In The Know: Lack of protections for home-schooled kids; legislators look at creating own budget office; business ties complicate governor transition…

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

Groups push for Oklahoma to do more to protect home-schooled children: A horrific child-abuse case this past summer sparked debate about Oklahoma’s homeschooling laws. A 15-year-old boy was found starving and sleeping in a barn in rural Lincoln County. His family had pulled him out of school a few years before the abuse was reported. The Oklahoma Department of Education has zero oversight over homeschooling in our state. Neither does DHS. [FOX25]

Legislators consider creating their own budget office: The Oklahoma Senate’s top Republican said the legislature wants to be more proactive — and that will start with the budget. Senate Pro Tem Greg Treat said lawmakers have long relied upon agency reports and figures they can’t easily verify when crafting the state’s spending plan. “In order to better represent the people of Oklahoma, have more transparency, we’ve thought about creating a legislative budget office between the House and the Senate that can dig into those numbers, dig into those programs,” Treat said. [Public Radio Tulsa]

Business ties may complicate transition for new governor: For the first time in a generation, Oklahoma’s incoming governor won’t be coming into office directly from another elected office, meaning Gov.-elect Kevin Stitt could have to separate himself from business and financial arrangements before taking office. [Oklahoma Watch]

(Capitol Update) To whom will Governor Stitt be listening? I noticed that Sen. Greg Treat (R-OKC) said Governor-Elect Stitt is a listener. I believe that is true. The real question is, to whom will he be listening? It won’t take him long to learn that most everyone at the Capitol has an agenda. [Steve Lewis / OK Policy]

#Election2018: ‘Happy to have all of this behind us’It’s over. Thank goodness. But with #Election2018 behind us, the How We Got Here podcast team came together to talk about Oklahoma’s results. Our editor in chief, William W. Savage III (Tres), joined FKG Consulting’s Bryan Fried and Ryan Kilpatrick on Friday to discuss Kevin Stitt’s domination of Drew Edmondson to become Oklahoma’s next governor. [NonDoc]

Advocacy Alert: Families shouldn’t be punished for accepting help when they need it: The federal government is making fundamental changes to our legal immigration system, putting thousands of Oklahomans at risk – including up to 123,000 children. On October 10th, the Department of Homeland Security proposed a change to the rules that we use to determine whether legal immigrants can apply for legal permanent residency. [OK Policy]

Shifting power in Congress changes Oklahoma lawmakers’ committee plans: Earlier this year, veteran congressmen from Oklahoma began jockeying for position in hopes of chairing key congressional committees, assuming Republicans kept control of the U.S. House.Last week, however, Democrats snatched a majority in the lower chamber of Congress, leaving those same congressmen to instead compete for the far less prestigious title of ranking member, which they began doing the day after Tuesday’s election. [NewsOK ????]

Commutation requests headed to governor’s desk: Gov. Mary Fallin now will decide whether to reduce the prison sentences of 22 individuals who received favorable recommendations from the Oklahoma Pardon and Parole Board last week. Michael McNutt, a spokesman for Fallin, said the commutations likely will reach the governor’s office in the next two weeks. [NewsOK]

Minimum wage debate coming to Oklahoma: Arkansas and Missouri, which have a kinship of sorts with Oklahoma culture and politics, did something out of character for two red states that strongly support President Trump. Voters of both states threw their support behind a liberal cause to boost pay for low-wage workers. Voters in Arkansas and Missouri voted overwhelmingly to increase their state’s minimum wage. [Editorial Board / Journal Record]

More work needed to count all Okla. kids in 2020 Census: Data from the U.S. Census is essential for deciding the distribution of billions of dollars in federal grants, helping private businesses make decisions about where to locate and expand, helping non-profits and public agencies target programs where they’re needed most, and making sure Americans have fair voting representation in state and national elections. [Gene Perry / Enid News & Eagle]

Oklahoma City school district hosts final meeting on ‘Pathway to Greatness’ project: Distrustful parents and others who live in northeast Oklahoma City railed Monday night against a plan to improve the state’s largest school district by closing or repurposing an undisclosed number of schools. [NewsOK]

Oklahoma City sales tax growth slows, online surges to record: Local economic activity appeared to take a slight dip as summer turned to fall in Oklahoma City. Sales tax results for November show underlying economic growth of 1.1 percent locally, down from 3 percent last month and 5.3 percent in September. Local sales tax collections failed to meet budget projections for the first time in quite a while — but online and out-of-state purchases again showed sharp growth. [NewsOK]

Oklahoma City veterans hospital sees surgeon shortage: The Oklahoma City Veterans Affairs Health Care System is working to fill positions after the unexpected departure of two employees left the hospital without a general surgeon on call or available for overnight emergencies for a number of days this month. Some veterans will be transferred elsewhere during the surgeon shortage. [AP News]

Former Democratic lawmaker from Tahlequah dies: A Democratic former state legislator who was a Vietnam veteran has died. A family friend of former state Sen. Jim Wilson says Wilson died Sunday at his home in Tahlequah after a bout with cancer. Wilson was 71. Friend and former state Sen. Kenneth Corn says Wilson had a reputation for defending the rights of the poor and vulnerable during his legislative career. [AP News]

Would you move to Tulsa for $10,000? The George Kaiser Family Foundation has an offer: Remote employees and entrepreneurs soon will have the chance to line their pockets with thousands of dollars if they’re willing to relocate to Tulsa.The George Kaiser Family Foundation this week announced the launch of Tulsa Remote, which offers $10,000 grants and additional benefits to eligible applicants who move to and work remotely from Tulsa for a year. [Tulsa World]

Quote of the Day

“The votes in Arkansas and Missouri are an indication the debate over raising the minimum wage is no longer a partisan issue. Clearly, Republicans and Democrats in those states are saying the federal wage of $7.25 an hour should be raised.The rift now appears to be between agenda-setting lawmakers and rank-and-file workers, not Republicans and Democrats.”

-Journal Record Editorial Board, discussing last week’s votes in Arkansas and Missouri to raise the minimum wage to $11 and $12, respectively [Journal Record]

Number of the Day


Percentage of Oklahoma children living in a household with income below the poverty line in 2017

[Source: Oklahoma Policy Institute]

See previous Numbers of the Day here.

Policy Note

Getting Back on Course: Educational exclusion and attainment among formerly incarcerated people: Throughout their lives, people who serve time in prison are held back from educational opportunities, making it nearly impossible to earn the credentials they need to succeed after release. Using data from the National Former Prisoner Survey, this report reveals that formerly incarcerated people are often relegated to the lowest rungs of the educational ladder; more than half hold only a high school diploma or GED, and a quarter hold no credential at all. While incarcerated, and even after release from prison, we find that people rarely get the chance to make up for the educational opportunities from which they’ve been excluded — opportunities that impact their chances of reentry success. [Prison Policy Inititaive]

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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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