In The Know: OKC woman jailed by mistake two weeks; hearing to reopen jail ends in confusion; agencies face deadline to report lobbyists…

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

Joint Statement: Installment loan bill needs improvement to protect Oklahomans from financial harm: Last month, the Oklahoma Senate passed a bill, SB 720, to create a new installment loan product in Oklahoma. While this bill is an improvement over HB 1913, which passed the Legislature and was vetoed by Governor Fallin in 2017, there are still items of concern that must be addressed in order to protect struggling Oklahomans from the very real financial harms that could result from this bill as currently written. [OK Policy]

Intern with us this summer! OK Policy is now accepting applications for paid, part-time or full-time internships in our Tulsa office during the Summer 2019 semester! If you’re looking to be part of a team that’s fighting to make Oklahoma better for all Oklahomans, this might be the place for you. The deadline to apply is Sunday, April 21st. [OK Policy]

In The News

Oklahoma City woman jailed by mistake two weeks: A first-ever check of every inmate in the Oklahoma County jail found a 20-year-old woman had been locked up for days by mistake. “This is the most egregious case in my opinion,” Public Defender Bob Ravitz told the presiding judge in a report on issues found during the March 8 check of more than 1,600 inmates. Giselle Perez was jailed early Feb. 26 after a traffic stop because there was still an outstanding warrant for her arrest on a 2015 juvenile shoplifting charge even though the case had been dismissed. [NewsOK ????]

Hearing to get Nowata County jail reopened ends in confusion over judge’s actions. ‘This was a flat ambush,’ attorney says: No conclusion was reached Tuesday during a court hearing that left Nowata County residents more puzzled than before about the status of their jail and Sheriff’s Office. The hearing, a confrontation between recently resigned Sheriff Terry Sue Barnett and District Judge Carl Gibson, concluded without an order or another hearing date. [Tulsa World] An Oklahoma sheriff quit in protest over dangerous jail conditions. So did all the deputies. [Washington Post]

Former Health Department attorney files lawsuit against Unity Bill: An attorney who resigned from the Oklahoma State Department of Health filed a lawsuit Tuesday against her former state agency, claiming Oklahoma’s new medical marijuana regulations are unconstitutional. [NewsOK] In the lawsuit, Julia Ezell wrote that House Bill 2612 will take away the due process rights of her client, Leslie Collum, a licensed patient working in the medical field and a commercial medical marijuana license holder. [Tulsa World]

Do you hire lobbyists? Agencies face deadline from Stitt: Nine days ahead of a March 29 deadline, more than 100 state entities have yet to respond to Gov. Kevin Stitt’s executive order seeking comprehensive information about contract lobbyists hired by Oklahoma agencies, boards and commissions. Stitt issued the executive order in January, which also prohibited state departments from creating or renewing lobbyist contracts for the remainder of FY 2019, which ends June 30. [NonDoc]

Oklahoma Office of Management and Enterprise Services says it needs $16M by April 1 for IT program: Oklahoma’s state IT department asked lawmakers Tuesday for an additional $16 million by the end of the month. Lawmakers ordered information technology service consolidation through the Office of Management and Enterprise Services for dozens of state agencies in 2011. OMES now provides services to more than 110 state agencies. [Public Radio Tulsa]

Oklahoma’s digital chief: Ostrowe says overhaul could save state more than $1B: David Ostrowe can see the day coming when Oklahomans won’t have to put stickers on their license plates every year to prove they’ve paid their vehicle taxes. As big a change as that might be, it’s not even the tip of the iceberg of change that’s coming, at least as far as Ostrowe is concerned. [Journal Record ????]

Uninsured drivers decreasing: Since automated ticketing system launched, nearly 1,000 got car insurance: In the few months Oklahoma’s Uninsured Vehicle Enforcement Diversion program has scanned license plates across the state, the program has sent more than 14,000 violation notices to drivers. [Tulsa World]

Senate panel advances measure to limit damages in nuisance suits against farmers: A Senate panel on Tuesday passed a measure that would cap some damages in nuisance lawsuits brought against pig and poultry farmers. The measure also extends the protection to other farming operations that are subject to similar legal action. [Tulsa World]

Oklahoma House Bill could ban vaping, lighted marijuana in public places: An Oklahoma bill that would ban the use of e-cigarettes and vaping devices in public places passed the House March 13 with a 94-1 vote and moves on to the Senate. [KXII] Student tobacco violations in Oklahoma are on pace to beat the number of last year’s violations by a wide margin. [Journal Record ????]

Bill prohibiting cities from regulating, banning certain containers heads to Oklahoma House: A bill moving through the Legislature prohibiting cities and towns from banning or taxing certain containers is now in the hands of Oklahoma House lawmakers. Senate Bill 1001, authored by Sen. James Leewright, R-Bristow, heads to the Oklahoma House for consideration after passing the Senate by a vote of 35 to 9. [KFOR]

Tulsa Air National Guard base construction project on chopping block to fund Trump’s wall, per Pentagon report: Projects at three military facilities in Oklahoma could be cut to fund President Donald Trump’s proposed border wall after his national emergency declaration in February. An $8 million small arms range at the Oklahoma Air National Guard base in Tulsa, a $16 million fire rescue center at Altus Air Base and a $7 million diesel system at the McAlester Army Ammunition Plant face cuts as the Pentagon looks to fund the wall. [Tulsa World] More than $190 million approved for military construction projects at Tinker Air Force Base and Altus Air Force Base won’t be tapped to build a border wall under President Donald Trump’s emergency declaration, according to information compiled by the Pentagon. [NewsOK]

Students plan rally against gun violence: High school students plan to advocate for gun control with a Saturday rally in Oklahoma City, although organizers want the focus to be on “realistic policies for Oklahoma.” [NewsOK]

Legislation would loosen training for people carrying guns into school: The Oklahoma House of Representatives has passed legislation that would dangerously lower the minimum standards for people to carry guns in public schools. Current law allows school boards to approve personnel to carry guns on campus if those people have law enforcement or armed security guard certifications. That’s a high standard, but not one that has proven impossible to meet. [Editorial Board / Tulsa World]

OETA Foundation Backs Attorney General’s Review: The president and CEO of the OETA Foundation says the nonprofit fundraising group welcomes a full review of its finances and business operations by the Oklahoma attorney general’s office. [AP News]

Quote of the Day

“I was really mad. I was mad because I was in there for nothing. I didn’t deserve to be in there. That’s what I thought the whole time.”

-Giselle Perez, who was locked up by mistake in the Oklahoma County jail for two weeks after a traffic stop, during which she lost her job and her father missed work to watch her two children [Source: NewsOK]

Number of the Day


Average age of first use of alcohol among Oklahoma youth.

[Source: ODMHSAS]

See previous Numbers of the Day here.

Policy Note

A well-meaning job training bill that may hurt more than help: Short-term training programs have only one purpose. If they don’t lead to better jobs and wages, they have failed. And study after study finds that too many such programs are, in fact, failing. The Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce found that while certificate programs increase earnings on average, “there are many certificates — especially in fields of study with high concentrations of women — that do not confer a substantial wage premium over a high school degree.” [New York Times]

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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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