In The Know: Tribes had nearly $13 billion impact on the state in 2017; Groups push census participation for Hispanic community; FBI has also been looking into Epic

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

Tribes had nearly $13 billion impact on the state in 2017, study finds: Tribes had a nearly $13 billion impact on the state in 2017, according to a study released Thursday. The study was done by Kyle Dean, director for the Center for Native American and Urban Studies at Oklahoma City University, at the request of the Oklahoma Tribal Finance Consortium. [Tulsa World] According to the report, tribes generate $4.6 billion in wages and benefits both directly and indirectly. They also support an estimated 96,177 jobs. [The Oklahoman] Employment supported by tribal activities increased by 10.3% over a six-year period and output increased by 19.8%. [Journal Record 🔒]

Groups push census participation for Hispanic community: If just a few thousand Oklahoma City residents aren’t counted in the 2020 U.S. Census, that could mean millions of dollars in lost federal funding for roads, schools and disaster relief over the next decade. That was the message July 12 during a meeting between the city of Oklahoma City and leaders of the Spanish-speaking community. The city estimates that each resident who isn’t counted could equate to $1,675 in lost funding annually. Some demographics, including non-English speakers, have a historically low rate of census participation. [The Oklahoman]

Records show FBI has also been looking into Epic, along with federal education investigators: The Federal Bureau of Investigation and the U.S. Department of Education’s law enforcement arm have also been probing Epic Charter Schools’ student enrollment practices and finances, public records obtained by the Tulsa World show. Emails with officials at the Oklahoma State Department of Education and Statewide Virtual Charter School Board reveal that federal investigators were at work behind the scenes in the years after the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation’s initial inquiry into allegations of fraud at Epic resulted in no charges. [Tulsa World]

Tulsa lawmaker approaches State Superintendent Joy Hofmeister to discuss charter oversight amid Epic allegations: A Tulsa lawmaker and former teacher said she was impressed by State Superintendent Joy Hofmeister’s willingness to talk about better regulating virtual schools in the wake of the Epic Charter Schools allegations. [Tulsa World]

Charter school funding hurts other schools, local school leaders say: Area school administrators are monitoring allegations that Epic Charter School inflated enrollment figures to get more state funding. Fort Gibson School Superintendent Scott Farmer said he wants to see a thorough investigation. [Muskogee Phoenix]

Students share what they wish their teachers knew during state education conference: Relationship-building, real-world preparation and trauma-awareness are some of the things students say they want to see more of in school. Nine high-schoolers from throughout the Tulsa area talked candidly Thursday morning about their advice for teachers on how to improve the school experience. [Tulsa World]

Legislation reduces barriers for applicants with criminal convictions to obtain occupational licenses: Prior to the enactment of HB 1373, individuals with criminal convictions — including misdemeanors involving moral turpitude and all felonies — were automatically disqualified from obtaining a state-issued occupational license. [The Oklahoman]

Paper trail between Oklahoma jail, courthouse ripe for problems: Passing paperwork back and forth between the Oklahoma County Courthouse and county jail is no simple task, according to County Court Clerk Rick Warren. FOX 25 started looking into what system is used to get important inmate documents from place to place after an inmate was lost in the jail for eight months earlier this year. [FOX25]

Jury rules in favor of Mayes County deputy in fatal shooting lawsuit: A federal jury ruled in favor of a Mayes County deputy Thursday in a federal lawsuit brought by the widow of a man who was shot to death at his rural Mayes County home by the deputy on New Year’s Day 2014. [The Frontier]

OKC Board member asks judge to force vote on school name change: An Oklahoma City School Board member at the center of an ongoing legal dispute is asking a judge to prohibit the superintendent and other board members from renaming Northeast Academy until the matter has been publicly discussed and voted on. [The Oklahoman]

Sales tax revenue up, but misses monthly target in Oklahoma City: Sales tax lagged in Oklahoma City in the July reporting period but use tax growth driven by online sales more than made up the difference. Sales tax is a key indicator of economic activity and was up 1.8% for July. A growing contributor as online sales expand, use tax was up 22.9%. Oklahoma City budget managers had projected sales tax growth of 3.2% for July, the first month of the new fiscal year. [The Oklahoman]

Chief: Hands-off immigration enforcement policy will continue in Oklahoma City: Police Chief Wade Gourley says Oklahoma City’s hands-off policy toward immigration enforcement will remain unchanged. Gourley’s remarks last week caught the attention of Ward 6 Councilwoman JoBeth Hamon, who commended the policy. [The Oklahoman]

Mass graves search gets technical: Mayor G. T. Bynum and the 1921 Race Massacre Graves Investigation Public Oversight Committee met Thursday night for the second time as the Physical Evidence Investigation Committee provided a detailed overview of the proposed investigation process to identify graves from the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre. [Public Radio Tulsa] “Be realistic,” said Dr. Phoebe Stubblefield, a University of Florida forensic anthropologist specializing in human identification. “A century has passed.” [Tulsa World]

Author, psychology professor speaks in Tulsa about bias: If you ask Jennifer Eberhardt about who is likely to possess and yield to bias, her answer might be a little surprising. “We tend to typically think about bias as people who are burning crosses or are filled with hate,” said Eberhardt. [Tulsa World]

‘The flood is ongoing,’ port director says, as unsafe waterways will create ‘a logjam’ to get goods moved downriver: Flows that have stalled shipping along the McClellan-Kerr Arkansas River Navigation System were far faster than those recorded in 1986, the most common measuring stick to this year’s flooding. [Tulsa World]

Oklahomans can make use of ‘cool zones’ during heat advisory: As high temperatures persist across the state, the National Weather Center has issued a heat advisory for Oklahoma City between 11 a.m. and 8 p.m. Friday. Possible heat index values could reach up to 107 degrees, with temperatures around 100. [The Oklahoman]

Oklahoma delegation opposes minimum wage measure, for differing reasons: All five Oklahoma members of the U.S. House voted Thursday against raising the minimum wage to $15 per hour by 2025. The bill was approved 231-199, with three Republicans voting for it. [The Oklahoman]

Quote of the Day

“In our traditions, we’ve been taught that you don’t talk about what you do. But today, it’s time to start talking about it. People need to know. It’s important. . . . Tribes have reinvested in our communities like no other industry across the state. We are an economic driver as well as a reliable and prominent partner. We are not leaving the state of Oklahoma.”

– Oklahoma Secretary of Native American Affairs Lisa Johnson Billy, commenting on a report showing that Oklahoma tribes generate $4.6 billion in wages and benefits and support an estimated 96,177 jobs [The Oklahoman]

Number of the Day

39%

Percent decrease in enrollment in bachelor’s of education programs across all Oklahoma state colleges and universities from 2008-2018

[Source: Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education]

See previous Numbers of the Day here.

Policy Note

Rural Health: Financial insecurity plagues many who live with disability: According to a recent poll NPR conducted with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, 49% of rural Americans couldn’t afford a sudden expense of that size. The percentage was much higher — 70% — for people who, like Burgos, have disabilities. More than half of those with disabilities said their families have had problems paying for medical or dental bills in the past few years. [NPR]

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Jessica joined OK Policy as a Communications Associate in January 2018. A Mexican immigrant, she obtained a B.A. in Political Science and Philosophy from Oklahoma City University as a Clara Luper Scholar. Prior to joining OK Policy, Jessica worked as an Inbound and Digital Marketing Specialist for an OKC based firm. She is an alumnus of both the National Education for Women (N.E.W.) Leadership Institute (2013) and Summer Policy Institute (2015). In addition to her role at OK Policy, Jessica serves as a Board Member for Dream Action Oklahoma.

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