In The Know: School storm shelter proponents ask state Supreme Court to review ballot language changes

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 you should know that supporters of an initiative to put storm shelters in Oklahoma schools filed a legal challenge with the state Supreme Court objecting to changes made to ballot language by the Attorney General.  Nonprofits and state agencies are relieved at the reopening of the government and playing catch up from time lost. 

A state legislator expressed concern that legislative action may be needed if placements are not found for 84 remaining residents of a state facility for the developmentally disabled slated for closure in April.  The trial of a former Oklahoma lawmaker accused of bribery is scheduled to begin today.

A 26-year-old man held on misdemeanor charges in the Garfield County Jail was found unresponsive in his cell and pronounced dead at the hospital.  The U.S. Geological Survey reported another small earthquake near Enid.  

Ranchers in northeast Oklahoma report someone has been shooting their livestock and leaving them for dead.  The Number of the Day is the average annual cost to incarcerate one person in Oklahoma.  In today’s Policy Note, StateImpactOK explains how the greenhouse gas cases taken up by SCOTUS will affect Oklahoma.

In The News

Oklahoma school shelter supporters file legal challenge with state Supreme Court
Supporters of an initiative petition to put storm shelters in Oklahoma schools asked the state Supreme Court on Thursday to throw out changes the state’s top attorney made to the ballot title. Take Shelter Oklahoma, a group of volunteers that includes the mother of a Plaza Towers Elementary School student killed in the May 20 tornado, filed a legal challenge to block Attorney General Scott Pruitt’s revision. The petition initiative seeks to let voters decide whether the state should create a $500 million bond issue to pay for shelters and security.

Read more from NewsOK

Breathing a little easier: Local nonprofits, state agencies happy government shutdown is over
Officials at a number of local nonprofits and state agencies are breathing a little easier today since the government shutdown has been lifted with an 11th-hour agreement Wednesday night. Many federal offices were shut down Oct. 1 when Congress failed to reach an agreement on allowing the U.S. Treasury to continue borrowing. That meant state and local groups could not obtain information, and some agency heads were concerned about receiving needed federal funds to continue operating.

Read more from Enid News and Eagle

After government shutdown, work overwhelms agencies across Oklahoma
The government shutdown didn’t only affect national agencies, but also some local agencies across the state. The Oklahoma Farm Service Agency serves Oklahoma state farmers and agricultural producers. Executive Director Francie Tolle said the government shutdown was a hiccup for the Farm Service Agency. She said there is one word to describe coming back to work after the government shutdown — overwhelming.
Read more from Stillwater NewsPress

Oklahoma House committee hears concerns over upcoming closure of residential care facilities
Jackson said that legislative action may need to be taken in the next session to address the issue. When asked what will happen to the 84 SORC clients if proper facilities are not found before the April closure date, which falls before the end of session, Jackson had no easy answer. “That’s a great question,” Jackson said.

Read more from NewsOK

Ex-Oklahoma lawmaker to be tried on bribery charge
The trial of a former Oklahoma lawmaker accused of bribery is scheduled to get underway in Oklahoma County district court. Jury selection for former Republican Rep. Randy Terrill of Moore is set to begin Monday. Terrill is accused of offering to set up former Democratic Sen. Debbe Leftwich of Oklahoma City with a state job in exchange for promising not to seek re-election so a Republican colleague of Terrill’s could seek her open seat.

Read more from News9 

Garfield County inmate dies at hospital, sheriff says
The Garfield County sheriff says a 26-year-old inmate died at an Enid hospital after he was found unresponsive in his jail cell. Sheriff Jerry Niles says the inmate was found in his cell at about 3 p.m. Wednesday by another inmate, who alerted jail staff. Both inmates and jail employees administered CPR, and the man was taken to a hospital. The sheriff says the inmate was pronounced dead at 9:40 p.m. Wednesday. Niles tells the Enid News & Eagle that the inmate was being held on misdemeanor charges of failure to appear. 

Read more from Associated Press

U.S. Geological Survey records 3.1 magnitude earthquake near Enid
The U.S. Geological Survey reports a small earthquake has been recorded near Enid. The USGS says the 3.1 magnitude quake was recorded at 4:17 a.m. about 11 miles north of Enid — about 75 miles northwest of Oklahoma City. The Garfield County Sheriff’s Office says there are no reports of injuries or damage.

Read more from KJRH

Nowata County ranchers report cattle being shot
Ranchers in northeast Oklahoma’s Nowata County say someone has been shooting their livestock – costing them thousands of dollars. Authorities say seven cows in addition to other livestock have been shot and killed during the past two months – the latest on Friday. Rancher Jarad Collins told KOTV ( ) that Friday’s shooting of his Black Angus cost him about $2,000. Sheriff James Hallet says that in one case, a young girl’s pet llama was shot and in another – the calf of a 12-year-old boy was killed.

Read more from News9

Quote of the Day

“[Producers and farmers] have deadlines and payments and they are trying to recover after a three-year drought. We have had a little rain, but you don’t recover overnight from a drought, and any little hiccup like this government shutdown doesn’t help. They are our friends and we are going to do our best for them.” 

Francie Tolle, Executive Director of Oklahoma’s Farm Service Agency on the government shutdown

Number of the Day


The average annual cost to incarcerate one person in Oklahoma, 2010

Source: Vera Institute

See previous Numbers of the Day here.

Policy Note

Why the Greenhouse Gas Argument SCOTUS Will Hear Matters to Oklahoma

The U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday agreed to review six petitions relating to the federal government’s regulation of greenhouse gasses. But the high court consolidated the cases, and will only review a single question that pertains to all of them.

Read more from StateImpactOK

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