In 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
Oklahoma’s juvenile crime and incarceration rates plummet, but we must address deep racial disparities: Crime rates and criminal arrests of youth in Oklahoma have declined massively over the last 25 years. However, despite these promising developments, black and brown youth are still disproportionately represented in Oklahoma’s juvenile justice system. [OK Policy] Read the full report by Open Justice Oklahoma.
Report: Juvenile crime drops sharply: Rates of serious violent and property crimes by youth have fallen dramatically over the past three decades, according to a report released today by Open Justice Oklahoma, a program of the Oklahoma Policy Institute. [Journal Record 🔒]
Prosperity Policy: Rethinking the corporation: What’s the purpose of a corporation in a capitalist society? For decades, the answer seemed clear and uncontested: A corporation exists to maximize value, or profit, for its shareholders. Period. But now attitudes are changing. [David Blatt / OK Policy]
In The News
Lawmakers examine charter school funding and oversight policies: At interim studies hosted by the House Common Education Committee, speakers said Oklahoma could look to the examples of other states that have promoted public school choice in updating state laws governing how to fund virtual charter schools and what oversight is required by charter school sponsors. [Tulsa World] The Legislature considered several bills to better regulate virtual charter schools last session, and they could still be taken up next year.
Funding inequity: Forum highlights disparities in school spending: Despite big investments made in education in recent years, “noticeable, definable” inequities in funding remain between school districts in Oklahoma, and the rising influence of virtual charter schools may be making disparities worse, especially for rural districts. [Journal Record 🔒] The education funding package passed in 2018 made a start at restoring a decade of cuts, but there’s still a lot more work to do.
Hofmeister testifies on Capitol Hill about challenges of student trauma: Superintendent Hofmeister testified before the House subcommittee on Early Childhood, Elementary and Secondary Education on a topic that has received increasing attention in recent years as educators grapple with how to teach children traumatized and depressed. [The Oklahoman] Oklahoma cannot be a top ten state while so many of our children are experiencing the trauma that comes with living in poverty
Panel sends names to governor for Norman’s replacement: The Oklahoma Judicial Nominating Commission forwarded the names of three lawyers to Gov. Kevin Stitt, who will select a replacement for the late District Judge Mike Norman. Three nominees selected from the field of 10 applicants include Tim King, Roy Tucker and Andy Hayes, all from Muskogee. [CNHI]
Good Samaritans contribute to clear Oklahoma woman’s debt from 2010 arrest for $31 marijuana sale: Thanks to the help of supporters, a woman who had owed court costs in a 2010 case related to the sale of $31 worth of cannabis was released from the Oklahoma County jail Wednesday, freed from further financial obligations in the case. [Tulsa World] Too many Oklahomans are still in jail simply because they can’t afford the many fines and fees charged by our justice system.
An Oklahoma hospital has a new system to reduce C-sections: Over the last year, hospital leaders have revised how babies are delivered at the facility. There’s more communication between staff and mothers now. Families seem happier with their birth experiences. And most of all, there’s been a change in the number of cesarean sections. [The Frontier]
Abuse survivors in confidentiality program face petition problems: Signing a petition is the right of virtually every American, but for some, the simple act of providing their name and address on public documents can be a personal security risk. That’s the dilemma faced by participants in Oklahoma’s Address Confidentiality Program which serves those affected by domestic violence who are seeking protection from an abuser. [NonDoc]
Locals getting signatures for Medicaid expansion: Proponents of Medicaid expansion need 178,000 signatures if they want to see the question put to the vote of the people, and they only have 47 days to collect them. [Tahlequah Daily Press] Visit our resource page for more information about SQ 802.
Oklahoma’s congressional delegation addresses State Chamber about marijuana banking, other issues: Oklahoma lawmakers addressed marijuana banking, the minimum wage, impeachment, politics and other issues on Wednesday as they briefed state business leaders visiting the nation’s capital. [The Oklahoman]
Oklahoma’s medical cannabis industry affected by new state laws, lack of federal guidelines: A new medical marijuana law recently took effect in Oklahoma, regulating product labeling and drug testing policies. But since cannabis remains illegal federally, banks are still unsure on how to safely serve the industry. [KGOU]
Human Rights Watch finds evidence of racial bias but not ‘pervasive racism’ among Tulsa police. TPD says using disparities as evidence of bias is ‘misguided’: A nearly three-year investigation by Human Rights Watch into the Tulsa Police Department found evidence of racial bias in policing outcomes but no proof of “pervasive racism.” [Tulsa World] Read our full report for more information about how law enforcement can build trust with the communities they serve.
City councilors hear from public on race and gender discrepancies in adult arrests: City councilors earlier this year agreed to hold special meetings to examine some of the issues raised in the city’s 2018 and 2019 Equality Indicators reports. [Tulsa World] Tulsa’s Equality Indicators Reports: A basic guide to what they are and what they measure. [Tulsa World]
Commissioners pass bus lane changes at John Marshall Middle School: A moment of silence, some trumpet playing, and a largely mundane slate of county business items were the order of the day for the Oklahoma County Board of County Commissioners. [Free Press OKC]
Former Muscogee (Creek) Nation Principal Chief George Tiger to enter guilty plea to bribery charge: Former Muscogee (Creek) Nation Principal Chief George Phillip Tiger is scheduled to plead guilty in federal court Friday after being charged in August with bribery. [Tulsa World]
Famed oilman, OSU booster T. Boone Pickens dead at 91: Famed oilman, billionaire and OSU booster T. Boone Pickens has died, according to multiple news reports. He was 91. [NonDoc]
Thelma Parks, an OKC education icon, dies at 96: Thelma Parks, a pillar of civil rights and education in Oklahoma City, died this week. She was 96. Born in Muskogee, Parks first taught in Oklahoma City at Dunbar Elementary School. [The Oklahoman]
Quote of the Day
“There are, of course, the stark realities of poverty, child hunger, domestic strife and more. The world outside the classroom has an undeniable impact on the world inside the classroom.”
– State Superintendent Joy Hoffmeister speaking on Capitol Hill about student trauma [The Oklahoman]
Number of the Day
The number of federal prison employees lost between January 2017 and December 2018.
[Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics]
Coordinating care of mind and body might help Medicaid save money and lives: Some Medicaid programs, which provide health coverage for people who have low incomes, have tried to blend the coordination of care for the physical and mental health of patients, with the hope that it might save the state and federal governments money while also improving the health of patients like John Poynter of Clarksville, Tenn. [NPR]
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