In The Know: Oklahomans could lose health coverage if mail is undelivered; county commissioners focus on jail reform…

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

Prosperity Policy: Don’t blow this one: Many Oklahomans will remember the bumper stickers that adorned countless vehicles in the oil patch during the hard times of the 1980s that read, “Please God, just give me one more oil boom. I promise not to blow it next time” – typically with more colorful variations. [David Blatt / Journal Record]

In The News

Medicaid coverage could be lost if letters are returned: Oklahomans could soon lose health coverage because their mail is undelivered. The Oklahoma Health Care Authority, which administers Medicaid for the state, is working on a rule change that would nix benefits if letters to the enrollees are returned. [Journal Record]

Incoming county commissioners plan to focus on jail reform: Oklahoma County’s two incoming commissioners say improvements at the county jail will be their top priorities. District 1 Commissioner Carrie Blumert and District 3 Commissioner Kevin Calvey were sworn in during the Oklahoma County Board of Commissioners’ Wednesday morning meeting. [NewsOK ????] We previously wrote about how changes by the Oklahoma City Police Department show the promise of local justice reform.

Ex-state Rep. Randy McDaniel sworn is as Oklahoma treasurer: Oklahoma has a new state treasurer. Republican former state Rep. Randy McDaniel was sworn in to the statewide office Wednesday during a ceremony at the State Capitol. McDaniel was elected treasurer in November and was appointed by Gov. Mary Fallin to serve out the remaining two weeks of the unexpired term of former Treasurer Ken Miller, who stepped down on New Year’s Day to take a job with OGE Energy Corp. following eight years in the office. [AP News]

Gov.-elect Kevin Stitt joins weekly Twitter chat on education: On the campaign trail, Kevin Stitt promised a Top 10 education system without ever specifying what measurements he had in mind. On Sunday, he asked educators how they would define it. [NewsOK]

Emergency teachers by district: State officials have issued 2,852 emergency teaching certificates from June through December for the 2018-19 school year. Find out how many emergency certified teachers were approved for your school district or charter or private school. [Oklahoma Watch]

Oklahoma makes ‘pay-for-performance’ deals on pricey drugs: In the two months since Oklahoma got the right to negotiate pay-for-performance deals with drug makers, operators of the state’s Medicaid program have signed off on four, including one where the state will pay less if patients stay on the same drug. [NewsOK]

ODOT not seeking funding increase from lawmakers: As lawmakers decide how to divvy up more than $600 million in projected new revenue, there is one agency that won’t be fighting for a piece of it. The state’s contracting trade group and officials within the Oklahoma Department of Transportation said the funding hike they saw this year should be the last one they ask for in the next few years. [Journal Record]

Tapping into water funds: OKC may borrow up to $80 million for infrastructure improvements: The Oklahoma City Water Utilities Trust has been cleared to apply for financial assistance of up to $80 million to expand the city’s water infrastructure, a majority of which will come from revolving fund programs co-administered by the Oklahoma Water Resources Board and Department of Environmental Quality. [Journal Record]

Attacks on police officers would be considered hate crimes under proposed bill: proposed bill would expand Oklahoma’s hate crime laws to cover people who work in law enforcement and corrections facilities and allow for harsher penalties for those convicted. Under Senate Bill 96, proposed by Sen. Darrell Weaver, R-Moore, knowingly inciting violence or performing an action likely to incite violence against a law enforcement officer, correctional officer or correction employee would be considered a hate crime. [The Frontier]

Oklahoma state representative to sponsor bill banning conversion therapy: An Oklahoma lawmaker says he plans to sponsor a bill that would ban conversion therapy for minors. According to the American Psychological Association (APA), sexual orientation conversion therapy refers to counseling and psychotherapy to attempt to eliminate individuals’ sexual desires for members of their own sex. [KFOR]

“I was a victim of cyberbullying,” Oklahoma couple says they were harassed by state senator: An Oklahoma couple says a state senator has been harassing them online.“I was a victim of cyberbullying, I believe, at the hands of Senator Scott,” said Jeremy Gragg. [KFOR]

‘The community needs this’: Financially struggling families take advantage of food trucks providing free meals during winter break: A free lunch for her 6-year-old grandson meant the world to Mandy Ellis, who was one of the first people in line after the food truck pulled into her apartment complex in east Tulsa late Monday morning. [Tulsa World]

Numbers show many poultry farms closed down, operations growing more concentrated: While a surge in poultry operations in 2017-18 alarmed northeast Oklahoma residents, a look at long-term trends shows there are about half as many operators these days — but each farm raises more birds. [Tulsa World]

Residents feel betrayed by ag agency: Some northeastern Oklahoma residents who believed a respite from the rapid expansion of the poultry industry was in sight say they’ve lost what little trust they had left in state agriculture officials. [The Ada News] Oklahoma secretary of ag resigns [High Plains Journal]

Federal grants help Oklahoma State University Center for Health Sciences combat opioid epidemic: The Oklahoma State University Center for Health Sciences will take its crusade against the opioid addiction epidemic to four of the state’s hardest hit communities in 2019 and will launch a three-­year project to drastically expand the number of Oklahoma physicians who can prescribe medications for treatment. [NewsOK]

Oklahomans are paying for Medicaid expansion, but the Legislature’s stubbornness means they can’t use it: Legislators on both sides of the aisle say improving access to health care for Oklahomans will be a priority in 2019. Every voter in Oklahoma should hold them to that promise. House Democrats have called for reconsideration of Medicaid expansion using money available from the Affordable Care Act. If Republican leaders won’t allow the measure to be considered, the Democrats are threatening to mount an initiative petition campaign, as has been successful in GOP-controlled Idaho, Nebraska and Utah. [Editorial Board / Tulsa Word]

State of Oklahoma and Creeks disagree on criminal jurisdiction at Supreme Court: Lawyers on both sides of a reservation dispute at the U.S. Supreme Court largely agreed Friday that a Native American reservation must be considered “Indian country” under federal law, even as they disagreed on whether land in eastern Oklahoma qualifies as such. [NewsOK ????]

About 7,000 Oklahoma workers belong to union suing over shutdown; farmers may soon feel pinch: While a union representing about 7,000 Oklahoma workers has filed sued over the federal government’s partial shutdown, the funding stalemate continues to play out in Oklahoma as a drip-drip-drip that for most people is more annoyance than crisis. [Tulsa World] Shutdown raises concerns over long-term effects at Oklahoma City FAA center. [NewsOK ????]

Quote of the Day

“Here’s the fiscal reality of Medicaid expansion: Oklahomans have been paying the taxes to support it for years now, they just haven’t been getting anything in return, because the Legislature has stubbornly refused money offered at 9-to-1 match. The idea that the money would go away once Barack Obama left the White House is now proven wrong.”

Tulsa World Editorial Board

Number of the Day


Decrease in jail days in Tulsa County after implementation of felony defendant screening and diversion programs.

[Source: Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse]

See previous Numbers of the Day here.

Policy Note

One of the biggest challenges of kicking addiction is getting and keeping a job: Research has shown that working helps people overcome substance abuse and stay sober. It provides income and health benefits, of course, but also can instill meaning and purpose in their lives, which are powerful incentives to stay off drugs. But in a nation with a near-record-low unemployment rate of 3.7 percent, 9.2 percent of people in recovery are jobless involuntarily, according to a 2017 study by the Recovery Research Institute at Massachusetts General Hospital. [Washington Post]

You can sign up here to receive In The Know by e-mail.


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.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.