In The Know: Stitt to require approval of agency grant applications; Felony crime declines after reforms

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.

Poverty Week at OK Policy

Black and Latino children in Oklahoma are still more likely to live in concentrated poverty: A new KIDS COUNT Data Snapshot shows that many children in Oklahoma live in high-poverty communities that often lack these vital necessities. In Oklahoma, Black and Latino children are more than four times as likely to live in areas of concentrated poverty. [OK Policy]

There are no good reasons not to expand Medicaid: It’s been over seven years since states first began expanding Medicaid to cover low-income working-age adults. To date, 37 states (including the District of Columbia) have opted to expand coverage, and not a single state having done so has since reversed course. Oklahoma, however, remains one of 14 holdout states, even as the state’s uninsured rate has climbed to second-highest in the nation. [OK Policy]

In The News

Stitt to require approval of agency grant applications: Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt issued a new executive order this afternoon that will require all state agencies, boards and commissions to present certain grant opportunities to his office for approval before beginning the application process. [NonDoc] The mandate allows Stitt’s cabinet members to reject grant-funding applications and gives Stitt’s administration additional oversight of funding for state entities. [The Oklahoman]

Black, Latinx children more likely to live in concentrated poverty than white children, report finds: Black children in Oklahoma are nearly six times more likely and Latino children are four times more likely to live in concentrated poverty than their white peers, according to a new report. [Tulsa World] That’s a slight improvement from five years ago, but the racial disparities of concentrated poverty have not gotten any better. [Public Radio Tulsa] The good news is there are policy solutions — like Medicaid expansion and a refundable EITC — that can help alleviate these trends.

Report: Felony crime declines after reforms: Data compiled by the Oklahoma Policy Institute indicates that recent criminal justice reforms enacted by voters and the Oklahoma Legislature are working to reduce the state’s incarceration rate. Reports of theft in Oklahoma have also been declining for nearly a decade. [Journal Record ????] The data shows recent justice reforms are working.

Lockdown lifted for many state prisons, Department of Corrections reports: The Department of Corrections has lifted a lockdown at many state prisons, officials announced Tuesday. The agency implemented a statewide lockdown Sept. 15 in response to coordinated gang-related violence that occurred at six prisons within a 24-hour period starting the day before. [The Oklahoman]

‘It’s hard coming out of the penitentiary’: CEO offers new opportunities: Samuel Eagleson, CEO’s Oklahoma City director, said the organization will work with anyone coming out of incarceration and reentering society, no matter how long they were incarcerated. [NonDoc]

Settlement reached in lawsuit alleging DHS failed to protect tortured children: A multimillion-dollar civil lawsuit alleging that the Department of Human Services failed to protect nine children, who reportedly were tortured by their foster mother for years, was settled on Monday for an undisclosed amount. [Tulsa World]

Advocate: Mental health important among elders: More than half of individuals 65 years and older believe depression is normal at their age — but a mental health advocate says help is available. Karen Vergano, a mental health advocate from Pennsylvania who spoke Tuesday afternoon with a group of local mental health providers at Eastern Oklahoma State College’s McAlester campus. [CNHI]

The collapse of a hospital empire — and towns left in the wreckage: The money was so good in the beginning, and it seemed it might gush forever, right through tiny country hospitals in Missouri, Oklahoma, Tennessee and into the coffers of companies controlled by Jorge A. Perez, his family and business partners. [Kaiser Health News]

State lawmakers begin review of Arkansas River flooding: Oklahoma lawmakers began Tuesday their review of Arkansas River flooding that happened this spring. The state was hit with a nearly unparalleled severe weather season. [Public Radio Tulsa]

State preparing for driverless vehicles: Senate Transportation Committee members heard from some experts on the topic Monday during a meeting on transportation technology readiness held at the state Capitol. Oklahoma lawmakers have already acted on some emerging issues related to rapidly accelerating transportation technology. [Journal Record ????]

Oklahoma ranked 7th worst state for teachers: A study of all 50 states and Washington D.C. shows Oklahoma has a long way to go to reach the top ten in education. A new WalletHub report ranks the Sooner State as the 7th worst for teachers. [Public Radio Tulsa]

Teacher-turned-lawmaker proposes pro-educator initiatives: You’ve witnessed the throngs of teachers flood the capitol and lobby for change from the outside, now witness former teachers turned lawmakers lobby for change from the inside. [KTUL]

Oklahoma City Council gives MAPS 4 final OK: The Oklahoma City Council on Tuesday took the final step toward placing MAPS 4 before voters on Dec. 10, passing a sales tax ordinance that, with voters’ approval, would take effect April 1, 2020. [The Oklahoman]

Bond issuance request keeps Norman City Council going all night: Norman Regional Health System leaders made the case for why the City Council should approve a $121 million bond Tuesday night. Residents and health system employees packed the council chambers and outer lobby. [Norman Transcript]

Edmond police address new permitless carry law: People want to know what to expect Nov. 1 when the Constitutional Carry/Permitless Carry law takes effect in Oklahoma. More than 400 people showed their interest by attending the recent Constitutional Carry/Permitless Carry forum at the Edmond Downtown Community Center. [CNHI]

OCU addresses allegations of racial profiling, use of slur: Oklahoma City University officials and student leaders are responding to an allegation of racial profiling by campus police and the use of a racial slur by students. Two ranking campus officers resigned this month on the same day the student newspaper reported a university employee had accused one of the officers of racial profiling. [The Oklahoman]

Corporation Commission sets Friday seminar to discuss oil, gas updates: Oklahoma continues to update its rules and regulations to accommodate horizontal drilling and increased spacing allowances. But more work remains, and speakers at an annual event hosted by the Oklahoma Corporation Commission on Friday will discuss that need, eyeing how past regulatory practices and relatively recent changes in state law are impacting the way the agency regulates the oil and gas industry today. [The Oklahoman]

Seminars to focus on open meeting, records acts: A series of Open Meeting Act and Open Records Act seminars will begin next week, with the first of six statewide meetings held Oct. 3 at Autry Technology Center. [CNHI]

Oklahoma congressional delegation reacts to impeachment inquiry: Oklahoma’s congressional Republicans criticized Democratic leadership for formally initiating an impeachment inquiry against President Donald Trump on Tuesday, while Oklahoma’s lone Democrat tried to finesse the issue. [Tulsa World]

Quote of the Day

“We know that children who live in concentrated poverty have less access to high-quality schools, and they have less access to fresh fruits and vegetables and to the medical care they need. . . . It doesn’t have to be this way. We know that there are solutions and tools that can address these problems.”

– OK Policy Education Policy Analyst Rebecca Fine, commenting on a new Annie E. Casey Foundation report and calling for changes that support children in concentrated poverty [Tulsa World]

Number of the Day


Percentage of working age women in Oklahoma with income below the poverty line in 2017

[Source: Talk Poverty]

See previous Numbers of the Day here.

Policy Note

Lawmakers target anti-poverty programs after paid trips to Disney: Peter Germanis, a conservative welfare reform expert who worked for the Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush administrations, calls the FGA’s work “dangerous.” “Nobody who’s serious about public policy really takes them seriously,” Germanis told Public Integrity in a phone interview. “But politicians seem to love them because [the FGA] tells them what they want to hear.” [The Center for Public Integrity]

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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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