In The Know: New round of controversial Medicaid changes; Oklahoma Congressional candidates worth millions…

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

Trump readies new round of controversial Medicaid changes: The Trump Administration is poised to reject Arizona’s latest attempt to carve out Medicaid protections for Native Americans — a move that challenges precedent on tribal sovereignty. Arizona is among several states attempting to walk a policy tightrope: impose work requirements on some Medicaid enrollees, but also exempt Native Americans, given their historic standing as separate governments — and the tribes’ political power. The Oklahoma Health Care Authority is also seeking to add work requirements but exempt the tribes. [Politico] There is no evidence that taking away coverage from a person who is unable to work enough will either increase work or improve health. Instead, it actually harms both. [OK Policy]

Many Oklahoma Congressional candidates worth millions, financial disclosures show: Oklahoma has no shortage of millionaire-candidates vying for — or already occupying — the state’s five seats in the U.S. House of Representatives, an analysis of Congressional Personal Financial Disclosure data shows. Of the 18 remaining candidates (which will be winnowed down to 13 after the Aug. 28 primary run-off election), at least eight had an approximate net worth of $1 million or more. [The Frontier]

Stitt’s mortgage firm failed to tell regulators of past problems: Republican gubernatorial candidate Kevin Stitt’s mortgage company did not tell Wisconsin officials about its run-ins with other states’ regulators when it applied for a mortgage banking license a decade ago, according to documents obtained by Oklahoma Watch. Regulators detected the missing information, and Gateway Mortgage Group agreed to pay a $4,000 fine. [Oklahoma Watch]

Rep. Mullin still holds stock in company at center of New York criminal case: An Oklahoma Congressman who last year purchased more than $100,000 worth of stock in a pharmaceutical company at the center of federal insider trading charges against a New York Congressman still owns that stock and is not under investigation, a spokesman said Thursday. [The Frontier

Proposed legislation would help ID missing persons and solve cold cases, attorney general says: Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter has announced proposed legislation aimed at solving cold cases and identifying missing persons. Dubbed “Francine’s Law,” the legislation would require Oklahoma law enforcement agencies to enter all missing persons and unidentified remains into the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System, also called NamUs, within 30 days. [Tulsa World]

District attorneys see little end to staffing issues: The state’s district attorneys said their offices face a staffing crisis because of low pay and high turnover but they’re concerned an outside entity conducting audits won’t delve deeply enough to find that. The District Attorneys Council discussed the funding problems facing offices across the state. Just as with the Oklahoma State Department of Education, the Legislature appropriates money to the council, and the council uses a funding formula to distribute that money to the 27 offices. [Journal Record]

Grady County payroll fiasco spills over into state auditor’s race: The Republican runoff race for state auditor and inspector heated up this week with candidate Charlie Prater criticizing his opponent for failing to detect the suspected decadelong payment of excessive salaries to eight Grady County elected officials. “My opponent, Cindy Byrd, is in charge of county audits for the State Auditor’s Office,” said Prater, who is in an Aug. 28 runoff race with Byrd for the Republican nomination. [NewsOK]

Oklahoma City superintendent strives for ‘equity’ in school district: Oklahoma City schools are back in session and have a new leader for the district. The new superintendent told FOX 25 he is pleased with what he has seen, but acknowledges there is work needed to improve the entire district. “Over the years people outside the school district have taken over the narrative of the school district,” Dr. Sean McDaniel told FOX 25. [FOX 25]

Hamilton: Teacher revolt didn’t end last spring: More than a few Oklahomans – but especially the Big Suits whose offices line the state Capitol’s upper floors – seemed genuinely perplexed last spring when teachers didn’t quickly wrap up their walkout and give thanks for a $6,100 salary hike. It was a big victory for educators who long clamored for relief from a decade-long pay freeze. But it wasn’t the victory they envisioned and they refused to go home for two weeks, leaving legislative leaders baffled about what could be more important than satisfying one’s economic self-interest. It shouldn’t have been a mystery, of course. [Arnold Hamilton / Journal Record]

Gallogly’s plan for OU: Double academic research, annual faculty raises: James Gallogly has focused on cost-cutting since becoming the University of Oklahoma’s 14th president on July 2. But at a press conference Thursday Gallogly announced how he plans to grow the university by investing in human capital. James Gallogly has focused on cost-cutting since becoming the University of Oklahoma’s 14th president on July 2. But at a press conference Thursday Gallogly announced how he plans to grow the university by investing in “human capital.”“We have a large number of students, great academic credentials, good graduation rates. The one thing we lack at this point in time is that really robust graduate education process,” Gallogly explained. “So we’re going to be trying very hard over the next five years to double the amount of research that we’ve been doing so far.” [KGOU]

OU College of Medicine secures $20M grant for health outcomes: Dr. Judith James helped bring another $20 million grant to the Sooner State. The University of Oklahoma College of Medicine professor is the principal investigator on a federal grant to improve residents’ health outcomes. She and a group of Oklahoma clinicians and scientists are addressing some of the deadliest and most complex chronic diseases that can disproportionately affect poor, rural and racial minorities. [Journal Record]

Yukon could be sued if City Council passes medical marijuana ordinance, attorney says: Courtney Young had plans of putting a medical marijuana dispensary on Route 66 in Yukon. However, if the Yukon City Council passes a proposed ordinance, she might not be able to. The ordinance would not allow marijuana dispensaries from being put within 1,000 feet of a church, museum, library, child care center, jail or another dispensary. [KOCO] The Ada Board of Education delayed action Monday on a proposed medical marijuana policy, giving district officials more time to research the issue. [The Ada News]

60 years later: Two women remember a teacher and lesson that fueled a movement: Calvary Baptist isn’t a church anymore; It’s now a law firm. But in the late ’50sit also served as a rallying point where Henderson and Jackson’s school teacher, and leader of the local sit-in movement, Clara Luper, prepared them for civil rights protests that could have left them humiliated, arrested or injured. [StateImpact Oklahoma]

Cherokee Nation releases new book, hosts signings during Cherokee National Holiday: The Cherokee National Holiday is around the corner and with it comes the official release of the new book “Cherokee Nation: A History of Survival, Self Determination and Identity” … The book takes readers through the challenges and opportunities that have shaped the largest tribal nation in the U.S. From ancient traditions and self-governance to survival and a return to self-determination, the Cherokee Nation’s strong sense of identity is undeniable. [Anadisgoi]

Quote of the Day

“That is a huge return on investment for the money we initially received, and now you can add that to the new federal funding. (Using the original grant) with the junior investigators, we launched many careers. That’s a major, exciting accomplishment.”

-OU College of Medicine Professor Dr. Judith James, whose project investigating chronic diseases that disproportionately affect poor, rural, and racial minorities just won a new $20 million federal grant [Journal Record]

Number of the Day


Unemployment rate in Cimarron and Blaine Counties, May 2018, the lowest in Oklahoma.

[Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City]

See previous Numbers of the Day here.

Policy Note

The Republican push for welfare “work requirements,” cartoonsplained: Ross and Holmes stressed the importance of understanding the specific situations of unemployed people. For example, an intervention for less educated young people might be a bridge program, which helps students with poor academic skills prepare for college-level classes or occupational training programs. Other people might need job search assistance, career counseling, or a transitional job. Work requirements don’t aim to solve any of those problems. Rather, they keep basic human necessities hostage in the hopes that it’ll scare poor people into being less poor. [Vox]

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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.

2 thoughts on “In The Know: New round of controversial Medicaid changes; Oklahoma Congressional candidates worth millions…

  1. “Staffing issues” are the best and most effective criminal justice reform in OK can employ. Reduce DA funding to levels that impinge on their ability to prosecute the levels they’ve traditionally prosecuted. Then reduce spaces in OK prisons for counties to send their convicted to, either through quotas or through block grant-type allotments to be spent on state incarceration, and force them to pay for their “justice” with their own dollars instead of having a no-limit state credit card to run up their bill. Just forcing DAs to limit their prosecutions to the available county funds and state allotments would cut the need for the staff sizes that are issues now. Win-win for everyone except those who for decades have pushed our least effective crime control policies that have rewarded themselves at the expense of public safety and crime victims. They’ll just need to get over it, as we say.

  2. Recently noticed that In the Know is no longer in my email box.
    Please add my address to you mailing list.
    Miss reading your fine work

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