In The Know: Stitt looks for ‘quick wins’; lawmakers react to teacher exodus; marijuana industry impressed with rules…

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

Digital licenses, card payments among Stitt’s desired ‘quick wins’: Digital driver’s licenses and debit card payments at state parks are some of the “quick wins” Gov. Kevin Stitt would like to see in the coming months. Stitt held his third cabinet meeting Thursday and discussed goals he wants to achieve in the next few months at the agencies overseen by his cabinet secretaries. [NewsOK]

Stitt appoints Steve Buck, Charlie Prater to positions: Gov. Kevin Stitt has appointed Steve Buck to be his cabinet secretary of human services and early childhood initiatives. He has also appointed Charlie Prater to be a member of the Oklahoma Tax Commission. [NonDoc]

Lawmakers react to state’s teacher exodus: Oklahoma State House Minority Leader Emily Virgin, D-Norman, called a report that shows tens of thousands of teachers have left the profession in Oklahoma over six years “alarming.” The Oklahoma Educator Supply & Demand Report, which was released Tuesday by the State Department of Education, showed that about 30,000 Oklahoma teachers have left the profession between 2012 and 2018. [Norman Transcript]

Teacher strikes made 2018 the biggest year for worker protest in a generation: About 485,200 workers were involved in major work stoppages in 2018, new Labor Department data shows. It’s the highest figure since 1986. The labor unrest wasn’t a result of prominent unions in manufacturing, such as United Automobile Workers, or transportation, such as Teamsters. It was driven by a wave of teacher strikes that spread from West Virginia (35,000 workers) to Oklahoma (45,000) and Kentucky (26,000). [Washington Post]

‘It’s frustrating:’ Wagoner school leaders defend four-day school week under scrutiny at state Capitol: The Oklahoma Senate recently came out with its priorities for the 2019 legislative session. Rumors have been circulating on social media that schools that adopted the four-day week would have to reverse the path and go back to five school days a week. [Tulsa World]

Years after charter school divided rural community, some see broken promises while others note academic progress: Two years ago, the Oklahoma State Board of Education for the first time exercised its authority to approve a rural charter school. The decision was contentious. A local school board had already denied the charter’s application twice, saying it was incomplete and there wasn’t enough support for the school. [StateImpact Oklahoma]

Marijuana industry impressed with Legislature’s proposed rules: Oklahoma took another step toward a fully regulated medical marijuana system this week when a legislative working group signed off on language that will be sent to both the House and Senate. The bill covers everything from testing to inspections and penalties. [Journal Record ????]

Gun dealers, firearm trainers back constitutional carry proposal: Legislation to allow owners to carry firearms without a permit is likely to cut into the profits of gun retailers across the state, but despite those losses, dealers say they support the measure. “I support the law because it’s constitutional,” said Eric Fuson, co-owner and general manager of 2A Shooting Center in Tulsa. [Journal Record ????]

Oklahoma Senate’s Energy Committee sends wind-related bills along: Several wind energy-related bills proposed by lawmakers worked their way through the Oklahoma Senate’s Energy Committee on Thursday, although senators sponsoring two of the measures stripped them of their ability to become law, for now. [NewsOK]

Senate approves bill to ban vaping in schools: The Oklahoma Senate on Thursday passed a bill that would ban the use of vaping products on school campuses and events. Senate Bill 33, drafted by Sen. J.J. Dossett, D-Owasso, was passed by a 45-1 vote. It now heads to the House for consideration. [Tulsa World]

Senate panel advances measure allowing strong beer at festivals, children with adults in liquor stores: A Senate panel on Thursday advanced a number of alcohol modernization bills. The bills head to the full Senate for consideration after securing passage in the Business, Commerce and Tourism Committee. [Tulsa World]

Bill aims to crack down on abusive or offensive language on social media for people paid with taxpayer dollars: A bill advanced Thursday by a Senate panel would crack down on abusive and other language on private social media accounts by people paid with taxpayer dollars. The measure, Senate Bill 198, by Sen. Rob Standridge, R-Norman, passed by a vote of 8-4 from the Senate General Government Committee despite concerns it was unconstitutional and unenforceable. [Tulsa World]

The link between domestic violence and police shootings: Casey Gwinn, President of Alliance For Hope International, a California-based nonprofit that assists victims of abuse, said he began to study the connection between domestic abuse and people who shoot police officers a few years ago. [The Frontier]

Court hearing in opioids case turns heated: A hearing in Oklahoma’s lawsuit against opioid manufacturing companies turned heated Thursday with attorneys for the state accusing Purdue Pharma of orchestrating a smear campaign against lawyers to divert attention from claims that drug companies hid the addictive nature of opioids. [NewsOK] Pay attention to this little-noticed opioid lawsuit in Oklahoma. [Stateline]

Local meetings focus on opioid crisis in county: The opioid epidemic is not limited to one area of the U.S., and one of the most impacted parts of the country is here in Cherokee County. The Oklahoma State University Center for Health Sciences is working to combat the opioid problem; it’s in the planning stages for a Opioid Epidemic Response event that will take place in July. [Tahlequah Daily Press]

Identifying veterans in crisis is saving lives in rural Oklahoma: Oklahoma is among the top states for veterans to live, work and retire, but with that come specific challenges that much of Oklahoma isn’t equipped to handle. A group of volunteers made up of veterans and community members in Pontotoc County is working to fix that, they call themselves the Veterans Rally Point. [FOX25]

Oklahoma lawmakers react to border security bill: Voting for the bill were: Sens. James Lankford, R-Oklahoma City; and Reps. Tom Cole, R-Norman; Kendra Horn, D-Oklahoma City; and Frank Lucas, R-Cheyenne. Voting against were Sen. Jim Inhofe, R-Tulsa; and Reps. Kevin Hern, R-Tulsa; and Markwayne Mullin, R-Westville. [NewsOK]

Oklahoma City ranked as most deadly for biking to work: A report shows Oklahoma City is not doing well with biking safety. The League of American Bicyclists said from 2012 to 2016, there were 34.3 deaths per 10,000 people biking to work. That number leads all large cities in the United States. [FOX25]

Young leader making mark on Oklahoma City: It was a bold move, but the decision to ask Oklahoma City Mayor David Holt out to lunch paid off for J.D. Baker. Holt was so impressed with Baker that he offered the 23-year-old University of Oklahoma graduate an internship and within a month had created the position of special assistant. [NewsOK]

Boren’s attorney describes university probe as ‘persecution’: An attorney for former University of Oklahoma President David Boren said Thursday Boren denies any inappropriate behavior during his more than 20 years at OU and described a university probe as a “character assassination.” [AP News]

Quote of the Day

“Perhaps the only time in history we’ve seen things of quite that magnitude was in the late nineteenth century when you had spontaneous revolts of working-class people.”

-Historian Jon Shelton, speaking about the wave of teacher walkouts in Oklahoma and other states that made 2018 the biggest year for worker protest in a generation [Source: Washington Post]

Number of the Day


Average cost of a 15-minute phone call from jail in Oklahoma.

[Source: Prison Policy Initiative]

See previous Numbers of the Day here.

Policy Note

Shrinking Medicaid rolls in Missouri and Tennessee raise flag on vetting process: Tangunikia Ward, a single mom of two who has been unemployed for the past couple of years, was shocked when her St. Louis family was kicked off Missouri’s Medicaid program without warning last fall.She found out only when taking her son, Mario, 10, to a doctor to be treated for ringworm.When Ward, 29, tried to contact the state to get reinstated, she said it took several weeks just to have her calls returned. [Kaiser Health News]

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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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