In The Know: Supreme Court upholds Oklahoma lethal injection drug

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. Click here to subscribe to In The Know and see past editions.

Today In The News

Supreme Court upholds Oklahoma lethal injection drug: The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday effectively sanctioned a sedative used by Oklahoma for lethal injections, rejecting arguments that it could lead to an unconstitutional level of pain [NewsOK]. State officials say they are prepared to move forward with three previously scheduled executions [NewsOK].

Supreme Court delays mercury emissions rule: The Supreme Court said EPA officials failed to properly consider economic costs of new pollution controls on coal-burning power plants [Washington Post]. Oklahoma’s two major utilities will continue moving forward with plans to comply with the rule [Tulsa World].

How a 1942 Supreme Court decision blocking Oklahoma’s attempt to sterilize a chicken thief laid the foundation for marriage equality: In 1935, Oklahoma passed a law allowing “habitual criminals”—defined as those who had been convicted three times of “felonies involving moral turpitude”—to be sterilized. Skinner, a one-footed drifter who had been convicted twice for armed robbery and once for poultry theft, challenged the three-strikes-and-you’re-sterile law and took his case all the way to the Supreme Court [Slate].

Our new Director of Operations and Development: We’re happy to announce OK Policy’s long-time office manager and all-around superstar Shiloh Kantz has been promoted to become our new Director of Operations and Development [OK Policy Blog].

How Democratic dominance ended in Southeast Oklahoma: For years a Republican trying to run for local office in Little Dixie utterly wasted his time and money. But over the past decade, that Democratic dominance has completely collapsed [KGOU].

Family of man killed by volunteer deputy sues Tulsa Sheriff: Attorneys representing the estate of Eric Harris filed a 56-page complaint in federal court arguing that the killing of Harris capped years of problems at the Tulsa County Sheriff’s Office [The Frontier].

Fewer Oklahomans working for minimum wage: From 2010 to 2014, the number of workers in Oklahoma making at or below the federal minimum wage dropped from 72,000 to 34,000. Federal minimum wage hikes in 2008, 2009 and 2010 pushed up wages even for those who hadn’t been making the minimum wage previously [Journal Record].

Tuition hikes follow state funding cuts to higher ed: Last week the Oklahoma Regents for Higher Education approved increases ranging from 3.2 percent at Tulsa Community College to nearly 5 percent at the state’s two flagship universities, Oklahoma State University and the University of Oklahoma [Tulsa World].

Quote of the Day

“Tuition and fee hikes for Oklahoma’s public colleges and universities are becoming a habit — a habit only the Legislature, through adequate funding, could break.”

-The Tulsa World editorial board, who wrote that state funding cuts and the resulting tuition increases are hurting Oklahoma’s efforts to increase the number with college degrees (Source).

Number of the Day

-$610 million

Decrease in earnings by the Oklahoma mining industry, which includes oil and gas production, from the 4th Quarter of 2014 to 1st Quarter 2015.

Source: U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis

See previous Numbers of the Day here.

Policy Note

Why Millenials don’t vote in local elections: Local government often has more real-world impact on the everyday lives of citizens than other levels of government. But whereas voter turnout for presidential elections nears 60 percent, local election turnout is often a third of that or lower. Among millennials (20- to 34-year-olds) in urban areas, this turnout gap is even more pronounced [Knight Foundation].

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Gene Perry worked for OK Policy from 2011 to 2019. He is a native Oklahoman and a citizen of the Cherokee Nation. He graduated from the University of Oklahoma with a B.A. in history and an M.A. in journalism.

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