In The Know: House advances bill to stop Medicaid managed care | Intraparty rift in Legislature intensifies | 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. Some stories included here are behind paywall or require subscription. OK Policy encourages the support of Oklahoma’s state and local media, which are vital to an informed citizenry. Subscribe to In The Know and see past editions.

Oklahoma News

House sends Senate bill to stop Stitt’s plan for Medicaid managed care: During a floor session that ran late into Tuesday night, the Oklahoma House advanced a bill to halt privatization of the state’s Medicaid program. Senate Bill 131 would require the Oklahoma Health Care Authority to oversee the program and implement new elements like a prevention component assessing social health risks. Medicaid expansion in Oklahoma takes effect July 1. An estimated 200,000 residents will be newly eligible. [Public Radio Tulsa] OK Policy: Managed care is a bad investment for Oklahoma, but could be especially harmful for patients, providers, and Indigenous communities.

  • Political group encourages legislature to reject Medicaid privatization [Public Radio Tulsa]

Intraparty rift between Oklahoma legislative leaders intensifies: Leaders of the Oklahoma Legislature are in the midst of a political showdown that has one conservative activist calling for the head of the state Senate to be removed from his leadership position. [The Oklahoman]

Federally supported mass vaccination center opens at TCC’s NE campus to address access inequities: The federally supported mass community vaccination center opening Tuesday in north Tulsa is greater than the opportunity to immunize more people. It’s a focused outreach to seek equitable access for minority populations, build trust in the Black community hurt by past medical maltreatment and help overcome justifiable vaccine hesitancy, said Rev. Jamaal Dyer, senior pastor of Friendship Church. [Tulsa World] | [AP News]

Health News

New Lawton mental health clinic aims to care for veterans and their families: A new mental health clinic in Lawton aims to offer a lifeline to veterans and their families. The Steven A. Cohen Military Family Clinic at Red Rock, which is operated by Oklahoma City-based Red Rock Behavioral Health Services and is part of the Cohen Veterans Network, opened its doors for in-person visits April 1 after a telehealth-only launch last year. [The Oklahoman]

State Government News

Film rebate, federal government pushback bills fuel fight in Oklahoma Legislature: Considering the old saying that it’s always darkest before the dawn, the sun might be rising soon at the Oklahoma Legislature, where the House and Senate are slowly playing out their budget and policy disagreements in public — if you know where to look. [NonDoc]

New law allows Oklahoma police to use professionals, telemedicine in mental health crises: Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt signed a bill into law Monday that will take some responsibility for mental health crisis transports away from police. House Bill 2877 also allows officers to use telemedicine in the field. The legislation is one part of a larger strategy to change how emergency mental health calls are treated in Oklahoma. [KOSU]

Redbud School Funding Act offers compromise in charter and traditional public school money fight: A group of Republican lawmakers have proposed a school funding plan that will nullify a controversial settlement announced by Oklahoma’s State Board of Education and fix funding disparities between charter and traditional public schools. The Redbud School Funding Act – Senate Bill 229 – would disburse medical marijuana funds to Oklahoma schools that receive the least local tax revenues. [KOSU]

  • Union joining other districts in school funding fight [Tulsa World]

House OKs storm bonds for utilities: The high utility bills resulting from February’s weather may be something onerous that we all have to share, the chairman of the House Utilities Committee said during debate on the House floor on Tuesday. [The Journal Record]

Gov. Kevin Stitt signs Ida’s Law to address missing, murdered Indigenous Oklahomans: Gov. Kevin Stitt signed bipartisan legislation for the state to seek federal funding to address the issue of missing and murdered Indigenous Oklahomans. [The Oklahoman] The bill is intended to coordinate state and federal law enforcement efforts when investigating missing or murdered Indigenous people. [AP News]

Gov. Kevin Stitt signs bill limiting insurance charges for insulin: Gov. Kevin Stitt on Tuesday signed a measure to limit what insurance companies can charge participants for insulin. House Bill 1019 would cap a 30-day supply at $30. A 90-day supply would be capped at $90. The bill says the insurance commissioner can promulgate rules to implement the law and to align with federal requirements. [Tulsa World]

Oklahoma Senate sends 3 anti-abortion bills to governor: The Oklahoma Senate voted Tuesday in favor of three anti-abortion bills, including ones that would criminalize the procedure in certain cases and cost providers their medical licenses for performing them, sending the measures to the governor for his expected approval. [AP News] | [Public Radio Tulsa]

How the G.O.P. Is Creating Harsher Penalties for Protesters: As the nation reacts to the guilty verdict a jury handed to Derek Chauvin in the killing of George Floyd, Republican-led states are introducing punitive new measures governing protests. Republican legislators in Oklahoma and Iowa have passed bills granting immunity to drivers whose vehicles strike and injure protesters in public streets. [New York Times]

Criminal Justice News

Detention Center Action Committee hopes to make a difference at Oklahoma County Jail: Amid a flood of controversy and bad press surrounding problems at the Oklahoma County Jail, ranging from inmate deaths to bed bugs, the 15 members of the new Oklahoma County Criminal Justice Authority Action Committee hope their work can help make the troubled jail a more humane place. [NonDoc]

  • County Clerk’s office explains tech probs, ‘shut up’ from Jail Trust meeting [OKC Free Press]

Embattled former judge who resigned amid controversy in 2018 is running for district attorney: Curtis DeLapp left the bench after allegations he abused his power by ordering people to jail for talking in court or arriving late. Now he’s seeking office again in Washington and Nowata counties. [The Frontier]

Oklahomans renew calls for police, criminal justice reform after Derek Chauvin conviction: A former Minneapolis police officer’s conviction for the murder of George Floyd is a step in the right direction as far as policing and criminal justice reform go, Tulsa activists and leaders said Tuesday. But with many families still waiting for justice and Oklahoma’s Legislature not taking action on reform, they said much work is yet to be done, and many renewed their calls for reform in Tulsa and Oklahoma. [Tulsa World]

  • Oklahoma activists, leaders react to guilty verdict in Derek Chauvin trial [The Oklahoman]
  • For Crutcher family, Chauvin guilty verdict bittersweet: ‘We wish that would have been Betty Shelby’ [Public Radio Tulsa]\
  • OKC protest leaders doubt Derek Chauvin verdict will improve relations [OKC Free Press]

Economic Opportunity

‘This is for the community.’ Grocery to open in NE OKC ‘food desert’: Eastside residents will enjoy shopping in the first modern grocery opened in decades as RestoreOKC and Homeland Stores open the doors Wednesday at the Market at EastPoint. [The Oklahoman]

Economy & Business News

Survey: Expect gradual return to the workplace: More than a year after millions of employees nationwide left the office to work from home, the return to the workplace has begun. A March survey conducted by the Greater Oklahoma City Chamber showed nearly two-thirds of members still have people working remotely. [The Journal Record]

Education News

Back to the drawing board: SVCSB calls for new Epic settlement proposals: The Statewide Virtual Charter School Board held a special meeting this afternoon where members approved a motion to draft a new consent agreement to conclude charter termination proceedings with Epic One-on-One Charter School. [NonDoc] | [Tulsa World]

General News

Quapaw Nation begins monumental task of creating new constitution: At the annual General Council meeting in October 2020, Quapaw citizens could be heard gasping in disbelief as figures from a forensic audit were released and presented to the crowd of nearly 100. [KOSU]

Oklahoma Local News

  • Tulsa Mayor appoints commissioners to oversee City Council redistricting process [Tulsa World]

Quote of the Day

“This’ll be the bill they remember in five to 10 years. This is it. People are going to remember whether they could find a dentist or couldn’t find a dentist, and if they can’t, whose fault was that.”

-Rep. T.J. Marti, R-Broken Arrow, speaking about SB 131, which would require the Oklahoma Health Care Authority to oversee the state’s health care program rather than the agency’s current move towards managed care contracts with private firms. Marti said his father was a dentist during the state’s last run at managed care in the late 1990s, and he saw Medicaid patients driving hours for services. [Public Radio Tulsa]

Number of the Day

1 in 13

Number of Tulsa renter homes that are evicted each year, the 11th highest rate among American cities; Oklahoma City is ranked 20th at 1 in 16 renter homes evicted.

[Source: Eviction Lab]

Policy Note

We’re Facing a Looming Homelessness Crisis. We Must Act Now: As many as 20 percent of Americans are currently behind on their rent, says Eric Dunn, director of litigation at National Housing Law Project, a Washington, D.C. housing organization that represents low-income people. Other estimates put the number at 10 million households that owe past-due rent, for an average of four months or about $6,000. [Newsweek]

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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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