In The Know: Oklahoma revenue breaks record; DA defeat opens door to drug court; reassessing occupational licenses…

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 collects a record $12.5 billion over past year: Oklahoma’s gross receipts to the treasury broke a record in September, but only a small fraction of that total can be attributed to the state’s recent historic tax hikes. State Treasurer Ken Miller’s office released its monthly report on Thursday. Collections last month totaled $1.2 billion, which set a record for September collections. [Journal Record]

District attorney defeat could bring drug court to one of the only counties without one: A judge’s promise to bring a drug court to Pawnee County eventually led to a legal dispute with a district attorney who said the county couldn’t support drug court. The DA’s primary election loss may pave the way for a new attempt to bring the county a drug court. [StateImpact Oklahoma]

Costs and requirements of occupational licensing standards under review: After creating tools to determine whether occupational licenses are the best way to regulate workers in several industries, Oklahoma officials got the ball rolling to use them. The Oklahoma Department of Labor has joined the nationwide trend of reassessing occupational licenses. The idea is that for many industries, there are less expensive and less strenuous options that would offer just as much public safety. [Journal Record ????] Occupational licensing is a growing barrier to Oklahomans who seek a decent job. [OK Policy]

Republican, independent vie for OK state treasurer: A Republican and independent will compete Nov. 6 to be Oklahoma’s next state treasurer, a position tasked with oversight of the state’s finances and credit rating. One of the duties of state treasurer is also to invest surplus funds. [NonDoc] You can find election information, State Question fact sheets, and voter tools on our #OKvotes page. [OK Policy]

Oklahoma State School Boards Association encourages a no vote on ‘vague’ ballot measure: The Oklahoma State School Boards Association on Wednesday announced its opposition to State Question 800, which would create another state savings account. [Tulsa World] With SQ 800, Oklahoma voters to decide on saving fossil fuel revenues in a long-term endowment. [OK Policy] Find background information, arguments by supporters and opponents, ballot language, and more on State Question 800 in our fact sheet. [OK Policy]

Summit focuses on students experiencing trauma: When Casey Gwinn met 11-year-old Alex at a camp for children who have experienced trauma, the young boy was filled with rage. Alex, who was exposed to violence and abuse from a young age, charged at another camper who made a remark that triggered him. Gwinn restrained him, holding him for close to an hour until he had calmed. The whole time, as Alex was threatening Gwinn and enraged at him, Gwinn responded with words that were loving and nonjudgmental. [NewsOK]

Football players say assault was a class tradition: Four Putnam City High football players accused of holding and penetrating another player with the broken end of a broom handle told police it was a tradition that had been passed down from “class to class.”The players, who range in age from 15 to 18, confessed verbally and in writing to participating in the assault, according to a Putnam City Schools police report. [NewsOK]

Family of man who died after police tased him multiple times call for charges against officers: The family of a man who died days after an encounter with Tulsa police officers in August has requested that the Tulsa County District Attorney’s Office investigate the officers’ actions with the intention of pursing criminal charges.On Thursday, Damario Solomon-Simmons, an attorney retained by the family of Joshua Harvey, publicly demanded that District Attorney Steve Kunzweiler conduct an independent probe. [Tulsa World]

Panel studies ways to reduce suicide among Oklahoma veterans: More resources would help reduce the number of veterans who commit suicide, a panel of state lawmakers was told Thursday. The Senate Veterans and Military Affairs Committee heard from experts during an interim study on the suicide rate among state veterans. Veterans account for 21 percent of all Oklahoma suicides, said Shelby Rowe, suicide prevention program manager with the Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services. [Tulsa World]

Panel reviews Affordable Housing Act expansion, changes: The state’s affordable housing tax credit should be expanded to Oklahoma, Tulsa, and Cleveland counties, according to a review by PFM Group consulting firm. The Oklahoma Affordable Housing Act is being reviewed by the Incentive Evaluation Commission, though it doesn’t exactly fit the criteria, said Randall Bauer with PFM. [Journal Record]

Medical marijuana patients’ gun rights will be protected under state law, says legislative working group co-leader: A co-leader of the state’s medical marijuana legislative working group said last week he plans to support legislation protecting licensed patients who are also gun owners from state law enforcement interference. [Tulsa World] The Oklahoma State Department of Health has named its first Medical Marijuana Authority director, according to a news release. [News On 6]

Increased access to alcohol has some addiction, public safety experts concerned: Oklahoma’s new alcohol laws have been met with enthusiasm by businesses and beer lovers, but experts in substance abuse and public safety warn that increased access and stronger offerings could cause harm. In 2016, Oklahoma ranked No. 7 in the nation for binge drinking risks, with about 13 percent of adults having reported binge drinking in the past 30 days, according to health care provider Integris. The state ranked No. 5 for chronic liver disease and cirrhosis, according to 2016 statistics from the Centers for Disease Control. [Tulsa World]

Unemployment rate improves for all 77 counties: Every Oklahoma county and the state’s largest metro areas showed improvement in August unemployment rates compared to last year. The jobless rate fell 0.7 percentage points in the Oklahoma City and an entire percent in the Tulsa metro areas since August 2017, hitting rates of 3.2 and 3.5 percent, respectively. These rates are an improvement from the July numbers, when unemployment was at 3.3 percent in Oklahoma City and 3.6 percent in Tulsa. [NewsOK]

Workshop to educate teachers on legislative process: A free workshop will be held to bring a better understanding of how Oklahoma’s legislative process works to prioritize and fund public education, as well as a review of various issues that impact a teacher’s ability to teach and a student’s ability to learn. The one-day advocacy workshop will be held Oct. 19, in Nigh University Center’s Constitution Hall at the University of Central Oklahoma in Edmond. [Woodward News]

OU College of Law associate dean resigns amid controversy surrounding views published in 2014 book: An associate dean of the OU College of Law has resigned his administrative position after his controversial views and affiliations were uncovered. Joseph Harroz, OU College of Law dean, released a public statement saying that Brian McCall has voluntarily resigned his position as associate dean for academic affairs amid controversy. The OU Daily had published two stories on McCall — one regarding his ties to a hate publication and one regarding his 2014 book containing views about women’s wearing pants, same-sex marriage and education. [OU Daily]

Search for new OKC city manager begins: Oklahoma City has produced a 10-page prospectus announcing its hunt for a new city manager. Jim Couch, the city’s longest-serving city manager, is retiring effective Jan. 2 after 18 years. The brochure describes the city’s history and culture, and its council-manager form of government. The city council’s priorities are listed, from public safety and criminal justice reform to enhancing wellness and transit and maintaining strong financial management. [NewsOK]

Two interim Tulsa City Councilors take oath: Two interim Tulsa City Councilors were sworn-in today to fill vacancies in Districts 3 and 7.  District 3 Councilor Karen O’Brien serves on the Sales Tax Overview Committee and District 7 Councilor Arianna Moore is a former City Councilor serving from 2012 to 2014. [Public Radio Tulsa] Council makes new Tulsa flag the official city flag. [Public Radio Tulsa] The City of Tulsa has started the process of establishing a tourism improvement district. [Public Radio Tulsa]

Tulsa County judge issues public apology to jurors for using their private information for campaign purposes: Tulsa County District Judge James Caputo publicly apologized Thursday to jurors who had served in his courtroom for using their private information in his campaign for re-election. “A heartfelt apology is tendered to the former jurors who received letters from me asking them to support my re-election on November 6, 2018,” Caputo wrote in a letter that appeared briefly on the Tulsa County Bar Association’s website. [Tulsa World]

Oklahoma farmers ‘sowing on faith’ after farm bill expires: Federal lawmakers failed to pass a new farm bill by the September 30 deadline. Though key programs like crop insurance won’t be affected, funding for others will stop at the end of the year. “Some of these other smaller programs are vitally important to farmers,” noted Jimmy Kinder, a wheat and cattle farmer in Walters, Oklahoma. [KGOU]

Entrepreneur says he’s been cut out of Oklahoma tribe’s online poker venture: With little fanfare, the tiny Iowa Tribe of Oklahoma launched the world’s first functional internet gaming website owned by a sovereign nation earlier this year. After years of legal wrangling, the tribe’s website quietly went live sometime this spring, without the aid of the enigmatic Florida entrepreneur who initially came up with the idea. [The Frontier]

Joe Exotic kept an AR-15 he said was ‘For Carole’: Federal prosecutors painted a picture of Joe Exotic as a mentally-unstable, vengeful man with nothing to lose during a court hearing Thursday. A U.S. District Court magistrate ruled Maldonado will continued to be held without bond while awaiting trial for murder-for hire charges after hearing about two hours of testimony. [The Frontier]

Quote of the Day

“That’s the journey, but you’ve got to magnify that unfortunately not times 10 kids, but times hundreds of thousands of kids that are in that category, which requires a complete rebuild of the educational system to turn it into trauma-informed education.”

-Alex Gwinn, president of the Alliance for HOPE International, speaking at a summit to help Oklahoma educators better understand and mitigate the impact of childhood trauma [NewsOK]

Number of the Day


How much Oklahoma’s per-student state funding for higher education decreased from 2008 to 2018, after inflation, the 4th largest cuts in the U.S.

[Center on Budget and Policy Priorities]

See previous Numbers of the Day here.

Policy Note

Family consequences of detention/deportation: Effects on finances, health, and well-being: These findings show that detention or deportation has major multigenerational effects across families and the broader community. Families face severe financial hardship while at the same time they are dealing with the emotional trauma of being separated from their loved one. Loss of the family member from the home significantly disrupts children’s lives and has major negative impacts on their mental and emotional health that compromise their ability to learn and perform in school and research suggests will lead to poor long-term physical and mental health outcomes. [Kaiser Family Foundation]

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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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