In The Know: OK shifts from juvenile detention to treatment; charter schools growing; uninsured adults in rural 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. Click here to subscribe to In The Know and see past editions.

In The News

OJA contracts with White Fields group home: The Oklahoma Office of Juvenile Affairs will partner with a Piedmont facility to offer a “home-like setting” for male youth in the juvenile justice system, another effort by the state agency to shift from a focus on detention to treatment. The OJA on Sunday announced a contract with White Fields group home to provide treatment, mentoring, education and counseling for up to 12 young males. [NewsOK]

As charter schools multiply, their hunt for buildings, and money, grows: Students as young as 4 spend the day at Le Monde International School learning to speak, write and read in French or Spanish. On a recent day, a class of boys and girls greeted their principal with an enthusiastic “Bonjour!” Another class crafted Eiffel Towers out of craft sticks. The state’s newest charter school offers students a language-immersion, arts-integrated curriculum, books and supplies. What it doesn’t have: a playground, a library or a cafeteria. [Oklahoma Watch]

Texas, Oklahoma have higher rates of uninsured rural adults: Texas and Oklahoma were among non-Medicaid expansion states with the highest rates of uninsured adults, especially those living in rural areas. Meanwhile, that rate in Kansas and Nebraska were among the lowest. According to a study released Tuesday from Georgetown University and the University of North Carolina, of non-elderly uninsured adults, the rates of those living in rural areas is 36 percent in Texas and 38 percent in Oklahoma. In Kansas and Nebraska, the rate is 24 percent. [HPPR] Read the full study here.

OHP pursuit policy could become public: Judge to determine whether it can be used in defense of fleeing driver in trooper’s death: A district judge will review the Oklahoma Highway Patrol’s pursuit policy before deciding whether it potentially can be used in the defense of a man accused of felony murder in a state trooper’s death during a vehicular chase. The defense wants to use the pursuit policy to help argue that D’Angelo Burgess didn’t cause the deadly wreck — in part because he was at least a quarter-mile away when the trooper was struck by another Highway Patrol trooper’s cruiser. [Tulsa World]

Federal government, Creeks ask to argue in Supreme Court reservation case: When an attorney for the state of Oklahoma stands before the U.S. Supreme Court and tells justices that the Muscogee (Creek) Nation no longer has a reservation in eastern Oklahoma — and hasn’t for more than a century — she likely will have in her corner U.S. Solicitor General Noel Francisco. And when a federal public defender stands before that same court and argues the Muscogee (Creek) Nation does, in fact, have a reservation in eastern Oklahoma — and has since 1866 — in her corner likely will be an attorney for the tribe. [NewsOK]

Health Department begins offering free flu shots: The Tulsa Health Department will begin offering seasonal flu vaccinations on October 1. Health officials remind residents that getting vaccinated against the flu every year is the single best way to prevent the flu. The flu vaccine can keep you from getting the flu, make the illness less severe if you do get it, and keep you from spreading the virus to family and other people. [Public Radio Tulsa]

Medical marijuana fees generate millions, but agency can’t touch it yet: Oklahoma’s medical marijuana licensing fees have generated more than $8 million so far, but agency officials can’t touch it.Business license fees have generated more than $4 million in revenue, and patient license fees have brought in about the same. Because there is an $80 discount to Medicaid patients, Oklahoma State Department of Health officials couldn’t immediately nail down an exact number, said agency spokesman Tony Sellars.That revenue would more than cover the amount of money that agency officials siphoned from a bailout fund to establish the program. However, those officials, as well as some in the state’s finance department, decided that the money should go into a fund that can’t be spent immediately. [Journal Record ????]

Gubernatorial, superintendent candidates attend VOICE forum: In a state with the highest incarceration rate in the world and some of the nation’s largest cuts to education, candidates for governor and state superintendent were asked about these and other issues at a Sunday forum hosted by a coalition of churches, worker associations and nonprofits.The Oklahoma City-based nonprofit Voices Organized in Civic Engagement (VOICE) hosted Sunday’s forum and asked candidates about many of the issues it advocates for, including restorative and economic justice, expansion of health care and increased investment in education. [NewsOK]

Democrat faces uphill fight in Oklahoma AG race: Don’t expect to see much of the Democratic nominee for attorney general on TV, if at all. “We hope to be. But if we’re not, we’ll do it another way,” Mark Myles told The Oklahoman on Friday. Myles faces the incumbent, Republican Mike Hunter, in the Nov. 6 general election. [NewsOK] Find election information, State Question fact sheets, and voter tools on our #OKvotes page. [OK Policy]

SQ 798 calls for party tickets in top offices: Among the five state questions Oklahomans will see tacked on to their general election ballots is a measure numbered 798, which would permit candidates for governor and lieutenant governor to run on party tickets. Currently, Oklahomans choose those officeholders independently, and the governor or lieutenant governor could belong to different parties. [Tahlequah Daily Press] Find background information, arguments by supporters and opponents, ballot language, and more on State Question 798 in our fact sheet. [OK Policy]

Tulsa City Council to hold special meeting Wednesday to consider interim councilors for Districts 3 and 7: The Tulsa City Council on Wednesday will consider a proposal to appoint interim councilors to fill seats in Districts 3 and 7. The individuals being considered are Karen O’Brien for District 3, and former Councilor Arianna Moore for District 7. Moore represented District 7 from 2012 to 2014. [Tulsa World]

Tulsa County elected officials getting a raise: Some elected officials in Tulsa County are getting more money for their jobs. The Board of County Commissioners approved Monday increasing annual salaries from $107,062.50 to $110,062.50. Chairman Ron Peters said the increase is not arbitrary. “It’s based on the assessed value of property, and then the formula is calculated based on all that stuff. It’s completely — state statute defines how the raises are calculated,” Peters said. [Public Radio Tulsa]

Judicial nominee John O’Connor has two bar complaints, was sued by a client: Tulsa attorney John O’Connor, whose nomination to be a federal judge was postponed by a Senate committee Friday, was twice investigated by the Oklahoma Bar Association, was sued for allegedly engaging in shady billing practices and was found unanimously to be unqualified by 15 attorneys on a national committee. [NewsOK ????]

Inspection and construction provide some good news at the Oklahoma City VA: Six months after a series of federal reviews found deep flaws dating back years at the Oklahoma City VA Medical Center, the hospital has received some rare good news from inspectors. In a 67-page report Thursday, the VA’s Office of Inspector General says it found few problems with the hospital during a weeklong review of its medical and administrative processes this June. [NewsOK]

Oklahoma entities to receive nearly $6 million to combat opioid crisis: The U.S. Department of Justice announced Monday that it has awarded nearly $6 million to Oklahoma groups to help combat the opioid crisis.The Oklahoma grants are part of nearly $320 million in grant funds that are being distributed nationwide, Tulsa U.S. Attorney Trent Shores announced Monday. [NewsOK]

Oklahoma State Department of Health receives $7M to support home visitation program: The Oklahoma State Department of Health received an award totaling more than $7 million to support home visiting services to women during pregnancy, and to parents with young children through kindergarten completion. The funds are awarded by the Health Resources and Services Administration to support Oklahoma’s Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Visiting Program, which served 1,100 households during FY 2017. Award funds are allocated through September 2020. [KFOR]

Quote of the Day

“Last year’s flu season numbers were dangerously high. We hope to spread the message about the serious importance of getting vaccinated to protect you and your loved ones.”

Dr. Bruce Dart, executive director of the Tulsa Health Department, which is offering free flu shots at several locations in Tulsa County [KWGS]

Number of the Day


Oklahoma’s national ranking for greatest number of instructional days lost due to out-of-school suspension for black students in 2015-2016, at 93 days of instruction lost per 100 students.

[The Center for Civil Rights Remedies and ACLU report]

See previous Numbers of the Day here.

Policy Note

The rise of the middle class safety net: Welfare reform is in the air again. Congressional Republicans are pushing for greater work incentives to be attached to the receipt of certain benefits, especially SNAP and Medicaid… Most people following the debate could be forgiven for thinking this is solely a conversation about the help offered to the poor. This is not the case. An increasing share of spending on the safety net goes to families above the poverty line. Low-income and even middle-income families are also more reliant on means-tested transfers than in the past. [Brookings]

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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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