In The Know: Tax revenue lags historic highs; what’s next for public education at the Capitol; OKCPS schools could close…

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.

In The News

Despite recent gains, Oklahoma tax revenue lags historic highs: Even with recent gains, Oklahoma’s inflation-adjusted state tax revenue is less than a decade ago, the Pew Trusts reported Tuesday. The report, which tracks inflation-adjusted state revenue from 2006 through the second quarter of 2018, found 36 of 50 states are above their peak receipts prior to the great recession of 2008-2009. [Tulsa World]

After walkout, what’s next for public education at the Capitol? The first post-walkout legislative session is getting underway and lawmakers have proposed bills aimed at alleviating the teacher shortage and making changes to the state’s public education system. [Oklahoma Watch] Rep. Todd Russ proposes bill that would prohibit teacher walkouts. [KFOR]

Lawmaker plans to amend bill requiring payment to protest at Oklahoma State Capitol: An Oklahoma lawmaker said he plans to amend a bill which has been criticized as unconstitutional by several groups. [KFOR] Ginnie Graham: Right to protest representatives is a Constitutional cornerstone. [Ginnie Graham / Tulsa World

‘Pathway to Greatness’: These OKCPS schools could close: “The story that we want to tell goes way beyond closing schools, though we will talk about that tonight,” said Oklahoma City Public Schools Superintendent Sean McDaniel while presenting a Powerpoint. “We are going to deliver to our board tonight three pathways that each, on its own, we believe a viable pathway to do education differently, starting in August.” [NonDoc]

Tulsa World editorial: Texas looks at big teacher pay raises: During the election campaign, Gov. Kevin Stitt said Oklahoma needs to have the highest average teacher salary in the region. The moving-target challenge of achieving that may have become a little bit harder last week. [Editorial Board / Tulsa World]

Changes to state healthcare could affect thousands: Changes are on the way for Medicaid in Oklahoma, despite criticism and warnings from experts around the country who say new state policies and proposals could force thousands of Oklahoma families off coverage. In 2018, Oklahoma became the 11th state to call for at least 20-hours of work for families on the state-run health care. [News9]

Funding sought for treating inmates with hepatitis C: Corrections officials have spent years requesting funding to treat the state’s incarcerated residents with kidney viruses. The agency projects more than 3,000 of the state’s inmates have hepatitis C, said Department of Corrections spokesman Matt Elliott. [Journal Record]

Oklahoma Academy proposes three areas for tax reform: How do you teach an 111-year-old dog new tricks? More than 400 Oklahomans provided input at November’s 2018 Oklahoma Academy Town Hall to help a pooch deep in the weeds and covered with ticks: the Sooner state’s complex and unique tax system. [NonDoc]

Lawmakers file bills to address handling of state’s rape kits, how officers should best respond to reported sexual assaults: Two lawmakers have filed several bills aiming to address how the state handles rape kits and how law enforcement should respond to reported attacks. Sen. Kay Floyd, D-Oklahoma City, filed three bills and Rep. Monroe Nichols, D-Tulsa, filed one bill ahead of the legislative session. [The Frontier]

Anti-wind bills filed in the Oklahoma legislature: Five bills introduced in the Oklahoma legislature by four state Senators are targeting the wind industry. The bills created additional requirements for airport setbacks, fees for conversion to direct current electricity from wind farms and decreasing the time for the decommissioning of a wind farm. [OK Energy Today]

Lawmaker proposes regulation of ancient Chinese practice: The state would be tasked with regulating the practice of something that is may not be measurable under a proposed bill in the state senate. The bill seeks to create a regulator and licensing board for the practice of Qigong, a Chinese practice of physical exercises and breathing. [FOX25]

The Invisibles: Parents again, caring for children of the addicted: Oklahoma’s high rate of drug addiction has taken a heavy toll on families, including grandparents and great grandparents. In Dedra Ray’s case, her granddaughter’s drug addiction left Ray to spend retirement raising her great granddaughter. [Oklahoma Watch]

Vaping industry faces more regulation: Vaping Advocates of Oklahoma President Jennifer Burton said nationwide, the industry is facing more potential regulation this year versus other years. In Oklahoma, most vaping legislation will target youth access to vaping products. [Journal Record]

Health department: Oklahoma WIC Program funded through February during government shutdown: A program that provides assistance and nutrition services for families across Oklahoma has been funded for another month during the federal government shutdown. [KFOR]

Monthlong government shutdown affecting program helping 200 formerly homeless Tulsans: Local impacts of the 32-day government shutdown continue to pop up, with a program for chronically homeless Tulsans now feeling the pinch. Mental Health Association Oklahoma’s supportive housing program is short $61,000. [Public Radio Tulsa]

OU student rally against racism turns into referendum on President James Gallogly:  The Rally To Stop Racism at The University of Oklahoma started off Tuesday as a way for the school to disavow the actions of two former students who appeared last week in a racist Snapchat video that went viral. [Tulsa World] The former dean of the College of International Studies at the University of Oklahoma called for President Jim Gallogly to resign immediately during a rally Tuesday. [NewsOK]

Effort underway to change name of lake named for Tulsa Klansman: An effort is underway to change the name of Lake Hudson in Mayes County after The Frontier reported the reservoir is named for a founding member of the Tulsa Ku Klux Klan chapter. Sen. Micheal Bergstrom, R-Adair, has authored a bill that would change the name of the reservoir to Lake Markham in honor of a family that helped settle the area around the Grand River in the 1840s. [The Frontier]

Judge dismisses former gubernatorial candidate’s defamation suit against news station: judge on Tuesday dismissed a defamation lawsuit filed against an Oklahoma City news station by a former gubernatorial candidate. Oklahoma County District Judge Trevor Pemberton dismissed the lawsuit Gary Richardson filed against KFOR-TV. [The Frontier]

Quote of the Day

“It’s really important for our leadership to know in Washington it’s affecting people all the way down to the street, to our formerly chronically homeless individuals — people affected by serious mental illness, many of them veterans.”

-Mental Health Association Oklahoma Executive Director Mike Brose, discussing how their supportive housing program is short $61,000 this month because they are not receiving federal grants during the government shutdown [Source: Public Radio Tulsa]

Number of the Day


Average salary for paraprofessionals in Oklahoma public schools.

[Source: Oklahoma State Department of Education]

See previous Numbers of the Day here.

Policy Note

A double diagnosis — cancer while poor: Battling potentially mortal illness is a crushing burden for anyone, but especially so for those, like Cajuste, who toil at the vulnerable lower edges of the economy. She would encounter compassionate caregivers, to be sure, but the health care system is simply not set up to lift the burden on people like her. [Boston Globe]

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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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