In The Know: Stitt rejects citizen involvement; pressure mounts to expand Medicaid; ending 4-day weeks tied to teacher raise…

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

(Capitol Update) In his first veto, Gov. Stitt rejects citizen involvement: Governor Stitt vetoed his first bill last week. HB 1205, by Rep. Carol Bush and Sen. Greg McCortney, would have created an Oklahoma Home- and Community-Based Services Ombudsman Program Task Force to research, compile data, and make recommendations to the Governor and Legislature regarding the creation and operation of an ombudsman program to serve recipients of in-home care and services. [Steve Lewis / OK Policy]

In The News

Pressure mounts to expand Medicaid in Oklahoma: Oklahoma’s rank as the second most uninsured state in the nation will likely be a central theme when advocates for expanding access to Medicaid rally at the state Capitol on Wednesday. The rally, planned by the Together Oklahoma coalition, also will cast a spotlight on an initiative petition calling for a vote by Oklahomans on whether to expand Medicaid to certain people 18-65 with incomes below 133 percent of the federal poverty level. [Journal Record] The sponsor of a measure proposing the use of Medicaid expansion funds to boost Oklahoma’s private insurance subsidy program says he’s unsure if it will pass this session. [AP News] Take Action: Tell your legislators to expand coverage now.

Lawmakers Want Oklahoma Health Care Authority to Use Debt Collectors in More Cases: The Oklahoma House approved a bill Monday that would require the Oklahoma Health Care Authority to hire a third party to collect medical expenses when someone they cover gets hurt or sick because of another person’s negligence. Opponents said many of those cases are straightforward and the agency handles them. [Public Radio Tulsa]

Bill pushing schools away from four-day week being wrapped into teacher-raise measure: SB 441 is expected back on the House agenda this week, after the House Rules Committee turned it into something leadership hopes is harder for everybody to refuse. It combines the school calendar provisions with the $1,200 teacher pay raise sought by Gov. Kevin Stitt but not that well loved by legislators, even those friendly to public education. [Tulsa World] The state superintendent said she supports a bill being considered in the legislature that could move some school districts back to a five-day week. [KFOR] Wagoner Public Schools gets international news spotlight on four-day school week. [Wagoner County American-Tribune]

Backers urge passage of controversial school tax credit bill: Supporters on Monday urged lawmakers to approve a controversial education tax credit program. Senate Bill 407, by Sen. Dave Rader, R-Tulsa, and House Majority Floor Leader Jon Echols, R-Oklahoma City, could be heard on the House floor this week. [Tulsa World]

Nearly 90,000 ‘Inactive’ Oklahomans Removed from Voter Rolls: State election officials removed nearly 90,000 Oklahomans from the state’s voter rolls earlier this month during its biennial purging of “inactive” voters. The 88,276 deleted voter registrations include voters who haven’t voted in several election cycles and didn’t respond to an address confirmation mailing from the state. [Oklahoma Watch]

‘Free speech zones’ on campus: Oklahoma House split on whether they promote or stifle free speech, sends bill to governor: Members of the Oklahoma House of Representatives exercised their First Amendment rights for 75 minutes Monday afternoon before passing a measure that opposing protagonists argued may or may not encourage free speech on college campuses. [Tulsa World]

Stitt hits some goals 100 days in as Oklahoma governor: State agency reform and reducing Oklahoma’s nation-leading incarceration rate are some of the campaign pledges Gov. Kevin Stitt has made the most progress on during his first 100 days in office, while other campaign pledges — such as becoming top 10 in education — remain unfulfilled. [NewsOK ????]

Once feuding, Walmart and optometrists see eye to eye on new bill: A bill allowing optometrists to practice in big-box stores like Walmart is quietly making its way through the state legislature. It may look familiar to Oklahoma voters, who defeated a similar state question last fall. [StateImpact Oklahoma] Senate Bill 100, authored by state Sen. Kim David, R-Porter, would allow for an eye doctor to rent space near or within a store regardless of whether the store derives a preponderance of its income from the sale of prescription glasses. [Journal Record ????]

Oklahoma lawmakers fighting against pharmacy restrictions: Hundreds of locally-owned pharmacies in Oklahoma are depending on the ‘Right to Pharmacy Choice Act’ to be passed in order to keep up with larger competitors and allow customers to decide where their prescription are filled. [KFOR]

Decision day for plastic bag preemption: A bill that would preempt cities from regulating plastic bags is on the verge of becoming law. Senate Bill 1001, authored by Sen. James Leewright, R-Bristow, passed the House (51-41) and Senate (35-9) and now awaits a signature or veto from Gov. Kevin Stitt. [Norman Transcript]

Bill to Increase Number of Volunteer Firefighters Heads to Governor: A bill that would allow retired firefighters to return to service as volunteers without affecting their state pensions passed the state Senate today with a unanimous vote of 42-0. House Bill 2051, authored by House Majority Leader Mike Sanders, R-Kingfisher, and Sen. Casey Murdock, R-Felt, now heads to the governor to be signed into law. [Skiatook Journal]

Construction projects halted as state DEQ issues second order against Carlton Landing’s water district: The Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality has issued its second order in less than a month against the town of Carlton Landing’s water district after it pumped tens of thousands of gallons of water from its sewage lagoons using an unpermitted system to discharge the water, with the runoff flowing into Lake Eufaula, DEQ records state. [The Frontier]

Listen to our youth when shaping their futures: From family histories to national narratives, the tales we tell are powerful and potent things. Ironically, we often see stories as something for children, just entertainment or a bedtime activity, but in public discourse we often exclude the stories of our young people. [Amy Curran / NonDoc]

Joanna Lein: School leaders face zero-sum choice with untrained teacher and underfunded support systems: As hundreds of teachers leave Oklahoma for better pay or improved working conditions, school leaders must turn to underprepared teachers. This year, the state Department of Education issued 3,023 emergency certifications to teacher candidates. [Joanna Lein / Tulsa World]

When school districts can’t raise funds for facilities: Anna King, a vice president of the National PTA, who lives in Oklahoma, spoke about poor districts in the state struggling to borrow money. “While areas like Oklahoma City and Tulsa can use bonds to try to close the gap, other parts of the state are in disrepair and are too poor to finance through bonds,” she said. [Hechinger Report]

Gilcrease Elementary, ECDC-Bunche will be consolidated, Tulsa school board decides: The Tulsa school board narrowly voted on Monday night to merge Gilcrease Elementary School and ECDC-Bunche, the final step in a series of moves and closures affecting McLain feeder schools. [Tulsa World]

OKC district improves some suspension numbers: Oklahoma City Public Schools is suspending fewer students, but the district continues to disproportionately discipline black students, officials said Monday night. In 2017-18, students missed 21,216 days of classroom instruction compared to 39,299 days in 2014-15. [NewsOK]

Former State Senator Concerned Lawmakers Won’t Do Anything Amid Measles Outbreak: A former Oklahoma lawmaker and current physician doesn’t believe legislators will do anything amid the growing measles outbreak. So far, Oklahoma doesn’t have any cases, but 22 states, including Texas do. Dr. Ervin Yen says he’s now working directly with the Oklahoma Health Department for more vaccination requirements that do not need the approval of lawmakers. [News9]

Former Oklahoma Representative looks back at first year as NASA administrator: Bridenstine, appointed head of NASA one year ago Tuesday, now has his mind set on a vision for humanity that surpasses earthly aspiration. He ticked off short-term goals on each finger: Launch American astronauts from American soil on American rockets this year. Go to the moon by 2024. Stay on the moon and utilize its resources. [Gaylord News]

Inhofe visits active duty troops at southern border: U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe, visiting the U.S. border with Mexico on Monday, said the role of active duty military personnel at the border will be a major issue when his committee begins writing a new defense bill. Inhofe, the chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said about 3,000 active duty troops are involved now in securing the southern border. [NewsOK]

Cherokee Nation fights opioid misuse through education, prevention: Cherokee Nation Behavioral Health is hoping to end opioid misuse in Indian Country by helping Cherokee families with programs that focus on education, prevention and medication-assisted recovery. [Cherokee Phoenix]

Quote of the Day

 “The collective growth of a school cannot happen if professional time and capacity are devoted to on-the-job training. Theoretically, schools should receive teachers who have a baseline of understanding, experience and commitment. But this is no longer the reality for schools.”

-Joanna Lein, executive director of the Teaching & Leading Initiative of Oklahoma, writing about Oklahoma’s dramatic increase of emergency certified teachers [Source: Tulsa World]

Number of the Day

$1.1 billion

Projected shortfall in funding to maintain existing state services by FY 2030 under Oklahoma’s current tax system.

[Source: OK Policy]

See previous Numbers of the Day here.

Policy Note

‘A Pileup of Inequities’: Why People of Color Are Hit Hardest by Homelessness: Poverty alone doesn’t account for the stark inequities, researchers say, because the number of black and Native people who are homeless exceeds their proportion of people living in deep poverty. Those disparities, researchers say, are the result of centuries of discrimination in housing, criminal justice, child welfare and education. What’s new, though, is that cities and counties are beginning to take a hard look at how entrenched policy has served to perpetuate homelessness in black and brown communities. [Stateline]

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.