In The Know: State budget still in recovery; Marsy’s Law questions; most expensive Gov. race in state history…

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

The state budget is growing but is not fully recovered: As Oklahoma heads into a new budget year and closes the books on FY 2018, two things are especially clear: Oklahoma’s fiscal situation is much improved, but we still have a long ways to go to recover from a decade of deep budget cuts. After several consecutive years of shortfalls and lagging collections, last year (FY 2018) was a good one for state tax collections. [OK Policy]

Advocates see hope in Marsy’s Law ballot question, experts raise questions: State Question 794, which would give crime victims new rights under the state constitution, goes before voters on Nov. 6. Oklahoma already has a bill of rights for crime victims that includes many of the provisions the ballot initiative provides, but advocates like Vierling say the changes will help future crime victims navigate a confusing criminal justice system. [StateImpact Oklahoma] Marsy’s Law is well-intentioned, but be wary of unintended consequences. [OK Policy] For a list of voting resources and election deadlines, visit our 2018 Oklahoma State Questions and Elections page. [OK Policy]

With nearly $16 million spent already, Governor’s race shaping up to be the most expensive in state history: With runoff elections less than a week away, the race for Oklahoma’s next governor is already shaping up to be one of the most expensive in state history, according to the candidates’ most recent campaign filings. Thus far, the state’s gubernatorial candidates have spent a combined total of $15.8 million this election season. And that’s not counting more than $1 million spent in the governor’s race so far by non-candidate groups. [The Frontier] In a televised debate Wednesday night, Republican gubernatorial candidates Mick Cornett and Kevin Stitt agreed on a few points but continued trying to paint the other as unsuited for the office. [Public Radio Tulsa]

Rural voters could play key role in GOP primary runoff: As voters head to the polls Tuesday, rural Republicans will have a choice to make. In the first round of primary votes on June 26, the counties lining Oklahoma’s perimeter, most of which are considered rural, overwhelmingly supported Lt. Gov. Todd Lamb for the Republican gubernatorial nomination. Fewer than 10 of them voted for a candidate other than Lamb. However, the urban centers boosted Mick Cornett and Kevin Stitt into the first- and second-place spots, dropping Lamb from the runoff. [Journal Record]

In Oklahoma AG race, one candidate has now put more than $2 million of his own money into campaign: Candidate Gentner Drummond has loaned his campaign for attorney general more than $2 million, one of the biggest personal investments ever in a race for statewide office in Oklahoma, reports show. His latest loan — $500,000 — came Tuesday and sparked accusations again that he is trying to “buy the election.” … The incumbent attorney general, Mike Hunter, also has made sizable loans to his campaign. The total so far is $700,000, his reports show. [NewsOK]

After years of little to no opposition, Republican incumbents Sean Roberts, Mike Ritze could easily lose: Perhaps nothing demonstrates the sudden turbulence rocking the Oklahoma Republican Party more than the predicaments in which state Reps. Sean Roberts, R-Hominy, and Mike Ritze, R-Broken Arrow, find themselves. After years of little to no opposition, both are in Aug. 28 runoff elections they could easily lose. [Tulsa World] Anti-tax Rebublicans fared especially poorly in June primaries. [OK Policy]

House District 10: Candidate Q&A: Dunlap, Strom answer PJC questions: The Pawhuska Journal-Capital recently asked the Republican candidates in the runoff for District 10 House of Representatives to answer five questions. The newspaper sent a questionnaire to incumbent Travis Dunlap and challenger Judd Strom, and asked them to respond to each question in 75 words or less. The questions were specific and addressed issues Oklahoma’s legislators are likely to face in the next legislative session. [Pawhuska Journal-Capital]

State Superintendent runoff election: Joy Hofmeister, Linda Murphy on next week’s Republican ballot: GOP voters are set to decide between one-term incumbent Joy Hofmeister and challenger Linda Murphy in Tuesday’s runoff. The winner will face Democrat John Cox, whom Hofmeister defeated in 2014, in the November general election. June’s primary revealed new vulnerability for Hofmeister, as GOP voters split 46.8 percent for her and 53.2 percent for the other two candidates. [Tulsa World] Five things we know about Oklahoma’s 2018 legislative elections – pre-runoff update [OK Policy]

Airbnb tax revenue to state tops $1 million over past year: Airbnb, the world’s leading community-driven hospitality company, announced it generated $1.1 million of sales and lodging taxes during the first year of its tax agreement with the state of Oklahoma. Through the agreement, which went into effect July 1, 2017, Airbnb collects the 4.5 percent state sales tax, as well as state-administered local lodging taxes and local sales and use taxes on all applicable bookings. [Tulsa World]

Grants approved for aerospace, aviation education: Twenty-eight organizations were recently awarded Aerospace and Aviation Education Program grants or contracts totaling $296,697 from the Oklahoma Aeronautics Commission. The funding is a resource to educators for STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) instruction concentrating on aerospace and aviation. [NewsOK]

State Board of Education approves first Native American charter school in Oklahoma City: The Oklahoma State Board of Education voted Thursday to approve a Native American charter school in Oklahoma City. “I’m mostly just excited to finally roll up our sleeves as a community and a team and start the hard work of actually implementing this school,” said Phil Gover, the founder of Sovereign Community School. The 6-12th grade charter school will teach Native American history and incorporate a native perspective in all areas of curriculum. [Fox25]

Oklahoma Medicaid tests new tactic to curb US drug costs: A new front in the battle over the cost of expensive medicines in the United States is opening up in Oklahoma, the first state where the government’s Medicaid program is negotiating contracts for prescription drugs based on how well they work. In June, Oklahoma received approval from the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to factor how effective a prescription medicine is into the price it pays to the manufacturer. [Reuters]

Tulsa police, fire departments report hiring progress under public safety tax: Since 2017, the Tulsa Police Department has hired 70 officers with public safety tax funding, while the Tulsa Fire Department has hired 65 firefighters. Overall, TPD’s number of sworn officers has increased from 741 to 795 during that period. Deputy Chief Eric Dalgleish said that will help the department get away from running officers from call to call with little time to visibly patrol in the community. [Public Radio Tulsa]

Texas, Oklahoma push DeVos to fund guns in schools: Education Secretary Betsy DeVos is weighing whether to allow school districts to tap into more than $1 billion in federal money to put guns in schools in response to requests from Oklahoma and Texas to train and arm “school marshals.” The highly unusual move would fly in the face of recent congressional efforts to prohibit the use of federal funds for guns in schools, and has revived the already explosive debate over arming teachers. [Politico]

Bar Association rating may not derail Tulsa attorney’s nomination for federal judgeship: Tulsa attorney John O’Connor’s nomination to be a federal judge in Oklahoma was held over Thursday, but that delay was not linked to the “not qualified” rating O’Connor received earlier this week from the American Bar Association. Instead, the postponement came as a routine request from Democrats that covered all the court nominations on the Senate Judiciary Committee’s agenda. [Tulsa World] In the days after the American Bar Association declared Tulsa attorney John O’Connor is not qualified to be a federal judge, the Senate Judiciary Committee delayed a vote on his confirmation and Tulsa’s mayor came to his defense. [NewsOK]

Quote of the Day

“Native American people in Oklahoma don’t look just like me. Native American people in Oklahoma are white, black and Hispanic. So the idea that by opening a Native American school we’re segregating kids from other races, kind of misunderstands what it is to be indigenous in this country.”

-Phil Gover, the founder of the recently approved Sovereign Community School in Oklahoma City which will will teach Native American history and incorporate a native perspective in all areas of curriculum [Fox 25]

Number of the Day


Median rent in Tulsa in June 2018, a 4% decrease from the previous year.

[Zillow Research]

See previous Numbers of the Day here.

Policy Note

The relationship between work and health: Findings from a literature review: Taken as a whole, the large body of research on the link between work and health indicates that proposed policies requiring work as a condition of Medicaid eligibility may not necessarily benefit health among Medicaid enrollees and their dependents, and some literature also suggests that such policies could negatively affect health. … Given the characteristics of the Medicaid population, research indicates that policies could lead to emotional strain, loss of health coverage, or widening of health disparities for vulnerable populations. [Kaiser Family Foundation]

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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.

One thought on “In The Know: State budget still in recovery; Marsy’s Law questions; most expensive Gov. race in state history…

  1. a good unintended consequence of the victims’ bill if it passes will be the way it will undoubtedly put paid to the idea that DAs care about victims. victims’ advocates in other states generally have tons of complaints about the lack of cooperation they get from DAs who end up only liking victims who scream for vengeance. The majority of victims, research/surveys have shown, want more complex justice, don’t want to prolong the event, and/or fear the long-term consequences for other possible victims from DA-favored overincarceration that is our least effective means to limit victimization due to diverted funding from more effective means and/or increased crime from offenders made worse by prison. DAs generally frown upon such people, and new requirements that they actually show concern for ALL victims and their needs will likely tear off the “I’m here for you” face the DAs show when using victimization as an emotional support for cost-ineffective policies. long-term, that might actually result in cost savings from more effective, less DA-influenced policies than the costs that opponents apparently see from its passage.

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