In The Know: Interim report released on mitigating childhood trauma, a look at state poverty rates, and 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. Click here to subscribe to In The Know and see past editions.

In The News

Task force finds three important gaps in Oklahoma’s trauma-informed care offerings: The Task Force on Trauma-Informed Care has identified three critical gaps in services in Oklahoma: rural communities, poverty-stricken residents and foster care. The panel, established a year ago by Senate Bill 1517, published its interim report this month. [Tulsa World]

Census: Oklahoma poverty rates slightly declined in 2018: Poverty rates in Oklahoma saw a very slight decrease during 2018, though the state is still above the national average, according to data estimates released Thursday by the U.S. Census Bureau. [The Oklahoman] The story quoted an OK Policy blog post in September when we shared a series of articles about how poverty impacts Oklahomans, including Census Bureau data showing that Oklahoma poverty rates are well above the national average

Petition to legalize recreational marijuana in Oklahoma filed: An initiative petition to legalize recreational marijuana use for Oklahomans ages 21 and older was quietly filed with the secretary of state’s office Thursday. The 15-page petition seeks to amend Oklahoma’s constitution to legalize recreational marijuana for most residents and impose an excise tax of 15 percent on recreational, but not medical, marijuana. [The Oklahoman]

Oklahoma could see big spending in Medicaid expansion campaign: Oklahoma is poised to become the next battleground in a Medicaid expansion fight that has poured tens of millions of dollars into campaigns in other states. [Oklahoma Watch]

Capitol Insider: Agency budget requests reviewed: As lawmakers await state revenue figures from the Board of Equalization, state agencies are preparing budget requests, with a little help. [KGOU]

Oklahoma receives $5.3 million in Justice Department grants for opioid crisis programs: Oklahoma, state, tribal and local entities will receive $5.3 million from the U.S. Department of Justice to help communities affected by the opioid crisis. [Public Radio Tulsa] OSU Medical Center ER to start offering opioid addiction medication.[Pubic Radio Tulsa] An OK Policy analysis showed that substance abuse disorders are a public health crisis in Oklahoma and recommended expanding health care coverage to help address the issue. 

Party members mull enhancements: The citizens of Oklahoma could see a few different measures added to the 2020 ballot, one of which is a question that would alter the use of sentence enhancements in the state’s criminal justice system. Most Oklahomans appear to favor criminal justice reform, but opinions vary on how to do it. [CNHI]

Gov. Stitt’s dispute with tribes has rural communities — and their lawmakers — watching closely: Rural communities are closely watching Gov. Kevin Stitt’s dispute with the tribes over his desire to increase rates on gaming compacts. And their rural lawmakers will have a lot of sway concerning a potential expansion of gaming or the possibility of allowing a commercial operator into the state. [Tulsa World] Report appears to bolster tribal position that gaming compacts automatically renew. [Tulsa World] Casino 101: A breakdown of Class I, II and III gaming. [CNHI]

U.S. Supreme Court accepts new Oklahoma case about Indian reservations: The U.S. Supreme Court, which failed this year to decide a case that could have a major impact in eastern Oklahoma, has chosen a different path to determine whether tribal reservations in the state were officially terminated. [The Oklahoman] Murphy and McGirt both argue that federal courts have exclusive jurisdiction over crimes involving tribal members. [Tulsa World]

Hill elected next Muscogee chief: Muscogee (Creek) Nation determined the six remaining contests in their national elections Saturday, electing a new chief and new National Council members across five districts. According to unofficial results released by the Nation, David Hill will be the tribe’s new principal chief. [Muskogee Phoenix] According to returns released Saturday night, Hill won 3,399-1,779 to succeed James Floyd as chief of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation. [Tulsa World]

Oklahoma Supreme Court ‘mistaken’ to hear challenges to abortion restrictions, attorney general says: The Oklahoma Supreme Court should stop ruling on lawsuits about abortion restrictions because the state constitution doesn’t recognize a right to abortion, the Oklahoma attorney general argued last week to the state’s justices. [The Oklahoman]

Judges: Cleveland County courts meet standards: Cleveland County bail practices and its method of appointing public defenders in criminal cases meet constitutional requirements as opposed to a nearby county which is facing a federal lawsuit. [Norman Transcript]

Lawmakers accuse Epic Charter Schools of trying to intimidate them, setting ‘dangerous’ precedent with defamation lawsuit against state senator: Tulsa-area lawmakers blasted Epic Charter Schools on Friday for suing a state senator for slander and libel over statements he reportedly made while questioning the school’s student attendance practices. [Tulsa World]

Proposal to give terminally ill faster pot license: State Sen. Rob Standridge (R-Norman) wants to work with the Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Authority (OMMA) in the development of the proposal, which was initiated after the lawmaker visited with a constituent who is terminally ill. [CNHI]

Tulsa Race Massacre burial committee to get report on mass grave search: Results of subsurface scanning in search of unmarked burials from the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre will be reported to the public at 5:30 p.m. Monday at Carver Middle School’s Tyrone Wilkerson Auditorium, 624 E. Oklahoma Place. [Tulsa World] Tulsa World Editorial Board: City’s search for unmarked graves from the 1921 race massacre should go on. [Editorial Board / Tulsa World]

What do Tulsa School Board members think about the plan to cut $20 million? Here are their answers: After hearing the superintendent’s intended recommendations to slash $20 million from the district budget, Tulsa’s school board again must decide the fate of schools targeted for closure. [Tulsa World]

Western Heights school district shorted $7.3 million in state aid over 11-year period: The Western Heights Public School District was shorted more than $7.3 million in state aid payments over an 11-year period because of an error in the way the Oklahoma State Department of Education calculated payments due under the state aid formula, a state audit has determined. [The Oklahoman]

How fast does TPD respond to calls from residents? It depends: A Tulsa World review of police response times found long waits to be rare. Overall response times, in fact, have been declining over the past three years, the analysis found. [Tulsa World] See how fast the Tulsa Police Department responds to calls in your ZIP code. [Tulsa World]

Attorneys argue over legality of city’s proposed Tourism Improvement District: Attorneys battling over the fate of the city’s proposed Tourism Improvement District spent more than an hour in Tulsa County District Court on Friday presenting their cases for summary judgment before District Judge Linda Morrissey but left the courtroom with no resolution. [Tulsa World]

MAPS rewind: A vote for neighborhoods: MAPS 4’s focus on residents’ daily lives was a winning strategy in last week’s election. “MAPS 4 struck at the heart of what being a good neighbor is all about,” said Georgie Rasco, executive director of the Neighborhood Alliance. [The Oklahoman]

‘A long row to hoe’: Oklahoma farmers grapple with challenging times: Challenges and uncertainty are nothing new to farmers, but several years of bad weather, coupled with weak commodity prices, unpredictable trade disputes and other challenges, have taken a toll on Oklahoma farming families. [The Oklahoman]

Will oil field wastewater be used for irrigation (or other purposes) in Oklahoma? The state of Oklahoma could gain approval from the Environmental Protection Agency to issue permits that would allow oil producers to dispose of oil field production water in above-ground waterways. But it shouldn’t be a reality for years to come. [Tulsa World]

Mary Fallin is enjoying life away from politics: After 28 years in office, eight as governor, Mary Fallin quietly left the heat of a very public spotlight. [Tulsa World]

State ups its game against feral hogs with pilot program: Oklahoma is preparing to up its game in 2020 against an opponent that is clever, damaging and relentless — the feral hog. [Tulsa World]

Quote of the Day

“Poverty can affect our students before they even walk in the door. But poverty is not an indicator of ability. It just means that you may need different supports. … Poverty affects people in a multitude of ways, but it is not an indicator of who you can be and who you can grow into. But it is a factor.”

-Alicia Priest, president of the Oklahoma Education Association speaking about new Census data about poverty in the state [The Oklahoman]

Number of the Day


The number of states including Oklahoma where at least half of all public schools are rural. The other states are Montana, South Dakota, Vermont, North Dakota, Maine, Alaska, Nebraska, Wyoming, New Hampshire, Iowa, and Mississippi.

[Source: Why Rural Matters 2018-2019]

See previous Numbers of the Day here.

Policy Note

Turns out that feeding people might help them not die: People are a little less likely to die prematurely if they receive federal food assistance, according to a new study looking at benefits receipt and death records. The new research, published in the November edition of the journal Health Affairs, found that participating in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, reduced the risk of premature mortality by as much as 2 percentage points among people younger than 65 from 1999 through 2011. [HuffPost]

You can sign up here to receive In The Know by e-mail.



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.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.