In The Know: State population grows, retains five Congressional seats | What ARPA Means for Oklahoma | Managed Care: The Facts

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. Some stories included here are behind paywall or require subscription. OK Policy encourages the support of Oklahoma’s state and local media, which are vital to an informed citizenry. Subscribe to In The Know and see past editions.

New from OK Policy

What the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 Means for Oklahoma (webinar): The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (ARPA), signed into law in March, builds on previous pandemic relief efforts by providing much needed help for tens of millions of people still facing difficulties paying their bills, while also providing important aid to states, localities, territories, and tribes that they can use to fill revenue holes, address COVID-related needs, and address the learning needs of students. In this webinar, OK Policy policy staff take a look at ARPA and dig into what this sweeping legislation can mean for Oklahoma, especially in terms of fiscal aid, child well-being, criminal justice, health care, and advocacy opportunities. [OK Policy / YouTube

Privatized Managed Care: The Facts: As the Governor and the Oklahoma Health Care Authority (OHCA) attempt to unilaterally outsource the care of 773,794 Oklahomans who are insured by Medicaid, legislators and members of the public need the facts, not political talking points. Privatized managed care is not supported by peer-reviewed evidence: it hasn’t been definitively linked to budget savings or improved health outcomes. In fact, it will likely cost the state money and harm many Oklahoma communities. Lawmakers have the option and the responsibility to protect Oklahomans’ health care and stop this reckless change. [Emma Morris / OK Policy]

2020 Census Evaluation Report: Understanding How Oklahomans Are Doing: While the census count officially ended on October 15, 2020, many uncertainties related to the 2020 census remain, including ongoing data validity checks and court cases. Despite unprecedented challenges, Oklahoma’s final census self-response rate decreased only marginally compared to 2010. The 2020 census marked an unprecedented effort by Oklahomans engaged in wide-scale census efforts across the state. Documentation of Oklahoma’s 2020 census efforts can serve as a starting
point for future census efforts. [OK Policy]

Oklahoma News

Oklahoma gains nearly 200K residents over last decade: The latest data from the U.S. Census Bureau released Monday shows Oklahoma has gained nearly 200,000 residents over the last 10 years, but not enough to gain another U.S. House seat. [AP News] Oklahoma’s population fell just short of 4 million residents in the U.S. Census count last year, and the state remained the 28th largest in the nation, according to U.S. Census Bureau figures released Monday. [The Oklahoman

  • Census Data: Oklahoma retains its 5 US House seats, population grew less than nation as a whole [Public Radio Tulsa]
  • Census: Oklahoma’s population rises 5.5% since 2010 [FOX25]
  • South is the fastest growing region, according to 2020 US Census results [Tennessean]

Oklahoma governor battles with members of own party over Medicaid privatization plan: Lawmakers continue to battle with the Governor over how to structure Medicaid expansion. This time, the fight is within the Republican party. Last week, the Oklahoma House of Representatives passed a bill that goes against the Governor’s plan for privatized Medicaid care. The chief exec. bashed the bill, but now Republicans in the House are pushing back. [KFOR]

Oklahoma saw about a 40% decline in daily vaccinations, health officials say: Oklahoma saw a significant drop in daily COVID-19 vaccinations last week — about 40% less than the week before, state health officials said Friday. The week before last, the state was averaging about 23,000 shots given per day. Last week, it averaged about 13,000 doses a day. [The Oklahoman]

College accounts at birth: State efforts raise new hopes: Braylon Dedmon was 3 days old when his mother, Talasheia, was offered $1,000 to open a college savings account in his name. “I was like, ‘What?’” Ms. Dedmon recalled. Her skeptic’s antennae tingled. “I was a little scared.” Was this a scam? It wasn’t. The offer was the beginning of a far-reaching research project begun in Oklahoma 14 years ago to study whether creating savings accounts for newborns would improve their graduation rates and their chances of going to college or trade school years later. The experiment, called SEED for Oklahoma Kids or SEED OK, is one of a growing number of efforts by cities and states — governed by Democrats and Republicans alike — to help a new generation climb the educational ladder and build assets. This study and others aren’t finished, but at a time when the gap between the richest sliver of Americans and everyone else is growing, the results have been encouraging. [New York Times]

Health News

Some Oklahomans grapple with ‘long COVID’ as doctors, researchers seek to understand it: People who experience long COVID, which some researchers call post-acute sequelae of COVID-19, report an array of symptoms such as fatigue, shortness of breath and gastrointestinal problems. Research is rapidly evolving on COVID-19 and scientists are just starting to scratch the surface on how many long haulers there are, how to best diagnose and treat them, and why it happens to some people and not others. [The Frontier]

State Government News

Stitt signs anti-abortion, ‘Second Amendment Sanctuary,’ ‘Religious Freedom’ bills: Gov. Kevin Stitt has signed bills to limit abortions in Oklahoma, make the state a “Second Amendment Sanctuary” and prevent the government from closing places of worship during emergency situations. [The Oklahoman] The abortion bills have been criticized by the New York-based Center for Reproductive Rights, which has successfully sued to overturn numerous anti-abortion laws in recent years. [AP News] A number of other Oklahoma laws that also were designed to make it more difficult to obtain an abortion have been deemed unconstitutional by the courts over the years. [Tulsa World]

  • Gun rights activist reverses call for top Oklahoma senator to be ejected from leadership [The Oklahoman]

Senate leader won’t hold vote on bill letting lawmakers declare federal actions unconstitutional: The leader of the Oklahoma Senate said he is not on board with House Republicans’ push to let the legislature declare presidential executive orders and other federal actions unconstitutional. [Public Radio Tulsa] Along with other groups and community leaders, he’s spearheading the veto referendum to get rid of HB 1674. [The Black Wall Street Times]

Oklahoma activist launches referendum on anti-protest bill: The Oklahoma leader of the Young Democrats of America, Joshua Harris-Till, said Monday he’s launching a veto referendum on a bill signed by Oklahoma’s governor that seeks to crack down on protesters by increasing penalties for blocking roadways and granting immunity to motorists who kill or injure rioters. [AP News]

State Senator Nathan Dahm draws criticism for crude joke targeting vice president: Broken Arrow Republican Sen. Nathan Dahm has drawn bipartisan criticism for a crude sexual joke about Vice President Kamala Harris in a Senate press release. [Public Radio Tulsa] In an interview with KTUL’s Tyler Butler, Dahm did not deny he was making a reference to oral sex. [KTUL]

  • State Senate Democrats file formal complaint against Sen. Nathan Dahm [Tulsa World]
  • Senate floor leader says there will be consequences for Sen. Dahm’s VP ‘joke’ [KTUL]

Federal Government News

Oklahomans in House split on pot banking, unite against DC statehood: U.S. House members from Oklahoma united last week in their opposition to statehood for the District of Columbia, but split on whether to allow the cannabis industry access to the federal banking system. [The Oklahoman]

Mullin: Haaland appointment ‘exciting’ for Indian Country, but reserving judgment on her policies: Oklahoma Republican Rep. Markwayne Mullin has been a staunch critic of President Biden and his White House, calling his policy priorities “radical,” but on Friday he said he is reserving judgment on fellow Native Deb Haaland, the New Mexico Democratic Congresswoman-turned-Interior Secretary. [Public Radio Tulsa]

Criminal Justice News

Tulsa County sheriff defends speaking engagements: Tulsa County Sheriff Vic Regalado said Monday his appearance at a recent Broken Arrow conference with a long roster of assorted conspiracy theorists does not mean he adheres to any of their doctrines. [Tulsa World]

Economic Opportunity

Nonprofits pushing to get people from winter storm emergency housing to permanent housing: Nonprofits saved 400 Tulsans experiencing homelessness during February’s winter storms by getting them into hotel rooms. Now, those same organizations are working to get those Tulsans into permanent housing in a matter of weeks, a process that typically takes two years. [Public Radio Tulsa]

Economy & Business News

Here’s why Paycom’s Chad Richison is (technically) America’s highest paid CEO: Corporate filings show Chad Richison, founder of Oklahoma City-based Paycom, received more than $211 million in compensation last year for his role as president and CEO of the company. But there’s a catch. [The Oklahoman]

March housing starts for area jump 41.3%: Residential housing starts for the area continue to soar. Starts climbed 58.7% over the same period a year ago in March, going from 264 to 419, according to the Home Builders Association of Greater Tulsa. [Tulsa World]

Education News

Virtual Charter School Board ends Epic Charter Schools termination proceedings as part of deal: A deal has been reached to end sponsorship termination proceedings against Oklahoma’s largest online charter school. In a teleconference meeting lasting less than 15 minutes, the Statewide Virtual Charter School Board voted without debate or discussion Monday afternoon to approve a consent agreement with Epic Charter Schools. [Tulsa World]

‘Get it done’: Rural Oklahoma schools are a labor of love: For superintendents and other education leaders, the challenges of operating rural Oklahoma schools can range from major budgeting decisions to more finite questions about who will drive the bus for a student activity. At three rural districts in southeast Oklahoma, superintendents say efficiency in faculty roles and strong community relationships have been keys to ensuring student success. [NonDoc]

How COVID-19 cheated some high school athletes out of college scholarship opportunities: After helping his Del City squad win the Class 6A boys basketball championship and being named to the all-tournament team, senior Sherrod Davis tweeted: “I was the most underrated dual sport athlete in Oklahoma ” [The Oklahoman]

Oklahoma Local News

  • Advisory committee balks at wheelchair ramps proposed for new convention center [The Oklahoman]
  • ‘Either-or’: Edmond council moves toward special election on land near Hafer Park [NonDoc]

Quote of the Day

“As the parent of a child who is chronically ill, nothing could be more terrifying than leaving his future care in the hands of for-profit insurance companies.”

-Erin Ramsey [Tulsa Kids Magazine]

Number of the Day


Percentage of Oklahoma children younger than age 6 with all parents working having non-traditional hours

[Source: Urban Institute]

Policy Note

A Racially Just Recovery Demands Paid Family and Medical Leave: Too often in our country’s history, the ability to take time to care for yourself and others while maintaining your economic security has been predominantly reserved for the white and wealthy few. Yet, it is through providing care for one another that we knit together the bonds of our families and communities. [National Partnership for Women and Children]

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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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