreed to pay Oklahoma $270 million to settle claims the company helped ignite the opioid crisis by deceptively marketing its blockbuster drug OxyContin. [Public Radio Tulsa] Medicaid expansion would help us tackle the opioid crisis in Oklahoma
Current CLEET director resigned amid controversy from last law enforcement job: The executive director of Oklahoma’s law enforcement training agency resigned from his post as a Texas police chief in 2017 while under scrutiny for allegedly placing secret tracking devices on the vehicles of several police officers. [The Frontier]
Which DHS positions will see the largest pay raises?: The Oklahoma Department of Human Services last week announced pay raises for more than 3,700 agency employees that are set to go into effect next month. The move aims to put salaries on a level more comparable to other state agencies, agency officials said. [The Frontier]
Epic Charter Schools sends state senator ‘cease and desist demand’ letter: An attorney for Epic Charter Schools issued a “cease and desist demand” letter to a state senator who has been raising questions about the legality of the school’s student attendance practices. [Tulsa World] The legislature considered several bills last session to better regulate virtual charter schools, and they could come up again next year
Board of Juvenile Affairs discusses FY21 budget request: The Office of Juvenile Affairs is seeking an additional $7.35 million in state funding next fiscal year to help fund family engagement efforts, data-driven decision making and a pay increase for resident care specialists at the agency’s two secure-care treatment facilities, among other investment priorities. [The Oklahoman] Significant racial disparities still exist in our juvenile justice system, despite a decade of declining juvenile crime rates.
County not receiving state reimbursements for juvenile detention center: The Board of County Commissioners discussed possible solutions to non-reimbursement from the state for the Oklahoma County Juvenile Detention Center Wednesday. [Free Press OKC]
Stitt picks justice as major abortion case heads to Supreme Court: Gov. Kevin Stitt’s appointment on Tuesday of a Supreme Court justice who apparently shares his anti-abortion views came just as the high court is expected to hear a challenge to a state law restricting the most common form of abortion. [The Oklahoman]
Superintendent optimistic that Tulsa Public Schools will overcome $20 million budget hole: Addressing a room full of concerned community members and teachers at Hale High School, Tulsa Public Schools Superintendent Deborah Gist made clear that she understands the serious nature of her district’s financial crisis. [Tulsa World]
Tahlequah Public Schools Indian Education programs make difference in student lives: While Tahlequah Public Schools offers a variety of programs for all students, Native Americans can receive assistance and resources through the Title VI Indian Education and Johnson-O’Malley programs. [Tahlequah Daily Press]
Video: OKC Mayor answers questions on MAPS 4: Oklahoma City Mayor David Holt fielded many questions about the details and intentions of the ambitious MAPS 4 proposal in an Oklahoma Watch forum Tuesday night. [Oklahoma Watch]
State appeals judge’s order in “Innocent Man” case: The Oklahoma Attorney General’s Office has appealed a federal judge’s ruling issued last month that ordered the state to release or hold a new trial for Karl Fontenot, one of the defendants profiled in the John Grisham book and NetFlix documentary “The Innocent Man.” [The Frontier]
Former Lahoma mayor charged with conspiracy: The former mayor of Lahoma has been charged with a felony count of conspiracy against the state alleging she and a co-conspirator defrauded the town of her utility payments. [CNHI]
College students trying to lead the fight on climate change: Over the course of the past decade, dozens of degree options have been added at colleges around the country offering students wanting to learn about the affects of climate change the opportunity to do something about it. [The Oklahoman]
Ponca Chief Standing Bear joins greats in D.C. Statuary Hall: A new statue of Standing Bear, a legendary chief of the Ponca Tribe, joined the silent sentinels in Statuary Hall of the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday. [NonDoc]
Author Umbrella: Robots, music and a forbidden library: NonDoc’s Author Umbrella interviews up-and-coming writers, particularly authors of color, authors of disability and LGBTQ authors. [NonDoc]
Quote of the Day
“But I think if it’s a road or a bridge or an Air Force base, we’re not asking that question. For whatever reason, we have to ask it about health care.”
– Chuck Spicer, President and CEO of OU Medicine, on legislators concerns that the federal government will pull back the matching money for Medicaid expansion [Public Radio Tulsa]
Number of the Day
The percentage of time longer than the national average that Oklahomans spent in prison for commercial drug crimes.
Game over: Middle-class and poor kids are ditching youth sports: Youth sports in the U.S. are diverging according to income — more middle- and lower-income students quitting athletics while participation among wealthier children is rising. More public schools are also charging “pay-to-play” fees, pricing out some families. [CBS News]
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