In The Know: July 25, 2011

In The KnowIn The Know is a daily synopsis of Oklahoma policy-related news and blogs. Inclusion of a story does not necessarily mean endorsement by the Oklahoma Policy Institute. E-mail your suggestions for In The Know items to You can sign up here to receive In The Know by e-mail.

Today on In The Know, The Tulsa World reports on the huge impact of federal spending in Oklahoma. Oklahoma Watch examines special visas that allow guest workers into the U.S., and finds that few employers are cited for hiring undocumented immigrants even as deportations have skyrocketed.

Extreme weather is taking a financial toll on Oklahoma insurance companies. Gov. Fallin will participate in an online town hall on the Oklahoma Republican Party’s Facebook page. The Cherokee Nation elected S. Joe Crittenden as the new deputy chief. Next year Oklahoma will begin the process to make county court records uniformly accessible online.

The OkieWomen blog highlights some organizations that are working to prepare women for leadership in public policy. The OK Policy Blog previews an upcoming Suicide Prevention Conference in Tulsa. An Oklahoma mother shares how DHS child-care subsidy cuts are affecting her family.

In today’s Policy Note, the Economix blog shows how corporate tax loopholes provide significant benefits to shareholders, at considerable cost to everyone else. Today’s Number of the Day is the temperature in Tipton Oklahoma on June 27, 1994, the state’s highest recorded temperature to date.

In The News

Federal funding impact runs deep in Oklahoma

Tulsa’s Impact Technologies received only a sliver of the $24.1 billion the federal government spent in Oklahoma in fiscal year 2010 – about $3.3 million, according to But from that sliver came work for machine shops, welders, suppliers and Impact employees – and, Impact President Ken Oglesby believes, advances in energy technology that will ultimately benefit the entire country. The same story could be told many thousands of times over in Oklahoma. As much as Oklahomans hate to admit it, federal spending is so entwined in the state’s economy that it is virtually impossible to find some sector – or even some individual – it does not touch.

Read more from this Tulsa World article at

Special visas allow workers into U.S.

About 11 million undocumented immigrants live in the United States. Aguirre is not one of them. Instead, Aguirre leaves his Camargo home in the Mexican state of Chihuahua and travels 900 miles northeast to work legally in the U.S. through the H-2A Temporary Agricultural Labor Certification Program. He currently lives and works on John’s Farm and Cattle Tracks, an organic wheat farm and cattle ranch in Fairview, a town of about 2,700 people in northwestern Oklahoma. The visa program exists in case there’s a shortage of agricultural workers. And Aguirre’s employer, Kris Gosney, says that’s the case in Fairview. No one seems interested in farm labor, even high school students looking for extra cash.

Read more from this Oklahoma Watch article at

Oklahoma deportations have skyrocketed but few businesses sanctioned for hiring undocumented

Only two Oklahoma businesses — an Oklahoma City Chinese restaurant and a Minco metal fabricator — have been cited or sanctioned by the federal immigration service since January 2005 on immigration law violations, according to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Since 2005, Oklahoma deportations skyrocketed by 324 percent and voluntary deportations jumped by 53 percent, according to the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse, a nonprofit organization that analyzes federal data. Criminal immigration prosecutions hit an all-time high nationally in 2009.

Read more from this Oklahoma Watch article at

Extreme Oklahoma weather hits insurers hard

Insurance companies have taken a beating from Oklahoma weather the past few years. Industry data shows claimed losses on state homeowners policies more than quintupled from 2005 to 2010, with insurers paying out far more than they took in each of the past three years. Statistics from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners show Oklahoma insurers paid out $319.2 million in homeowners claims in 2005 while collecting $804.1 million in premiums. Three years later, in 2008, claims surpassed $1 billion, and last year totaled more than $1.6 billion. Total premium revenue rose a hefty 20 percent during those years but still did not keep up.

Read more from this Tulsa World article at

Gov. Fallin to participate in online town hall on Facebook

Gov. Mary Fallin will be the first person featured on a Facebook town hall meeting sponsored by the Oklahoma Republican Party. The town hall is set for noon Aug. 4 on the OKGOP Facebook page. Fallin will deliver some remarks by a streaming live video feed from the Oklahoma Republican Party headquarters in Oklahoma City. She will also field questions submitted in advance to the OKGOP Facebook page. Those submitting questions must first click the “like” icon at the top of the page.

Read more from this Tulsa World article at

Cherokee Nation elects deputy chief

After more than 12 hours of counting, waiting and frustration, the Cherokee Nation has a new deputy chief-elect. S. Joe Crittenden, a Cherokee Nation Tribal Council member from Stilwell, defeated fellow council member Chris Soap of Pryor, 6,478 to 5,706. The tribe’s election commission certified the runoff results about 10:30 a.m. Sunday. Soap is incumbent Principal Chief Chad Smith’s running mate.

Read more from this Tulsa World article at

Online court records to be made uniform across the state

Two case management systems and 77 county clerks have created a hodgepodge of electronic court records available online for public review in Oklahoma. That could change starting next year, when the first four counties to join a statewide management system go online. In 2007, the Oklahoma State Courts Network began raising money to fund a searchable electronic system to replace a largely paper-based system. The decision about whether to post the electronic court records that have been collected in past years has been left to individual county clerks. The new statewide system calls for each county to post the same type of records, thus turning the hodgepodge into a uniform state filing system across all 77 counties.

Read more from this Tulsa World article at

Preparing women for leadership in the public policy arena

PLEN stands for the Public Leadership Education Network which is — according to their website — “the only national organization whose sole focus is preparing women for leadership in the public policy arena.” I am always looking for leadership programs for women and girls so I got sort of excited about this organization until I realized that they are mostly at private women’s colleges. Oklahoma doesn’t have any of those. But we DO have a wonderful N.E.W. Leadership program based at the University of Oklahoma that serves Oklahoma undergraduate women.

Read more from the OkieWomen blog at

Upcoming event: 2011 Suicide Prevention Conference, July 29

The Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services will host their 2011 Suicide Prevention Conference on Friday, July 29th at the Doubletree Hotel in Tulsa. The conference will provide participants with suicide prevention training, intervention skills and knowledge. In addressing the complexity of suicide in our communities, emphasis will also be placed on building resources for professionals and families. Participants will hear from local and national experts, including Michelle Linn-Gust and Ben Glenn, in the field of suicide prevention across all age groups.

Read more from the OK Policy Blog at

DHS child-care cuts in Oklahoma

I live in Oklahoma. The income here is not the best, but it is sure not the worse. My husband and I are from Mississippi. Now, we are having baby number 2 in a 2 year period. I go to school full-time and he works full-time. I stay at home with the kids during the day, then I go to school when he gets off. I take night classes. Well having another baby, put us in a 4 person household. I thought we were about to get some much-needed help. My plan was to get DHS assistance by getting daycare, that way I can go to school during the day and be home with my family at night. Sounds like a great plan right? Until this happen. I was watching the news and this comes across the screen. “Child care cuts deal a blow to low-income working families and kids“

Read more from the Money, Matters, Mama blog at

Quote of the Day

There is a map showing hail activity in the United States. Oklahoma is the bullseye, and Oklahoma City is the epicenter of the bullseye.
Bruce Wilson, a Tulsa insurance broker

Number of the Day


Temperature in Tipton Oklahoma on June 27, 1994, the state’s highest recorded temperature to date

Source: National Climatic Data Center via

See previous Numbers of the Day here.

Policy Note

Of loopholes and potholes

How can we fill the federal budget hole? The political standoff has been largely defined as a debate over tax hikes versus spending cuts. Many Democrats want to close tax loopholes in order to increase revenue. Many Republicans believe that government spending should be cut because it hurts the economy, rather than helping it — digging potholes, as it were, rather than fixing them. But many tax loopholes for big business are potholes for the rest of us. Corporate tax policies in the United States provide significant benefits to shareholders, at considerable cost to everyone else.

Read more from the Economix blog at

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Gene Perry worked for OK Policy from 2011 to 2019. He is a native Oklahoman and a citizen of the Cherokee Nation. He graduated from the University of Oklahoma with a B.A. in history and an M.A. in journalism.

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