In The Know: Oklahoma business owners, GOP leaders push federal immigration reform

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 a group of Oklahoma business owners and GOP leaders have planned a trip to urge lawmakers to take up federal immigration reform.  The OWRB limited access to the Arbuckle-Simpson Aquifer, a main source of drinking water for many south-central Oklahoma communities, under a controversial new rule that affects mining, farming and resident operations on aquifer land.

The southern leg of the Keystone XL pipeline is nearly complete and predicted to double capacity between Cushing and the Gulf Coast, a boon for domestic producers of light crude oil.  The Superintendent of Tulsa Public Schools sent a letter to parents sharply denouncing “dysfunction and ineptitude” at the State Dept. of Education, after the agency posted schools’ official A-F state evaluation grades to a public website and then changed the grades five-to-six times. 

St. Anthony Hospital fired its new president and 45 other Oklahoma employees citing, among other things, “the financial impacts that have come as a result of sequestration.”  StateImpactOK reported on the significant rise in the frequency of earthquakes magnitude 3.0 or greater in Central Oklahoma, from 1 to 3 per year before 2009, to 40 per year since.  Sluggish state revenue numbers for September could spell a revenue shortfall for this fiscal year.

An Oklahoma City man died after he stopped breathing in police custody shortly after being arrested.  Midwest manufacturing activity edged up in October despite a 16-day government shut down that slowed federal contract work.  A natural gas pipeline ruptured in a powerful explosion near the Oklahoma-Kansas border is back in operation; the cause of the explosion is still under investigation.

In today’s Policy Note, Time Magazine explained why strict voter ID laws may create problems at the polls for millions of voters – particularly women – who have varying maiden and marriage names on crucial documents. The Number of the Day is the poverty rate for Native American women in Oklahoma.

In The News

Some Oklahoma business owners to press for immigration reform
Business groups and evangelical leaders have been making a major push for immigration reform, and one major group has been active in Oklahoma recently. The Partnership for a New American Economy, launched by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and media mogul Rupert Murdoch to promote immigration reform, sponsored a poll in Oklahoma last month that showed 80 percent of those surveyed would support the kind of measures contained in the Senate bill. 

Read more from NewsOK

After Decade of Consideration, State Caps Withdrawals from Oklahoma’s Most Sensitive Aquifer
Supporters let out a big cheer Wednesday after the Oklahoma Water Resources Board voted to cap the amount of water that can be taken from the Arbuckle-Simpson Aquifer, the source of drinking water for communities across a large area of south-central Oklahoma. The decision was 10 years in the making, and came about — in part — because some landowners were concerned that limestone and sand mining was draining the aquifer too quickly.

Read more from StateImpactOK

A Keystone Pipeline That’s Ready to Roll
The $2.3 billion Keystone Gulf Coast should be finished by the end of October. TransCanada estimates that by yearend the pipeline will begin delivering as much as 700,000 barrels of oil per day from the oil hub in Cushing to refiners along the Gulf Coast. TransCanada plans eventually to increase that capacity to 830,000 barrels per day. For now, at least some of the oil flowing along the southern leg will be light, sweet crude produced in North Dakota, Kansas, Oklahoma, Colorado, and Texas.

Read more from Bloomberg Businessweek

Tulsa Super Blasts State A-F System in Letter to Parents
A two page letter is going home with Tulsa Public School students dealing with the A-F grades for the schools. In the letter, Tulsa Superintendent Doctor Keith Ballard slams the State Department of Education. He says there is no trust in the A-F system.

Read more from KWGS

Oklahoma City’s St. Anthony Hospital fires new president, 45 others
St. Anthony Hospital has fired its president a little more than a year after announcing his appointment, The Oklahoman has learned. Michael Beaver — who SSM Health Care Oklahoma named president on Sept. 24, 2012 — was terminated two weeks ago, spokeswoman Sandra Payne confirmed on Thursday.

Read more from NewsOK

As Oklahoma’s Earthquakes Continue, Researchers Study Unnatural Tremors for Links to Disposal Wells
Central Oklahoma is still experiencing a “significant rise” in magnitude 3.0 or greater earthquakes, and federal and state seismologists are collaborating to study possible links to disposal wells used by the oil and gas industry, the U.S. Geological Survey says. From 1975-2008, central Oklahoma averaged between one to three 3.0-magnitude quakes a year. That annual average grew to about 40 per year from 2009 to mid-2013, federal seismologist Bill Leith wrote on the USGS website. 

Read more from StateImpactOK

Uh-Oh: Sluggish revenue collections signal real concerns
There was very little good news in last week’s state revenue announcement as collections fell below both the prior year and this year’s estimates for both the month and the completed first quarter of FY 2014. This sluggish performance could mean a revenue shortfall this fiscal year and serious challenges for the state’s budget outlook going forward.

Read more from Oklahoma Policy Institute

Man who died in OKC police custody identified
Oklahoma City police have released the name of a man who died in police custody after being apprehended by several citizens. Police said Thursday that 45-year-old Randall Roy Haynes died at an Oklahoma City hospital where he was taken after he stopped breathing while in the custody of Sgt. David Cunningham and officers Wesley Booth and William Couch.

Read more from News9

Manufacturing activity grew in region despite government shutdown
Manufacturing activity in the region has seen modest gains in October, despite the 16-day long federal government shut down that slowed work for some government contractors and halted inspections and approval processes, according to a survey released Thursday by the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City. The survey measures manufacturing activity in the 10th Federal Reserve District, which includes Oklahoma, Kansas, Colorado, Nebraska, Wyoming, the western third of Missouri and the northern half of New Mexico.

Read more from NewsOK

Ruptured pipeline back in operation
On the night of Oct 7, around 11 p.m., in a little known community called Ditch Valley situated near the Oklahoma-Kansas boarder on State Hwy 283, a 30 inch pipeline exploded with enough force and fire, it was seen from as far away as 30 miles away. Natural gas fueled the flame that some described as “the sun coming up in the north” and burned all night until it finally flamed down to that of a candle flicker by mid morning October 9. That was achieved after gas company employees worked tirelessly all night to shut the valves that fed gas to the pipeline.

Read more from The Woodward News

Quote of the Day

“Oklahoma and the nation need the labor and talent immigration reform can bring. We can’t let this issue be captured by extremists on either side. Our congressmen and women need to know those working on the front line of job creation recognize the need for immigration reform.”

Wes Stucky, president of Development-Management of Ardmore

Number of the Day

22.5 percent

The poverty rate for Native American women in Oklahoma, compared to 34.4 percent nationally and 10th lowest among the 45 states ranked

Source: National Women’s Law Center

See previous Numbers of the Day here.

Policy Note

What the Voter ID Law Really Means for Women in Texas
Voters could run into difficulties if they try to obtain the necessary cards and can’t produce documents with their current name — a problem that may not be confined to the Lone Star State. There is a significant gap in the possession of documents proving citizenship between men and women, with only 66% of women reporting that they have the documents on hand with their current name, according to a 2006 survey sponsored by New York University’s Brennan Center for Justice. Documents include birth certificates, passports, and citizenship papers.

Read more from Time Magazine

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