In The Know: Medicaid expansion petition breaks state record, $3.29 billion education budget request, and more

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.

New from OK Policy

OK Policy sets Blatt receptions: The Oklahoma Policy Institute has scheduled two farewell events for its former executive director David Blatt, who is stepping away from the organization he helped establish in 2008. OK Policy will host a farewell event in Oklahoma City on Monday from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the Oklahoma History Center and one in Tulsa on Tuesday from 4:30-6:30 p.m. at the IDL Ballroom, 230 E. [Journal Record]

In The News

Medicaid expansion campaign turns in 313,000 signatures, breaks record: Supporters of expanding Medicaid to cover roughly 200,000 more low-income Oklahomans turned in 313,677 signatures to put the measure to a statewide vote in 2020. The number of signatures gathered far exceeds the 178,000 signatures the campaign needs to qualify the measure for the ballot and exceeds the number of signatures turned in for any other initiative petition in state history. [The Oklahoman] Supporters included hospital administrators, patients, medical professionals, signature collectors, and members of the clergy. [Tulsa World] OK Policy supports SQ 802 and has provided information and resources to better understand the issue. 

$3.29 billion education budget request passes state board: A $3.29 billion budget request for Fiscal Year 2021 passed an Oklahoma State Board of Education vote Thursday, leaving the door open to the highest levels of education funding since 2009. State schools Superintendent Joy Hofmeister said the budget would restore education funding to pre-recession amounts after 10 years of cuts. The proposed budget would increase overall state education funding by $219.97 million, including $117.89 million more added to the school funding formula. [The Oklahoman] OK Policy analysis shows that progress has been made recently on restoring funding for essential services like education, but it will be a long rebuilding project to full budget recovery.

State higher education funding cuts have pushed costs to students and worsened inequality, national report says: Years of devastating funding cuts for higher education have led to significant increases in college tuition and a bigger burden on students to foot the bill, according to a national report released Thursday. “Higher education in Oklahoma has been hit even harder than pre-K through 12th grade,” Rebecca Fine, education policy analyst with OK Policy, said. “And just like pre-K through 12th, it’s going to take a really long time to fill those budget holes and get back to where we need to be.” [Tulsa World] Check out the full Center on Budget and Policy Priorities report and Oklahoma fact sheet on the OK Policy website. 

Education advocate, officials stress need to fund expanded learning at event celebrating after-school programs: A national youth development expert has seen a lot of progress in how people view the role of after-school programming in the development and success of at-risk children. While these programs used to be seen as a pleasant but ultimately unnecessary luxury, more and more communities are beginning to understand the intrinsic value of expanded learning opportunities, said Karen Pittman, founder of the nonprofit Forum for Youth Investment. [Tulsa World]

Despite progress, Oklahoma’s hepatitis C problem goes largely untreated in prisons: The Oklahoma Department of Corrections has made strides in hepatitis C treatment, but only a small number of prisoners with the virus have received drugs that could cure it. The agency reported there were 3,118 inmates with hepatitis C in September. But since July 1, only 243 people — or about 8 percent — have received drugs that could cure the disease, according to data provided by DOC. Only those with the most severe infections are prioritized for treatment. [The Frontier] OK Policy analysis showed that hepatitis C in Oklahoma prisons is an expensive time bomb.

Former investigator drops bombshell allegations against Oklahoma County DA David Prater: A former investigator for Oklahoma County District Attorney David Prater has filed a notice of claim alleging that he was wrongfully terminated after refusing to continue an illegal criminal investigation run by Prater. The claim alleges Muller refused to continue working on that investigation for Prater. [KFOR]

Oklahoma County sheriff’s announcement brings uncertainty, frustration: Oklahoma County Sheriff P.D. Taylor said the jail has become impossible to run because of issues like being underfunded, insults of his management style and numerous jail employees resigning or retiring due to confusion and mistrust of the ongoing transition process. The sheriff has said his office will stop managing the jail starting Jan. 1 [The Oklahoman]

Gallery: New laws taking effect Nov. 1, 2019: More than 300 new laws are set to take effect Friday. The Tulsa World has highlighted several measures signed into law by the governor amid the 2019 legislative session. [Tulsa World]

As Oklahoma’s permitless carry law looms, Kansas may tell us what to expect: Oklahoma will become one of at least 16 states to enact the looser gun policy, but most neighboring states including Arkansas, Missouri and Kansas already allow most people over the age of 21 to carry a gun without a permit or training. After November 1, 2019, people 21 or older in Oklahoma will be allowed to carry guns in public without a permit. The age limit drops to 18 for military personnel and veterans, felons will still be barred from owning guns and some other restrictions apply. [StateImpact Oklahoma]

OEPA continues legislative push to protect vertical wells: Oil and gas industry working-group the Oklahoma Energy Producers Alliance is working on legislation, stalled in the state House in the latest legislative session, to protect vertical producers in the current “Wild West” of the industry. [Journal Record]

Most domestic abusers defy court-ordered intervention: Every year, hundreds of domestic abusers are ordered by the courts to attend 52 weeks of batterer intervention classes. But an Oklahoma Watch review of reports filed with the state by intervention providers found that most offenders don’t complete the program. [Oklahoma Watch] Many victims have darker view of intervention program. [Oklahoma Watch]

A lot more kids are calling Tulsa crisis hotlines. COPES explains 72% increase: Calls by children to Tulsa crisis hot lines have increased dramatically since 2017, a program official said. Amanda Bradley, program director for Community Outreach Psychiatric Emergency Services, attributed the 72% increase in calls by children over a two-year period in large part to new a marketing campaign by the agency and an increased willingness by children to talk about issues. [Tulsa World]

Tulsa World editorial: Having studied Equality Indicators about the Tulsa Police Department, the City Council needs to determine how to address the problems revealed: We were encouraged to hear City Council Chairman Phil Lakin say the city must act in response to what was learned in the Equality Indicators examination process. Initially, the City Council resisted even considering the 2018 and 2019 reports on racial and gender disparities in police arrests, use of force and minority representation on the police force. But after being publicly cajoled, the City Council engaged in the process and seemed to catch on to its importance. [Editorial Board / Tulsa World]

Rezoning tabled: Duncan citizens speak against Dollar General: Duncan City Council saw numerous citizens in chambers during the regularly scheduled meeting Tuesday, most of whom were present to sound off against a proposed Dollar General on Terry Road, should rezoning of the land pass. [Duncan Banner]

Research like a journalist with NonDoc’s public resources page: For NonDoc and other modern news outlets, a good portion of our work happens online. The group formally announced the creation of its new Oklahoma public resources page. The resource is designed to be a bookmarked reference page for accessing public information in Oklahoma. [NonDoc]

Quote of the Day

“We are here to send a mandate that we are ready for Oklahomans to decide this issue at the ballot box.”

– Amber England, Yes on 802 campaign manager, speaking about turning in the largest number of signatures for an initiative petition in state history. [The Oklahoman]

Number of the Day


National percentage of households with an elderly member who would lose Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) food assistance under proposed administration rules to restrict eligibility.

[Source: Bipartisan Policy Center]

See previous Numbers of the Day here.

Policy Note

Kids in poor schools show same academic growth as others, Ohio State study finds: Even though disadvantaged students in poorer school districts might earn lower test scores than those in wealthier districts, students in both settings show the same academic improvement, according to a new study by researchers at Ohio State University. The research challenges the traditional notions that performance gaps between such districts are a product of the schools, researchers said. [The Columbus Dispatch]

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.