In The Know: Interim study requests; 30-year plan for opioid crisis; vocational training in prison…

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) House lawmakers request a wide range of interim studies: This could be an active interim if House interim study requests are any indication. The deadline for representatives to request studies was last Friday, June 21. Speaker Charles McCall, R-Atoka, will announce the approved studies and related committee assignments no later than July 19. House members have requested 145 studies on a variety of topics. [OK Policy]

In The News

Oklahoma in bottom 10 of annual ‘Kids Count’ report: Oklahoma has made positive strides in providing healthier environments for its children over the past year, according to a national organization, but there’s still work to be done. For 30 years, the Annie E. Casey Foundation has produced its annual Kids Count, a national, comprehensive report on child well-being. [Norman Transcript]

State’s proposed 30-year plan to abate opioid crisis calls for hiring 1,734 state employees: Oklahoma’s proposed $17.5 billion plan to abate the state’s opioid crisis calls for hiring 1,734 new employees, an attorney for Johnson & Johnson stated Monday during testimony in Cleveland County District Court. Salaries and benefits for those employees would total more than $123.5 million during the first year alone, attorney Stephen Brody said, as he cross-examined a key state witness about the reasonableness of the abatement remedies the state has recommended. [The Oklahoman] Attorneys for Johnson & Johnson and Janssen Pharmaceuticals challenged details on Monday of an expensive plan outlined by the state for battling its epidemic of opioid abuse and addiction. [Journal Record]

Pharmaceutical company agrees to not promote opioids in Oklahoma until 2027: Generic drug manufacturer Teva Pharmaceuticals USA has agreed not to promote opioids in any way in Oklahoma for years as part of a settlement of the state’s lawsuit over the deadly opioid crisis. The promotion ban was one of the key new details to emerge Monday when the settlement became public. The three-point ban will be in effect until Dec. 31, 2026. [The Oklahoman]

Money from opioids settlement to fund part of recovery plan: Gov. Kevin Stitt and leaders in the Legislature have reached agreement with Attorney General Mike Hunter on terms of a settlement with another defendant in Oklahoma’s ongoing lawsuit with drug companies it holds responsible for widespread opioid addiction plaguing the state. On Monday, Hunter announced that the $85 million to be received from Teva will be used to finance part of the state’s long-term plan to recover from the opioid abuse and addiction epidemic. [Journal Record ????]

OBN: Oklahoma opioid prescription rates declining: The number of opioids prescribed by doctors in the state is on the decline, according to numbers from the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics. Millions of opioid prescriptions are picked up each year at pharmacies across the state. In 2017, the Bureau of Narcotics reported 4,250,247 prescriptions filled compared to 3,757,886 in 2018. That’s more than an 11 percent drop. [News9]

Oklahoma Supreme Court declines to hear arguments over liquor distribution law: The Oklahoma Supreme Court has declined to hear arguments against a controversial new law affecting wholesale liquor distribution in the state. Senate Bill 608, which was signed into law by Gov. Kevin Stitt last month, mandates that producers of “top brand” wines and spirits offer their products for sale to any licensed wholesaler without discrimination. [Journal Record]

Grading the governor: Accessibility, outsider persona key to Stitt’s first year: For the first time, Jacob Rosecrants found himself invited to the Governor’s mansion to meet with the state’s top executive. The Democratic state representative, who was first elected in 2017, said as a member of the minority party, he’d never been invited before. [Ada News]

Oklahoma’s new DHS Director says he fits the position: Oklahoma’s new DHS director, Justin Brown, has finished one week in his new position. Governor Stitt appointed Brown to the position not too long ago. Though he has no experience in education, Brown said he is perfect for the position because he has many years experience in finance and has a passion for helping children. [News On 6]

Enid News & Eagle Editorial Board: Legislators once again pass the buck to Oklahoma voters: Once again, it seems, Oklahoma voters are going to be asked to decide on an issue the state Legislature lacks the will to tackle. The Oklahoma Supreme Court recently cleared the way for an initiative petition that would allow voters to decide whether or not to expand Medicaid in the state. [Editorial Board / Enid News & Eagle]

‘We need to know:’ Oklahoma County Jail Trust hears report from sheriff’s office, asks for continuing updates: Questions over mental health and daily operations filled the third meeting of the recently created Oklahoma County Jail Trust. Trustees heard a report Monday from current jail administrators working in the sheriff’s office on new mental health treatment pods, day-to-day operations, challenges facing staff and more. [The Oklahoman]

Vocational training in prison leads to job prospects: Jake Parnell could finally count on two hands how many days he had left in prison and it was hard to focus on anything else. After three years in a state prison, the Tulsa native was a week from his release, a date that had once brought on anxiety, rather than relief. [The Oklahoman]

Offender learning a staple of England’s prison system: “Tell me, where’s the prison?” Nightingale asked, challenging visitors to find any sign that his shop with dozens of cycles and more than 700 tools is located within one of England’s Category C prisons. Nightingale’s shop is actually a classroom for a course on bicycle repair, where eight inmates are learning how to install tire tubes, repair chains and adjust gears. [The Oklahoman]

Starting next week, drivers must carry registration. Here’s how to get one if you need a duplicate: A law change affecting vehicle registration and tagging in Oklahoma means up-to-date certificates of registration must be carried at all times. The law, passed in 2018 and effective July 1, also changes the process so that car tags remain assigned to car owners even after the vehicle is sold. [Tulsa World]

Oklahoma speeding tickets: Record high is 188 mph among 240,000 trooper citations, about 1 every 10 minutes: At one point in the chase, the trooper’s radar readout indicated the 2006 Chrysler 300 was traveling at 188 mph as it pulled away from its pursuers. [Tulsa World]

Area collaborative looks for different approaches in addressing mental health: It’s ok to not be ok. This is the message Ardmore Behavioral Health Collaborative is trying to get across to the citizens of Carter County. On Friday, the ABHC hosted an event trying to break the stigmas of mental health issues in Carter County. [Ardmoreite]

Mapping medical marijuana outlets: Marijuana has become a burgeoning industry in Oklahoma in the year since voters approved a state question to allow medical marijuana. The Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Authority’s latest report, released June 19, shows 138,230 patient licenses and 879 caregiver licenses have been approved since dispensaries began operating in October. [Oklahoma Watch]

Building employment: Construction jobs in Oklahoma climb to all-time high: Construction employment reached a record high in Oklahoma over a 12-month period, according to the latest data from the Associated General Contractors of America. Oklahoma was one of only four states to reach that record peak from May 2018 to May this year. [Journal Record]

Oklahoma civic leader launching children’s movement: Ayanna Najuma learned from a young age the importance of using your voice to effect change. When she was 7 years old, she famously participated in the Katz Drugstore Inc. sit-ins in Oklahoma City. She and other young African-Americans did so for the next seven years until the Civil Rights Act was passed and their world began to change. [The Oklahoman]

District officials say Tulsa Public Schools teacher pipeline is in better shape: Things are looking up when it comes to teacher recruitment and retention at Tulsa Public Schools. Oklahoma lawmakers passed a teacher pay raise averaging $6,100 in 2018. The number of TPS teachers leaving the profession over the past school year went down by nearly half. [Public Radio Tulsa]

OKC schools foundation seeks sponsors for STEM centers: The Foundation for Oklahoma City Public Schools announced Monday it is seeking sponsors for a program designed to add a center for science, technology, engineering and math in every elementary school in Oklahoma City Public Schools. [Journal Record ????]

OKCPS Board wraps up hiring, approves labor contracts, considers charter: The big accomplishment of the evening for OKCPS took a deceptively short amount of time for the Board of Education to vote in Monday night. But, in the largest school district in the state, it was a major accomplishment to get all of the district’s labor agreements and hiring complete in preparation for the next school year’s business beginning July 1. [Free Press OKC]

OKCPS board member gets restraining order against chairwoman: A judge prohibited the Oklahoma City School Board from discussing the conduct of member Charles Henry at Monday night’s regularly scheduled meeting. Henry sought a temporary restraining order against board Chairwoman Paula Lewis, complaining in his application she “has violated a board policy in an attempt to take disciplinary action against me at today’s board meeting.” [The Oklahoman]

Some see race at play in the difference with Edmond police tactics: A white man who allegedly shot at Edmond police last weekend was arrested after officers twice used a Taser on him, causing some to question why law enforcement in the same city shot and killed a naked and unarmed black teenager two months ago. [The Oklahoman]

Quote of the Day

“I’m actually looking at making more money as a machinist than I did at anything before prison. I’ve got a resume, and I’ve got skills in hand. I messed up one year in my life, but that’s not going to define me.”

-Jake Parnell, a student of CareerTech’s machinist program at McLeod Correctional Facility in Atoka [The Oklahoman]

Number of the Day


Total expenses for the Oklahoma Department of Corrections in FY 2019.

[Source: State of Oklahoma]

See previous Numbers of the Day here.

Policy Note

The other reasons kids aren’t getting vaccinations: Poverty and health care access: “We see large coverage gaps among children who are living below the poverty line compared to those at or above poverty and among children who have no insurance,” says Hill. “The highest disparity is among the uninsured compared to those with private insurance.” For instance, CDC data shows that in 2017 only 75% of uninsured children age 19 to 35 months had gotten at least one dose of MMR, the vaccine for measles. That compares to 94% of privately insured children, and 90% of those on Medicaid. [NPR]

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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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