In The Know: Redistricting petition heard, increasing incentives to recruit rural health care professionals, and 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.

In The News

Oklahoma Supreme Court hears two challenges to redistricting petition: The fate of an effort to let voters create an independent redistricting commission is in the hands of the Oklahoma Supreme Court. For nearly two hours on Tuesday, the state’s high court heard two challenges to State Question 804, which seeks to amend the Oklahoma Constitution. [Tulsa World] As court weighs redistricting proposal, some key facts to know. [Oklahoma Watch]

State commission plans to increase incentives to bring health professionals to rural Oklahoma: A commission charged with improving health care in rural Oklahoma is set to offer better incentives to draw doctors and nurses there. The Physician Manpower Training Commission offers physicians up to $160,000 over four years toward repaying medical school loans but will increase that to $200,000. [Public Radio Tulsa]

Measure filed to create COLA revolving fund: State Sen. Ron Sharp, R-Shawnee and vice chair of the Senate Insurance and Retirement Committee, has filed Senate Bill 1817 to reapportion a percentage of certain new taxes to provide more regular cost-of-living adjustment for Oklahoma’s six public retirement systems. [The Journal Record ????]

Sen. Jason Smalley resigning two weeks before session: Less than two weeks before the 2020 legislative session begins, Oklahoma State Sen. Jason Smalley, R-Stroud, announced his resignation to accept a job with Motorola Solutions Corp. [NonDoc]

Caps on legal fees to private attorneys proposed by Senate majority leader: State agencies and officials would be prohibited from paying more than $10 million to outside attorneys for legal work in a case under a bill introduced by Senate Majority Leader Kim David. [The Oklahoman]

No one can say how often miracle overdose-reversal drug naloxone is used: Doctors and substance abuse experts agree: Overdose-reversal drug naloxone is a miracle. But even though it’s readily available without a prescription and state agencies give it to police and other first responders, no one can definitively say how often it’s used. [KOCO]

Oklahoma’s GOP lawmakers want more medical pot regulations: Some GOP lawmakers are taking steps to ban billboards that advertise medical marijuana, further limit where dispensaries can be located and make Oklahoma’s medical pot program more transparent. [AP News]

Lawmaker wants to mandate county jails comply with ICE detainers: An Oklahoma lawmaker filed a bill requiring local jails to comply with detainer requests from the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Agency. [The Oklahoman]

Bill would create police human trafficking training: Sen. Wayne Shaw, R-Grove, filed a bill that would require police and other law enforcement to get training focused on spotting signs, identifying victims, and understanding the trauma. [KJRH]

Democratic legislator seeks permitless carry repeal: Rep. Jason Lowe, D-Oklahoma City, who tried to prevent permitless carry from taking effect, filed legislation to repeal the law that allows most Oklahomans to carry a firearm without a permit. [The Oklahoman]

Bill would protect Oklahoma kids from conversion therapy: House Bill 3872 by Rep. Jason Dunnington, D-Oklahoma City, would add practicing conversion therapy on kids to a list of offenses that can get a health professional’s license revoked. [Public Radio Tulsa]

Muscogee (Creek) Nation poised to join other tribes’ gaming lawsuit against Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt: A fourth Oklahoma tribe appears ready to join a lawsuit against Gov. Kevin Stitt over his claim that the state’s gaming compacts have expired. [Tulsa World]

Cherokee Nation urging tribal citizens to be counted in 2020 Census: The Cherokee Nation is kicking off its #CherokeeNationCounts 2020 Census campaign, urging tribal citizens to complete the Census completely and accurately to help ensure the tribe receives key funding for programs including Indian Health Service and housing allocations through Housing and Urban Development. [Tahlequah Daily Press]

Tulsa school board votes to close four elementary schools after this semester: The Tulsa school board approved Superintendent Deborah Gist’s budget-reduction recommendations to shut down four elementary schools during a contentious board meeting that went late into Tuesday night. [Tulsa World] Tulsa school board rejects Harlow Creek charter school application. [Tulsa World]

City councilors split on whether Tulsa police officers should be on ‘Live PD’: Three councilors adamantly favor the city’s involvement; three adamantly oppose it; one is torn; another won’t say; and another says she can’t say because she hasn’t seen the show. [Tulsa World] Policing isn’t entertainment; Tulsa should pull the plug on ‘Live PD’ [Tulsa World editorial]

Oklahoma to account for 6% of new wind power in 2020: Oklahoma will account for 6 percent of new wind power capacity built in the United States this year, behind only Texas, which will account for 32 percent, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, the statistical arm of the Department of Energy. [The Journal Record ????]

Two years after five killed Oklahoma well explosion, few changes in safety rules: Two years ago, an oil well near a small Oklahoma town exploded into a fireball that swept through a drilling rig, killing five in an accident deemed a needless catastrophe by federal investigators and casting a short-lived spotlight on a lack of regulation and oversight across the oil and gas industry. [Houston Chronicle]

Quote of the Day

“Our state has had no problem providing millions in tax credits and other benefits to various industries and entities over the years. It’s time to start providing our state retirees with a regular (cost of living adjustment) and show them the respect they deserve and have earned through their dedication and service to the state of Oklahoma.”

-State Sen. Ron Sharp, R-Shawnee, about his proposed legislation that would give state retirees their first cost-of-living adjustment since 2008 [The Journal Record ????]

Number of the Day


Percent of African American children under 18 in Oklahoma who experience poverty, compared to overall 22 percent child poverty rate

[Source: KIDS COUNT Data Center]

See previous Numbers of the Day here.

Policy Note

Nearly 7 million workers will start the new year with higher wages: As economic research continues to show that higher minimum wages work precisely as they’re intended—lifting pay for low-wage workers with little, if any, impact on their job prospects—there is no excuse for lawmakers in some states to continue to deny higher pay to millions of the country’s lowest-paid workers. [Economic Policy Institute]

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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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