In The Know: Limiting opioid prescriptions; Pauls Valley hospital closes; potential for Medicaid expansion…

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

Oklahomans still receive more potentially risky doses of opioids: Oklahomans who got opioid prescriptions in 2017 were still more likely to get potentially risky doses than their counterparts around the country were four years ago, before most people knew there was a crisis of overdoses. Some hope that could change soon, as a bill to limit how many pills patients receive after a surgery or injury takes effect in November. [NewsOK ????] New app will allow real time tracking of Oklahoma drug overdoses. [Tulsa World] Oklahoma Home and Community Education offering family mental health and opioid addiction workshop. [High Plains Journal]

With closing of Pauls Valley Hospital, a city’s ‘peace of mind’ is shaken: After years of financial struggles, the Pauls Valley Regional Medical Center has closed, with officials saying they could not secure enough funds to keep the hospital going. As a result, more than 100 hospital employees will lose their jobs and the community of 6,200 will be deprived of a nearby health center that tended to wounds, provided simple surgeries, and stabilized patients before transfer to larger, urban hospitals. [Oklahoma Watch]

Oklahoma gubernatorial candidates don’t see eye-to-eye on Medicaid expansion: If elected governor, Drew Edmondson wants to expand Medicaid in Oklahoma, embracing a part of the Affordable Care Act that would open health coverage to an additional 200,000 low-income Oklahomans. But Edmondson likely would find a Republican-controlled Legislature that would require some major convincing. [NewsOK] OK Policy wrote about why expanding Medicaid would be good for Oklahoma families, our health care system, and state finances here.

Point of View: Expanding Medicaid makes good business sense for Oklahoma: As a business owner, if you found out you could leverage your resources and receive matching dollars at a rate of $9 for every dollar you invest, would you do it? What if it meant you could hire more people? What if that investment also reduced your costs in other areas? What if the benefit from that investment was actually more than a billion dollars each year? [Patti Davis / NewsOK]

‘It is a different atmosphere in 2018’: A lot has changed in eight years for Democratic gubernatorial nominee Drew: A lot has changed in the past eight years for Democratic gubernatorial nominee Drew Edmondson. “What has changed in Oklahoma is the climate and the desire to do things differently at the state level,” Edmondson said. “I think this year voters are going to be more focused on the state of Oklahoma and its policies and its progress than they are with what is happening in Washington, D.C., or North Korea or whether Canada is included in the new NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement).” [Tulsa World]

Political Notebook: Edmondson and Stitt trade accusations on taxes: Gubernatorial candidates Kevin Stitt and Drew Edmondson continued to go ‘round and ‘round last week, with each accusing the other of misleading the public on their tax policies while former Oklahoma City Mayor Mick Cornett showed up in campaign plugs for both candidates. Cornett, who lost a bitter Republican gubernatorial runoff battle to Stitt on Aug. 28, endorsed Stitt on Thursday for the Nov. 6 general election. [Tulsa World]

State Question 793 endorsed by Oklahoma Silver Haired Legislature: The Oklahoma Silver Haired Legislature has unanimously endorsed a state question that would allow eye doctors to practice inside Walmart and other big retail stores. The endorsement places the senior adult advocacy group directly at odds with the Oklahoma Association of Optometric Physicians. [NewsOKSee more background information and arguments for and against SQ 793 on OK Policy’s fact sheet here.

State Question 794 seeks to bolster crime victim rights: Lauren Layman knows the pain that comes with hitting a brick wall while seeking answers and justice when a relative is a victim of a violent crime. That’s why she supports State Question 794, which would amend the Oklahoma Constitution to expand the rights of crime victims. Proponents of the measure, commonly known as Marsy’s Law, say it would ensure victims have rights more equal to the constitutional rights of those who are accused of crimes. [NewsOKSee more background information and arguments for and against SQ 794 on OK Policy’s fact sheet here.

Oklahoma’s State Question 800 polarizes supporters, detractors: The State Chamber is for it. The Oklahoma State School Boards Association is against it. Oklahomans will decide the issue Nov. 6 when they vote on State Question 800 — a controversial ballot measure that calls for creation of yet another fund aimed at reducing state budget volatility. Lawmakers have for years complained about the huge boom and bust cycles that the state budget experiences because of its dependence on oil and natural gas tax revenues that fluctuate wildly based on volatile energy prices. [NewsOKSee more background information and arguments for and against SQ 800 on OK Policy’s fact sheet here.

State Question 801 gives schools more financial flexibility but no extra funding, stakeholders say: A state question getting mixed reviews would let schools use property tax revenue for operations in addition to paying for buildings and maintenance. State Question 801 is among five on the Nov. 6 general election ballot. [Tulsa World] Oklahoma Watch, in partnership with the League of Women Voters of Oklahoma, will host a public forum on Wednesday, Oct. 17, in Tulsa about State Question 801, which relates to school taxes and spending. [Oklahoma WatchSee more background information and arguments for and against SQ 801 on OK Policy’s fact sheet here.

Three-way race for the Oklahoma Corporation Commission provides voters with interesting options: Candidates seeking the seat on Oklahoma’s Corporation Commission in November’s general election present voters with interesting choices. Incumbent Commissioner Bob Anthony, Democratic candidate Ashley Nicole McCray and Independent candidate Jackie Short bring their own histories and goals to the race. Anthony has held the seat since 1989 and is running for a final term. [NewsOK]

Labor specialist, state representative and independent in race for labor commissioner: Labor commissioner races don’t usually get much attention. This year’s isn’t either. Maybe it should. The Nov. 6 contest is an interesting one, matching state Rep. Leslie Osborn, R-Mustang, labor specialist and former union leader Fred Dorrell of Broken Arrow, and independent Brandt Dismukes of Oklahoma City. [Tulsa World]

Quick 5: Candidates declare positions in District 13 race: One in a series featuring candidates who are competing during the 2018 election cycle. This article focuses on candidates for House District 13  — Jolene Armstrong, Democratic candidate, and Avery Frix, Republican, who is the incumbent. The two will face off in the general election on Nov. 6. [Muskogee Phoenix]

Political observers prognosticate election gender gap: Republicans may emerge the big winners heading into the midterm election next month following the divisive, partisan controversy swirling around Brett Kavanaugh’s U.S. Supreme Court confirmation hearings, some political observers say. [Norman Transcript]

Tulsa Race Riot Commission looked for mass graves 20 years ago; here’s what happened: Twenty years ago, Bob Brooks and others began a two-year search for mass burial sites connected to Tulsa’s 1921 race massacre that for most of its history has been known as the Tulsa Race Riot. They didn’t find anything, but they did locate a spot on the south side of Oaklawn Cemetery that Brooks thinks would be a good place to start if the investigation is reopened. Tulsa Mayor G.T. Bynum recently indicated an interest in reopening the search. [Tulsa World]

Tulsa World editorial: Moody’s upgrades Oklahoma’s credit after taxes are increased: Oklahoma is getting credit. Last year, Moody’s Investor Services lowered the state’s rating outlook to negative. Other bond rating services also downgraded Oklahoma’s credit, citing the state’s repeated budget failures and the inability of lawmakers to take necessary fiscal steps. [Tulsa World]

Jay Helm: Higher education is an investment in human capital and a better future for Oklahoma: We want new roads, safer bridges and landscaped boulevards. We also want beautiful airports, abundant clean water and tree-lined trails. Better infrastructure improves the quality of life in our state and communities. State, county and local communities frequently invest in infrastructure projects in the name of economic growth. Inarguably, these physical capital projects are worthy investments. [Jay Helm / Tulsa World]

Point of View: Working to change adverse conditions for Oklahomans: You may have been hearing the phrase “trauma-informed care” a lot more recently and there are good reasons for that. As the landmark Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) study from 1997 receives more and more attention, Oklahomans from all walks of life and professions are better understanding the social, emotional and cognitive damage already wrought on so many of our children. [Steve Potts And Robert Block, M.D. / NewsOK]

Celebrating diversity boosts Oklahoma City’s unity: The Fiestas de las Americas event held in south Oklahoma City a few weeks ago was filled with color, sights, sounds and smells. Women, men and children wearing colorful and festive costumes, dancing horses and cars sitting low to the ground (that also seemed to be dancing) were crowd favorites at the parade. [Mary Melon / NewsOK]

Business brisk at Oklahoma medical marijuana business: The operator of one of Oklahoma’s first medical marijuana businesses says he’s selling all of the seedlings he can produce. Scott Huffman owns Wild Herb LLC in Fairfax, about 89 miles (143 kilometers) northeast of Oklahoma City. Huffman says the business produces about 40 marijuana seedlings a week and planned to sell seedlings to as many as 30 patients Saturday. [AP News]

U.S. Supreme Court sets date to hear Murphy case: A U.S. Supreme Court case that could decide if a tribe’s reservation is still intact has a hearing date. The high court will hear Patrick Wayne Murphy v. Oklahoma State Penitentiary Warden Mike Carpenter on Nov. 27. The case was originally filed as Murphy v. Terry Royal, but Royal is no longer at the prison. [Journal Record]

Quote of the Day

“The hate and vitriol about our differences must stop. Accepting and celebrating differences and finding common ground is absolutely critical to our city, state and country in all areas, but most certainly in public education. Oklahoma City’s renaissance would have been impossible without it.”

-Mary Mélon, president and CEO of the Foundation for Oklahoma City Public Schools [NewsOK]

Number of the Day


Percentage drop in paroles in Oklahoma, from 1,252 in 2008 to 291 in 2017.

[Oklahoma Department of Corrections]

See previous Numbers of the Day here.

Policy Note

Immigrants pay more into the healthcare system than they get out of it, study shows: In 2014, immigrants and their employers contributed $88.7 billion in private insurance premiums, but insurers spent $64 billion for their care, according to the study’s findings. Of that group, undocumented immigrants alone paid more than $17 billion to private insurers but received $9.4 billion from insurers. Native-born consumers paid $616 billion in premiums and received nearly $641 billion in insurers’ payments for care. Their insurer payments consistently exceeded those of immigrants across all age groups. Among enrollees 65 and older, the U.S.-born made a net contribution of nearly $10,000 more toward their care than those born overseas, according to the study. [LA Times]

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


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.

Leave a Reply

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