In The Know: Signature gathering for Medicaid expansion petition to begin July 31, Oklahoma County struggles to fully staff jail, Ninety interim studies approved by Oklahoma House speaker

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

Last week to apply for the Communications Director position: The Communications Director has primary responsibility for developing and implementing an integrated, organization-wide strategic communications plan that helps to shape policy debates and broaden awareness of OK Policy’s mission, work, and policy solutions. The deadline to apply is Friday, July 26th at midnight.

In The News

Signature gathering for Medicaid expansion petition to begin July 31: Medicaid expansion supporters can begin gathering signatures for an initiative petition calling for expanded access to health coverage on July 31. In order for supporters of Medicaid expansion to get the issue on the ballot in 2020, they will have to collect nearly 178,000 valid signatures between July 31 and 5 p.m. on Oct. 28. [The Oklahoman] Amber England, spokeswoman for the Oklahomans Decide Health Care campaign, said numerous people have already contacted the pro-SQ 802 campaign about volunteering, something she said will lead to a robust signature collection effort in every corner of the state. [NonDoc] Steve Schaben shares how expansion saved his life in Colorado.

Cell by Cell: With low starting pay and high turnover, Oklahoma County struggles to fully staff jail: With low starting pay and difficult working conditions, the Oklahoma County jail has long struggled to keep detention officers. Jail leaders say the agency is always hiring. The jail’s starting pay for detention officers is below what other law enforcement agencies in the state offer. The facility itself is deteriorating and has no shortage of design flaws that can make for dangerous interactions with inmates. [The Frontier]

Ninety interim studies approved by Oklahoma House speaker: Oklahoma lawmakers who fiercely debated but declined to pass a bill earlier this year to reform the state’s bail bond system will revisit the issue in an interim study. The study, proposed by state Rep. Chris Kannady, R-Oklahoma City, was among 90 studies approved in recent days by House Speaker Charles McCall. A total of 146 had been requested by House lawmakers. [Journal RecordWhat’s That? Interim Study

This 1974 #okleg video is a blast from the past: In 1974, a group of University of Oklahoma journalism students produced a quirky documentary about the Oklahoma Legislature called But What Do They Do In There? The Oklahoma Legislative Process. [NonDoc]

Oklahoma County commissioner releases statement, supports ICE presence at county jail: Oklahoma County District 2 Commissioner Brian Maughan said he is “deeply concerned” with calls to end cooperation between the sheriff’s office and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement in a statement released Tuesday. [The Oklahoman]

Indian gaming official says tribes united in opposition to compact renegotiation: Oklahoma’s Indian tribes are unified in their opposition to Gov. Kevin Stitt’s attempt to renegotiate their gaming compacts, one of the state’s top tribal gaming officials said Tuesday. [Tulsa World]

Economist: Marijuana business bust looms in Oklahoma: The medical marijuana industry in Oklahoma has at least two troubling similarities to the dot-com business growth period leading into 2000, economist Jonathan Willner said. “I would expect a bust to follow soon,” the Oklahoma City University professor said. [Journal Record]

Oklahoma Teacher of the Year finalists announced: As one educator steps into her role as Oklahoma Teacher of the Year, 12 others have been named as finalists for the 2020 award. 2019 state Teacher of the Year Becky Oglesby announced the finalists Tuesday before a packed auditorium at Southmoore High School. [The Oklahoman]

The Oklahoman Editorial Board: Filling Oklahoma’s aerospace, defense jobs is a challenge: The aerospace and defense industry comprises a major part of Oklahoma’s economy. Phil Busey Sr. is among those who hope that impact will only continue to grow, although he has his concerns. [Editorial Board / The Oklahoman]

Tulsa World editorial: North Tulsa grocery store planned. But will it last? We’re pleased to hear that a group plans to open a 16,425-square-foot grocery store at 1717 N. Peoria Ave. Bringing a full-service grocery store to north Tulsa has been the loudest desire of area residents and the higher priority goal of its political leadership for years. [Editorial Board / Tulsa World]

61st & Peoria: Savanna Landing could be a lesson in how to begin reclaiming community from crime, according to grant researcher: The clock is ticking on a federal grant program to improve the 61st and Peoria area through a holistic approach to crime and community. But positive gains have inspired optimism that successes in the recently christened “Hope Valley” are sustainable. [Tulsa World]

Tulsa Police partner with video doorbell maker on app: Tulsans have a new way to share information with the police. The Tulsa Police Department is now a partner with video doorbell Ring’s community app known as Neighbors. Users can send TPD photos or videos through the app. [Public Radio Tulsa]

Virtual school offerings through Tulsa-area districts: The rise of virtual juggernauts like Epic Charter Schools triggered a whirlwind of frantic discussions at other public school districts about how to make them more appealing to students. Reported enrollment at Epic, the state’s largest virtual school with blended learning centers in Tulsa and Oklahoma that opened in 2018, increased at least 62% from 2017-18 to 2018-19. [Tulsa World]

Bill Hickman, council member for Ward 4, to resign seat: Ward 4 City Council member Bill Hickman announced at tonight’s meeting of the Norman City Council that he will be stepping down from his current position as he joins the Board of Directors of the Oklahoma Institute for Child Advocacy (OICA). [Norman Transcript]

OU graduate, youngest ever Norman city councilmember to run for Oklahoma State Senate: An OU graduate and Norman city councilwoman will run for state senate next year. Alex Scott, who graduated in May with a master’s degree in public administration, became the youngest ever Norman city council member when she won her Ward 8 seat in July 2018. [OU Daily]

Dennis R. Neill Equality Center memorial mural featuring renowned gay playwright vandalized: A vandal defaced the Lynn Riggs memorial mural at the Dennis R. Neill Equality Center in downtown Tulsa on Monday, according to a Facebook post by Oklahomans for Equality. [Tulsa World]

Ten candidates vying to lead Muscogee (Creek) Nation: The Muscogee Creek Nation has certified 37 candidates for office in elections this fall, including 10 for principal chief. Current Principal Chief James Floyd announced last month he will not run for a second term. [Public Radio Tulsa]

Defense tops deficit concerns for Inhofe, says he is fine with budget agreement: Budget deficits still matter but national defense matters more, U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe said Tuesday. Speaking by telephone from Washington, Inhofe said he supports the two-year federal budget agreement announced earlier this week even though it is expected to add $1.7 trillion to the deficit. [Tulsa World] U.S. Sen. James Lankford came out against the agreement because it lacks any long-term debt reduction tools. [The Oklahoman]

Quote of the Day

“I needed a safe place. Not only did I have a safe place in my school, I had teachers who encouraged me. I had teachers who valued me. That’s why I wanted to teach, just to give back to what was given to me.”

– Jena Nelson, a 2020 Oklahoma Teacher of the Year finalist, believes public education saved her life [The Oklahoman]

Number of the Day

$12.9 billion

The total economic impact that tribes made in Oklahoma in 2017. In addition to direct contributions, tribes generate billions in production by companies that support tribes’ business operations.

[Source: Oklahoma Native Impact]

See previous Numbers of the Day here.

Policy Note

How legal marijuana is helping the black market: When Oregon legalized marijuana in 2014, the state tried very hard to stifle its black market by ensuring the path into the legal market was as easy as possible. It did not limit licenses and it simplified regulations, creating a program with one of the lowest barriers to entry in the United States. It worked. [Politico]

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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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