In The Know: Nursing shortage; backlash to poultry rules; marijuana edibles rules go to governor…

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

OKPolicyCast 42: The 2018 OK Policy Holiday Gift Guide: There are a lot of reasons why winter is our favorite time of year (Fewer tornadoes! Legislative session starts soon!). However, one big reason is that it’s when we’re most likely to give and be given books — always dear to a policy nerd’s heart. It’s also the time when we get to share them with you! [OK Policy]

Tickets for our 6th Annual State Budget Summit are now on sale! Last year Oklahoma made major progress in putting its financial affairs on the right track, but we still have a long road to travel to reverse years of cuts to public services. As Oklahoma’s 2019 legislative session approaches, now is the time to put forward a vision of what broad-based prosperity that benefits all Oklahomans looks like. The 2019 State Budget Summit will be on Thursday, January 24th, 2019 in Oklahoma City. The keynote speaker will be William Julius Wilson, the Lewis P. and Linda L. Geyser University Professor at Harvard University. Click here to purchase your tickets.

In The News

Reports: State facing nurse shortage: Oklahoma is facing a shortage of health professionals as the need for more health care workers increases, according to two reports. An aging population, expanded health coverage, aging nursing workforce and other economic conditions have led to these workforce shortages, according to the reports. [Journal Record ????]

Facing backlash on proposed rules, Board of Agriculture opts to ‘punt’ rules on new poultry farms to Legislature: The Oklahoma State Board of Agriculture scrapped a set of proposed rules on Tuesday that would have required new or expanding poultry operations to maintain certain distances away from houses, streams, schools and other locations after it received an overwhelmingly negative response to the proposal. [The Frontier]

Oklahoma Board of Health sends marijuana edibles rules to governor: The state Board of Health voted on Tuesday to send food safety rules for marijuana edibles to Gov. Mary Fallin. Some advocates welcomed the vote, saying it would bring clarity to the market for cannabis-infused food. A food safety standards board had put together the recommendations over the course of three hours-long meetings in August. [Tulsa World]

Update: Group that authored SQ788 calls AG to investigate flap over marijuana rules, alleged collusion: Oklahomans for Health, the group that helped author and get State Question 788 passed by voters, is calling on the Attorney General’s Office to investigate alleged collusion that preceded a controversy earlier this summer over the state’s medical marijuana rules. [Tulsa World]

Claremore legislator tapped for Senate leadership posts: State Senator Marty Quinn has been selected to serve as Assistant Majority Floor Whip for the 2019 legislative session. [Claremore Daily Progress] Stillwater’s Sen. Dugger named chair of financial subcommittee. [Stillwater News Press] State Representative Dell Kerbs has been appointed by House Speaker Charles McCall to lead the High School Page Program for the 57th Legislature. [Shawnee News-Star]

Owasso senator’s bill would ban vaping at school: Although many schools already ban vaping, a state senator wants to put the restriction into state law. Sen. J.J. Dossett, D-Owasso, is the author of Senate Bill 33. The measure would add vaping to the Tobacco-Free Schools Act. The measure defines “vapor product” as a noncombustible item that may or may not contain nicotine. [Tulsa World]

Gallogly to Boren: Cross me again, ‘I will destroy you’: The relationship between OU President James Gallogly and his predecessor, David Boren, has crumbled amid threats and feuding over the financial status of the university and other issues, according to multiple sources within the university community. Before he took office, Gallogly was critical of the university’s financial status in a June 19 OU board of regents meeting. Boren countered with a letter on June 20 to the Transcript, defending OU’s finances and stating a significant part of the university’s debt was bonded debt with scheduled payments. Following the publication of that letter on June 20, Gallogly told a senior OU administrator to deliver a message to Boren: “You tell him that I am the meanest son of a bitch he has ever seen, and if he ever crosses me again, I will destroy him.” [Norman Transcript]

Oklahoma press secretary shares anti-media tweet: The press secretary for Oklahoma’s Speaker of the House of Representatives shared a tweet on Sunday claiming the media should be treated like a “vipers nest.” Jason Sutton, the press secretary in the office of House Speaker Charles McCall, R-Atoka, shared a tweet by Stephen Miller, a Fox News contributor. [NewsOK ????]

Oklahoma Joe: City, county must face reality on building new jail: You can’t help but get excited about the “Dream Big” campaign soliciting ideas for the MAPS 4 sales tax extension initiative. Improved roads. Neighborhood improvements. Light rail. A new stadium. The ideas seem endless. But let me be that guy who raises his hand in the midst of the excitement to address the elephant in the room, the embarrassing cousin no one wants to talk about, the boondoggle that irritates almost anyone asked about it. The Oklahoma County Jail. [Joe Hight / Journal Record]

Tulsa Jail could soon begin collecting DNA from inmates yet to be convicted of a crime: Tulsa Jail officials said on Tuesday they were set to discuss the possibility of collecting DNA from some arrestees as they enter the facility, an action that would put into effect a law passed more than two years ago. [The Frontier]

Mental Health Association Oklahoma hands out backpacks full of winter gear to homeless: Mental Health Association Oklahoma handed out 250 backpacks at a holiday meal on Tuesday to help Tulsa’s homeless through the winter. Director of Recovery Services Beth Svetlic said the items can make a big difference in a homeless person’s life. [Public Radio Tulsa]

Scores raise questions about veterans center site choice: Some members of a state board erroneously scored cities and disregarded their own scores when they decided in October where to build a new state veterans center, according to documents obtained by The Oklahoman. The Oklahoma Veterans Commission voted 7-1 to build the new center in Sallisaw rather than Muskogee or Poteau, much to the surprise of city officials in Muskogee. [NewsOK]

Quinton gas well drilling company knew rig was unsafe before blowout, fire that killed five, amended lawsuit claims: A “cascade of errors and multiple departures from safe drilling practices” primed the gas well near Quinton for a blowout, with vital safety equipment known to be in disrepair that could have prevented the deaths of five workers, according to a recent court filing. [Tulsa World]

Edmond Mayor Charles Lamb dies at 72: Mayor Charles Lamb, 72, died Tuesday afternoon at his home. During Monday night’s city council meeting, Lamb said he was fighting a cold. Mayor Pro Tem Elizabeth Waner will take over as acting mayor until the council is able to meet for a decision on electing a new mayor. [NewsOK]

‘Oklahoma!’ royalties: A gift that keeps on giving at OMRF: The Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation has received its share of interesting donations over the years. Along with the typical gifts made by check and credit card, there also have been cars, houses, jars of change collected at a lemonade stand and even a toy soldier collection. [NewsOK]

Quote of the Day

“In the midst of the downtown Oklahoma City progress and success, the fading 13-story, 27-year-old structure stands as a testament of our failure. And each year we don’t do something about it, it becomes even more unseemly and the cost of replacing it increases.”

-Journal Record columnist Joe Hight, writing about the Oklahoma County Jail [Source: Journal Record]

Number of the Day


Number of people in Arkansas who have been cut from Medicaid since the state implemented its policy to terminate health coverage for people who don’t meet a rigid work and reporting requirement.

[Source: Center on Budget and Policy Priorities]

See previous Numbers of the Day here.

Policy Note

Lack of housing and mental health disabilities exacerbate one another: Nearly 5 million households, including almost 4 million children, rely on federal rental assistance programs for housing. Despite a growing need for housing assistance, only 1 in 4 eligible low-income renters receives the help they need. This affordability crisis affects a growing number of people but is especially challenging for those with mental health disabilities who are experiencing homelessness. In addition to affordability problems, when searching for housing, people in this group face stereotypes and discrimination, including from landlords who discourage them from applying. [Center for American Progress]

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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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