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

Prosperity Policy: A legacy to honor: At the age of 6, Olivia Hooker huddled under a table with her siblings, ordered by her mother to stay silent as a white mob rampaged through her house in the Greenwood District of Tulsa. Hooker, who died last month at age 103, was the last remaining witness of the 1921 Tulsa race massacre. Her father’s clothing store was destroyed, along with the entire Greenwood business district, then among the nation’s most vibrant black commercial areas. Thousands of homes were burned and looted, and hundreds of black Tulsans were killed. [David Blatt / Journal Record]

In The News

‘I just want to get my new life started’: 21 low-level offenders released early under commutation project: The four young siblings stood in the chilly air outside the Eddie Warrior Correctional Center on Wednesday evening, waiting to embrace their mother months after she was incarcerated in the Taft prison. Destiny Pinon, 21, stood anxiously with her sisters Lexcee Delgado, 15, and Alyssa Delgado, 11, as brother Dominic Delgado, 8, ran around in the grass just beyond the prison’s fencing. When Juanita Peralta finally emerged, the Ada family’s reunion included squeals, tears and a lot of hugs. [Tulsa World]

Economic report brings optimism ahead of legislative session: Although the economy is still a top issue for the state’s highest-ranking lawmakers, their situation heading into the next legislative session is far less dire. One day after three top lawmakers discussed their priorities for the year, state Treasurer Ken Miller painted the backdrop for them. November’s gross collections totaled $1 billion, again breaking the record for the period. Other indicators have made Miller’s reports, which have been rosy of late, sound even more optimistic. [Journal Record]

Ag Board considers emergency setback rules for poultry houses: The Oklahoma Board of Agriculture is taking public comments online and is set Tuesday to vote on a set of proposed emergency regulations that, in part, would force new large poultry houses to be at least a quarter mile from someone’s home or a half mile from a school or incorporated city limits. After an influx of new poultry house construction the past summer and objections raised by residents of, primarily, Delaware County, the state put a suspension on issuing any new permits for poultry operations on Oct. 8. [Tulsa World]

The voters said no to SQ 800, but two legislators say they haven’t given up: In November, Oklahoma voters rejected State Question 800, a proposal to divert a small but gradually growing portion of the state gross production tax to a “Vision Fund,” which would be invested and the proceeds eventually returned to state coffers for appropriations. The proposal’s valid premise was that oil field taxes fluctuate broadly in the short term and can’t be relied on in the long term — oil is, after all, a diminishing resource. [Editorial Board / Tulsa World]

Oklahoma Corporation Commission sends a wind rules update to Gov. Mary Fallin for review, approval: Emergency rules adopted by the Oklahoma Corporation Commission that are designed to meet new reporting requirements for wind farm developers were sent Wednesday to Gov. Mary Fallin for her review and approval. Generally, the changes update commission rules aimed to clarify the process developers must follow to notify appropriate authorities of their plans. [NewsOK 🔒]

Bill would change cutoff dates for kindergarten, pre-K programs: An Ada lawmaker wants to change Oklahoma’s public school cutoff date so some children must wait longer before enrolling in pre-K and kindergarten. Senate Bill 11 seeks to change the state’s long-held cutoff date from Sept. 1 to July 1. That means children would have to be at least 4 years old by July 1 rather than Sept. 1 to enroll in pre-K. [CHNI]

Most public colleges in Oklahoma offering credit for remedial courses: Three of four students at Oklahoma public colleges and universities who need remediation are able to enroll in courses that give them both the extra support they need and credit toward a degree. The Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education on Wednesday heard an update on efforts to replace noncredit remedial courses — which cost students $2.89 million in 2013-14 — with credit-bearing corequisite remediation. [NewsOK 🔒]

Carlisha Williams of ImpactTulsa: ‘Access to high-quality education for all students is one of the greatest civil rights issues’: ImpactTulsa is a collective impact organization that works with school districts, nonprofit organizations, businesses and civic leaders in support of a high-quality education for all students. We do this by measuring what matters, sharing best practices and aligning resources with the goal of policy and systemic change to better serve Tulsa’s students. ImpactTulsa’s partnership aligns 15 public school districts and community leaders across the Tulsa area around data that shows opportunities for immediate action. [Carlisha Williams / Tulsa World]

Twelve candidates file to run for Tulsa Public Schools board: A dozen candidates filed to run for a pair of open seats on the Tulsa Public Schools Board of Education in 2019. Ten people filed as candidates for the District 1 seat held by Gary Perceful, including Stacey Woolley, Kyle R. Wagner, DeAnna Cooper, Niki Grauberger, Nicholas Cains, Brenda Barre, Chris Freedom, Scott Carter, Nicole Nixon and Sarah-Anne Schumann. Perceful is not seeking another term. [Tulsa World]

School board filing period ends: The 20-year-old son of a former Oklahoma City School Board member is a running for his father’s old seat. Josh Means filed papers Wednesday with the Oklahoma County Election Board and will challenge incumbent Gloria Torres, who is seeking a second four-year term as the panel’s District 6 representative. District 6, on the city’s southwest side, is predominantly Hispanic. [NewsOK]

School boards advance bond elections: School districts in Edmond and Norman are moving forward with bond elections in February that will pay for new schools, storm shelters and security upgrades if approved by voters. The Edmond School Board voted Monday night to advance a $93 million bond issue that would fund construction of two new elementary schools and classroom additions at several schools that would double as shelters. [NewsOK]

13 file for Oklahoma City Council seats: Thirteen candidates filed this week for Oklahoma City Council seats in the Feb. 12 primary election. Ward 2 in inner-northwest Oklahoma City and the central city’s Ward 6 are open seats, while the councilmen in Wards 5 and 8 filed for re-election. In Ward 2, there will be a five-way race for the seat being relinquished by Councilman Ed Shadid, who is retiring after two terms. [NewsOK]

Mayor’s Office signs off on hotel tax; opponents plan legal challenge: The Tulsa Mayor’s Office signed into law a controversial hotel tax program Wednesday but declined to detail how many of the affected hotels support the measure. The 30-year Tourism Improvement District would impose a 3 percent tax on room stays in Tulsa hotels of 110 rooms or more. The funds raised by the TID — estimated at $2.3 million a year — would be sent to a private nonprofit to spend on marketing the city and participating hotels. [Tulsa World]

Chickasaw Nation opens recovery center: The Chickasaw Nation has opened the Chickasaw Nation Nittak Himitta′ (A New Day) Women’s and Children’s Recovery Center at 2024 Te Ata Dr. in Ada. Chickasaw Nation Gov. Bill Anoatubby said that the facility’s design, philosophy, mission and methods reflect the Chickasaw Nation’s mission to enhance the overall quality of life of the Chickasaw people. [Journal Record 🔒]

Quote of the Day

“I don’t have to go back this time. I get to go home with you guys.”

-Juanita Peralta, speaking to her 4 children after her sentence of 15 years for simple drug possession was commuted. Peralta was among 23 Oklahomans highlighted by a campaign to help some of those serving excessive prison sentences for low-level offenses. Gov. Fallin commuted sentences for 21 of those Oklahomans on Wednesday. [Source: Tulsa World]

Number of the Day

82,000

Estimated number of uninsured children in Oklahoma, enough to nearly fill the OU football stadium.

[Source: Oklahoma Policy Institute]

See previous Numbers of the Day here.

Policy Note

A Trump immigration rule could devastate rural hospitals: The Trump administration’s proposed change to what’s known as the “public charge” immigration rule would endanger $17 billion in Medicaid reimbursements for hospitals across the United States. This could threaten some rural hospitals, which are already facing an epidemic of closures, and leave many communities without a hospital within a 35-mile radius. [Talk Poverty]

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