In The Know: OK health system ranked next-to-worst; origin of opioid crisis; fiscal year revenue in ‘strong position’…

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

End of Session Round-Up: Missed opportunities to improve financial security: Lawmakers enacted occupational licensing reforms and defeated legislation that would make it more difficult for people struggling with food insecurity to get help, but they also created a new high-interest loan product and overlooked many other policies that could have improved the lives of working families, leaving a lot of work still left to do. [OK Policy]

Increased gross production taxes fueling Oklahoma’s revenue boom: Much of the credit for the prosperous fiscal situation is due to rising oil and gas revenues. In recent sessions the Legislature curbed tax breaks for the oil and gas industry that had allowed a growing share of production to be taxed far below the standard 7% rate. [David Blatt / Enid News & Eagle]

In The News

Oklahoma’s health system among the nation’s worst, study finds: Oklahoma has the next-to-worst health system in the country and is a lot closer to last than it is to the state just ahead of it, a report released Tuesday by the Commonwealth Fund says. “Oklahoma and Mississippi stand out for poor performance even among poor performing states,” David Radley, one of the report’s authors, said during a teleconference. Oklahoma ranked 50th among 50 states and the District of Columbia, just ahead of Mississippi and behind Texas. Hawaii’s system rated the best by far. [Tulsa World]

Opioid epidemic expert testifies about how Johnson & Johnson impacted crisis:  Johnson & Johnson and groups that it funded have “contributed to a public health catastrophe” by repeatedly putting out materials that contained false and deceptive information, a nationally renowned expert on the crisis testified Tuesday. [The Oklahoman] Oklahoma’s star witness told a state judge that Johnson & Johnson pressed doctors to prescribe its painkillers even as the potentially fatal addictive threat posed by the drugs became clear more than a decade ago. [Bloomberg]

The origin of Oklahoma’s opioids crisis: The origin of Oklahoma’s current crisis of opioid addiction can be traced to 1982 and a decision made by Johnson & Johnson to buy a little-known company based in Tasmania, an island off the southern coast of Australia, according to a witness who testified in court here Tuesday. [Journal Record]

May general revenue report projects state to finish fiscal year in a ‘strong position’: General revenue receipts were within 1 percentage point of expectations in May and kept the state on track to finish fiscal year 2019 with a balance of approaching $400 million in its primary operating fund, a report released Tuesday indicates. The OMES’ monthly general revenue report said the fund has received almost $6.2 billion through the end of May, or nearly $365 million more than expected for the first 11 months of FY 2019. [Tulsa World]

Child advocacy group ranks legislators: The Oklahoma Institute for Child Advocacy has released its 2019 Child Well-being Legislative Report Card, and four Lawton area legislators won rankings of 100 percent. The Report Card tracks 25 key pieces of legislation related to the health and safety of Oklahoma children and rates lawmakers based on their voting record. [Lawton Constitution]

Tulsa World editorial: Medical groups go to bat for Oklahoma Medicaid expansion: Medicaid expansion in Oklahoma would bring health care coverage to 153,000 to 196,000 uninsured Oklahomans, according to a court filing last week. The federal government would pay for 90% of the cost. The result would be a state that is physically, psychologically and economically healthier, according to a coalition of health care groups that supports Medicaid expansion. [Editorial Board / Tulsa World]

Oklahoma’s medical marijuana industry faces familiar buzzkill: Oklahoma’s green rush solved problems for those who want to use medical marijuana to treat their ailments, but its success has created plenty of headaches for intrepid business owners looking to carve a niche in the industry. At the end of the day, it becomes a question of what to do with all the cash. And there’s a lot of it. [NonDoc]

The Oklahoman Editorial Board: A troubling prison death lawsuit: A lawsuit by the family of a young man who died last year in an Oklahoma prison alleges abject disregard of his medical condition by prison staff. The portrayal, if close to accurate, is one that should concern all Oklahomans. [Editorial Board / The Oklahoman]

Sides weigh in on alcohol Oklahoma legislation: Businesses with stakes in Oklahoma’s alcohol industry continue to file applications for amicus curiae briefs this week on an Oklahoma State Supreme Court case. These briefs allow applicants an opportunity to provide opinions — either for or against — a proceeding to block Senate Bill 608. [The Oklahoman]

Ex-state senator Garrison dies: Former state senator and veteran educator Earl Garrison died Monday. The Muskogee Democrat died at age 78, according to a death notice published the same day. Garrison, who served as minority whip and then assistant minority leader, represented Senate District 9 from 2004 until he was termed out of office in 2016. [The Oklahoman]

Oklahoma telecom regulators debate transparency of how funds are used: Landline, wireless and Voice over Internet Protocol phone service users in Oklahoma pay monthly state and federal universal service fund fees. Companies’ requests for reimbursements from the Oklahoma Universal Service Fund (OUSF) are intended to help those companies keep services affordable for customers in rural Oklahoma. On Tuesday, the Oklahoma Corporation Commission discussed whether more records related to those requests should be public. [The Oklahoman]

In only its second year, Tulsa Public Schools’ Teacher Corps program is improving at filling holes in the workforce: About 120 people signed up for the second cohort of Tulsa Public Schools’ training institute for emergency-certified teachers — a significant boost from its inaugural year. The aspiring educators are spending six weeks this summer completing the rigorous Tulsa Teacher Corps program, which includes leading real classrooms and mentoring activities from veteran teachers. [Tulsa World]

Teachers get a lesson on Tulsa Race Massacre: It’s a topic, surprisingly, still somewhat new to many Oklahoma educators. “I grew up in Oklahoma City, and I did not hear a lick of this until I got to college,” said eighth-grade teacher, Hannah Lynch. Lynch now opening her eyes to the 1921 Race Massacre. [KTUL]

Devon Energy announces plan to further cut methane emissions at production locations: Devon Energy Corp. announced Monday it plans to further cut methane emissions from its U.S. oil and natural gas production operations. In a news release, company officials stated they plan to lower detectable emissions at production sites by at least 12.5% in six years. [The Oklahoman]

New Cherokee Nation election sought as petition alleges campaign violations from Hoskin Jr., Warner: Two candidates filed petitions Monday contending the Cherokee Nation election results are invalid, alleging their winning opponents violated campaign laws and tribal officials looked the other way. [Tulsa World] The official results, which were certified by the CN Election Commission last week, had Hoskin defeating Dick Lay, 57.51 percent to 27.95 percent. [CHNI]

Oklahoma Democrats split on presidential candidates: Oklahoma Democrats are divided on who should take on President Donald Trump in 2020. Supporters of several of the nearly two dozen Democrats vying for the party’s nomination were on hand over the weekend at the Oklahoma Democratic Party’s state convention in Oklahoma City. [The Oklahoman]

Quote of the Day

“Oklahomans are paying for Medicaid expansion in other states, but our obstinate refusal to accept the money for our own people puts the health of the working poor and the financial stability of our rural hospital network at risk.”

-Tulsa World Editorial Board [Tulsa World]

Number of the Day

1.3 percentage points

Decrease in percentage of prime working age (25-54) Oklahomans working in 2017 compared to 2007.

[Source: Pew Charitable Trusts]

See previous Numbers of the Day here.

Policy Note

A secret to better health care: If our spending on social programs were more in line with other developed countries, our health care costs would fall. That means that as policymakers evaluate a social program, they should weigh not only its direct and second-order benefits — from reducing crime and recidivism to increasing productivity — but also its effect on lowering federal health care costs. [New York Times]

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Jessica joined OK Policy as a Communications Associate in January 2018. Born in Tamaulipas, Mexico, she immigrated to Oklahoma with her family at a young age and obtained a B.A. in Political Science and Philosophy from Oklahoma City University as a Clara Luper Scholar. Prior to joining OK Policy, Jessica worked as an Inbound and Digital Marketing Specialist for an OKC based firm. She is an alumnus of both the National Education for Women (N.E.W.) Leadership Institute (2013) and Summer Policy Institute (2015). In addition to her role at OK Policy, Jessica serves as a Board Member for Dream Action Oklahoma, a community organization dedicated to advocating and empowering immigrant youth in the state.

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