In The Know: Oklahoma Democrats allow independents to vote in primary elections

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.

Today In The News

Oklahoma Democrats allow independents to vote in primary elections: Oklahoma Democratic Party delegates voted 314-137 during a Saturday meeting at Oklahoma City Community College to open primaries up to the 261,000 voters in Oklahoma who are registered as independents. Party spokeswoman Sarah Baker said the change will take effect in September [NewsOK].

Younger Oklahomans not voting, citing political disillusion: The number of registered voters in Oklahoma ages 18 to 24 has declined nearly 40 percent in the past decade, according to a Tulsa World analysis of voter registration records. In 2005, there were some 224,000 registered voters between the ages of 18 and 24 years old, the analysis shows. By January 2015, there were about 138,000 Oklahoma registered voters in that age range [Tulsa World].

Americans with Disabilities Act falls short in employment opportunities: For people with disabilities, the 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) unequivocally improved their access to buildings, public services and telecommunications. But 25 years later, employment opportunities for the disabled still fall considerably short. Among the 56.7 million Americans with disabilities, unemployment is nearly 13 percent — or more than double the rate for able-bodied individuals [NewsOK]. NewsOK also shared stories of Oklahomans who have benefited from the legal protections of the ADA [NewsOK].

Tulsa CEO leads on helping former inmates find work: When BAMA Cos. CEO Paula Marshall talks about companies giving support, she means for them to hire convicted felons. She means for companies to become partners with prison reintegration programs to boost workforce quality. “We have some long-term issues, and we need to eliminate the high incarceration rate in Oklahoma,” she said. “We still have thousands of women incarcerated, and change isn’t going to happen overnight. But we can start offering an opportunity with jobs” [Tulsa World].

Oklahoma County District Attorney David Prater says Supreme Court got it right on Ten Commandments monument: The irony of the argument by those who advocate for the continued display of the Ten Commandments monument on the state Capitol grounds is too stark to ignore. The monument itself seems to have some inordinate importance to those who advocate its current placement. The slab of stone on which some man chiseled a replica of God’s holy words has itself become a graven image; an idol. Arguably, the “Stone Worshipers” are breaking one of the very commandments that they claim to be the tenets of their religion [NewsOK].

Oklahoma can’t afford ‘baby steps’ on criminal justice reform: It was good to see Governor Fallin’s remarks about criminal justice in her statement about President Obama’s visit to Oklahoma that included a stop at the federal prison in El Reno. Governor Fallin said, “There is an emerging bipartisan consensus that our justice system must be ‘smart on crime’ as well as tough on crime [OK Policy Blog].

Oklahoma Department of Transportation identifies long-term funding gap: The cost of needed repairs and improvements to Oklahoma’s transportation system is expected to total $37.4 billion over the next 25 years. But only $28.5 billion in revenue is expected to be available to meet those needs, according to the final draft of a new long range planning document prepared by the Oklahoma Department of Transportation [NewsOK].

16 Oklahoma lawmakers attend ALEC conference: More than a dozen Oklahoma Legislators stayed in $300-a-night rooms at the Manchester Grand Hyatt this past week, enjoying breathtaking vistas of San Diego Bay while considering a conservative agenda that may turn into legislation when they return home. The lawmakers were attending the 42nd annual meeting of the American Legislative Exchange Council, which provides fill-in-the-blanks, ready-to-introduce bills on topics like cutting taxes, supporting charter schools and fighting government regulation [NewsOK].

State GOP chairman Randy Brogdon calls for state to ignore Roe v. Wade: Oklahoma should ignore the U.S. Supreme Court’s landmark Roe v. Wade decision and outlaw all forms of abortion immediately, state Republican Party Chairman Randy Brogdon said Friday. Brogdon would not agree that ignoring a Supreme Court decision is likely to cause a confrontation with the federal government [Tulsa World].

Quote of the Day

“I question why the [Ten Commandments] monument was placed outside of the Capitol building in the first place. Was it to imply that Oklahoma is a ‘Godly’ state? When we abuse and murder our women and children at one of the highest rates in the country? When we suffer one of the highest child hunger and poverty rates in the country? When our teen pregnancy and divorce rates are shockingly high? When we choose to incarcerate the mentally ill and addicts rather than providing preventative treatment and therapy?  Given that, can we not do a better job of expressing our faith than placing a monument on the Capitol grounds?”

-Oklahoma County District Attorney David Prater (Source)

Number of the Day


The average per person monthly assistance for Oklahomans who received SNAP (food stamp) benefits in FY 2014.

Source: Oklahoma Department of Human Services via OK Policy

See previous Numbers of the Day here.

Policy Note

In America, mass incarceration has caused more crime than it’s prevented: A new paper from University of Michigan economics professor Michael Mueller-Smith measures how much incapacitation reduced crime. He estimated that each year in prison increases the odds that a prisoner would reoffend by 5.6% a quarter. Even people who went to prison for lesser crimes wound up committing more serious offenses subsequently, the more time they spent in prison. His conclusion: Any benefit from taking criminals out of the general population is more than off-set by the increase in crime from turning small offenders into career criminals [Quartz].

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Gene Perry worked for OK Policy from 2011 to 2019. He is a native Oklahoman and a citizen of the Cherokee Nation. He graduated from the University of Oklahoma with a B.A. in history and an M.A. in journalism.

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