In The Know: Oklahoma sues more opioid manufacturers, expanding occupational licensure, and more

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

‘Blood on their hands’: Oklahoma sues opioid distributors: Two and a half years after filing his landmark lawsuits against multiple opioid manufacturers, Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter sued “the nation’s three leading” opioid distributors in Cleveland County District Court. [NonDoc] Hunter accused them of helping fuel the state’s deadly opioid crisis by oversupplying the state with the highly addictive painkillers. [The Oklahoman]

Leslie Osborn: Agency seeking reasonable licensing standards: Occupational licensure is the requirement to meet various educational and experience measurements to practice a trade or profession within a state. In Oklahoma, the Occupational Licensing Advisory Commission was created to review the occupations that require this standard. [Leslie Osborn / The Oklahoman] OK Policy found that expanding occupational licensure opportunities is important, especially for justice-involved individuals. 

Gov. Kevin Stitt gives himself an ‘A’ for first year: Kevin Stitt began his tenure as governor one year ago Tuesday full of energy and ambition. Nothing yet has taken the wind out of his sails. [Tulsa World] Gallery: Breaking down a memorable first year in office for Governor Kevin Stitt. [Tulsa World]

Oklahoma Career Tech seeks to expand training programs for inmates: Many companies in Oklahoma are hurting for workers, and many former or soon-to-be former inmates need good jobs. Oklahoma Career Tech has a $2.5 million plan to get more people in Department of Corrections custody access to training programs. [Public Radio Tulsa]

Corporation Commission details Oklahoma wind growth in report to Legislature: A report generated by the Oklahoma Corporation Commission for Oklahoma’s Legislature states about $14.7 billion was spent in the state from the beginning of 2009 through the end of 2019 to establish and grow the wind industry here. [The Oklahoman] An administrative law judge recommended Monday that the Oklahoma Corporation Commission approve a settlement to recover costs from three wind farms being developed in north-central Oklahoma by Public Service Co. of Oklahoma. [The Journal Record 🔒]

BA lawmaker introduces bill to stop traffic citation quotas: A Broken Arrow lawmaker is introducing a new bill to stop police from having to issue a certain amount of traffic citations. Sen. Nathan Dahm, R- Broken Arrow, is introducing this bill. [News On 6]

A resolution declaring 2020 the “Year of the Bible”: An Oklahoma lawmaker has filed a bill that would declare 2020 the “Year of the Bible.” Senate Concurrent Resolution 7, filed by Sen. Nathan Dahm, R-Broken Arrow, would recognize the unique contribution the Bible has made in shaping the United States [KJRH]

As critics urge against ‘Live PD’ in Tulsa, mayor stands behind participating in the show: Local community leaders and elected officials gathered outside City Hall on Monday morning to denounce the city’s participation in the “Live PD” television show. [Tulsa World]

Tulsa mayor pressed to keep public involved in selection of next police chief: As Mayor Bynum begins the next phase of the process to find a successor to Chief Chuck Jordan, who retires Feb. 1, a growing chorus of Tulsans, many from north Tulsa, are demanding that the public be involved throughout the process. [Tulsa World]

Two Oklahoma County Commissioners question Sheriff’s patrol coverage: Two Oklahoma County commissioners, Kevin Calvey and Brian Maughan, question whether the Oklahoma County Sheriff’s Deputies are adequately deployed for law enforcement in the unincorporated areas of the expansive county. [Free Press OKC]

Uncovering history: Historical artifacts discovered during Oklahoma Capitol restoration: At the time, a worker might have thought of the page of the Oklahoma City newspaper, printed on March 30, 1917, as just a handy piece of insulation to fit at the top edge of a window being installed in the state’s new Capitol building. [The Journal Record]

Quote of the Day

“Clearly, these companies have turned a blind eye to the death and devastation they were causing in Oklahoma and around the nation.”

-Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter, announcing additional lawsuits against opioid manufacturers [NonDoc]

Number of the Day

$663,557,851

Estimated amount of uncollected court fines and fees between 2012 and 2018

[Source: Open Justice Oklahoma]

See previous Numbers of the Day here.

Policy Note

Before their day in court, poor people charged with crimes can spend years in jail: Viola Bowman has spent the past 1,778 days in jail. The 58-year-old homemaker hasn’t been convicted of a crime and maintains her innocence. But she is charged with murder, and has been locked up for more than four years while her trial has been delayed again and again with her public defender juggling up to 227 other cases. People like Bowman spend years in jail because they don’t have money for a lawyer and their public defender is too busy to help them. Some give up and plead guilty. A lucky few make it to trial and win their freedom. [The Kansas City Star]

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Jessica joined OK Policy as a Communications Associate in January 2018. A Mexican immigrant, she obtained a B.A. in Political Science and Philosophy from Oklahoma City University as a Clara Luper Scholar. Prior to joining OK Policy, Jessica worked at a digital marketing agency in Oklahoma City. She is an alumnus of both the National Education for Women (N.E.W.) Leadership Institute (2013) and 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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