In The Know: Impacts of SQ 780 retroactivity taking effect, lawmakers wrestle with hepatitis C costs

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 inmates could be released by Thanksgiving: The Oklahoma Pardon and Parole Board has received the names of 99 prison inmates convicted of property crimes and 793 convicted of drug possession who will be considered for release soon as a result of a new law in Oklahoma. The law made the reclassification applicable to men and women currently serving time for such crimes. It also could affect an estimated 60,000 Oklahomans who might now seek to have certain felony theft or drug possession convictions expunged from their records.  [Journal Record ????] OK Policy has examined unresolved issues created by HB 1269 as it relates to retroactivity of State Question 780.

Lawmakers wrestle with hepatitis C costs: Lawmakers on Thursday wrestled with how to fund and cure an expensive, yet growing problem in the state’s prisons — hepatitis C. While an estimated 2.4 million Americans have the infection, Oklahoma has the second most adults living with the blood-borne virus, according to the State Department of Health. Only Washington, D.C., has more. [CNHI] A recent analysis by OK Policy showed that hepatitis C in Oklahoma prisons is an expensive time bomb.

Attorney general to meet with tribes to discuss gaming compacts: Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter is scheduled to meet with leaders of Oklahoma Indian tribes on Oct. 28 in Shawnee to discuss differing interpretations of a renewal provision within the state’s tribal gaming compacts. Leaders of five Oklahoma Indian tribes met with The Oklahoman on Thursday afternoon and voiced varying degrees of optimism as to whether differences between the tribes and state can be resolved without litigation. [The Oklahoman] Check out OK Policy’s background information on tribal gaming compacts

Audio: Lawmaker pay raises, MAPS 4 challenge, state Republican party woes & more: This Week in Oklahoma Politics talks about the Legislative Compensation Board giving legislators a 35% pay raise to $47,000 a year, the Oklahoma Supreme Court rejecting a constitutional challenge against MAPS 4 and the state Republican Party is facing financial issues along with disputes from within its own party. The panel also discussed the petition to expand Medicaid as supporters say they’ve gathered more than enough with more than a week left and controversial State Senator Joseph Silk says he plans to quit the legislature and run for the Congressional seat currently held by Markwayne Mullin. [KOSU]

Defending charter schools in Oklahoma: With balloons, a sheet cake and dozens of schoolchildren singing “Happy Birthday,” a crowd gathered in front of the band shell at Myriad Gardens on Thursday to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the law that created charter schools in Oklahoma. [Journal Record ????]

Sapulpa educator wins U.S. government’s highest award for math and science teachers: Sapulpa Public Schools STEM coordinator Megan Cannon is one of four Oklahoma teachers to win the prestigious Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching. This represents the highest award given by the U.S. government for math and science teachers. [Tulsa World]

Two more Oklahoma prisons come off lockdown: The Oklahoma Department of Corrections has ended the lockdown at two more prisons, agency officials announced Thursday. [The Oklahoman]

Kim Kardashian urges clemency for Oklahoma death row inmate: Kim Kardashian West has joined a chorus of voices calling for clemency for a black man on Oklahoma’s death row who has exhausted his appeals, arguing that a racist juror tainted the outcome of his 2002 trial. [AP News]

Fuss leads to election over new presiding judge: The presiding judge of Oklahoma and Canadian counties lost reelection to the top spot Thursday because of dissatisfaction over his handling of a judge who failed for months to disclose her campaign donors. [The Oklahoman]

Edmond homes and businesses get OK to use solar power: Edmond residents and businesses can now use distributed generation systems such as solar panels, but residents and business leaders are concerned restrictions on the amount of energy produced by the systems are too limiting. [Journal Record ????]

Google adds Oklahoma City to its environmental impact tool: Oklahoma City could take more than half of its estimated emissions out of the air if it fully implemented solar resources that are available, tech giant Google estimates. The calculations are estimated by Google’s Environmental Insights Explorer, an online tool it created about a year ago in work it was doing with the Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate & Energy. [The Oklahoman]

Quote of the Day

“Anytime you can prove to me that charter schools are doing a better job than traditional public schools, I’d be supportive. There’s just no indication I have seen that confirms that.” 

-State Sen. Ron Sharp (R-Shawnee), a retired schoolteacher who taught in Shawnee Public Schools for 38 years. [Journal Record ????]

Number of the Day


Percentage of LGBTQ+ Oklahomans who are raising children #LGBTQHistoryMonth

[Source: Williams Institute at UCLA School of Law]

See previous Numbers of the Day here.

Policy Note

Work Requirements in Kentucky Medicaid: A policy in limbo: The Kentucky work requirement has been blocked by the courts, but the state’s leaders remain committed to the policy. The decision is under appeal and a ruling is possible later in the year. Despite this, many low-income adults in Kentucky are not aware of the requirements, and there is substantial confusion about whether the policy is currently in effect. Further, approximately 97 percent of adults surveyed were already meeting the proposed requirements — either by working 20 hours a week, conducting other community engagement activities like job search or training, or being eligible for an exemption like a disability. These results indicate there may be relatively few Medicaid beneficiaries who might be compelled to work by the new policy. [The Commonwealth Fund]

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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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