In The Know: OK ranked high for rate of uninsured & rate of women killed by men; #okleg freshmen class ‘almost unprecedented’…

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

Oklahoma high on uninsured list: Although Oklahoma’s surging uninsured rate problem is multifaceted and difficult to pin down, the solution might not be, according to medical professionals and analysts considering new U.S. Census data. The recently released information shows Oklahoma’s uninsured rate is now the second highest in the nation. About 14.2 percent of Oklahoma’s nearly 4 million residents had no medical coverage in 2017, up from 13.8 percent in 2016. [Journal Record]

Oklahoma continues to rank high in rate of women killed by men, study shows: Oklahoma ranks 11th in the nation in the rate of women killed by men, according to a study released Tuesday. Thirty-one women were killed by men in Oklahoma in single-victim, single-offender incidents in 2016, a homicide rate of 1.57 per 100,000 females. Oklahoma’s overall ranking worsened slightly from last year’s report, when the state ranked 15th in the nation. [NewsOK]

#OKleg freshman class size to be ‘almost unprecedented’: Even if no incumbents lose their November general elections, the 57th Oklahoma Legislature will feature a large freshman class of 44 new members in the House of Representatives and 12 in the State Senate. At a minimum, then, 43 percent and 25 percent of members will be new in each chamber, respectively. But numerous other legislative seats are up in the air for the Nov. 6 election. [NonDoc]

(Capitol Update) Oklahoma poverty numbers are part of a larger picture: There’s an interesting, unsettling piece in a recent update by Oklahoma Policy Institute’s Courtney Cullison. It reviews new data from the Census Bureau that reminds us we are behind in Oklahoma when it comes to Oklahomans living in poverty and without health insurance. [Steve Lewis / OK Policy] New Census data shows that Oklahoma fell further behind the U.S. on poverty and uninsured rate for second consecutive year [OK Policy]

Rise in STDs continues to worry Oklahoma health officials: Oklahoma is experiencing an increase in sexually transmitted diseases and continues to rank in the top 10 nationwide for climbing STD rates. The reason behind the rising rates, both in the state and in the U.S., remains a mystery to public health officials. Local health department officials said education, testing and protection are still the best prevention methods. [Journal Record ????]

SNAP offerings expanding in OKC, Tulsa areas: Oklahoma officials announced Tuesday that they’re expanding an employment, education and training program in an effort to get more of the state’s food stamp recipients access to secure, well-paying jobs. Oklahoma Department of Human Services Director Ed Lake said OK SNAP Works, a federal-state and local partnership, will expand its offerings in the Oklahoma City and Tulsa areas by working with four new partners [CHNI]

OCCC launches food pantry to help students and their families: Professors at Oklahoma City Community College (OCCC) were concerned that students were coming to their classes hungry and for good reason. A recent study shows that one in four arrives on campus hungry. But the school decided to do something about it. The OCCC Food Pantry offers students the opportunity to come to the pantry once a week, free of charge. [Fox25]

Upcoming forum in OKC: The State Question on victims’ rights: Oklahoma Watch, in partnership with the League of Women Voters of Oklahoma, will host a public forum Thursday, Sept. 27, in Oklahoma City about State Question 794, which would amend the Oklahoma Constitution to reinforce and extend the rights of crime victims. [Oklahoma Watch] Read supporting and opposing arguments on SQ 794 with our fact sheet [OK Policy]

In business friendly Oklahoma, optometrists bring potential ‘corporate control’ into focus: Brendhan Fritts’ optometry practice in Duncan is filled with brightly colored displays of models in designer glasses, pamphlets on the importance of routine eye care — and posters against State Question 793. It doesn’t look like a scene for political discussions, but with the November election looming, Fritts is having more and more conversations with his patients. [KOSU] Fact sheet on SQ 793: Allow optometrists and opticians to operate in retail stores. [OK Policy]

Corbin Brewster: Why are we spending so much money to lock up low-risk people who haven’t been convicted of anything? Why do we incarcerate a higher percentage of our citizens here in Oklahoma than anywhere else in the world? The question is worth asking now that the director of the Oklahoma Department of Corrections has requested over $800 million to build two new prisons to accommodate a prison population that continues to grow every year. [Corbin Brewster / Tulsa World]

Medical marijuana may be legal but getting seeds into the state isn’t: In the wake of the state’s passage of medical marijuana thousands of Oklahomans have applied for patient and business license. As of Sept. 5, more than 100 applications have been approved, and the licenses have been delivered. [News On 6] The Broken Arrow City Council moves forward with a plan to levy a $2,500 fee on medical marijuana dispensaries. That would be the same dollar amount charged to liquor stores. [Public Radio Tulsa] Yukon officials vote to amend new city ordinances on medical marijuana. [KFOR]

Art teacher named state’s best educator: Oklahoma’s top teacher once risked her life to save her students as a hallway crumbled around them. Becky Oglesby doesn’t consider herself a hero. Just an ordinary person trying to do extraordinary things. Like Batman. Oglesby, 30, teaches art at Ranchwood Elementary School in Yukon, where she is known as the “Batman Teacher” for her love of the Caped Crusader. [NewsOK]

Financial literacy teacher is example of what Oklahoma needs: A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about how Drew Rhodes, senior government teacher at U.S. Grant High School in Oklahoma City, is teaching financial literacy using game-based learning tools from K20. What I did not include in that column was that Drew is the 2018 recipient of the Oklahoma Standard Award. [Scott Meacham / NewsOK]

Oklahoma hospital tries GoFundMe to keep its doors open: Pauls Valley Regional Medical Center should stay open Tuesday, its CEO said, but it’s far from clear that the hospital can last through Wednesday. Frank Avignone, the hospital’s CEO, said Pauls Valley needs $500,000 by the end of the week to pay overdue costs for health benefits. It needs about half of that even faster to make payroll. [NewsOK]

Tulsa doctor whose license was suspended for alleged faulty cosmetic procedures could face more discipline: Tulsa doctor whose medical license was suspended in 2017 after the state found several cases of negligence has failed to comply with the terms surrounding her suspension and could face further disciplinary action, according to the state’s medical board. [The Frontier]

Oklahoma podcasts: A (damn-near) comprehensive list: The following list is by no means exhaustive, but it does seek to highlight the hard work and talents of several Oklahoma-based podcasters who deserve recognition and a listen. As the seasons turn colder, familiarize yourself with some of these feisty productions, perfect for afternoons spent indoors or road tripping during the holidays. [NonDoc]

Quote of the Day

“None of us know just how much creativity and talent we are squandering by choosing not to invest more in public education in Oklahoma. How many children invisible in the back of the class, coming to school hungry, and not having needs met in any aspect of their lives, could be world-changers? More than we think.”

-Scott Meacham, president and CEO of i2E Inc., on the need to invest in public education. [NewsOK]

Number of the Day


Oklahoma’s seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate, July 2018

[Oklahoma Employment Security Commission]

See previous Numbers of the Day here.

Policy Note

Fearing immigration-related consequences, many families forgo basic health and nutrition services: Forgoing the vital support that WIC (the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children) provides — including nutritious foods, nutrition education, breastfeeding support, and referrals to health care and social services — can put women’s and young children’s health at risk. Research shows that WIC improves children’s diets and that when women participate, their babies are healthier, more likely to survive infancy, and go further in school. Some families are also backing out of Medicaid, Lanre Falusi, a Washington-area pediatrician with Children’s National Health System, told Bloomberg Law. She cited, for instance, immigrant parents who dropped coverage for their son, who has sickle cell disease. [Center on Budget and Policy Priorities]

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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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