In The Know: Supplemental funding requests top $31M; county jail not safe for mental health; most prosecutors increase property forfeitures…

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

We’re hiring! Apply for the Mental Health Policy Fellowship: OK Policy is excited to announce that we are accepting applications for the 2019-2021 cohort of the Mental Health Policy Fellowship through March 1, 2019. The Mental Health Policy Fellowship is intended to equip professionals in Tulsa and the greater Oklahoma community to be passionate, knowledgeable advocates for mental health and addiction policy reforms. [OK Policy]

In The News

Supplemental funding requests top $32 million: Six state agencies have submitted requests for supplemental funding totaling more than $32 million to help get through the current fiscal year that ends June 30. The total would have been larger, but a request for $7.5 million to renovate Oklahoma’s 90-year-old governor’s mansion was withdrawn after Kevin Stitt was elected governor. [NewsOK ????]

County jail not safe for mental health court participants, judge says: Oklahoma County’s mental health court will no longer keep participants in custody at the county jail while they await mental health treatment, a special judge said. “Unfortunately, our jail is not the sort of place that we can consider a safe place for our people,” said Special Judge Geary Walke, who oversees the county’s mental health court. [NewsOK ????]

While Stitt seeks more funding for parole board, his appointments could have more impact: Gov. Kevin Stitt wants more funding for the Pardon and Parole Board to expedite requests from offenders. But a more crucial factor might be who he appoints to the board, which historically denies most parole requests. [NewsOK ????

Most prosecutors saw increase last year in forfeited cash and property, though total statewide seizures decreased: Though the overall amount of collections from forfeited cash and property decreased in 2018, most district attorneys’ offices across the state actually saw an increase in forfeiture funds, an analysis by The Frontier found. [The Frontier] OK Policy previously wrote about what Oklahoma can do to stop civil asset forfeiture abuse by law enforcement.

Gov. Kevin Stitt: My Top 10 plan to reimagine government: When Oklahoma gained statehood in 1907, we chose a populist form of government. State government today is much larger that it was 112 years ago. As a result, accountability for those in power is spread too thin, and at times it seems as if no one is really in charge. [Gov. Kevin Stitt / Tulsa World]

Oklahoma’s final education budget could include more classroom spending than Gov. Stitt proposed: Days after Gov. Kevin Stitt proposed no significant increase in classroom funding, legislative leaders said they still expect the state’s final budget to include a boost for public schools. Stitt has proposed a $95 million increase for common education, with most going towards teacher pay raises and hiring bonuses. The governor said educator pay is a priority over classroom funding in his first year in office. [NewsOK]

Oklahoma lawmaker proposes high-tech crackdown on drivers who don’t stop for school buses: An Oklahoma lawmaker has had enough of drivers not stopping for school buses’ flashing red lights. Rep. Dell Kerbs wants to let school districts install cameras on bus stop-arms and send video of light-runners to their police department or sheriff, who would send them citations. [Public Radio Tulsa]

Senate bill aims to allow more people at schools to administer Narcan: Across Oklahoma, 775 people died of drug overdoses in 2017, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Some deaths were from heroin, opioids and other drugs … some were accidental overdoses. Those overdoses can happen in schools, which is why some have Narcan on campus for use by the school nurse. [KOCO]

Several bills would change Oklahoma’s medical marijuana law. What’s being proposed? In addition to the legislation proposed through a bipartisan medical marijuana working group, several state lawmakers have proposed bills for the 2019 session that address the issue. Many of the bills make small tweaks, but some have substantive changes that have already been questioned as “(erasing) what the people just said the year after they said it.” [Tulsa World]

Bills on tap: Oklahoma legislators seek to tweak liquor laws: After historic changes to the alcohol industry took effect in October, legislators and retailers are seeking additional changes. Two concerns for the industry this legislative session are restrictions placed on who is allowed in liquor stores, as well as what can be sold at golf courses and marinas. [NewsOK]

Ride-sharing bill pulled due to possible impact on drunk driving: A state lawmaker is pulling a bill that could have made Uber and other Ride Sharing services more expensive. “Unfortunately as some of my constituents have pointed out the bill has some unintended consequences,” said Norman Representative Merleyn Bell. [News On 6]

Bill would limit drones over private agricultural property: State Sen. Casey Murdock, R-Felt, has proposed a new law that would prohibit anyone from flying unmanned aircraft over the property unless they work for state or federal government, law enforcement, utility, oil and gas companies or are part of a commercial operation authorized by the Federal Aviation Administration. [CHNI]

Reeling in visitors: Tourism funding a priority for new lieutenant governor: Lt. Gov. Matt Pinnell said he sees tourism as a front door to economic development, so he plans to use his time in office to help get more people to the state. One industry whose presence he wants to increase in the state is filmmaking. [Journal Record]

Letter to the Editor: Oklahoma Health Care Authority should not cut health care for returned mail: Next week, the Oklahoma Health Care Authority will be seeking approval to treat returned mail as a reason to terminate SoonerCare members’ Medicaid health coverage. Beyond thanking Wayne Greene for his column on this harmful proposal, we’d like to add our own points of concern. [Kari Rinker / Tulsa World]

Teresa Meinders Burkett: Don’t refuse Medicaid expansion by claiming the feds undercut our residency program: Expanding a state’s Medicaid program through a 9-to-1 federal funding match has been offered as a lure to states to cover more of the uninsured population for several years. Until the end of 2016, under the Affordable Care Act, the federal government picked up 100 percent of the tab. [Teresa Meinders Burkett / Tulsa World]

Wayne Greene: If Gov. Stitt is saying he’ll take Medicaid expansion if it comes with the power to fire the Health Care Authority director, I’ll take it: Gov. Kevin Stitt let a lot of air out of the hopes that Oklahoma would soon accept federal Medicaid expansion money in his Monday State of the State address. Stitt didn’t say the state won’t accept federal funding to expand health care coverage for poor adults, but he was openly skeptical of the federal government’s commitment to paying 90 percent of the program’s costs in the future. [Wayne Greene / Tulsa World]

Tulsa World editorial: Oklahoma higher education governing boards need more diversified members: The Legislative Black Caucus has called for the University of Oklahoma to diversify its governing board as an avenue for an inclusive campus. We agree and believe that same policy should be extended to the Oklahoma State University regents, the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education and others. [Editorial Board / Tula World]

Ginnie Graham: State of Oklahoma could use a trip to Tulsa to learn how to diversify its boards, commissions: Tulsa Deputy Chief of Staff Christina da Silva gets asked about once a week to serve on a board for something. As one of the most visible Hispanic activists in the city, many groups seek her voice at their tables. Or, more accurately, these groups seek a Hispanic person and don’t know where to go. [Tulsa World]

Oklahoma is approaching its trial date with Purdue, but it’s unclear how much the state is seeking in damages: As Oklahoma nears its trial date with a group of opioid manufacturers the state accuses of intentionally fueling the opioid crisis, it’s still unclear how much money the state is seeking from the pharmaceutical giants. [The Frontier]

D.H.S. speaks out about infant withdraw syndrome: The Oklahoma Department of Human Services said they’re expecting to see more infants suffering from withdrawals after birth in the coming years. “In state, fiscal year 2016 we saw 517 children who had some sort of substance exposure,” According to Casey White, with D.H.S. [FOX25]

Tackling childhood hunger in the metro: Imagine going to school, taking tests, and doing homework. Now imagine doing those tasks on an empty stomach. That is the harsh reality many children face daily. Not just nationally, but right here in the Oklahoma City metro. [FOX25]

Teen birth rate declines dramatically in Tulsa County: A new report finds a dramatic drop in the teen birth rate in Tulsa County. According to a new study by the Oklahoma State Department of Health, the state average is down but Tulsa County’s decrease is much more significant than the state’s drop. [News On 6] OK Policy report examined how a program in Tulsa County that increases access to long-acting reversible contraceptives is bringing lasting gains for women and girls.

Oklahoma may be back on the oil price roller coaster in 2019: Oil prices could behave in 2019 much like they did in 2018, presenting a potential challenge for Oklahoma’s state budget. “First, you will see upward movement in the major part of the year, but in the later part of the year, there will be some declines. [Public Radio Tulsa]

Campaign funds raised by OKC Council candidates exceed $400,000: The 12 candidates vying for four Oklahoma City Council wards have raised more than $400,000 for their campaigns, according to records filed at City Hall. Two candidates accounted for more than half of those funds: Ward 8 incumbent Mark Stonecipher with about $137,000 reported by the first full week of February; and political newcomer Nathaniel Harding with $141,500 in his effort to win the Ward 6 seat of Meg Salyer, who chose to not run for another term. [Journal Record]

Analysis: Oklahoma City residents wanting better schools turn to council candidates who have no authority over education: City council candidates have struggled this winter with how to respond to many residents’ highest priority: improve learning in the Oklahoma City public schools. Because the city lacks authority over school governance, many candidates suggest improving quality of life is one path to improving quality of schools. [NewsOK]

Council races, bond issues, voting for a deceased man part of Tuesday election story: Amanda Sandoval wants a career in public service and envisions herself someday seeking office at the state or federal level. But right now, the 24-year-old recent college graduate is running for a city council seat in Bethany, a bedroom community of fewer than 20,000. [NewsOK]

Rogers State University brings $93 million economic impact to community: Rogers State University provides an annual economic impact of more than $93 million and provides among the highest returns on investment among Oklahoma’s regional universities, according to a recently released economic impact study released by the State Chamber of Oklahoma. [Claremore Daily Progress]

OU regent Burgess dies: OU regent Bill W. Burgess Jr. has died. As originally reported by The Lawton Constitution, Burgess died Friday. No details regarding his death have been made available. [Norman Transcript]

Quote of the Day

“The authority also says this new rule will save the state money, yet it offers no estimate of how much money might be saved. Experience would suggest that moving people from Medicaid to uncompensated care will ultimately drive up costs for both taxpayers and patients. If the state is going to risk this possibility, as well as the potential disruption of health care for thousands of Oklahomans, solid financial estimates would seem to be a must-have item for those deciding on the merits of this proposal.”

-Health care advocates Dana Bacon and Kari Rinker, writing about a proposed rule by the Oklahoma Health Care Authority to take SoonerCare away from Oklahomans who have returned mail [Source: Tulsa World]

Number of the Day


The number of years Oklahoma has had the highest female incarceration rate

[Source: Oklahoma Department of Corrections]

See previous Numbers of the Day here.

Policy Note

The startling toll on children who witness domestic violence is just now being understood: New research is giving scientists more insight into the far-reaching and long-lasting harms of domestic violence to the children who grow up around it – including a startling finding: Witnessing abuse carries the same risk of harm to children’s mental health and learning as being abused directly. [USA Today]

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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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