In The Know: What’s the best way to run a jail?; The good, the bad, and the puzzling in child maltreatment counts; Neglected park system will take years to upgrade

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

What’s the best way to run a jail?: Earlier this year, reform-minded county commissioners and government officials created a jail trust – a more independent governing body made up of seven private citizens and two elected county officials. Now, the trust decides how the jail’s money is spent and who will operate it. [StateImpact Oklahoma] Accepting Oklahoma’s highest-in-the-world incarceration rate means believing that Oklahomans are somehow worse than people everywhere else.

The good, the bad and the puzzling in child maltreatment counts: During the past six years, the number of child abuse cases – the most severe form of child maltreatment – has plummeted by more than 50 percent, to 1,407 last year. During the same period, the number of substantiated cases of child neglect has tripled, to 13,394. [Oklahoma Watch]

Corporation Commission approves deal to leave Oklahoma Gas & Electric rates unchanged for now: A majority of elected members of Oklahoma’s Corporation Commission on Thursday approved an agreement between Oklahoma Gas and Electric Co. and several other parties that leaves rates for customers unchanged, for now. [The Oklahoman]

Neglected park system will take years to upgrade: Oklahoma tourism officials are developing a strategic plan to tackle the state’s vast, but long-neglected park system, the deputy director of the Tourism and Recreation Department told lawmakers Thursday at a hearing. [CNHI] Lawmakers should consider more than doubling the annual appropriation for upkeep of state-owned properties valued at $14 billion, an executive involved in an extensive renovation of the Oklahoma Capitol said Thursday. [Journal Record 🔒]

(Audio) Glen Johnson Retires, AG Hires Michigan Law Firm, DOC Locks Down Prisons & More: This Week in Oklahoma Politics, Higher Education Chancellor Glen Johnson to retire from the position effective at the end of next year, AG Mike Hunter announces the state is hiring a Michigan law firm for $250,000 to deal with tribal gaming compacts and the Department of Corrections locks down state prisons after gang-related violence kills one inmate and injures dozens of others. [KOSU]

In push toward top 10 status, Stitt takes Cabinet on tour to tout early successes: Gov. Kevin Stitt is taking his Cabinet on a “Top 10” tour, stopping Thursday in northeast Oklahoma to tout areas in which the state already ranks well nationally. [Tulsa World]

With record month, Oklahoma City sales tax revenue closely tracks budget office’s projections: Oklahoma City sales tax revenue set a record this month. After slowing in the first two months of the fiscal year, sales tax growth rebounded in September, up 6.1% over this time last year and exceeding the target of 3.2%. [The Oklahoman]

Community members keep students’ need uppermost in mind as they consider Tulsa Public Schools’ $20 million budget shortfall: More than 100 people gathered there for the district’s third of 11 planned community engagement meetings in which stakeholders share their thoughts about how to eliminate $20 million from the 2020-21 budget. [Tulsa World]

Whistleblower letter, booting of board member raise Seeworth Academy oversight concerns: Six weeks before agreeing to relinquish its charter and close, the board of an Oklahoma City alternative school for at-risk youth held a special meeting and quickly voted to remove one of its members: pastor and human resources professional Greg Dewey. [NonDoc]

Indicted Oklahoma County judge rejects DA request to stop hearing his office’s cases: An indicted Oklahoma County district judge said again Thursday she is not influenced by campaign donations and that she will continue to hear criminal cases. [The Oklahoman]

Tulsa Police Department to return to cable crime show ‘Live PD’: Tulsa police officers will again be in the limelight as the department returns to the A&E series “Live PD.” The first episode is scheduled to air at 8 p.m. Friday. [Tulsa World]

OKC’s Downtown Design Review Committee considers street closure, rezoning: The Oklahoma City Downtown Design Review Committee took up the closure of a portion of SW Second Street, rezoning of an entire block abutting Classen Boulevard, and changes to the current Downtown Development Framework. [Free Press OKC] Oklahoma City Boulevard continues to rack up collision numbers. [Free Press OKC]

Inhofe: Arkansas River navigation system facing backlog in ‘critical’ maintenance projects: Hamstrung for months this summer by historic flooding in Oklahoma, the McClellan-Kerr Arkansas River Navigation System is facing a $225 million backlog in “critical” maintenance projects, U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe said. [Tulsa World]

Plans for Greenwood museum unveiled: ‘The past isn’t really past at all. It’s part of our present’: Preliminary exhibit plans for a $20 million Greenwood District museum elicited lots of questions, comments and suggestions but no voiced opposition Thursday night during the first public presentation. [Tulsa World]

Quote of the Day

“The overarching theme is the human spirit. This is a specific story of the dignity of people who turned trials and tribulations and tragedy into triumph.”

– Hannibal Johnson, lead curator for the Race Massacre Centennial Commission, on the plans for the new Greenwood History Center in Tulsa [Tulsa World]

Number of the Day

$8.6 billion

Additional funding which would be available to Oklahoma over the next decade to fund services if the state expanded Medicaid

[Source: Urban Institute]

See previous Numbers of the Day here.

Policy Note

Report: Costs in most states exceed subsidies for child care: Child care costs in most states exceed federal subsidy payments provided to low-income parents, according to a newly released report from the Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General, leaving working families with few affordable options. [AP News]

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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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