In The Know: Medical groups ask for enhanced virus protocols | SQ 802 vote on Tuesday | Racism in Oklahoma

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. Some stories included here are behind paywall or require subscription. OK Policy encourages the support of Oklahoma’s state and local media, which are vital to an informed citizenry. Subscribe to In The Know and see past editions.

New from OK Policy

SQ 802 will dramatically improve financial well-being in Oklahoma: On June 30, Oklahomans will decide State Question 802 that would add Medicaid expansion to the Oklahoma Constitution. Arguments in favor of SQ 802 have rightly been centered around its well-documented health effects. Expansion is a financial issue, as well. This is true both for the state and the families who will enroll in Medicaid. [Paul Shinn / OK Policy]

SQ 802 is a win for criminal justice reform in Oklahoma: Beyond its enormous implications for our health care system, State Question 802, the ballot measure to expand Medicaid in Oklahoma, is also a significant criminal justice issue. Nearly a decade of evidence shows that expanding Medicaid increases access to mental health and substance use treatment, supports diversion programs, and even correlates with reduced crime rates, particularly for communities of color and rural communities. Passing SQ 802 is a great opportunity to move our state’s work on criminal justice reform forward. [Damion Shade / OK Policy]

What we know about Oklahoma’s 2020 legislative elections: Two years ago, Oklahomans participated in what were, in many ways, historic elections. As the June 30th primaries approach, we already know that the 2020 elections will look very different than 2018. [David Blatt / OK Policy]

Oklahoma News

Oklahoma State Medical Association asks Gov. Stitt to ‘enhance’ COVID-19 policy, encourage masks: The Oklahoma State Medical Association has asked Gov. Kevin Stitt to put more effort into convincing people to wear masks in public. “Too many people are still taking an ‘it’s not my problem’ approach to the virus,” Dr. George Monks, president of the OSMA, said in a statement released Thursday. [Tulsa World]

  • Confirmed coronavirus cases approach 13,000 in Oklahoma [AP News]
  • COVID-19: Another fatality reported with 302 new cases in Oklahoma [Tulsa World]
  • Despite climbing COVID numbers, Oklahoma not yet on quarantine list [Tahlequah Daily Press]
  • As cases surge in U.S., rural areas seeing increases as well [AP News]
  • Second Mustang Public Schools student-athlete, assistant coach test positive for coronavirus [KOCO]
  • Reporter at Trump’s Tulsa rally tests positive for COVID-19 [AP News]
  • Trump’s rally drew people from dozens of virus hot spots [Bloomberg]
  • Workers removed social distancing stickers before Trump’s Tulsa rally, according to video and a person familiar with the setup [Star Tribune]
  • Oklahoma Medical Reserve Corps an integral part of Tulsa’s COVID-19 pandemic response [Tulsa World]
  • COVID-19 testing drew a record crowd in Norman last week. I was among them. [Oklahoma Watch]

Voters in deep-red Oklahoma weigh Medicaid expansion as virus cases climb: If voters approve a ballot measure on Tuesday, Oklahoma would become the first state to broadly expand government-backed health insurance to many of its poorest residents since the beginning of a pandemic that has stripped many people of coverage. At the same time, that could scuttle the Trump administration’s efforts to make Oklahoma a test case for its plan to transform the entitlement program into a block grant. [Politico]

  • Some business leaders come out in support of Medicaid expansion, but governor still opposed [Public Radio Tulsa]
  • SQ 802: Voting on Medicaid expansion during a pandemic [NonDoc]
  • Amid pandemic, Oklahomans to vote on Medicaid expansion [The Oklahoman]
  • The basics on Medicaid expansion vote [Oklahoma Watch]
  • At Heart of Medicaid Expansion Vote: What Program Would Cost Oklahoma [Oklahoma Watch]
  • Voters to weigh in on State Question 802 which would expand Medicaid coverage [Tulsa World]
  • Medicaid, GOP congressional primary top Oklahoma ballot [AP News]
  • Trump faces another Oklahoma blow in Tuesday’s Medicaid expansion vote [Forbes]
  • Rural Oklahoma needs Medicaid now: We urge people to vote ‘yes’ on SQ 802 [Op-Ed / Indian Country Today]
  • Anoatubby: SQ 802 offers opportunity for Oklahoma [Op-Ed / The Ada News]
  • Editorial: Managed care didn’t work the first time around, but why should we learn anything from that experience? [Editorial Board / Tulsa World]

Segregated at birth: Oklahoma was raised on racism: While Oklahoma combats death and economic destruction brought on by the coronavirus pandemic, it also wrestles with an old virus brought to light by civil unrest. The killing of George Floyd by Minneapolis police, Breonna Taylor by Louisville police and Ahmaud Arbury by white vigilantes in Georgia has inspired protests around the globe, including several Oklahoma communities. [The Oklahoman]

  • Some OKC protesters charged with terrorism, rioting, assault [The Oklahoman]
  • ACLU slams DA over protest charges [The Oklahoman]
  • Family of man who died after police stun gun incident sues city of Tulsa, individual officers [Tulsa World]
  • Leaders call for unity within, outside Black community to effect local change [Enid News & Eagle]
  • ‘We need reform’: Activists rally for racial equality in downtown Owasso [Tulsa World]

Health News

New rule means parents must take more steps to exempt children from vaccinations for nonmedical reasons: Gov. Kevin Stitt will allow the state health department to make it slightly more complicated for parents to exempt their children from school and child care center vaccinations for non-medical reasons. [Oklahoma Watch]

Election News

Dark money groups spend thousands ahead of June 30: The local arm of a national “dark money” group is linking state lawmakers to movie producer and convicted rapist Harvey Weinstein, following the lead of a separate national organization ahead of Oklahoma’s primary elections. [The Oklahoman]

In the midst of a pandemic, Tuesday’s election sure to be different: With the social and economic turmoil accompanying the COVID-19 pandemic, the recent protests centered on racial injustice and last weekend’s visit to Tulsa by President Donald Trump, the upcoming state and local elections may have slipped the minds of many. [Tulsa World]

Oklahoma County commissioner raises more than $120,000 in less than four months: In the months a criminal investigation was hanging over his head, Oklahoma County Commissioner Brian Maughan put off raising any money for his 2020 campaign. He wasn’t even sure if he would run for reelection. [The Oklahoman]

Oklahoma Elections 2020: As the 2020 Oklahoma elections unfold, NonDoc has provided 2020 Oklahoma Legislature primary statewide previews and other election information. [NonDoc]

State Government News

Long wait: Unemployment agency playing catch up with jobless claims deluge: For hundreds of thousands of Oklahomans, applying for unemployment benefits after losing their jobs due to COVID-19 has meant being trapped in a nightmare of crashing web pages, hours-long hold times and promised call backs that never arrive. [Gaylord News / NonDoc] The Oklahoma Employment Security Commission has scheduled two Oklahoma City events for people needing help processing their unemployment claims. [The Oklahoman] Photo gallery: Oklahomans wait hours to get unemployment help [The Oklahoman]

Oklahoma to begin issuing Real IDs Monday: Oklahoma will begin issuing Real ID driver’s licenses Monday, making it one of the last states to seek compliance with federal legislation passed in 2005. [The Oklahoman]

Lawsuit challenges changes in medical marijuana law: A Tulsa law firm has filed a class action lawsuit against the Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Authority for rejecting license renewals of medical marijuana dispensaries because of changes in state law made after the entities were licensed. [The Lawton Constitution]

Federal Government News

Shawnee Tribe sues feds over CARES Act funds: The Shawnee Tribe in northeast Oklahoma has filed a federal lawsuit claiming the Trump administration undercounted the tribe, costing them millions of dollars in CARES Act funds. [KOSU]

Oklahoma members split on police reform, D.C. statehood bills: U.S. Rep. Kendra Horn joined other Democrats in approving legislation this week to ban chokeholds and no-knock warrants by police officers and create a national database for police misconduct. Three Republicans in the House from Oklahoma opposed the bill. [The Oklahoman]

Economy & Business News

Fracking pioneer Chesapeake files for bankruptcy protection: Chesapeake Energy, a shale drilling pioneer that helped to turn the United States into a global energy powerhouse, has filed for bankruptcy protection. [AP News] The company announced that it has filed for Chapter 11 protections in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District Court of Texas “to facilitate a comprehensive balance sheet restructuring.” [NonDoc] Chesapeake Energy is the largest U.S. oil and gas producer to seek bankruptcy protection in recent years as it bowed to heavy debts and the impact of the coronavirus outbreak on energy markets. [Reuters] Chesapeake CEO Doug Lawler reassured the company’s 1,900 employees Sunday that both they and the company have a future after it filed for bankruptcy protection. [The Oklahoman]

Pandemic exposed flaws in meat production: An agricultural task force and Oklahoma’s CareerTech system are sinking their teeth into new training opportunities for meat processing jobs. [The Oklahoman]

Oklahoma State Fair cancelled due to COVID-19, a $100 million economic impact hit: The 2020 Oklahoma State Fair has been cancelled due to public health concerns around COVID-19. The unanimous vote happened Friday morning after months of discussions by the fair’s board of directors. [KOSU] Although the state fair has sometimes been modified — particularly during World War II — spokesman Scott Munz said this is the first time in the venerable event’s history that it has been completely canceled. [The Oklahoman]

Education News

Oklahoma teachers worried about return to school amid coronavirus: A survey by the Oklahoma Education Association reveals educators’ anxieties about coming back to school in fall 2020. More than 80 percent of educators who responded to the survey say they’re concerned about their own health next year. [KOSU]

Tuition at Oklahoma colleges and universities will mostly remain flat: For most Oklahoma college students, tuition and fees won’t rise next year, and for those that do see an increase, it will only be by an average of 1.4 percent. [KOSU]

General News

‘Through art, I hope that we can make one Tulsa’: Talking with two organizers of the movement to reclaim the long-ignored history of Black Wall Street and the Greenwood district’s achievements. [New York Times]

‘Better prepared’: OU medical students work to improve LGBTQ health care: Students and educators at the OU College of Medicine are marking Pride month by helping future health care providers better serve LGBTQ patients. [The Oklahoman]

What’s the real flood danger in Oklahoma? New data shows the risk to your home: As global climate change begins to make a home in the United States in the form of rising seas, punishing storms, and more intense rainfall, the federal government underestimates the flood risk for 61,474 households and properties in Oklahoma, a wide-ranging scientific analysis released Monday found. [The Oklahoman]

Oklahoma Local News

  • North Tulsa moves closer to having an ‘Oasis’ in a food desert [Tulsa World]
  • Norman’s homeless count down over 2019 numbers in January [Norman Transcript]
  • Norman councilperson claims she was the intended target after neighbor was sexually assaulted [News9]
  • Man displaying swastikas arrested for shooting woman taking flag [Enid News & Eagle]
  • Ardmore’s first ever Pride and Health Fair [KTEN]

Quote of the Day

“Too many people are still taking an ‘it’s not my problem’ approach to the virus.”

-Dr. George Monks, president of the Oklahoma State Medical Association [Tulsa World]

Number of the Day


Number of states that have rolled back their expanded coverage through Medicaid.

[Source: Kaiser Family Foundation]

See previous Numbers of the Day here.

Policy Note

Medicaid expansion: Ten years of unparalleled return on investment, improved outcomes: Oklahomans will be voting on a known quantity on June 30th this year when considering State Question 802, a measure to expand Medicaid coverage to low-income Oklahoma adults between the ages of 19 and 64. This research shows that Medicaid expansion provides significant benefits not only for low-income adults in the U.S., specifically in states that expanded Medicaid, but also across local and state economies. No state has rolled back their expanded coverage through Medicaid, which perhaps serves as the best validation of the program’s strength. [OK Policy]

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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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