In The Know: Immigration trends; political realities change Medicaid debate; Democrats offer budget proposal…

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.

New from OK Policy

(Capitol Update) A ‘special law’ cannot stand: A long-awaited ruling by the Oklahoma Supreme Court was issued last week dealing with the Legislature’s ability to place a limit or “cap” on the recovery of non-economic damages by persons injured through the fault of another party. There’s no limit on economic damages like doctor and hospital bills and lost earnings, but the Legislature in 2011 placed a $350,000 cap on non-economic damages which consist of kinds of damages usually called “pain and suffering.” [Steve Lewis / Capitol Update]

Bill Watch: JCAB is now the room where it happens: Last week marked another major deadline for this year’s Legislature. Bills had until last Thursday to pass the full chamber opposite from where they originated. Now all bills that passed both chambers in identical form have gone to the governor, while the Legislature moves on to ironing out differences in bills that passed the chambers in different forms. Consensus can be reached either by the first chamber accepting all of the second chamber’s amendments or by sending the bill to a conference committee. [OK Policy]

Substance use disorders a public health crisis in Oklahoma: Substance use disorder is a public health crisis that must be addressed. Between 2003 and 2018, drug overdose deaths in Oklahoma increased by 91 percent. More adults between the ages of 25 and 64 die of unintentional prescription opioid overdoses than car accidents. [Lauren Turner / Enid News & Eagle]

In The News

Oklahoma drawing more people from other countries than other states: The number of people moving to Oklahoma from other countries has far outpaced residents relocating from other states in the past eight years, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. More people actually left Oklahoma than moved here from 2017 to 2018. If births had not outnumbered deaths, the state would have lost population, Census estimates show. [NewsOK ????]

Health, political realities pushing Oklahoma Republicans on Medicaid: Oklahoma Republican lawmakers say they’re coming up with a plan that might expand Medicaid in the state. Senate President Pro Tem Greg Treat said the proposal they’re working on is similar to one offered by a Republican five years ago, which Republicans summarily rejected. So, what’s changed? [Public Radio Tulsa]

Oklahoma House Democrats offer $8.5B budget proposal: With Oklahoma lawmakers set to start budget work in earnest, House Democrats made their pitch Monday with an $8.5 billion spending proposal. Their Brand New State budget proposal calls for Medicaid expansion. It also includes raises for teachers, support staff and state employees, and $200 million in additional classroom funding. [Public Radio Tulsa]

Legislators, educators debate viability of four-day school weeks: After a decade of funding cuts, Noble Public Schools was left with a choice: continue to cut services and personnel, or find an alternative. Noble Superintendent Frank Solomon said moving to a four-day school week was that alternative. [CHNI]

Benefit corporations allowed under new state law: A new law providing for the formation of “benefit corporations” in Oklahoma will allow businesses to work not just on behalf of shareholders but also on behalf of people in need. Gov. Kevin Stitt recently signed House Bill 2423 into law. [Journal Record]

Bill affecting medical marijuana tax structure, law enforcement survives House deadline cuts: A key piece of medical marijuana legislation survived the cut Thursday on the final day non-appropriation Senate bills could get third reading in the House of Representatives. Those failing to get House approval by the final gavel Thursday afternoon are done for this session. [Tulsa World]

Bill allowing concealed-carry in Gathering Place, zoos, called ‘advancement’ by gun rights leader: People would be able to carry concealed weapons but not carry them openly in locations such as Gathering Place and the Tulsa Zoo under a state bill that has been sent to Gov. Kevin Stitt’s desk. House Bill 2010 is seen by some as a compromise between Second Amendment advocates and those wanting gun-free public places. [Tulsa World]

Anti-abortion measure stalls in Oklahoma House: An anti-abortion bill that would ask Oklahoma voters to specify the state constitution does not protect the right to an abortion will not advance this legislative session. But the bill’s author, reinvigorated by a recent Kansas Supreme Court ruling that protects a woman’s right to an abortion, promised to revive the legislation next year, in time for the measure to go to a statewide vote during the 2020 general election. [NewsOK]

Rebate reshoot: Film incentive bill sent back to Senate: The amount of money available for filmmakers who work in Oklahoma could increase if Senate Bill 200 is approved. The House of Representatives OK’d it on Thursday and has been sent back to the Senate for a final review of a House amendment. [Journal Record ????]

Oklahoma Gov. Stitt diversifies mostly white, male board of education: Previously all white and mostly male, the state Board of Education under Gov. Kevin Stitt will see an increase in both racial and gender diversity at a time when Oklahoma’s public school system is majority nonwhite. Stitt’s office confirmed Thursday he is appointing Brian Bobek, Estela Hernandez, Jennifer Monies and Kurt Bollenbach to succeed Lee Baxter, Cathryn Franks, Bob Ross and Bill Price, whose terms expired April 2. [NewsOK]

Denney: Flawed criminal justice system disproportionately affects rural Oklahomans: Rural America has been hit hard by over-incarceration. Between 1978 and 2013, rural jail incarceration levels increased a staggering 888% nationally with no end in sight. In Oklahoma, the situation is particularly dire. [Lee Denney / Journal Record]

Chaotic night at Lockett execution kickstarted five years of death penalty turmoil: Oklahoma’s prison system was using a new, unproven sedative — midazolam — that most experts said may not fully anesthetize Lockett before the second and third drugs in the state’s lethal cocktail kicked in. [The Frontier] Prior to botched execution, the public had lost interest in Oklahoma’s death penalty. [The Frontier] Timeline: Oklahoma death penalty developments. [The Frontier]

Parents, teachers to see state test results before end of current academic year for first time: Parents and educators will no longer have to wait for months and months to learn state test results for their third-graders through eighth-graders. For the first time, the Oklahoma State Department of Education has negotiated with its test contractor for preliminary results of the Oklahoma School Testing Program to be made available by the end of May. [Tulsa World]

Protests continue in Hugo after officers’ gunfire injures children during arrest of robbery suspect: Three of Jacobs’ children — La’Kvionn, 5, Asia, 4, and Daidriona, 1 — were injured Friday during an officer-involved shooting in Hugo, in southeastern Oklahoma. Monday marked three days of sustained protests in response to the shooting. [Tulsa World] Hugo residents demand answers after police shooting wounds three children. [AP News]

City of Tulsa launches program to repurpose abandoned homes: The City of Tulsa is launching a new program to tackle blight and help residents become homeowners. The new Housing Opportunity Partnership in Bynum’s proposed 2020 city budget will get the Working In Neighborhoods Department started on the demolition work, but there’s more to it than tearing down dilapidated houses. [Public Radio Tulsa]

Neese says she’s now a resident of congressional district she seeks to represent: Republican Terry Neese, who announced last week her plans to run for the congressional seat that includes most of Oklahoma County, said Monday that she moved into the district within the past month after spending the last several years in another congressional district. [NewsOK]

A crane accident took his arm, and he was denied millions in settlement money. Now, his case has overturned an Oklahoma law: James Todd Beason unwittingly became the face of failed legislative efforts to put more restrictions on monetary damages awarded in personal injury cases. [Tulsa World]

Legacy of change: Langston University continues to shape Oklahoma history: By fulfilling its historical mandate and continuing to grow and develop, Langston University has helped shape Oklahoma history, said Nikki Nice, who represents Ward 7 on the Oklahoma City Council. [NewsOK]

NRA president resigns amid turmoil with OKC agency: The Oklahoma City-based advertising firm Ackerman McQueen lost its top ally in a legal battle with the NRA following the resignation this weekend of its president, Oliver North. [NewsOK] NRA chief accuses OKC ad agency of blackmail. [NewsOK]

Quote of the Day

“As it now stands, our criminal justice system utterly fails rural Oklahomans. It incarcerates them disproportionately, offers inadequate treatment resources and is not in line with the wishes of the communities themselves.”

-Lee Denney, a former state Representative and the Oklahoma state director for USDA Rural Development [Source: Journal Record]

Number of the Day


Percentage of Oklahoma citizens age 18 to 24 who voted in November 2018 elections, third lowest in the nation.

[Source: U.S. Census]

See previous Numbers of the Day here.

Policy Note

A mother’s zip code could signal whether her baby will be born too early: How a pregnancy turns out though often has to do with much more than a woman’s agency. … Researchers say that birth outcomes are not just a barometer of a mother’s health, but the health of the community, and also a predictor of its next generations’ health. In many places, adverse birth outcomes can be traced to a history of segregation and economic inequality. [The Atlantic]

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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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