In The Know: State health care authority seeks Medicaid consultant, SQ 802 petition signatures to be submitted Thursday, 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.

New from OK Policy

Join us next week in saying farewell to our longtime executive director David Blatt: In celebration of his long-standing service, OK Policy will host two farewell events next week in Oklahoma City (October 28th) and Tulsa (October 29th). The events are free and open to the public, but we ask that you RSVP by 5:00 pm this Thursday, October 24. Click here to RSVP.

Join the OK Policy team as a paid intern next Spring: OK Policy is now accepting applications for paid, part-time internships in its Tulsa and Oklahoma City offices during the Spring 2020 semester! If you’re looking to be part of a team that’s fighting to make Oklahoma better for all Oklahomans, this might be the place for you. The deadline to apply is 5:00 pm on Monday, November 11th. Click here to learn more

In The News

Health Care Authority seeks Medicaid consultant to guide Stitt’s health plan: The Oklahoma Health Care Authority is looking to hire a national Medicaid expert to help Gov. Kevin Stitt put the finishing touches on his health care plan. The move could be the most telling sign yet that some form of Medicaid expansion may play a key role in the governor’s health care plan. [The Oklahoman

Oklahoma Medicaid expansion supporters to turn in signatures on Thursday: Supporters of an effort to let voters decide to expand Medicaid will turn in their signatures to the Oklahoma Secretary of State’s Office on Thursday. [Tulsa World] After collecting the required signatures, volunteers continued to collect signatures through this week because they wanted to send a statement that the Medicaid expansion effort found strong support across Oklahoma. [Journal Record ????] For a look at why Medicaid expansion would be good for Oklahoma, see OK Policy’s analysis of underlying arguments on the issue.

Attorney general discusses implementation of Marsy’s Law: Oklahoma crime victims can now visit the state attorney general’s website to view rights that are available to them through Marsy’s Law, along with other resources. Last November, Oklahoma voters passed Marsy’s Law, or State Question 794, to add certain rights for crime victims to the Oklahoma Constitution. [The Oklahoman]

State revenue, demographics squeeze Oklahoma’s community colleges and regional universities interest: It’s been a tough 10 years for Oklahoma’s public colleges and universities. Appropriations fell 26% in three years and remain at levels not seen in two decades. Enrollment at most schools sagged, particularly in teacher education programs that for many have been their bread and butter. [Tulsa World] OK Policy analysis shows that investing in higher education yields strong returns for the state and its residents. 

In unusual meeting, Gary Pierson named next chairman of OU regents: During an unusual and sparsely-attended lunch meeting, the University of Oklahoma Board of Regents today nominated and selected member Gary Pierson as the board’s next chairman effective March 2020. [NonDoc] Former OU basketball player Renzi Stone abruptly resigned from the board on Tuesday, the same day he was reelected as the board’s vice chairman. [The Oklahoman]

Proposed OKC MAPS 4 will hit consumers differently: MAPS 4 projects are expected to cost taxpayers $978 million — a record amount for a MAPS initiative — and the total collections could be even more. The fate of the project rests with voters who must decide if the 16 projects associated with MAPS 4 are worth such a cost. This story is the second part in a multipart series examining MAPS 4. [The Oklahoman]

Leader of Second Amendment advocacy group considering lawsuit after being turned away at Tulsa Oktoberfest: The leader of an Oklahoma Second Amendment advocacy group said Tuesday he plans to take legal action after Tulsa police officers refused to allow him to enter Oktoberfest while in possession of a concealed handgun. [Tulsa World]

STDs on the rise, but preventive measures are offered locally: Health officials across the country are expressing concern about the growing number of people with a sexually transmitted disease, as a recent report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention indicated rates of syphilis, chlamydia, and gonorrhea have risen for the fifth year. [Tahlequah Daily Press]

Watchmen’s Tulsa opening is a chilling reminder of a horrifying moment in American history: HBO’s Watchmen opens in 1921 during the Tulsa Race Massacre, a deeply disturbing real stain on American history, where, on May 31, 1921, a mob of white people attacked a black community. [Esquire] For useful background to all this, here is a collection of eyewitness accounts, official reports and subsequent reporting and commentary on the destruction of the thriving district once known as “Black Wall Street.” [New York Times] OK Policy previously wrote about Tulsa Race Massacre victims still waiting for justice. 

Quote of the Day

“We must focus on reducing all barriers to individuals seeking health care, such as poverty, stigma, and lack of health insurance.”

-Lori Tremmel, National Association of County and City Health Officials CEO, speaking about a recent Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report. [Tahlequah Daily Press

Number of the Day


Number of children in foster care in Oklahoma (2017)

[Source: KIDS COUNT]

See previous Numbers of the Day here.

Policy Note

As rural groceries fade away, lawmakers wonder whether to act: In rural areas, the poor tend to live farther from supermarkets than residents with more resources. The median distance to the nearest food store for rural populations in 2015 was 3.11 miles, and a shade farther for rural households enrolled in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), better known as food stamps, according to a May 2019 report by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which oversees the program. [Pew Trusts]

You can sign up here to receive In The Know by e-mail.


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.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.