In The Know: Legislators sent packing; school leaders win primaries; voters reward pro-education candidates…

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.

[There are less than 100 tickets left to our 10th Anniversary Gala on September 13. Join us in celebrating our first decade of advancing policy change as we honor former Speaker of the House Kris Steele and former state Superintendent Sandy Garrett with our Good Sense / Good Cents award. The New Yorker magazine’s humorist and feature writer Ian Frazier will be the night’s keynote speaker. Individual tickets and sponsorships are available now.]

In The News

Voters send more legislators packing. Was it the tax vote? It was another tough day to be an Oklahoma legislator running for reelection. Six of the 10 Republican incumbents who faced runoff challenges Tuesday were defeated and will not return when the Legislature convenes again early next year. They will join six other lawmakers – again all Republicans – who lost during June’s primary. [Oklahoma Watch]

More Oklahoma school leaders win primaries, prepare for November election: In a tough night for incumbent Republican legislators in Oklahoma, more school leaders won their primary runoffs to earn spots on the November general election ballot. Among them was Sherrie Conley, a school administrator in Oklahoma City, who got 50.9 percent of the vote in a close race against incumbent Bobby Cleveland in the Republican runoff in House District 20. [Education Week] Oklahoma teachers just purged the statehouse of their enemies [Daily Intelligencer]

In Oklahoma and Arizona, primary voters rewarded candidates who stood with teachers: Oklahoma voters continued a red-state trend Tuesday night by throwing out half a dozen incumbent Republican lawmakers who voted against a tax hike to fund teacher pay increases. In Arizona, educators made a number of electoral gains in Democratic Party primaries. [The Intercept]

Interactive map: How did Oklahoma counties vote in the gubernatorial runoff? Tulsa businessman Kevin Stitt will go on to face Democrat Drew Edmondson in the governor’s race in November. Stitt took a comfortable lead over former Oklahoma City Mayor Mick Cornett on Tuesday, winning by about 9 percentage points. [Read Frontier] The governor’s race is on: ‘Mary Fallin lite’ vs. ‘bigger government and higher taxes.’ [Tulsa World] Trends show Oklahoma could elect a Democrat for governor. [KTUL]

Drummond concedes after close AG race, calls for healing: Although the election technically ended late Tuesday night, the attorney general primary election drama continued into the next afternoon. One of the most contentious races of the cycle ended with an incredibly close vote. Nearly 300,000 residents headed to the polls for the statewide election, and with all precincts reporting, incumbent Mike Hunter led his challenger, Gentner Drummond, by 269 votes, according to preliminary tabulations the Election Board released. [Journal Record]

A sneak peek at the November election ballot: With the primary runoffs over, the general election ballot for Nov. 6 is set, at least unofficially. The Oklahoma State Election Board still needs to certify the results. But the preliminary lineup will probably be the final one. Here’s a look at the general-election candidates in Oklahoma’s federal, statewide and legislative races. [Oklahoma Watch

Prosperity Policy: Been down so long: In the 1960s, the New York City poet and folksinger Richard Fariña published a novel titled Been Down So Long It Looks Like Up To Me. He could well have been writing about Oklahoma’s current budget situation. After multiple years of budget shortfalls and deep cuts to schools, health care, and other vital services, last year was finally a good one for state tax collections. [David Blatt / Journal Record]

OKC police chief proposes change to marijuana ordinance: Right now, those busted with weed can be thrown in jail. But that could change. “The recommendation we’re making is to lower the fine of the possession of marijuana to $400 and it was set at a maximum of $1,200 and six months in jail,” said Citty. “By lowering it to $400, this allows us to basically take it out of that court of record trial and we’re able to assign citations for the possession of marijuana. [KFOR]

Oversight panel accuses DHS of failing to protect children while not making good-faith efforts to reform: The Oklahoma Department of Human Services has failed even to make “good faith efforts” to improve services and protect children in state custody, according to a panel of experts who have been appointed by a federal court to oversee reforms in the agency. [Tulsa World]

Oklahoma part of national trend in rise of STDs, health officials say: Preliminary data shows that Oklahoma is in line with a national trend of sexually transmitted diseases on the rise, according to health officials. In 2017, the Oklahoma State Department of Health reported that there were 31,779 cases of chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis in the Sooner State. That number increased by a little more than 2,000 from 2016, when state health officials reported 29,716 cases. [KOCO]

Cheaper power is dimming the future of a coal-fired electricity generator in Oklahoma: The future for an independent power generator and its roughly 100 employees in eastern Oklahoma is decidedly hazy. An executive with AES Shady Point, a coal-fired electrical generation facility in Le Flore County, said Tuesday the plant could close as soon as January. [NewsOK]

Airbnbs: Tulsa City councilors propose registering home-sharing businesses: City Councilor Blake Ewing estimates hundreds of people in Tulsa operate Airbnbs or other home-sharing businesses. But the city has no way of knowing who they are, making regulating the industry impossible. “Most of them, most all of them, in fact, are just doing it,” Ewing told his fellow councilors Wednesday. [Tulsa World]

‘Who would do that to a 12-year-old?’ transgender Oklahoma student speaks out about being bullied by parents: The 12-year transgender girl who was bullied online by local parents says she’s trying hard not to be bothered by the negativity. Maddison Kleeman Rose spoke to VICE News, her first on-camera interview since her story caught national attention. [TIME]

Quote of the Day

While the budget has been stabilized, there’s still a great distance to climb before we are out of the hole created by a decade of cuts and shortfalls.

-David Blatt, OK Policy Executive Director. [Journal Record]

Number of the Day


Percentage of Oklahoma infants born in 2015 who were ever breastfed, the 5th lowest rate in the U.S.

[Centers for Disease Control and Prevention]

See previous Numbers of the Day here.

Policy Note

The outsize hold of the word ‘welfare’ on the public imagination: Unexpected evidence of this emerges in the research of Suzanne Mettler, a political scientist at Cornell University perplexed by the trends that Americans have come to dislike government more and more, even as they have increasingly relied on its assistance through programs other than welfare. Americans are far less likely today than 40 years ago to say in surveys that they trust the government to do what is right or to look out for people like them. At the same time, the share of Americans using nearly all of these other programs has risen. [New York Times]

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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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