In The Know: Tribes united against proposed extension, Medicaid expansion is ‘deal of the century, and more

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.

Note: ‘In The Know’ will be on hiatus until January 6, 2020 while our staff takes time off for the holidays. If you enjoy reading these daily updates, we encourage you to make an online donation to support our mission.

In The News

More than 30 tribes ‘stand united’ against Stitt offer: More than 50 representatives from more than 30 sovereign tribal nations filled a stage at the River Spirit Casino Thursday to emphasize unity during ongoing gaming compact negotiations and to reject Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt’s offer of a temporary extension. [NonDoc] The tribes said they were determined to present a united front to combat Stitt’s belief that the state’s gaming compact would expire on Jan. 1. [The Frontier]

Medicaid expansion is the deal of the century, but Oklahoma keeps saying no: Wayne Greene: Imagine if an investor was offering to bring a $1 billion deal to Oklahoma with strong evidence that it would create thousands of good-paying jobs, set off positive shock waves throughout the state’s economy, reduce crime, improve health and lower debt — all at no net cost to the state. But we’ve been saying no to it for years. The offer is called Medicaid expansion and the billion dollar offer is coming from the federal government. [Tulsa World] OK Policy supports SQ 802 to expand Medicaid and has provided information and resources to better understand the issue.

(Audio) Recreational marijuana petition, tribal gaming compacts, four-day school weeks & more: The hosts talk about a petition filed to allow voters to add recreational marijuana to the state constitution, the battle between Governor Stitt and tribal leaders over gaming compacts heats up as the end of the year gets closer and Oklahoma City Democratic Representative Shane Stone delays his resignation by one day removing the need for a special election. [KOSU]

Technology, testing sites and salaries: Documents provide some insight into Epic charter’s expenses: Oklahoma’s largest virtual charter school spends millions on technology, office facilities, testing sites and salaries, while a large amount is funneled to a for-profit company with no state oversight. [The Frontier] OK Policy has found that virtual charter schools are a cause for concern.

Tulsa charter school application in limbo: The Oklahoma State Board of Education agreed Thursday to send a denied charter school application back to Tulsa Public Schools for reconsideration. [The Oklahoman]

Ginnie Graham: Tulsa’s LGBTQ community being hit harder by lack of mental health services in Oklahoma: The Prism Project — a needs assessment of the sexual and gender minority communities — found Tulsa leading the way in areas of advocacy and acceptance, particularly in workplaces and families. The project is an extension of the 2004 LGBT Needs Assessment. [Ginne Graham / Tulsa World]

Property tax bills due soon: Although people are directing most of their attention and money on Christmas, Cleveland County Treasurer Jim Reynolds wants to remind property owners of another financial obligation. [Norman Transcript]

Western district judges Dishman, Jones confirmed by U.S. Senate: The U.S. Senate on Thursday confirmed Jodi W. Dishman and Bernard M. Jones as federal judges for the western district of Oklahoma, which is based in Oklahoma City. [The Oklahoman]

Oklahoma will continue to resettle refugees, Stitt tells Trump administration: Gov. Kevin Stitt agreed Wednesday to continue allowing refugees to resettle in Oklahoma next year under a new presidential directive that allows cities and states to bar refugees. [The Oklahoman]

Medical marijuana industry employment expands: It’s difficult to assess on precisely how many people the medical marijuana industry has employed so far in Oklahoma, but the Oklahoma Employment Security Commission is trying. [The Journal Record]

Schools wrestling with policies for medical marijuana: Oklahoman’s decision to legalize medicinal cannabis continues raising questions about who may use it and carry a medical marijuana card, including students and school employees. [Tahlequah Daily Press]

Additional Tulsa County flu-related death and first for Oklahoma County bring state total to six: The second flu-related death in Tulsa County and the first in Oklahoma County have brought the state’s influenza-related death total to six this season, Oklahoma State Department of Health data shared Thursday show. [Tulsa World]

Search for mass graves puts mayor, south Tulsa cemetery owner at odds: Tulsa Mayor G.T. Bynum expressed frustration that the city has yet to reach an agreement with the Rolling Oaks Cemetery to search for mass graves from the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre; but an attorney for the cemetery’s owners says they are willing to allow a search — under certain conditions — and that the mayor has misrepresented the discussions. [Tulsa World]

Quote of the Day

“Assuming that enrollment plateaus near current levels, Medicaid expansion will introduce approximately $350 million to $400 million of new spending to Montana’s economy each year. This spending ripples through Montana’s economy, generating approximately 5,000 jobs and $270 million in personal income in each year between 2018 and 2020.”

-A 2018 report from the University of Montana Bureau of Business and Economic Research demonstrates the effects Medicaid expansion had on that state after it accepted funding for about 100,000 working poor adults starting in 2015. [Tulsa World]

Number of the Day


Approximate number of students in Oklahoma’s rural districts who rank among the most diverse in the nation in terms of race, specialized needs, poverty, and residential instability.

[Source: Why Rural Matters 2018-2019]

See previous Numbers of the Day here.

Policy Note

How far can cities go to police the homeless? Boise tests the limit: Dawn Whitson, a shelter resident making $12 an hour as a hotel receptionist, said she wanted to know why the city was spending potentially hundreds of thousands of dollars to fight a law suit criminalizing poverty instead of putting the money toward more shelter beds or homeless services. [New York Times]

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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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