In The Know: Racist graffiti; adverse child experiences; education one year after teacher walkout…

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

Oklahoma has a health care problem. Some lawmakers are advancing the wrong solution: Oklahoma has the second-highest uninsured rate in the country, with nearly 1 in every 7 Oklahomans uninsured. This is a big problem – and some legislators are pushing to expand the availability of short-term insurance and association health plans (AHPs). Unfortunately, these are poor insurance options. Both have deservedly checkered reputations and rely on misleading advertising to draw buyers – only to leave them without the care they actually need when disaster strikes. These plans are not the solution to Oklahoma’s health care problem. [OK Policy]

In The News

Racist graffiti stains Oklahoma Democratic Party HQ: Racist graffiti was painted overnight outside the office of the Oklahoma Democratic Party. A swastika, the symbol 1488 and other Nazi references were painted on and around the door of 3700 N. Classen Blvd., with language demonizing African Americans and the LGBTQ community also spray painted in blue. [NonDoc] Vandals also defaced the Chickasaw Nation building two miles east. [NonDoc]

Nearly one in three Oklahoma children have had multiple adverse experiences, Tulsa audience told: Nearly one-third of Oklahoma children have had multiple adverse childhood experiences, an audience of advocates for children was told Thursday evening. The national average for children experiencing four or more of 10 noted adverse experiences is 22 percent, said panelist Joe Dorman, CEO of the Oklahoma Institute for Child Advocacy. [Tulsa World]

Oklahoma Health Dept: April is Child Abuse Prevention Month across the nation: April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month and the Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH), along with its community partners, are working to raise awareness about the importance of ensuring great childhoods for all Oklahoma children. [Pawhuska Journal-Capital]

One year after the teacher walkout, has education taken a backseat? It has been nearly one year since the teacher walkout, when thousands of educators flooded Oklahoma’s state capitol demanding better pay and more school funding. After nine days and little progress, they turned their attention to the 2018 elections. [StateImpact Oklahoma]

Stitt requests OMES audit after agency says it needs $16 million: Gov. Kevin Stitt has requested an audit of the Office of Management and Enterprise Services, the agency that recently told lawmakers it needed $16 million to pay its bills before July 1. Stitt, along with Chief Operating Officer John Budd, announced the request would be limited to the finances at the agency’s Information Services Division (ISD) between July 1, 2017, and Feb. 28 of this year. [NewsOK]

Stitt strategic plan expands agency control, envisions ‘community turnaround’: A strategic plan laying out one-year and four-year goals for Gov. Kevin Stitt’s administration includes securing gubernatorial control of all state agencies and boards, changing the educational system and launching an initiative aimed at social issues. [Oklahoma Watch]

Bill on job licensing for those with criminal past advances: A bill meant to help people get on with their lives after criminal convictions made progress at the Oklahoma Capitol on Thursday. House Bill 1373 would affect state offices that take and review applications from people hoping to be licensed to get jobs in particular fields. [Journal Record]

Bill banning tax on plastic bags advances: Breea Clark doesn’t understand the reasoning of state lawmakers pushing a bill to prohibit towns in Oklahoma from acting to stop what some might call a tsunami of plastic bags threatening the environment. [Journal Record]

Ripe for growth: Legislation could foster wine-tasting business in Oklahoma: Oklahoma’s winemakers are closely tracking two bills at the state Capitol they said would help their businesses. Senate Bill 336 would create an off-site tasting room license for wineries. [Journal Record]

Task force votes to impose changes, restart the Oklahoma House of Representatives Page Program: New changes are coming to a program involving high school students at the Oklahoma House of Representatives. Earlier this month, officials announced that the Oklahoma House of Representatives High School Page Program would be suspended following an alleged assault. [KFOR]

Oklahoma AG pledges to work with lawmakers on future settlements: Oklahoma’s $270 million settlement with Purdue drug companies was made under unique circumstances, Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter said Thursday. He pledged that the governor and state lawmakers will be given much more say in the distribution of any future settlements or judgments involving other opioid manufacturers. [NewsOK ????]

Federal Reserve wonders who is leaving Oklahoma and why? A new report from the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City says more people are moving out of Oklahoma to live in other places in the U.S. than moved into the state. In the report this week, the bank asked the question, “Who has been leaving Oklahoma and will the trend continue?” [OK Energy Today] Read the full report here.

Women’s Health Day hopes to expand Medicaid coverage: Barbara O’Brien said childbirth can be a risky time for women in Oklahoma. The director of the Oklahoma Perinatal Quality Improvement Collaborative said Medicaid offered to women could improve that. [FOX 25] For more on how you can take action to expand health coverage in Oklahoma, visit

Health officials: 71 Oklahomans died from the flu this season: On Thursday, the Oklahoma State Department of Health announced that the flu has claimed the lives of 71 Oklahomans and led to more than 2,655 hospitalizations statewide. Most of the deaths occurred in patients who were over the age of 65. [KFOR]

Energize for Safety Coalition’s collaborative approach produces results: An “energized” effort to boost safety awareness within communities along a busy thoroughfare in Oklahoma’s STACK play already is considered a success, even before the data is in. [NewsOK ????]

Corporate Equality Index gives high marks to Tulsa-based ONEOK for LGBTQ policies, culture: A Tulsa company scored highest for state-based firms on an index that rates corporate equality for the LGBTQ community. The energy firm ONEOK posted a score of 95 (of 100) on the Corporate Equality Index released Thursday by the Human Rights Campaign Foundation, the educational arm of the nation’s largest LGBTQ civil rights organization. [Tulsa World]

OSBI investigating former OU president David Boren: The OSBI on Thursday began investigating former University of Oklahoma David Boren after a former teaching assistant accused him of sexual battery. Multiple Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation agents are involved, The Oklahoman has learned. [NewsOK]

Tulsa Police hold discussions on mental health crisis resources: Tulsa Police were out in the community Thursday night to discuss mental health issues. Officers say they get a lot of calls of people experiencing a crisis and want to direct people to where they can find resources. [News On 6]

TPS sues contractor after district employee burned on the job; nearly $600,000 being sought: Tulsa Public Schools is suing a facilities management contractor after a district employee suffered severe burns in a workplace accident. [Tulsa World]

Joe Exotic talked of using gubernatorial campaign as murder alibi: In a recording played for jurors Thursday, zookeeper Joe Exotic agreed to pay an undercover FBI agent to kill a Florida woman and talked of using his gubernatorial campaign to create an alibi. [NewsOK]

Quote of the Day

“They can’t be on Medicaid before pregnancy or between pregnancy so any kind of health conditions they may have, they’re not able to access health care at those times. Ensuring a woman is healthy when she’s pregnant then that can improve the outcomes, not only for her, but for her baby, their entire lifespan.”

-Barbara O’Brien, director of the Oklahoma Perinatal Quality Improvement Collaborative, on why she is calling for expansion of Medicaid during Women’s Health Day at the Capitol [Source: Fox 25]

Number of the Day

12.4% to 13.5%

Percentage that Oklahoma hospitals’ Medicaid revenues could fall if the state’s proposed Medicaid work requirement is approved and implemented, a loss of between $1.6 million and $1.7 million per hospital.

[Source: Commonwealth Fund]

See previous Numbers of the Day here.

Policy Note

How federal disaster money favors the rich: The federal government spends billions of dollars annually helping communities rebuild and prevent future damage. But an NPR investigation has found that across the country, white Americans and those with more wealth often receive more federal dollars after a disaster than do minorities and those with less wealth. Federal aid isn’t necessarily allocated to those who need it most; it’s allocated according to cost-benefit calculations meant to minimize taxpayer risk. Put another way, after a disaster, rich people get richer and poor people get poorer. And federal disaster spending appears to exacerbate that wealth inequality. [NPR]

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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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