In The Know: Online voter registration is on the way

In The KnowIn The Know is a daily synopsis of Oklahoma policy-related news and blogs. 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.

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Today In The News

Online voter registration on the way: The Oklahoma Election Board is researching how to implement online voter registration in Oklahoma under a law that goes into effect November 1. The law was part of several reforms passed to encourage voter turnout in Oklahoma, after less than 30 percent of eligible citizens voted in the last governor’s election [NewsOK]. Previously: This report by OK Policy examined the decline of voter participation in Oklahoma and recommended reforms to fix it.

Another lawsuit challenges legislators’ budget tactics: Attorney Jerry Fent filed a lawsuit arguing that the state’s transfers from the Unclaimed Property Fund to balance the state budget are illegal. Lawmakers have used money from the Unclaimed Property Fund in numerous years, including $50 million for next year’s budget [NewsOK].

Where are they now? Bills we followed this session: On the OK Policy Blog, we looked at what happened with bills we followed this session related to tax breaks, elections reform, and attempts to call for a U.S. constitutional convention [OK Policy]. An earlier post looked at bills related to education and criminal justice [OK Policy].

Protesting police brutality in Tulsa: Marq Lewis, the founder of the protest group We The People Oklahoma, spoke about coming to Tulsa eight years ago and being shocked by the city’s polarization along racial and economic lines. The group is organizing a petition and protests seeking the ouster of Tulsa County Sheriff Stanley Glanz [The Frontier].

A positive change in juvenile justice: Oklahoma psychologist and attorney Kathryn A. Lafortune writes in praise of a new law that ensures juveniles have the right to be assessed for whether they are competent to stand trial in delinquency proceedings. Before this law, Oklahoma had been the only state to reject juvenile competency proceedings as a due process right [Tulsa World].

Lawsuit by Oklahoma inmates revived: A lawsuit by female inmates who allege they were sexually assaulted while working at the Oklahoma Governor’s Mansion in 2008 and 2009 was revived by the 10th U.S. District Court. The lawsuit had been dormant after one of the defendants claimed she was immune as a prison guard [NewsOK].

Another way Oklahoma diverts tax revenues to private businesses: Oklahoma’s Pooled Finance Act is diverting millions in payroll taxes to fund plant expansions and equipment purchases by private companies. Employees of Whirlpool, Michelin, Hitachi and 14 other firms were not informed that taxes withheld from their paychecks were going back to their employers instead of going to schools, roads, and other public services [Oklahoma Watch].

Slow personal income growth: Oklahomans’ personal income barely grew by four-tenths of 1 percent in the first quarter of 2015, and mining-related income, which includes oil and gas production, fell by 3.9 percent [Journal Record].

Nearly 90,000 Oklahomans could lose health care subsidies: A Supreme Court opinion expected by the end of this month will decide the fate of subsidies that enabled more than 87,000 low- and moderate-income workers in Oklahoma to purchase health care. Oklahoma officials have taken little action to prepare for the ruling [NewsOK]. Oklahoma Senator James Lankford predicted that the Supreme Court would take away the subsidies, and he said the country should “transition away from subsidies” that have helped millions get access to health care for the first time [NewsOK].

How bad housing damages the health of low-income Oklahomans: The Oklahoma Health Equity Campaign is hosting a meeting today about how a lack of safe and clean affordable housing is hurting Oklahomans’ health. Tulsa Legal Aid attorney April Merrill, who has helped clients escape unhealthy living conditions, said that mold, asbestos, lead, floodwater, cockroaches and carbon dioxide can invade a home and leave the resident in need of medical care [NewsOK].

Quote of the Day

“When I came here, I thought I was coming to one city. I came to four cities – North, South, East and West. On the north side, 25 percent of the children go to bed hungry every night. That’s an epidemic.”

-Marq Lewis, founder of the Tulsa group We The People Oklahoma, which is organizing protests against police brutality and seeking to oust Tulsa County Sheriff Stanley Glanz (Source).

Number of the Day


Percentage of Oklahomans with disabilities who are employed.

Source: Governing

See previous Numbers of the Day here.

Policy Note

Poverty, family stress are thwarting student success, top teachers say: The greatest barriers to school success for K-12 students have little to do with anything that goes on in the classroom, according to the nation’s top teachers: It is family stress, followed by poverty, and learning and psychological problems. Those were the factors named in a survey of the 2015 state Teachers of the Year, top educators selected annually in every U.S. state and jurisdictions such as the District of Columbia and Guam [Washington Post].

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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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