In The Know: SQ 788 debate grows over qualifying conditions

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

SQ 788 Debate Grows over Qualifying Conditions: The debate over medical marijuana in Oklahoma has focused almost solely on the ballot measure’s technical provisions, and among the most heavily contested is its lack of qualifying conditions. State Question 788 explicitly states that it contains no qualifying conditions, which would make it the first law in the nation to do so. It would allow board-licensed physicians to recommend cannabis using accepted standards a reasonable and prudent physician would follow when prescribing or approving any medication [Journal Record]. Medical marijuana expert, Oklahoma native to speak at campaign event [News6]. How does SQ 788 compare to other states’ medical marijuana laws? [OKPolicy]

Judges on the Ballot in Oklahoma: What You Need to Know: Oklahoma is one of 39 states where voters have a role in selecting judges. On November 6, Oklahoma voters will decide whether to retain five Supreme Court justices, two Court of Criminal Appeals judges, and four Court of Civil Appeals judges. Judicial elections usually don’t attract as much publicity as other races, so we’re taking a look at how judges are chosen, what’s at stake in the elections, and how you can learn about the candidates [OKPolicy]. Oklahoma 2018 State Questions and Elections [OKPolicy]. 

State Must Diversify Economy, Gubernatorial Hopefuls Say: Oklahoma’s fortunes have long been entwined with the success and failures of the boom-and-bust energy industry. The industry was credited with fueling an estimated 1 in 6 Oklahoma jobs in 2016, while production taxes generated more than $310 million for state coffers, according to an analysis conducted by Oklahoma City University’s Steven C. Agee Economic Research and Policy Institute [Enid News & Eagle].

Education Yields Economic Development, Symposium Told: “How do we make education look good for those that live in (rural) areas?” he said. He addressed a panel that was discussing economic development. The 31st annual event began Wednesday at the Skirvin Hilton Hotel. Panelists included Shirley, Chickasaw Nation Secretary of Commerce Bill Lance, Chickasaw Nation Industries CEO David Nimmo, Oklahoma Secretary of Native American Affairs Chris Benge, and Choctaw Nation Division of Commerce Executive Director of Economic Development Tammye Gwin [Journal Record].

We Talked to 18 Teachers in Oklahoma Who Are Calling It Quits: Eric Weingartner worked two side jobs in addition to his job as a full-time 4th grade teacher to make ends meet. Chemistry teacher Becky Smith’s monthly paycheck rose just $300 in 16 years. Aimee Elmquist spent her own money to stock her biology classroom. Mary West did the same for her high school art class. Teachers in Oklahoma have been doing more with less for over a decade now [VICE News].

State’s Record Gross Receipts Reflect Resilient Oil and Gas Industry: The money collected by the state of Oklahoma, or gross receipts, totaled $970 million in May. That’s up by 13.6% from the same month last year and an all-time record for the state. It’s part of a steep upward trend that can be traced back to January 2017 according to the Oklahoma State Treasurer’s Office [Public Radio Tulsa].

Republican Congressional Candidate Shames Fellow GOPers for Not Criticizing Trump’s Treatment of Women: Four Republican candidates in the 1st Congressional District covered the usual issues — taxes, abortion, guns, immigration — during a Tuesday night forum at Tulsa Tech’s Lemley Campus, but the biggest commotion came near the end, when Danny Stockstill rose to moderator Russell Mills’ invitation to criticize President Donald Trump. In truth, Stockstill did not chide Trump so much as he did fellow Republicans who won’t hold the president accountable for his actions, especially toward women [Tulsa World].

HD 82 Forum: ‘Spiffy Little Paddles’ Show #Oklaed Support: How do you manage a political forum featuring nearly a dozen candidates? Monday night, the Deer Creek Parent Legislative Action Committee (PLAC) found a creative way to get answers at its House District 82 event, which 11 of 13 candidates attended. “Some of the questions will be in a yes-or-no format,” said Ted Streuli, editor of the Journal Record and forum moderator [NonDoc].

Virginia’s Medicaid Lead Unlikely to Creep to Oklahoma: Some Medicaid expansion supporters are hopeful Virginia’s approval will shift the conversation in Oklahoma, but top Republicans said that is unlikely. Once the news was announced on May 31, several House Democrats took to Twitter to encourage the Oklahoma Legislature to revisit the proposal. But Senate President Pro Tempore Designate Greg Treat and Floor Leader Kim David said the Virginia decision would not make any changes in Oklahoma [Journal Record]. It’s time to expand Medicaid in Oklahoma [OKPolicy].

Momentum for expansion: Virginia is the latest state poised to expand Medicaid health coverage. Last week, its Republican-led Senate approved expanding Medicaid eligibility to about 400,000 low-income adults. Gov. Ralph Northam’s signature will make Virginia the 33rd state to take advantage of Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act. Even some of the most politically conservative states are seeing the wisdom of expanding Medicaid. Voters in Utah will have the chance to vote on a full Medicaid expansion this November, while a partial expansion has the support of Utah’s Republican legislative leaders and governor. Health care advocates in Idaho also say they’ve collected enough signatures to get Medicaid expansion on the November ballot [David Blatt / Journal Record].

Volkswagen, Oklahoma Reach Settlement over Diesel Scandal: The State of Oklahoma and Volkswagen have reached a settlement in the state’s lawsuit against the automaker for false and deceptive advertising. In 2015, it was revealed that VW had installed software in diesel vehicles to cheat on lab emissions tests to get their vehicles to meet standards. When the emissions systems were deactivated the vehicle would emit 40 times the amount of nitrogen oxide allowed in the United States. Oklahoma Attorney General says that the state filed a suit against the automaker to uphold consumer protection laws [KTUL].

Meg Salyer Plans to Retire After 10 Years Representing Ward 6 on the Oklahoma City Council: Ward 6 Oklahoma City Councilwoman Meg Salyer says she is retiring when her current term ends next year. Salyer first was elected in November 2008 and won re-election in 2011 and 2015. Salyer’s retirement could threaten the limited diversity on the council. She is the only woman among the nine voting members [NewsOK].

Transit Front-And-Center as OKC City Council Adopts Budget: Addition of Sunday bus service drew enthusiastic reviews Tuesday as the Oklahoma City Council adopted a record $1.57 billion budget for 2018-19. Mayor David Holt took to Twitter to tout details such as enhanced police and fire protection, street resurfacing and others, “most notably Sunday bus service.” To which @misskorilyn replied, “Sunday bus service is a game-changer for OKC. Shoutout to all the transportation advocates in our city who have been vocal about making this happen” [NewsOK].

‘Getting High Didn’t Make Anything Better’: A Mother and Daughter Look Toward a Hopeful Future: Jaimee Lee and her 12-year-old daughter Melissa are getting a fresh start with ReMerge, a prison diversion program for women and mothers. Jaimee has struggled with addiction for years. When she and Melissa visited the StoryCorps mobile booth, they had a frank conversation about the effects of addiction on their relationship and their hopes for the future [KOSU].

Quote of the Day

“All of the sources of revenue are showing growth. That includes income tax, gross production tax, sales tax, motor vehicle taxes and then all the other miscellaneous stuff grouped into one. Everything is in positive territory.”

-Oklahoma State Treasurer spokesperson Tim Allen, speaking about Oklahoma’s gross revenue collections in May that were up by 13.6% from the same month last year [KGOU].

Number of the Day


Rural child poverty rate in Oklahoma, compared to an urban child poverty rate of 21.8%.

[Save the Children]

See previous Numbers of the Day here.

Policy Note

A Flurry of Bills Followed Larry Nassar’s Conviction. Here’s Why That’s a Problem: To that end, more than 30 bills are under consideration in the Michigan House of Representatives, and a package of related state Senate bills was passed with overwhelming and speedy bipartisan support in March. Some of the legislation seems sensible, such as bills expanding sex education curriculum for students and requiring public schools to maintain records about why an employee leaves or is fired. But other bills, such as extending the statute of limitations and increasing prison sentences for child pornography possession, risk regressive consequences under the patina of progressive, victim-focused reform [The Appeal].

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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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