In The Know: Supreme Court to rule on botched execution, other cases

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 In The News

Supreme Court to rule on lethal injection drugs: The US Supreme Court is expected to issue a ruling on the use of drugs used in a botched execution in Oklahoma in 2014 within the next few days. Three Oklahoma death row inmates brought the case (Glossip v. Gross) when the state announced it intended to continue using the drugs despite concerns that the drugs were not having the intended effect [Oklahoma Watch]. Should the Court rule that the drugs cannot be used in executions, the state may switch to using nitrogen gas instead [The New Yorker]. The Supreme Court has until June 29 to issue seven remaining rulings, which include cases concerning gay marriage and the Affordable Care Act [SCOTUSblog].

Tulsa Sheriff files motion to dismiss grand jury petition: Tulsa County Sheriff Stanley Glanz has filed a motion to dismiss a grand jury petition calling for an investigation into the county Sheriff’s Office, citing technical arguments based on how the signature form was circulated. The petitions organizers contend that the petition is valid [Tulsa World].

State GOP political director resigns over domestic violence charges: The former political director of the state Republican Party, T.C. Ryan, has resigned after news broke that he had previously plead guilty to a domestic violence charge [NewsOK]. Top party leadership, including Gov. Fallin, had said that Ryan’s history of domestic violence should have disqualified him from a staff position [Tulsa World].

Success fighting poverty: Hundreds of thousands of Oklahomans rely on the public safety net to make basic ends meet, and a new study shows that that safety net has been even more effective than previously thought at lifting families out of poverty. At a time when key forms of assistance are under attack, the study reminds that assistance reduces poverty and enhances economic security [Journal Record]. By correcting for underreported data, the study shows that public assistance reduces both poverty and deep poverty at far greater rates than predicted [Center on Budget and Policy Priorities].

 A little off the top: The most recent legislative session saw a lot of discussion about the need to eliminate, or at least reduce, off-the-top apportionments. However, most off-the-top apportionments go to support core public services, and the General Revenue Fund is shrinking because the state’s structural budget deficit means that there’s simply less and less money to go around [OK Policy]. The Tulsa World’s Editorial Board wrote that state agencies, such as the Department of Corrections, that are understaffed and dependent on overtime should “pay state employees a competitive wage and hire enough of them to do the job right” [Tulsa World]. OK Policy’s FY 2016 Budget Highlights show appropriations for all state agencies since 2009 [OK Policy].

A tough 2015: The US Small Business Administration says it has issued more than $5 million in loans following May’s storms. Both individual and business loans are available to homeowners, business owners, and private nonprofits whose property was damaged by the storms [KGOU]. Oklahoma’s personal income fell by half a percent in the first quarter of 2015 due to the oil and gas downturn. Nationally, incomes rose by one percent [KWGS]. However, the Tulsa-based gas station chain QuikTrip has been ranked 69th in Forbes’ first list of the 100 best workplaces for millennials [Tulsa World].

‘Cost-shifting,’ health care, and savings: On June 8, the Policy Note in In The Know was column by Kaiser Family Foundation CEO Drew Altman noting that Medicare and Medicaid have controlled costs more successfully than private insurers [Wall Street Journal]. The Oklahoman’s Editorial Board took exception to the column’s argument [The Oklahoman]. In point of interest, Oklahoma Medicaid patients don’t overuse the ER, Oklahoma doctors have one of the highest Medicaid reimbursement rates in the US, and Oklahoma Medicaid patients report being able to access needed care quickly and being satisfied with that care.

Sewage problems plague Oklahoma City jail: Broken sewage have lines flooded an unknown number of cells in the Oklahoma City jail. The jail has has been plagued by problems, including previous sewer issues, since it opened in 1990 [Oklahoma Watch].

Tecumsah landfill shut down: State regulators have shut down Absolute Waste Solutions in Tecumsah, following years of issues, including multiple fires, rotting animal carcasses, and oozing sludge [NewsOK].

KKK pamphlets disturb, anger: Pryor residents who woke up on Sunday to find white supremacist leaflets in their neighborhoods. The leaflets identified several local businesses as being “anti-white.” The police department says that they are looking into the matter but have no proof any laws were been broken [Tulsa World].

Quote of the Day

“Once you get here, the company sucks you in by taking care of you. We work hard, but we don’t feel like we’re working hard for nothing.”

– Brittney Ogans, a ten-year QuikTrip employee speaking about the company’s recent ranking (69th) on Forbes’ first list of the 100 best workplaces for millenials, based on surveys of workers 35 and younger. QuikTrip reports very low employee turnover – 13 percent, versus 59 percent for other gas stations and convenience stores (Source)

Number of the Day


Number of workers in Oklahoma involuntarily working part-time when they would prefer a full-time job.

Source: Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.

See previous Numbers of the Day here.

Policy Note

What If Everybody Didn’t Have to Work to Get Paid?

Scott Santens has been thinking a lot about fish lately. Specifically, he’s been reflecting on the aphorism, “If you give a man a fish, he eats for a day. If you teach a man to fish, he eats for life.” What Santens wants to know is this: “If you build a robot to fish, do all men starve, or do all men eat?” Santens is 37 years old, and he’s a leader in the basic income movement—a worldwide network of thousands of advocates (26,000 on Reddit alone) who believe that governments should provide every citizen with a monthly stipend big enough to cover life’s basic necessities.

Read more from The Atlantic.

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Carly Putnam joined OK Policy in 2013. As Policy Director, she supervises policy research and strategy. She previously worked as an OK Policy intern, and she was OK Policy's health care policy analyst through July 2020. She graduated from the University of Tulsa in 2013. As a student, she was a participant in the National Education for Women (N.E.W.) Leadership Institute and interned with Planned Parenthood. Carly is a graduate of the Oklahoma Center for Nonprofits Nonprofit Management Certification; the Oklahoma Developmental Disabilities Council’s Partners in Policymaking; The Mine, a social entrepreneurship fellowship in Tulsa; and Leadership Tulsa Class 62. She currently serves on the boards of Restore Hope Ministries and The Arc of Oklahoma. In her free time, she enjoys reading, cooking, and doing battle with her hundred year-old house.

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