In The Know: State budget cuts hit Medicaid patients

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.

Today In The News

State budget cuts hit Medicaid patients: The ripple effect of this year’s legislative budget cuts has reached Oklahoma’s Medicaid recipients. Starting July 1, only children can receive coverage through Medicaid for sleep studies and the machines that treat apnea. Family Medical Supply CEO Jerry Barnhart said without CPAP equipment, people with apnea can develop hypertension, heart attack, stroke or heart disease [Journal Record].

With Supreme Court decision, Fallin should reconsider Medicaid rejection: As of 2012, Oklahoma ranked sixth among states with the highest percentage of its population being uninsured — approximately 21 percent of the population was uninsured. The only step taken by Oklahoma to address this tragic condition is Insure Oklahoma which is, in fact, dependent on federal money [Tulsa World].

Budget cuts could shut down more state parks: Since 2011, one of the ways the Oklahoma Department of Tourism and Recreation has dealt with budget cuts has been to close state parks or transfer them to new managers. With the agency taking a cut of more than $16 million dollars going into the new fiscal year, the big question is whether more parks will have to go [OETA/StateImpact Oklahoma].

Permanent tax reduction for oil and gas industry goes into effect: For decades the standard tax on oil and gas production in Oklahoma has been 7 percent. Beginning today, virtually all new wells will be taxed at just 2 percent for the first 36 months of production [OK Policy Blog].

Economists forecast more energy layoffs: The RegionTrack economic research company has projected revenue for state oil and gas producers could drop 33.4 percent this year, spurring up to 11,000 industry job cuts. U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data indicates Oklahoma has already suffered 8,400 job cuts within its energy-dominated mining and logging sector from December through May [Journal Record].

Oklahoma Supreme Court rules homeowners can sue oil companies over quakes: Homeowners who have sustained injuries or property damage from rampant earthquakes they say are caused by oil and gas operations can sue for damages in state trial courts, rejecting efforts by the industry to block such lawsuits from being decided by juries and judges [New York Times].

Harold Hamm sues for $75,000 in damages over Facebook post: Continental Resources Chairman and CEO Harold Hamm filed a defamation lawsuit against oilman Mickey Thompson over a Facebook post that accused him of trying to “squelch” science examining links between Oklahoma’s energy industry and earthquakes [NewsOK].

Oklahoma death row inmate maintains innocence as execution looms: With the countdown back on to his execution after a U.S. Supreme Court decision, Richard Glossip remains adamant in his innocence. Glossip was convicted of hiring Justin Sneed to kill their boss in 1997. He was convicted based on the testimony of Sneed, who received a plea deal in exchange for his testimony. There was no physical evidence linking Glossip to the crime [News9].

Oklahoma Supreme Court orders Ten Commandments monument must be removed from state Capitol: In a 7-2 opinion the Supreme Court found the placement of the monument on the grounds of the state Capitol violate Article 2, Section 5, of the Oklahoma Constitution which prohibits the use of public money or property to directly or indirectly benefit a “church denomination or system of religion” [NewsOK]. Eleven state GOP lawmakers are calling for the impeachment of all seven Supreme Court justices who ruled against the monument [OK House Press Release]. A Satanist group said they may switch their efforts on erecting their statue of Satan to Arkansas, where lawmakers recently passed a bill to allow a Ten Commandments statue on their Capitol grounds [NewsOK].

A first look at drafts of Oklahoma’s new education standards: Oklahoma is writing new academic standards in math and English that in some ways go beyond the current standards and the now-repealed Common Core benchmarks, according to a review of initial drafts by Oklahoma Watch. A committee of Education Department experts, university educators and school teachers drew on Massachusetts’ past English standards; Minnesota’s and Texas’ current math standards; and Virginia’s current math and English standards to develop standards for Oklahoma [Oklahoma Watch].

Oklahomans react to President Obama’s overtime proposal: President Barack Obama’s proposal to raise the overtime pay cap for the nation’s workforce received praise from the Oklahoma Policy Institute and labor unions and a much less enthusiastic response from the state labor commissioner and business groups. Gene Perry, policy director of the Oklahoma Policy Institute, said it was necessary to address a discrepancy between high productivity and low wages, which he said has been going on for decades [Journal Record].

New rules could help Oklahoma tribes: Four tribes in Oklahoma that previously sent letters of intent to petition for federal recognition — The United Band of the Western Cherokee Nation in Moore, the Cheyenne Nation in Longdale, the United Chickmungwa Band in Wister, and the Muscogee Creek Indian Freedmen Band in Moore — could now benefit from the new regulations created by the U.S. Department of the Interior. Under the new regulations, if the tribe is denied federal status, it can ask for a court hearing with an administrative law judge [Journal Record].

Quote of the Day

“There are plenty of businesses out there who do right by their employees and pay a living wage. This will actually create a more level playing field for those companies because they’ll no longer be at a disadvantage to competitors who get labor at poverty wages.”

-Oklahoma Policy Institute’s Policy Director Gene Perry, speaking about President Obama’s proposal to expand the number of employees eligible to earn overtime pay for working more than 40 hours per week. The proposed Department of Labor rule would increase the income threshold for overtime eligibility from $23,660 to $50,440 (Source).

Number of the Day


Increase in the number of women-owned businesses in Oklahoma, from 67,481 in 1997 to 99,700 in 2015.

Source: Womenable

See previous Numbers of the Day here.

Policy Note

New evidence should drive policies on neighborhoods and economic opportunity: Raj Chetty has been shaking up the conversation about economic opportunity in America. He’s using creative statistical methods to analyze millions of individual tax returns to track patterns of upward mobility from birth to adulthood. Chetty’s latest studies find that place really matters: where kids grow up has a big impact on what they earn as adults [Urban Institute].

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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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