In The Know: Oklahoma seeks to address lawyer shortage for abused and neglected children, Health care working group seeks clarity on Medicaid expansion, More Oklahoma babies surviving to celebrate their first birthday

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

Rose takes helm at OK Policy: Ahniwake Rose became executive director of the Oklahoma Policy Institute on Tuesday, succeeding longtime director David Blatt. A native Oklahoman, Rose has two decades of experience in national policy initiatives and nonprofit organizational leadership, most recently as deputy director and interim executive director of the National Congress of American Indians in Washington, D.C.  [Journal Record]

In The News

Oklahoma seeks to address lawyer shortage for abused and neglected children: Tsinena Thompson is the CEO of Oklahoma Lawyers for Children, a nonprofit that represents abused and neglected children in Oklahoma County. “There’s a great disparity in the availability of qualified attorneys to represent children and qualified attorneys to represent parents throughout the state,” Thompson said. [StateImpact Oklahoma

Health care working group seeks clarity on Medicaid expansion: Co-chair Sen. Greg McCortney said he’d heard claims expansion through a proposed state question would cover as many as 600,000 people. Oklahoma Deputy Secretary of Health Carter Kimble said the actual number is around 216,000. [Public Radio Tulsa] Visit our resource page for more information on SQ 802.

More Oklahoma babies surviving to celebrate their first birthday: Oklahoma continues to take positive steps to reduce infant deaths. Through the work of many dedicated partners and individuals, the Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH) announced the state’s infant mortality rate (IMR) has decreased by 17% since 2007, equating to 183 more babies able to spend their first birthday with their families. [CNHI]

State seeking public input on maternal and child health services: Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH) is requesting input from the public to assist in developing a state plan for maternal and child health services. [CNHI]

Honor System: Agency tasked with continuing education of Oklahoma officers takes training ‘on good faith’: To remain certified, every Oklahoma law enforcer must receive 25 hours of “continuing education,” including two hours of mental health training. Who’s checking to make sure the training is appropriate? “The honor system,” according to the operations manager of a state agency tasked with law enforcement curriculum accreditation. [The Frontier]

Attorney: Permitless carry petition collected between 30,000 and 50,000 signatures: An attorney for the coalition seeking to challenge a permitless carry law does not think volunteers collected enough signatures to refer the measure to the ballot in 2020. [The Oklahoman]

States, politicians back gun-maker in Sandy Hook appeal: Ten states — including Oklahoma — and nearly two dozen members of Congress are joining the National Rifle Association in supporting gun-maker Remington Arms as it fights a Connecticut court ruling involving liability for the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting. [AP News]

Marijuana tax collections hit new high: Tax collections for the medical marijuana industry hit a new high in August, showing revenue growth for the 11th straight month since the first tax collections in October 2018. [The Oklahoman]

AG offers clarity on preschool provision targeting marijuana dispensaries: Some of the nearly 2,000 medical marijuana dispensaries in Oklahoma may have to either close or change locations due to a new state law that prohibits marijuana sales within 1,000 feet of a preschool. [Journal Record]

Hackers get $4.2 million from Oklahoma pension fund for retired troopers, state agents: The FBI is investigating a cybertheft of $4.2 million from the state’s pension fund for retired Oklahoma Highway troopers, state agents, park rangers and other law enforcement officers. [The Oklahoman]

(Podcast) Signature counting starts, anti-red flag legislation, Department of Public Safety shakeup & more: This Week in Oklahoma Politics, KOSU’ Michael Cross talks with Republican Political Consultant Neva Hill and ACLU Oklahoma Executive Director Ryan Kiesel. [KOSU]

Tulsa school budget input session scheduled: The first community meeting to discuss the budget issues for the Tulsa Public Schools will be a week from next Tuesday. It will be held at Tulsa’s Webster High School. [Public Radio Tulsa]

Judge recommends mediation over hotel tax challenge: The city of Tulsa and opponents of its Tourism Improvement District and assessments on hotel stays are headed to mediation and a potential settlement after a hearing Thursday afternoon. [Tulsa World]

USAF ‘tactical pause’ for mental health brings Tinker community together: For the past five years, the top cause of death among Air Force personnel has been suicide. Despite previous efforts, leaders say they still fight against barriers and stigmas that prevent enlisted, officers and civilian employees from seeking help. [The Oklahoman]

Regulation slow to catch up with drone technology: The challenges faced by aerospace companies working with drones were discussed Thursday by a panel hosted by the Greater Oklahoma City Chamber. [Journal Record]

Court reverses ruling on UKB trust land: Members of the United Keetoowah Band celebrated Thursday afternoon after they learned the 10th Circuit Court had reversed a previous decision, thus allowing 76 acres of land to be placed into trust. [Tahlequah Daily Press]

Oklahoma State researchers are turning beer waste into food: When beer is made, starch and sugars are extracted from the grain, but the solid material is left as waste—nearly 52 pounds for every barrel brewed. Danielle Bellmer and her research team are looking for ways to reuse that spent grain. [KOSU]

Quote of the Day

“There are lawyers everywhere, but this particular area of the law is not glamorous. It’s tough for our rural judges to be able to find the new blood – if you will – to come in and say, ‘OK I’m going to be passionate about this, and here I am, and by the way I’ll only take $25 a case or $25 a hearing.”

– Tsinena Thompson, CEO of Oklahoma Lawyers for Children, on the difficulty of finding attorneys who are trained to represent children and their families in abuse and neglect cases [StateImpact Oklahoma]

Number of the Day


The number of Medication-Assisted Treatment clinics in the state of Oklahoma

[Source: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration]

See previous Numbers of the Day here.

Policy Note

The economist who would fix the American Dream: No one has done more to dispel the myth of social mobility than Raj Chetty. But he has a plan to make equality of opportunity a reality. [The Atlantic]

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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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