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.
In The News
Alternatives to Medicaid expansion could face rocky paths: Oklahoma is one of 14 states that have not accepted increased federal funding to extend Medicaid eligibility under the Affordable Care Act. But among the 36 states that have implemented the expansion, 13 have been granted or are seeking a federal waiver to make significant changes. [Oklahoma Watch] OK Policy supports SQ 802 and has provided information and resources to better understand the issue.
New programs mitigate trauma in children: Two programs that improve the lives of children and that could save the state lots of money captured the attention of state lawmakers recently. Two separate interim study sessions held at the Capitol focused on helping children cope with adverse childhood experiences (ACEs), and also on remaining positive and engaged in school even if they’ve lost a parent or both parents to incarceration. [Journal Record 🔒]
Tulsa World Editorial: Find reasonable pathways for ex-inmates to reinstate drivers licenses: For many convicted felons, the fines and fees from court cases have built insurmountable obstacles such as obtaining a driver’s license. Last week, Rep. Nicole Miller of Edmond hosted an interim study before the House Public Safety Committee focused on the driver’s license problem. [Editorial Board / Tulsa World] An OK Policy analysis showed that excessive fines and fees hinder rehabilitation efforts and create enormous hardship for the people who can least afford it.
Jail Trust names administrator for Oklahoma County Jail with no timeline: The Oklahoma County Jail Trust named career Oklahoma Department of Corrections administrator Greg Williams as the incoming Jail Administrator and CEO of the Oklahoma County Detention Center, also known as the Oklahoma County Jail. [Free Press OKC] Williams currently serves as the deputy chief of operations for the Oklahoma Department of Corrections and has worked for the department for 36 years in a variety of administrative, management and deputy roles. [The Oklahoman]
Updated teacher pay rankings: Find your school district on the list: A Tulsa World analysis found 11 of 17 local districts now pay starting teachers at least $40,000 in total compensation after implementing the latest state-mandated raise. Only two — Owasso and Bixby — met that mark last year. [Tulsa World]
What laws should be passed in the next Oklahoma Legislature? Vote now: The Tulsa World asked readers for their ideas on what new laws need to be enacted in this next legislative session. Here are the top 10 to vote on. The ones with the most votes will be sent to legislators, who have a Dec. 13 deadline to file ideas for bills. [Tulsa World]
New sex offender reporting law in effect: As of November 1, sex offenders residing with a minor child must now report to the statewide centralized Oklahoma Department of Human Services (DHS) hotline. Previously, only the parent, stepparent, or grandparent of a minor had to report to the hotline. [CNHI]
Assessing the first two weeks of permitless carry: Opponents of legislation allowing Oklahomans to carry firearms without licensing or training said a series of incidents already have occurred in just the first two weeks since the law first took effect. [CNHI] Oklahoma business owners can either welcome or bar gun-carrying customers under state law. [The Oklahoman]
State House resolution seeks to condemn Congress over Trump impeachment inquiry: Two state lawmakers have introduced a resolution condemning the U.S. Congress for pursuing an impeachment inquiry against President Donald Trump. [Tulsa World]
Administrator of the Oklahoma Universal Service Fund fee seeks second increase in less than a year: The Oklahoma Corporation Commission, which oversees a state-created Universal Service Fund fee that most landline, wireless, and Voice over Internet Protocol phone service users in the state pay on a monthly basis, is about to be asked to increase the amount of that fee for the second time in less than a year. [The Oklahoman]
Several northwest Oklahoma counties most ‘financially healthy’ in state, study says: A study measuring the “financial health” of communities across the country ranked Kingfisher County No. 1 in Oklahoma. SmartAsset, the New York-based financial technology firm behind the study, determined the most financially healthy places in America by looking at debt, bankruptcy figures, poverty, and unemployment. [Enid News & Eagle]
Liquor store sales on Sundays? Tulsa County commissioners vote to let you decide: Tulsa County commissioners on Monday unanimously approved a ballot question to let voters decide this spring if they want liquor stores to be able to open on Sundays. [Tulsa World]
Funk Jr. well aware there are more critical projects in MAPS 4 than a multipurpose stadium: While there has been wide-spread support for the public welfare projects within the initiative, support for the three sports facilities included has been more tepid. [Gatehouse News]
Oklahoma carrying above-average burden in armed forces, study finds: The study, “States Carrying the Greatest Military Burden,” by the consumer analysis firm Security.org, found Oklahoma has the 17th-highest concentration of active and reserve military members of any state, with 867.7 service members per 100,000 residents. The national average is 780 per 100,000. [Enid News & Eagle]
Quote of the Day
“Not only are we looking at a significant delay in implementation, but from what we know about the plan, I don’t see anything but increased administrative costs and extra burden on Medicaid enrollees and providers in the state.”
-Tiffany Milone, policy director for the Nebraska-based nonprofit OpenSky Policy Institute, speaking about their state’s decision to pursue an alternative to traditional Medicaid expansion [Oklahoma Watch]
Number of the Day
Number of sovereigns a tribal citizen in Oklahoma is a citizen of: their tribal nation, the United States, and Oklahoma
[Source: National Council of American Indians]
Oklahoma leading the way in training Native American doctors: Fewer than one-half percent of U.S. doctors are Native American, but efforts are underway in Oklahoma to enroll more Native Americans in medical school and to bring more physicians to Indian Country. [The Oklahoman]
Note: November is Native American Heritage Month. We recognize and celebrate the history, cultures, and contributions of American Indian and Alaska Native people in the state and across the country.
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