In The Know: Oklahoma tax revenue up $1.4 billion in FY ’19; Opioid trial judge rejects defense’s dismissal motion; There’s an election today in Oklahoma City

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

Transitions: OK Policy hiring a new Director of Communications: Oklahoma Policy Institute is now accepting applications for an experienced and effective Communications Director to replace Gene Perry, who has accepted a position as manager of government relations for the Cherokee Nation. The position will be based in Tulsa. The deadline to apply is Friday, July 26th. [OK Policy]

(Capitol Update) In better budget times, Legislature takes back control of the purse strings: Legislators learned quickly they were not off the hook with the public when popular and needed programs were eliminated. It was not long until line items began to show up in appropriations measures again, and the practice has grown steadily. [Steve Lewis / OK Policy]

In The News

Oklahoma tax revenue up $1.4 billion in FY ’19: Oklahoma saw a $1.4 billion jump in state tax revenue during the last fiscal year, State Treasurer Randy McDaniel announced Monday. The state collected $13.6 billion in tax revenue during the fiscal year that ended on June 30, which is 11.7% more than was collected in fiscal year 2018. [The Oklahoman] Read more about next year’s budget in our FY 2020 Budget Highlights.

Opioid trial judge rejects defense’s dismissal motion: The judge overseeing the state’s opioid case against Johnson & Johnson ruled Monday the trial will go forward. The drugmaker had asked the judge to end the trial “here and now” and rule in its favor. Cleveland County District Judge Thad Balkman denied the defense request after listening to legal arguments Monday morning. [The Oklahoman]

There’s an election today in Oklahoma City: Voters in Oklahoma City can cast ballots today from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. at their normal polling locations on two issues: a change to the city’s charter and a proposed change to the city’s Oklahoma Natural Gas franchise agreement. [NonDoc]

Oklahoma’s quake numbers decline, but likelihood of a damaging earthquake remains high: Oklahoma is well on pace for a fourth straight annual drop in seismicity, despite a May earthquake near Medford with a magnitude 4.5 — tied for the state’s 13th largest ever. There have been 27 earthquakes of magnitude 3.0 or greater in the first half of 2019. That is 72% fewer than at this time in 2018 (97) and down more than 81% from 2017 (144). [Tulsa World]

Oklahoma, city leaders request levee study be expedited: Gov. Kevin Stitt and several Green Country mayors sent a letter to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers requesting the feasibility on the study on the Tulsa-West Tulsa levee system be expedited and finished by December. [KJRH]

OWRB drafts report concerning future of area river, creeks: State water planners hope to wrap up by summer’s end a pilot study that could shape the way policy makers balance future demand for water in Oklahoma’s streams and rivers. The Oklahoma Water Resources Board this past week drafted a report of its Instream Flow Pilot Study of the Upper Illinois River. [CHNI]

Meth remains a big threat in state, OBN’s Fletcher says: One in four people who try meth become addicted for life. That sobering statistic came from Stacy Fletcher, who conducts training and outreach for Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics, and spoke Monday in Enid. Meth and other street drugs are catching up to prescription drugs in the number of overdose deaths, she told members of Enid Rotary Club. [Enid News & Eagle]

Day 2: Soda, cigarettes and trauma: How Adverse Childhood Experiences alter brain chemistry, cultivate unhealthy habits and prompt premature death: Patients would carry soda into Dr. Gerard Clancy’s office, with cigarettes tucked away for after therapy. Often victims of abuse or violent crime, they would seek soothing but risky behaviors to cope. [Tulsa World] Special Report: How Adverse Childhood Experiences alter brain chemistry, cultivate unhealthy habits and prompt premature death. [Tulsa World]

Day 3: ACES: Breaking the cycle ‘All I ever knew.’ Drugs. Alcohol. Jail. Oklahoma’s children repeat the patterns of their parents: It was Christmas Eve, and 13-year-old Tara Peterson had a house full of uncles and aunts and cousins. The adults started drinking, and once they started, they usually didn’t stop until they were falling down drunk. “It was normal behavior,” Peterson remembers. “It’s just what people did.” [Tulsa World] Special Report: Drugs. Alcohol. Jail. Oklahoma’s children repeat the patterns of their parents. [Tulsa World]

Dr. Gerard Clancy: New Mexico shows the way on battling opioid overdose deaths, and it starts with Medicaid expansion: After an early celebration with my family, I celebrated my actual birthday in a unique way. I traveled to New Mexico to be with 25 New Mexico-based emergency room and intensive care physicians to learn from national experts of new research findings in understanding the molecular biology of addiction and new pharmacological advancements in the treatment of opioid addiction. [Dr. Gerard Clancy / Tulsa World]

Joe Dorman: Task force works to ensure Oklahoma families will receive health benefits: SoonerCare, or Oklahoma’s Medicaid program, is designed to provide health insurance to children in low-income families, low-income seniors, people with disabilities and several other high-needs populations. It is the largest insurer in Oklahoma and an essential part of our social safety net. The people on SoonerCare cannot afford private insurance; if they lose their coverage, they will go uninsured. [Joe Dorman / The Ada News

Gov. Kevin Stitt: New gaming compacts must protect the interests of the tribes and the state: Fifteen years ago, the citizens of Oklahoma approved State Question 712, and the Oklahoma Legislature passed laws permitting the state to enter into gaming “compacts” with the federally recognized Indian tribes located in Oklahoma. Within a few years, Oklahoma led the nation in the number of tribal gaming casinos and was near the top in terms of gaming revenue. [Gov. Kevin Stitt / Tulsa World]

A new tech tool will help identify Tulsa inmates wanted elsewhere: The Tulsa Sheriff will seek a grant to help find out quickly if suspects in custody here are wanted elsewhere. The legislature has approved the use of Rapid DNA technology and now Sheriff’s Governmental Affairs Director Terry Simonson says it’s on to the next step…asking the A.G. for funding. [Public Radio Tulsa]

Henry files permanent injunction against OKCPS board: A legal dispute among members of the Oklahoma City School Board continued after one member requested a permanent restriction against other board officials. Board member Charles Henry filed a permanent injunction last week in Oklahoma County District Court, arguing board disciplinary policies violate his right to free speech and due process. [The Oklahoman]

New Chief chosen for Oklahoma City Police Department: Wade Gourley is now the 50th Chief of Police for the Oklahoma City Police Department. [Free Press OKC] In a diverse city, some community leaders expressed cautious optimism that Gourley would continue to improve the relationship between the police department and historically underrepresented groups. [The Oklahoman]

Oklahoma ranked fifth-best state in US to start a business: It turns out Oklahoma is one of the best places to start a business. Wallethub ranked Oklahoma as the fifth-best state to start a business because of its good business environment ranking and low costs. Experts say Oklahoma is 13th-best for office space affordability and seventh for cost of living. [KJRH]

Proposed pay hikes for Cherokee Nation officers criticized: Big salary increases proposed for leaders of the Cherokee Nation have sparked some controversy within the tribe. Five members of the Cherokee Nation Citizens Compensation Committee recommended hefty pay raises earlier this month for the tribe’s principal chief, deputy chief and several other high-ranking officers. [Journal Record]

Quote of the Day

“New Mexico has done many of the same things we have done in Oklahoma to combat opioid overdose deaths, such as the development of closer tracking of opioid prescriptions before physicians write another prescription [and] intervening when physicians are overprescribing opioids . . . I asked what has made the difference in New Mexico’s recent improvements in opioid overdose deaths? The uniform answer from the physicians I met — full Medicaid expansion.”

– Dr. Gerard Clancy, President of the University of Tulsa, describing his takeaway from a recent visit to New Mexico to learn about the state’s success in reducing opioid-related deaths [Tulsa World]

Number of the Day


Number of Oklahomans who will lose health insurance if the ACA is repealed

[Source: Families USA]

See previous Numbers of the Day here.

Policy Note

‘Become My Mom Again’: What it’s like to grow up amid the opioid crisis: Nearly two dozen young people across the county described chaotic home lives rife with neglect and abuse. They recounted begging their parents — who more often spent money on the next fix than on food — to stop using drugs. And they described finding relatives unconscious or frothing at the mouth after overdosing.  [New York Times]

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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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