In The Know: Hundreds of teaching jobs still unfilled; patient group drafts medical marijuana bill…

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

Hundreds of teaching jobs unfilled as school starts with most Oklahoma districts saying hiring is worse than last year: A new statewide survey found public schools in Oklahoma are starting another academic year with nearly 500 teaching vacancies. The fifth annual survey to gauge the extent of the state’s teacher shortage by the Oklahoma State School Boards Association was completed by 276 districts that serve nearly 78 percent of all public school students. [Tulsa World]

OKC district, charter leaders discuss working together: A groundbreaking meeting could pave the way for improved relations and shared practices between Oklahoma City Public Schools and the district’s 15 charter schools. Wednesday’s meeting included charter leaders, school board members and new Superintendent Sean McDaniel. Chris Brewster is superintendent of Santa Fe South Schools, a K-12 charter with multiple locations in south Oklahoma City. Brewster, who established Santa Fe South in 2001, called the meeting “historical.” [NewsOK ????]

As lawmakers ask medical marijuana stakeholders to come together on legislation, one group releases its own draft bill: A patient advocacy group involved in writing State Question 788 broke with other activists and industry leaders on Friday by releasing its own draft of medical marijuana regulations. Lawmakers had asked for unity, but the group’s leader contends that it’s necessary to keep its proposals separate because of disagreements over the “scope of authority” pro-medical cannabis entities believe officials should have. [Tulsa World] The board created to establish food and safety standards for medical marijuana in Oklahoma will hold their first meetings this week. [KTUL]

Cash crop: State will have to get creative to collect medical marijuana taxes: Oklahoma’s tax officials are preparing to work with a cash-only industry, but they and observers said they won’t have to reinvent the wheel. They’ll just have to rethink it. When voters approved State Question 788, the medical marijuana proposal, they authorized a 7 percent tax on its sales to pay for the industry’s regulatory office. It will also be subject to standard state and local sales taxes. [Journal Record] Yukon officials are considering proposals to limit locations for medical marijuana dispensaries. [KOCO]

(Capitol Update) Encouraging signs from this year’s legislative candidates: With the runoff election about 2 weeks away, most legislative action for now is taking place between legislators, candidates, and their constituents. I’ve had the opportunity to get acquainted with quite a few candidates during the election, and the ones I’ve met are high quality. The issues I hear from them are education, the budget, criminal justice reform, and mental health, pretty much in that order. [Steve Lewis / OKPolicy]

Two weeks from runoff, mud starts to fly between GOP candidates for Oklahoma governor: The gloves appear to be off in Oklahoma’s Republican gubernatorial runoff election. After former Oklahoma City Mayor Mick Cornett and Gateway Mortgage founder Kevin Stitt’s debate last week, a pro-Cornett group attacked Stitt’s business record … A Stitt group ad bashed Cornett for not being conservative enough. [Public Radio Tulsa] Oklahoma 2018 State Questions and Elections. [OK Policy]

Loyalty to Trump becomes issue in Oklahoma Republican gubernatorial primary runoff: Monday was former Oklahoma City Mayor Mick Cornett’s turn to be outraged about an opposition television advertisement. “Angry. Furious. He has distorted my record. He has damaged my reputation. He has used half-truths to try to distort what we’ve done in Oklahoma City,” the Republican gubernatorial candidate said Monday during a brief news conference in Tulsa. [Tulsa World]

Runoff elections could change committee chairmanship makeup: Ten legislative incumbents will face primary runoff elections this month, and eight of those members hold chairman positions in committees. Oklahoma requires any primary race in which no candidate garners more than 50 percent of the vote to go to a runoff. Candidates in nearly 30 legislative districts will go to a runoff. No state senators or incumbent Democrats will be on the ballot on Aug. 28, but 10 incumbent House Republicans will be. [Journal Record]

Wanting more power, public employees run for office: Oklahoma, where a statewide teachers’ strike lasted nine days in April, is likely the most extreme example of teachers pushing for power in the legislature. There are currently 99 teachers in that state running for one of the 159 positions in the legislature. Some of them still face runoffs, but there is potential for a record-breaking number of seats to be filled by educators. [Governing]

As corrections spending rises, fewer treatment services offered: Four years ago, Lindsay McAteer didn’t know if she could even go one day without using drugs. McAteer was in trouble. She faced a 12-year-to-life sentence for drug trafficking, she had lost her job and her home was in foreclosure. She said she was shocked at how severe the penalties for drug trafficking could be. “It was my first offense, she said. “Drug trafficking isn’t eligible for probation. If it wasn’t for Women in Recovery, I would have gone to prison. I would still be in prison.” [Journal Record ????]

State officials investigate Oklahoma lake named for Tulsa Klansman: Set on the Grand River in Mayes County, Lake Hudson is known as one of the best spots for bass fishing in the state. It’s also named for one of the founding members of the Ku Klux Klan in Oklahoma. The GRDA, the state-owned electric utility that manages Lake Hudson, said it would investigate the possibility of renaming the lake after The Frontier inquired about about its namesake. [Read Frontier]

Eufaula gets federal grant to fix pollution problems: Today, the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced a grant to Team Up to Clean Up to create 4 acres of wetland habitat to mitigate pollution from stormwater runoff and flooding from the City of Eufaula, OK. The project will improve water quality in Lake Eufaula and assist the local habitat’s recovery. [OK Energy Today]

Justice Department meetings in Green Country to tackle crime in Indian Country: Federal, state, local and tribal officials are convening in northeastern Oklahoma this week to talk about new ways to reduce crime in Indian Country. The talks are the work of the U.S. Department of Justice Attorney General’s Advisory Subcommittee on Native American Issues. U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Oklahoma Trent Shores is the committee chair and says there are four areas of focus. [Public Radio Tulsa]

OSU to offer tribal finance certificate program: In the last year, Victor Flores has focused on bringing tribal accounting and finance training inside the state. He organized the Oklahoma Tribal Finance Consortium, which has met twice this year. But one of the main goals of the consortium will start in November, when Oklahoma State University will hold the Introductory Tribal Finance and Accounting Certificate four-day pilot program, with the full kickoff scheduled for May. [Journal Record]

A movement grows: Residents, Cherokee Nation, vow to pursue poultry farm solutions: The veteran conservationist got the crowd going, something he’s done for decades. Ed Brocksmith of Save The Illinois River picked up on an undercurrent to stir the crowd at a Sunday afternoon “chicken house” meeting in Delaware County, the third every-other-Sunday meeting to draw a passel of angry residents and community leaders concerned about expanding poultry operations in the region. [Tulsa World]

Vaccines protect children from deadly bacterial meningitis: Globally, meningitis affects 1 million people each year. About 1,000 of those cases will develop in the United States, and today is Oklahoma Meningitis Awareness Day. What better time to talk about the type of meningitis that can be prevented with simple vaccination? Meningococcal meningitis is known as a silent killer because many people confuse its symptoms with a cold or flu. [Amanda Moran / NonDoc]

Quote of the Day

“When I started at the Department of Justice in 2003, one of the first statistics I learned was that Native Americans are victims of violent crime at a rate more than double of any other racial or ethnic group in the United States. I am sad to report that we can still use that same statistic today.”

-U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Oklahoma Trent Shores, who is chairing a Department of Justice meeting to talk about new ways to reduce crime in Indian Country [Public Radio Tulsa]

Number of the Day


Share of Oklahoma’s state revenue that comes from “sin taxes” on alcohol, tobacco, and gambling, 2015.

[Pew Charitable Trusts]

See previous Numbers of the Day here.

Policy Note

Fewer Americans are making more than their parents did—especially if they grew up in the middle class: One of the most striking social science findings of recent years is that only half of today’s 30-year-olds earn more than their parents. Raj Chetty and his coauthors showed that rates of absolute mobility—that is, the share of children with higher inflation-adjusted incomes than their parents—declined from around 90 percent for children born in 1940 to just 50 percent for those born in 1984. [Brooking Institute]

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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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