In The Know: Oklahoma state tax revenues continue slide

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 state tax revenues continue slide: For the fourth consecutive month, tax receipts were down along with the price of oil. Gross receipts in August dropped 3.5 percent below the same month last year as collections from oil and natural gas were lower. Oil and natural gas collections are likely to get worse before they get better. That’s because the collections in the current report are from oil-field activity in June when oil prices were higher than they are now [NewsOK].

Pruitt keeps fighting decision to remove Ten Commandments monument: Despite the Oklahoma Supreme Court already ruling on the issue, Attorney General Scott Pruitt filed a legal brief asking the Court to consider whether their interpretation of the Oklahoma Constitution “creates hostility toward religion that violates the U.S. Constitution.” Brady Henderson, legal affairs director for the American Civil Liberties Union of Oklahoma, which filed the case against the monument, called Pruitt’s brief desperate, frivolous and outlandish. He said he was considering asking the court for sanctions and damages to be levied against the attorney general [NewsOK].

Oklahoma City considers not finishing American Indian Cultural Center: A firm out of St. Louis will look at what could happen if Oklahoma City decides not to finish the American Indian Cultural Center and Museum. We’re coming up on 10 years since construction began. It stopped in 2012. Mayor Mick Cornett says the legislation was passed with a lot of strings attached and the city was never consulted as negotiations took place [News9].

Despite Oklahoma’s officials’ complaints, utilities on path to achieve federal emission cuts: Oklahoma officials are fighting the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency over the Obama’s administration’s new Clean Power Plan, the federal government’s push to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from power plants. But Oklahoma’s largest electric utilities have a big head start cutting back on coal, and are already on their way to compliance [StateImpact Oklahoma].

Public lecture will discuss challenges for children aging out of foster care: Every year, hundreds of children are removed from home and placed into DHS care. Many of them are reunified or adopted after a few months, but some stay in DHS care for many years, and, upon turning 18, leave the system and are plunged into the “real world” with little or no experience. Using data from various agencies across the state, researchers from the Oklahoma Department of Human Services will discuss what happens to children who age out of Oklahoma’s child welfare system [OK Policy].

Committee will look for discrimination in school-to-prison pipeline: Educators, academics, attorneys and government officials will have a chance to testify at a hearing this month about how policies exacerbate the school-to-prison pipeline and whether school discipline or juvenile justice policies have a discriminatory affect based on race, gender or disability. The state’s advisory committee to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights will review school policies and the law, and then submit a report with recommendations if necessary [Journal Record].

Most state college graduates work in Oklahoma: According to the 2015 Employment Outcomes Report by the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education, 85 percent of Oklahoma students are working in the state one year after graduation. The top four degree-producing areas are education, business administration, engineering and engineering technologies, and health professions [NewsOK].

Absence of fairness in Oklahoma’s use of death penalty: Richard Glossip is set to die of lethal injection Sept. 16 at the Oklahoma State Penitentiary in McAlester while Justin Sneed, the man Glossip supposedly hired to carry out the killing, goes about his routine at a medium-security prison in Lexington where he serves a life-without-parole sentence. The man who wasn’t even present during the murder is facing execution while the man who actually administered the fatal beating will live? How fair is that? It’s not. It’s arbitrary. It’s capricious. And it ought to give Oklahomans real pause about how their authorities apply the ultimate punishment [Arnold Hamilton / Journal Record].

Chickasha hospital could lose Medicare funding in November: The state Department of Health has concluded that equipment deficiencies at Grady Memorial Hospital are severe enough to cost the rural health care provider its access to Medicare funding. Hospital CEO and President Kean Spellman said the board of trustees will not let that ultimatum come to pass, however. Trustees met Thursday to discuss necessary improvements to keep the 58-year-old hospital operational, a list of which must be submitted to the Health Department by Sept. 11, as well as financing longer-term solutions that will likely involve building a new facility [Journal Record].

See Oklahoma’s top mental health officer dress, dance as Michael Jackson: No one can claim that Oklahoma’s leader in the state mental health and substance abuse agency isn’t game for a challenge. Terri White summoned the spirit of Michael Jackson to recreate the “Bad” video. The video is part of a #JustKeepDancing challenge to raise awareness for pediatric cancer [Tulsa World].

Quote of the Day

“After five years, we’ve lost about 40 percent of them out of the profession, out of the state.”

-Tony Hutchison, vice chancellor with the State Regents for Higher Education, speaking about Oklahoma’s significant losses of teachers graduating with a bachelor of science of education (Source).

Number of the Day


Approximate number of foreign-born children in Oklahoma, 2% of all children in the state.

Source: KIDS COUNT Data Center

See previous Numbers of the Day here.

Policy Note

Spreading The Word: Obamacare Is For Native Americans, Too: As a member of the Navajo tribe, Rochelle Jake has received free care through the Indian Health Service her entire life. The IHS clinics took care of her asthma, allergies and eczema — chronic problems, nothing urgent. Recently, though, she felt sharp pains in her side. Her doctor recommended an MRI and other tests she couldn’t get through IHS. To pay for them, he urged her to sign up for private insurance under the Affordable Care Act [NPR].

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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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