In The Know: Judge makes $107 million math error in opioid verdict, State regent resigns following criticims of his role in opioid appeal, Legislative pay hiked for first time in 20 years

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

Judge makes $107 million math error in Oklahoma’s opioid verdict: At a hearing Tuesday, Oklahoma Judge Thad Balkman acknowledged he made a $107 million math error in his verdict on the state’s opioid case. The judge says he’ll correct the error in an upcoming ruling. In August, Judge Balkman found Johnson & Johnson liable for helping fuel the state’s opioid crisis and ordered the company to pay $572 million to help meet health and addiction costs incurred by the state. [StateImpact Oklahoma]

State regent resigns following criticims of his role in opioid appeal: An Oklahoma State Regent for Higher Education has resigned after state elected officials expressed concerns about his involvement in opioid manufacturer Johnson & Johnson’s appeal challenging an Oklahoma judge’s ruling that the company helped fuel Oklahoma’s opioid crisis. [The Oklahoman]

After ‘punitive’ cut, legislative pay hiked for first time in 20 years: Sporting an entirely new membership for its biennial meeting, the Oklahoma Legislative Compensation Board voted this morning to increase legislative pay for the first time in 20 years, setting the new baseline figure at $47,500 only two years after the last board cut it 8.8 percent. [NonDoc] The raise takes effect Nov. 18, 2020, said John Gilbert, a budget and revenue analyst with the Office of Management and Enterprise Services. [Tulsa World]

Downward trend in energy performance blamed for state general fund revenue falling 6% in September: State general fund receipts fell more than 6% short of expectations in September as weakness in the oil and gas sector continued to weigh on the economy. [Tulsa World]

Oklahoma district courts on track to collect $4M less in fines, fees: Oklahoma’s district courts are seeing lower collections of fines and fees, which account for more than 80% of the system’s funding. District courts are on pace to bring in $4 million less this year. Oklahoma Court System Administrator Jari (jerry) Askins said criminal justice reforms reducing fees levied in some cases are only one of the reasons why. [Public Radio Tulsa] What courts actually collect in fines and fees is only a fraction of how much is charged to defendants – and when defendants can’t afford to pay, they often end up in jail.

Democratic Oklahoma lawmaker renews push to ban conversion therapy for kids: A Democratic state lawmaker is working to convince his colleagues to ban conversion therapy for kids. Rep. Jason Dunnington said the practice essentially amounts to abuse. [Public Radio Tulsa]

Epic parents sue, arguing dual enrollment in charter, private schools is legal: Six Oklahoma City-area parents have sued Epic Charter Schools saying the virtual school violated the state Constitution when it unenrolled their students because the children were simultaneously attending Epic and a private school. [Oklahoma WatchSeveral bills were introduced last session to better regulate online charter schools, and they could still be considered next spring.

First Lady Stitt tours Oklahoma County Juvenile Justice Center, learns efforts of OKC nonprofit: Oklahoma first lady Sarah Stitt toured the Oklahoma County Juvenile Justice Center on Tuesday to learn about the legal processes and services available for abused or neglected children. [The Oklahoman]

Gene Rainbolt: Criminal justice reform is working and needs to go further: Over the past few years, Oklahomans, legislators and state leaders have taken the right steps to reform our criminal justice system in a way that will increase public safety, create more economic opportunities, save taxpayers’ dollars and strengthen our communities and families. [Gene Rainbolt / Tulsa World]

Muskogee Phoenix Editorial: Keep momentum alive on SQ 802: Organizers of the Yes on 802 initiative must be congratulated for getting the 178,000 signatures required to get a measure on the ballot that will let voters decide whether the state should accept federal funds that will allow it to expand its Medicaid program. [Editorial Board / Muskogee PhoenixOK Policy is endorsing SQ 802, because there are no good reasons not to expand Medicaid in Oklahoma.

Plan to pay customers for solar power in works: Oklahoma utility customers using solar panels and wind turbines will be compensated for the excess power produced by their homes and businesses, but Oklahoma regulators and utilities are still working to determine the rates customers will receive for their power supplies. [Journal Record ????]

Lacking data, Oklahoma high school concussion picture blurry: How many Oklahoma high school athletes sustain concussions each year? Although more attention is being paid to the dangers of head injuries than ever before, the quasi-government entity tasked with overseeing high school athletics has no idea. [NonDoc]

Text to 911 system provides new ways to reach emergency help: The enhancements to the system will allow the deaf, hearing impaired and those who cannot talk to a dispatcher for any reason to text 911 operators in an emergency. [Free Press OKC]

MAPS 4 brings new projects under old format: MAPS 4 is headed for a vote of the people Dec. 10 to approve a group of 16 city projects, funded by a temporary 1 cent sales tax, aimed at continuing the same kind of reinvestment into Oklahoma City as preceding MAPS projects. [The Oklahoman]

The search for 1921 Race Massacre victims moves west: Archeologists searching for mass graves that could contain victims of the 1921 Race Massacre move to Newblock Park in West Tulsa. [Public Radio Tulsa] Lead investigator Scott Hammerstedt said the team will eventually return to Oaklawn but for the next few days will concentrate on Newblock Park, 1414 W. Charles Page Blvd., which in 1921 was a city dump. [Tulsa World]

Horn outraises GOP contenders, Oklahoma colleagues: U.S. Rep. Kendra Horn, an Oklahoma City Democrat and a top target for Republicans, raised $524,733 in the third quarter of this year and has nearly $1.2 million in her campaign account, according to a report filed Tuesday. [The Oklahoman] U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe’s campaign fund topped $2 million at the end of September, according to a quarterly Federal Election Commission report filed Tuesday. [Tulsa World]

In Oklahoma, governor tests power of tribal gambling: After a clash with tribal leaders, Gov. Kevin Stitt and political supporters are facing a test of tribal power that now extends well beyond the state’s Native American population into the economy of many Oklahoma towns. [Washington PostWhat’s That? Tribal Gaming Compacts

Quote of the Day

“It’s important that we pay legislators enough to be able to do their jobs, and we want public office to be open to all Oklahomans — not only the rich. Just like teaching isn’t a seasonal job, neither is the work of our legislators…All public servants must be able to afford to do their jobs.”

– Alicia Priest, president of the Oklahoma Education Association, on the recently announced pay raise for state legislators [NonDoc]

Number of the Day


Percentage of LGBTQ+ Oklahomans who have an annual household income below $24,000, compared to 24% of non-LGBTQ+ individuals #LGBTQHistoryMonth

[Source: Williams Institute at UCLA School of Law]

See previous Numbers of the Day here.

Policy Note

We didn’t stand a chance against opioids: “Alaska’s health clinics were founded to help indigenous people like my family. Thanks to the FDA and Big Pharma, the clinics unwittingly enabled a crisis instead.” [The New Republic]

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.