In The Know: Wait reaches all-time high for developmental disabilities services

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. You can sign up here to receive In The Know by e-mail.

Today In The News

Wait List Reaches All-Time High for Developmental Disabilities Services: After decreasing last year, the waiting list for a state program that provides services to Oklahomans with developmental and intellectual disabilities has grown again—to the highest level it’s ever been. As of Oct. 15, the wait time to receive services through the state’s Developmental Disabilities Services Division is nearly a decade. The number of people on the waiting list has grown from 6,992 in 2014 to 7,239 this year, according to figures from the Oklahoma Department of Human Services (DHS) taken from a point in time each year [Oklahoma Watch]. The services provided by DHS include physical and occupational therapy, medical supplies, in-home nursing support, and respite care [OK Policy].

Tobacco Use Reaches New Low In Oklahoma: The Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH) announced today that the smoking rate among adults has reached a new low. According to a  press release, the number of adult smokers dropped by almost 78,000 between 2013 and 2014. The 19 percent decrease in the last four years has moved Oklahoma’s ranking from forty-seventh in the nation to fortieth [KGOU].

Without reform, Oklahomans with mental illnesses will continue to struggle to find care, leaders say: Mental health advocates spoke Tuesday afternoon at the Capitol about assisted outpatient treatment, a type of court-ordered mental health treatment for residents diagnosed with mental illnesses who have been resistant to care [NewsOK]. Cathy Costello, wife of slain state Labor Commissioner Mark Costello, was one of many Tuesday to speak in front of a state senate committee hearing about possible outpatient and medication treatment for people who are in and out of trouble [NewsOn6].

Oklahoma revenue declines for sixth straight month: All major sources of state revenue were down last month as oil price declines continue to hamper the energy sector, Treasurer Ken Miller said Tuesday. For the sixth straight month, gross receipts were lower than the same month of the previous year [NewsOK]. 

Upcoming event: Practice & Policy lecture series discusses early childhood education: On November 5, the Oklahoma Department of Human Services (OKDHS) will host Dr. Naneida Lazarte for her lecture “Oklahoma School Readiness Reach-By-Risk Report 2015: Understanding Access to Quality Early Childhood Programs in the Context of Risk for Starting School Unprepared” as part of the Practice & Policy lecture series [OK Policy].

Citizen group calls for sweeping changes at Tulsa County Sheriff’s Office: The Tulsa County Sheriff’s Office should establish a citizen oversight board, halt patrols in city limits and install body and dash cameras, according to a proposal presented to Undersheriff Rick Weigel Tuesday morning by the leaders of a grassroots group. We The People Oklahoma calls for those policy changes and many others in its “five-point plan.” [The Frontier] Former Tulsa County Sheriff Stanley Glanz acknowledged to the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies that former Reserve Deputy Robert Bates was carrying an unapproved firearm that he hadn’t qualified with when he fatally shot Eric Harris [Tulsa World].

Legislator eyes changing how Oklahoma judges are selected: A state legislator who’s upset with decisions the Oklahoma Supreme Court has made to nullify anti-abortion bills is pushing to change how judges are selected in the state. Oklahoma City Republican Rep. Kevin Calvey hosted an interim study on the topic Monday in the House chamber. Calvey says the Oklahoma Bar Association has too much influence in the selection of judges in Oklahoma [SF Chronicle].

DHS receives grant to bolster systems: The Oklahoma Department of Human Services has received a grant from the Administration for Community Living, a division of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, to help bolster adult protective services systems.  The federal grants are the first-ever specifically designed to improve APS systems among the states, and Oklahoma is one of 10 states and the District of Columbia to receive the funding [Norman Transcript].

Possible change of Oklahoma liquor laws has everything on table: With strong public support for allowing wine and strong beer in Oklahoma grocery and convenience stores, liquor store owners know that change is probably coming in one form or another. After polling conducted by the Oklahoma Retail Liquor Association earlier this year found strong public support in favor of changing Oklahoma’s liquor laws, the group came out in support of reforms, marking a major pivot from liquor store owners’ past opposition [NewsOK]. 

Quote of the Day

“When we got on the waiting list, they said it would be several years, so I knew going into it. Hopefully, we’re getting close, because we’re seven years in.”

– Broken Arrow resident Olivia Morgan, whose nine year-old son is one of more than 7,2000 Oklahomans on a DHS waiting list for services for people with developmental disabilities (Source)

Number of the Day


State and local taxes paid by unauthorized migrants in Oklahoma in 2012

Source: Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

See previous Numbers of the Day here.

Policy Note

100 years of tax brackets, in one chart: Generally, politicians want to reduce the number of brackets because they believe it will simplify the tax code. That said, tax brackets are among the easiest parts of the tax code, thanks to modern software and, well, math. The other rationale — held by Carson — is that having different tax rates based on income is socialism, which is why he supports a flat tax. But as the graphic above shows, the US has historically taxed the very wealthy more than the somewhat wealthy — and way more than the middle class. [Vox].

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Carly Putnam joined OK Policy in 2013. As Policy Director, she supervises policy research and strategy. She previously worked as an OK Policy intern, and she was OK Policy's health care policy analyst through July 2020. She graduated from the University of Tulsa in 2013. As a student, she was a participant in the National Education for Women (N.E.W.) Leadership Institute and interned with Planned Parenthood. Carly is a graduate of the Oklahoma Center for Nonprofits Nonprofit Management Certification; the Oklahoma Developmental Disabilities Council’s Partners in Policymaking; The Mine, a social entrepreneurship fellowship in Tulsa; and Leadership Tulsa Class 62. She currently serves on the boards of Restore Hope Ministries and The Arc of Oklahoma. In her free time, she enjoys reading, cooking, and doing battle with her hundred year-old house.

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