In The Know: Late-night snag in House could delay early adjournment

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

Today you should know that a late-night vote in the Oklahoma House left in doubt the state’s common education budget and Friday’s expected early adjournment.  Hobby Lobby argued before a panel of eight judges at the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals that for-profit corporations have constitutionally protected religious freedoms.

House Speaker Shannon’s attempt to repeal Common Core wastes millions of dollars already spent and throws out years of hard work by Oklahoma teachers and students.  A letter to the editors of the Oklahoman urged funding for schools to have secure shelters to protect the lives of its students.

The U.S. Senate voted to lower government payments to farmers making more than $750,000.  The Number of the Day is the number of children in Oklahoma living in extreme poverty.    In today’s Policy Note, ProPublica investigates predatory lenders circumventing the Military Lending Act.

In The News

Common education budget hits last-minute snag in House
A late-night revolt in the Oklahoma House of Representatives on Thursday left in doubt the state’s common education budget and Friday’s expected final adjournment. The House voted down the common education budget limitation bill 35-45, with 21 members not voting, then a faction led by Rep. Gus Blackwell, R-Laverne, tried to send it back to committee with instructions to shift $23 million from the state Department of Education to the schools themselves. That effort failed, making it likely the bill will be brought back up on Friday. Floor leader Pam Peterson, R-Tulsa, concluded Thursday’s session a few minutes before midnight by telling the members they may not be able to complete their business on Friday as planned.

Read more from Tulsa World

Hobby Lobby argues case before federal judges
A panel of eight judges at the U.S. 10th Circuit Court of Appeals on Thursday wrestled with whether Hobby Lobby Stores Inc. — a secular, for profit corporation — has the right to the same religious freedoms guaranteed to individuals under the U.S. Constitution. The judges heard oral arguments in a Denver courtroom on Hobby Lobby’s challenge to part of the Affordable Care Act that requires the company to cover the cost of emergency contraceptives for its employees. The company and its owners, CEO David Green and four family members, believe that some types of contraception, including the “morning-after pill,” are forms of abortion that conflict with the family’s Christian beliefs.

Read more from NewsOK

No, Common Core is not a ‘federal takeover’ of schools
Last week, with just days remaining in the Legislative session, House Speaker T.W. Shannon made a surprising announcement. He said that he would put forward a measure to repeal Common Core standards in Oklahoma schools. Oklahoma lawmakers voted to adopt the Common Core education standards in 2010. For the last three years, Oklahoma schools have spent millions of dollars and thousands of person-hours transitioning to Common Core learning standards. The scope of what’s already been done is enormous.

Read more from OK Policy Blog 

Make school shelters a state priority
Perhaps the most tragic losses from the Moore tornado were the lives of children, several at their schools. In this time of concern about the safety of schoolchildren from gun violence, we should make it a state priority to ensure that every school has a secure shelter guaranteed to protect the lives of its students insofar as at all possible.

Read more from NewsOK

U.S. Senate votes to cut crop insurance aid for wealthiest farmers
The Senate on Thursday voted to limit the amount of government subsidies the wealthiest farmers receive when purchasing crop insurance. The vote was one small victory this week for critics of a massive, five-year farm bill that would cost nearly $100 billion a year and includes generous subsidies for the nation’s biggest crops. Supporters have deflected other attempts on the Senate floor to reduce government help for agriculture, including proposals to trim sugar subsidies and crop insurance. The amendment by Sens. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., and Tom Coburn, R-Okla., would reduce the government’s share of crop insurance premiums for farmers with adjusted gross incomes of more than $750,000. It passed 59-33.

Read more from Tulsa World

Quote of the Day

“At a time we’re asking sacrifice from people in Head Start programs across America, can we be asking a little bit of sacrifice from 20,000 of the wealthiest farmers out of 2 million?”

Sen. Dick Durbin, on a Farm Bill amendment he cosponsored with Sen. Tom Coburn to reduce what the government pays to farmers with adjusted gross incomes of more than $750,000

Number of the Day


The number of children in Oklahoma living in extreme poverty in 2011; roughly 16 percent of those children live in families receiving ‘welfare’ through Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF).

Source:  Children’s Defense Fund 

See previous Numbers of the Day here.

Policy Note

On Victory Drive, Soldiers Defeated by Debt

Seven years after Congress banned payday-loan companies from charging exorbitant interest rates to service members, many of the nation’s military bases are surrounded by storefront lenders who charge high annual percentage rates, sometimes exceeding 400 percent.  The Military Lending Act sought to protect service members and their families from predatory loans. But in practice, the law has defined the types of covered loans so narrowly that it’s been all too easy for lenders to circumvent it.

Read more from ProPublica

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


Leave a Reply

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