In The Know: Stephens County Jail on lockdown after inmates flood holding pod

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

Today you should know that the Stephens County Jail remains on lock down after a ‘ruckus’ that required Duncan police intervention – inmates tore loose a fire sprinkler and flooded an entire holding pod.  Federal and local obstruction over Affordable Care Act implementation means uncertainty and delay for the state’s county health departments. 

The temporary extension of Insure Oklahoma revealed a longer-term solution to the state’s high uninsurance rate – if the state is willing to accept it.  A Woodward police dispatcher and her supervisor left the department after filing a sexual harassment complaint against a veteran police officer that they felt was not taken seriously.

The UN Special Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples advocated for ‘baby’ Veronica’s right to maintain her cultural identity as a member of the Cherokee Nation.  A gay married couple in Tulsa is awaiting the state tax commission’s response to their amended joint tax return, which they filed after an IRS rule-change.

In today’s Policy Note, Oklahoma Policy Institute released a statement about Insurance Commissioner John Doak’s claims that insurance premiums will “skyrocket” next year due to the Affordable Care Act.  The Number of the Day is Oklahoma’s average loan-to-value (LTV) ratio for residential mortgages (loan balance/current property value).

In The News

Stephens County Jail locked down after ‘ruckus’
Stephens County Sheriff Wayne McKinney said inmates attempting to hide contraband instigated the Saturday evening dust-up. “What we had was, Saturday evening, detention officers gained information about possible smuggled contraband in that particular pod,” McKinney said. “We always try to follow up on information when we receive it.” “The information we had is probably true,” he said. McKinney said protocol was followed and the suspected pod was locked down all inmates were confined to their cells as detention officers conducted a search. The sheriff said a couple of inmates began a “mini-disturbance” “I wouldn’t go so far as to call it a riot.” A fire sprinkler was torn loose and flooded the entire pod, he said.

Read more from The Lawton Constitution

Waiting on Congress: Health department hoping to be ready for ACA
As the country sits through tireless efforts from the U.S. House of Representatives to repeal the already-ruled-constitutional Affordable Care Act, Bruce Dart, director of the Tulsa City-County Health Department, speaks a recurring phrase. “We just don’t know.” In the wake of the release of the Leavitt report, which called for an increased role for local health departments in the overall health care process in Oklahoma, Dart and company are waiting to learn just exactly what that would mean.

Read more from Urban Tulsa

Insure Oklahoma extension paves way for longer-term solution
Last Friday, Oklahoma received formal word that the federal government has agreed to extend Insure Oklahoma, the state’s publicly-funded premium assistance health insurance program, until the end of 2014, subject to certain program changes. This one-year extension means that individuals and businesses that participate in the program will not face an imminent loss of coverage. However, the decision’s greater significance is that it reveals that a longer-term solution to provide health coverage for a greater number of people at less cost to the state may be readily available – if the state is willing to accept it.

Read more from OKPolicy Blog

Sexual harassment complaint results in officer’s suspension
Perez said she was told by the dispatcher and a co-worker who witnessed the incident that Ford repeatedly asked to see the tattoo on the dispatcher’s lower back. “He lifted up [her] shirt and dropped a dollar on the floor, saying, ‘Bend over and pick it up so I can see your tramp stamp,'” said Perez. She said the dispatcher and witness also told her the incident occurred while the dispatcher was on duty and speaking with another officer over the radio.

Read more from Woodward News

Baby Veronica case: Consider Cherokee girl’s rights, says UN official
A United Nations official focusing on the rights of indigenous people is calling on state, federal and tribal authorities to ensure that the rights of a nearly 4-year-old girl in the middle of a custody dispute are considered. James Anaya is the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples. He says in a statement released Tuesday that authorities should consider Veronica’s rights to maintain her “cultural identity” as a member of the Cherokee Nation.

Read more from Associated Press

Gay Tulsa couple fights to file a joint tax return with state of Oklahoma
Charles Johnston and Kelly Kirby, married since 2008, filed an amendment to their tax filing last week, just days after the IRS changed their rules for federal filing. “We want the same civil right as everyone else has. I don’t think we want more. We want the same,” Johnston said Tuesday. Right now, they’re in a stand-still because state and federal laws contradict each other. Oklahoma tax law requires state returns to match federal filings. However, the Oklahoma constitution only recognizes a marriage between a man and woman.

Read more from KJRH

Quote of the Day

“If that’s a scenario that plays out, are we prepared to stand up so that the recommendations in the Leavitt Report can be implemented? If Congress decides, ‘We’re not going to increase primary care, but focus on preventative care,’ do we have to resources to do that? If we have several scenarios, I think we’ll be able to have a plan to put into action, or commingle several of them. The hard part is not knowing.”

Bruce Dart, director of the Tulsa City-County Health Department

Number of the Day

69.7 percent

Oklahoma’s average loan-to-value (LTV) ratio for residential mortgages (loan balance/current property value), versus 62.5 percent nationally; the higher the LTV, the riskier the loan is for the lender.

Source: CoreLogic

See previous Numbers of the Day here.

Policy Note

STATEMENT: Insurance Commissioner Doak’s warning of premium increase not based on real data
The Insurance Commissioner has issued an inflammatory press release predicting huge increases in Oklahoma’s insurance rates. His claims are not based on data, but rather on informal conversations that his staff apparently had with some insurance carriers. Commissioner Doak’s statement is in line with his political opposition to the Affordable Care Act, but it does not reflect an impartial assessment of real insurance rates.

Read more from Oklahoma Policy Institute

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