In The Know: Oklahoma’s minority children still more likely to live in concentrated poverty, Oklahoma’s voter registration process doesn’t meet the national standard, & 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.

Poverty Week at OK Policy

Understanding poverty in our state is a crucial part of tackling so many of Oklahoma’s challenges, and this week we will be sharing data that will further our understanding of this core problem and make us better problem solvers.

When we know who is experiencing poverty, where they are, and which obstacles and barriers are holding families back, we can better craft our policy solutions to meet the actual needs of Oklahomans struggling with financial insecurity. Click here to read more.

New from OK Policy

Together Oklahoma hosting film screening in Lawton: Together Oklahoma will be screening for RACE: The Power of An Illusion on September 30th at Bethlehem Baptist Church in Lawton from 7 to 8:30 p.m. [KSWO]

(Capitol Update) Greenwood story needs to be told: This piece has a Tulsa flavor, but its topic is important for the rest of the state and perhaps beyond. Governor Kevin Stitt was in attendance last week at the Greenwood Cultural Center in Tulsa for a half-hour presentation of preliminary plans for the proposed Greenwood History Center. [OK Policy

In The News

New data: Oklahoma’s minority children still more likely to live in concentrated poverty: Oklahoma children who are black, Latino or Native American are significantly more likely to live in high-poverty, low-opportunity neighborhoods than their white counterparts, according to data released Tuesday. The Annie E. Casey Foundation, which studies issues impacting children, released a report analyzing U.S. Census data from 2013 to 2017. [The Oklahoman]

(Audio) Capitol Insider: Requests for raises and maintenance backlogs: In this episode of Capitol Insider, KGOU’s Dick Pryor and eCapitol’s Shawn Ashley discuss several public employee pay raise requests and the state’s maintenance backlog. Both could complicate the upcoming budgeting process. [KGOU]

Sulphur banker named vice chair of DRS commission: Sulphur banker and former Oklahoma state Rep. Wes Hilliard was elected vice chair at the first meeting of the Commission for Rehabilitation Services he attended as a new commissioner. Oklahoma House of Representatives Speaker Charles McCall, R-Atoka, appointed Hilliard to the commission in July. [Ada News]

Microsoft, Nextlink partner for rural high-speed internet access: Microsoft and Nextlink will partner to bring high-speed broadband internet access to parts of rural Oklahoma. Nextlink doesn’t have a timetable for when service will be available or where it will be deployed, but a spokesman said the company will evaluate where Nextlink can place infrastructure using a combination of fixed wireless, TV white space and related technologies. [The Oklahoman]

OSU Center for Wellness and Recovery to offer addiction treatment via telemedicine: The OSU Center for Wellness and Recovery will begin making addiction treatment services available through telemedicine.Executive Director Julie Croff said using telemedicine will help them offer addiction treatment outside of two existing clinics, which could have a big impact in rural areas. [Public Radio Tulsa]

Garfield County’s credit card debt near lowest in Oklahoma: Garfield County has one of the lowest rates of credit card debt in the state, according to a study by financial advisory company SmartAsset. Garfield ranked sixth out of the 10 Oklahoma counties with the least credit debt per capita, at an average of $2,086. [Enid News & Eagle]

National Voter Registration Day: Get you and your friends registered: Today is National Voter Registration Day. As National Voter Registration Day reminds us, “60 percent of voters are never asked to register,” but now you don’t have that excuse anymore. [NonDoc]

Tulsa World Editorial: Oklahoma’s voter registration process doesn’t meet the national standard, and it should: Since 2012, a coalition of groups has set aside the second Tuesday in September as National Voter Registration Day. Positioned just after Labor Day’s traditional beginning of the political season and safely ahead of the closing of state voting ranks for November elections, the event added more than 800,000 additional voters to the nation’s voting rolls last year. [Editorial Board / Tulsa World]

Enid News & Eagle Editorial: Tough job lies ahead for DOC: Department of Corrections officials have a tough task before them as they deal with the aftermath of a series of prison fights that left one inmate dead. … In all, 36 inmates and some prison staff members were injured. DOC officials said the fights were gang-related and racially motivated. [Editorial Board / Enid News & Eagle]

The Oklahoman Editorial: Looking to fill a tough job: Looking for a job that is sure to challenge you — really challenge you? The trust that oversees the Oklahoma County jail may have just the ticket. The nine-person trust, formally the Oklahoma County Criminal Justice Authority, is accepting applications for the new position of jail administrator. [Editorial Board / The Oklahoman]

Ginnie Graham: Nonprofit leader Steven Dow leaves Tulsa in better shape: It was after midnight at the state Capitol when the former oversight commission of the Oklahoma Department of Human Services adjourned after a long discussion about a federal class-action lawsuit brought by former foster children. [Ginnie Graham / Tulsa World]

River seeks $1.5 million from council: Coming off an annual operating loss of $605,000 at the MAPS 3 whitewater park, the Oklahoma City Boathouse Foundation is once again turning to the public to stay afloat. [The Oklahoman]

City speeding up plans to fix dangerous Okla City Boulevard intersection: A key official with the City of Oklahoma City says the City is now actively considering their plan of action for a dangerous intersection on the newly-opened Oklahoma City Boulevard. [Free Press OKC]

Tulsa transit switches to redesigned bus system: A new season in Tulsa brought with it a new bus system. Changes to Tulsa Transit’s fixed-route system took effect Monday morning, the first day of fall. [Public Radio Tulsa]

Edmond police officers will not face charges in naked teen’s shooting death: The two police officers involved in the fatal shooting of an unarmed, naked teenager have been cleared of criminal wrongdoing. Sgt. Milo Box and Officer Denton Scherman were put on administrative leave with pay while the Oklahoma County district attorney reviewed the circumstances surrounding the April 29 death of Isaiah Mark Lewis, 17, of Edmond. [The Oklahoman]

Frustrated by police as a high schooler, TPD’s Project Trust inspires 19-year-old to study to be an officer: High schooler Katherine Kimbrel told a deputy chief that she felt frustrated by his presence in her school because police seem to enjoy intimidating and talking down to people. [Tulsa World]

Blackface report at OU draws strong response from interim president: University of Oklahoma Interim President Joe Harroz Jr. said Monday a photo of a student wearing a black facial treatment is clearly racist, even as the student himself maintained it is not. [Tulsa World]

Risky business: Market for cybersecurity insurance on the rise: More businesses in Oklahoma are buying cybersecurity insurance to cover losses that might be incurred after a hack attack or some other data breach, lawyers who advise clients on cyberthreats say. [Journal Record ????]

Reclassify marijuana? FDA seeking comments on cannabis: The FDA isn’t asking because a possible dramatic shift in domestic weed policy is afoot. It’s asking because the World Health Organization is toying with the idea of rescheduling cannabis on its own. [NonDoc]

Quote of the Day

“Any solutions we have to give communities the access they need to the resources that will lift them out of poverty are very important. Growing up in communities of concentrated poverty undermines child well being, both in their development and physical growth.”

– OK Policy education policy analyst and KIDS COUNT coordinator Rebecca Fine on a new report on the disproportionate share of children of color in Oklahoma living in concentrated poverty [The Oklahoman]

Number of the Day


Number of Oklahoma children living in extreme poverty (less than 50% of the federal poverty line) in 2017

[Source: KIDS COUNT]

See previous Numbers of the Day here.

Policy Note

Study shows income gap between rich and poor keeps growing, with deadly effects: The expanding gap between rich and poor is not only widening the gulf in incomes and wealth in America. It is helping the rich lead longer lives, while cutting short the lives of those who are struggling, according to a study released by the Government Accountability Office. [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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