In The Know: Release of Okla. A-F school report cards delayed

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 the Department of Education says the release of schools’ A-F report cards will be delayed.  A Supreme Court ruling may not have settled the Texas-Oklahoma water dispute completely.  

The state’s more than 70 small general hospitals are under significant financial strain, with few opportunities for improvement.  Oklahoma Rep. Tom Cole said that he would support raising revenue as part of a budget deal and that more of his colleagues need to be open to the idea.  He later clarified that ‘raising revenue’ did not include raising taxes.  

An airman stationed at Altus Air Force Base has been charged with possession of explosive-making materials.  The State Chamber of Oklahoma announced it would unveil an online ‘ChamberMarket’ for health insurance later this year. 

Jurors were sent home early in the bribery case of a former state lawmaker after new information sought by prosecutors surfaced at the State Senate.  Four inmates have escaped from a Caddo County jail.  

Former speaker of Oklahoma’s House of Representatives told a group of national lawmakers that our broken immigration system was in need of reform.  The Oklahoman Editorial Board endorsed a comprehensive immigration reform package to bring in needed labor and provide a “rigorous route to citizenship for those now in the country.”

 In today’s Policy Note, Forbes reported on the precipitous decline in the nation’s homeownership rates, particularly for people of color.  The Number of the Day is the number of primary care physicians (PCPs) the state would need to add to meet the current national average.

In The News

Release of Okla. school report cards delayed
The Oklahoma State Department of Education says the release of school report cards will be delayed. The department said Friday that release of the reports that grade schools on an A through F scale will be postponed until after a special meeting of the State Board of Education within the next two weeks. The board had been scheduled to discuss the reports at its meeting on Tuesday.

Read more from Associated Press

Texas’ Application for Oklahoma Water Still Active Despite Supreme Court Ruling
The U.S. Supreme Court in June sided with Oklahoma, ruling the interstate Red River water compact did not entitle Texas to water within Oklahoma’s borders. But the permit application the Tarrant Regional Water District from north Texas filed in 2007 filed in hopes of pumping water out of southeastern Oklahoma remains open and active, and state water authorities haven’t acted on it, the Journal Record’s M. Scott Carter reports: “We’re still trying to decide what to do with that,” OWRB Executive Director J.D. Strong tells the paper.

Read more from StateImpactOK

New Data Reveals Widespread Financial Losses Among Small Oklahoma Hospitals
The financial strains affecting the state’s more than 70 small general hospitals has many administrators on edge about what happens next. One hospital, Pauls Valley General Hospital, declared bankruptcy earlier this year, although it remains open. Rural health experts and officials say more bankruptcies or even closings could occur.

Read more from Oklahoma Watch

Tom Cole Open To Raising Revenue As Part Of Budget Deal
Oklahoma Rep. Tom Cole, one of the key Republican negotiators on a possible budget deal, said Friday that he would support raising revenue and more of his colleagues need to be open to the idea. “I think both sides would like to deal with the sequester. And we’re willing to put more revenue on the table to do that, and we would like to do it with entitlement savings,” Cole said on Bloomberg TV’s “Political Capital with Al Hunt,” adding the GOP was more focused on “pro-growth revenue” as opposed to tax increases.

Read more from The Huffington Post

Rep. Tom Cole clarifies story on taxes
Cole said Friday night:“Despite reports to the contrary, I oppose raising taxes to deal with the deficit or eliminate the savings generated by the so-called sequester. I have said we ought to pursue entitlement reform that saves money, which is something both President Obama and House Republicans have proposed. This additional revenue would enable us to ease the cuts imposed by the sequester.

Read more from NewsOK

Airman charged with possession of simulated bomb
A 26-year-old airman stationed at Altus Air Force Base has been charged with possession of explosive-making materials that were seized from his residence and a storage unit on Monday. Timothy Francis Carey was charged with one count of possessing a simulated bomb and other bomb-making materials with an intent to either intimidate or harm another person or do damage to property.

Read more from The Lawton Constitution

Morgan: A health care solution
Solutions must be found and found quickly. That’s why The State Chamber of Oklahoma and its partners will unveil ChamberMarket later this year. ChamberMarket is a private solution to a changing market. One little-discussed shortcoming of the federal exchange is that it only provides access to a major medical policy. Employers and employees want a broad array of options. The ChamberMarket will be a one-stop shop for medical and other employee benefits like dental care, vision coverage and life insurance.

Read more from The Journal Record

Judge sends jurors in political bribery trial home early Friday
On the email issue, prosecutors said they were told in 2010 that the state Senate did not find any related to the case. Prosecutors checked again before trial after Terrill’s attorney asked for the results of the 2010 search. Prosecutors told the judge Friday they now have been told emails do exist. The prosecutors said a Senate attorney was insisting on reviewing the emails and turning over only ones that attorney deems appropriate. “It’s been quite frustrating,” Assistant District Attorney Jimmy Harmon said.

Read more from NewsOK

Inmates Dash From Caddo County Lock Up
Caddo County authorities say four inmates have escaped the county jail by going through a trap door above the shower. Authorities told reporters that 21-year-old Dylan Ray Three Irons; 23-year-old Prime Brown; 24-year-old Anthony James Mendonca and 32-year-old Triston Cheadle escaped the jail early Sunday morning.

Read more from KWGS

Evangelical Pastors, Marriott CEO United on Immigration
Participants come from about 30 states and include a mix of local religious leaders, business owners, politicians, including Boose and Kris Steele, a former speaker of Oklahoma’s House of Representatives. “Regardless of your political leanings, we all start with this agreement: The current system does not work,” Steele wrote about immigration in a Sept. 19 editorial in the Shawnee News-Star. He’s written several editorials on the topic in Oklahoma newspapers, each time basing his appeal for immigration policy changes partly on religion — “Americans are all children of our God” — as well as on economic grounds.

Read more from Bloomberg News

Immigration reform offers GOP chance to make a mark
Some in the GOP — perhaps many — will view any path to citizenship for illegal immigrants as “amnesty” and will tar supporters as un-American — or worse. This is sure to come from far-right members of the House, those who tried to make life miserable for Republicans who didn’t agree with them that the shutdown was a good idea. But a sound immigration reform package — one that allows for more highly skilled labor to come to and stay in America, that provides a way for seasonal, temporary employment in agriculture, that includes a rigorous route to citizenship for those now in the country — would benefit not just the United States but Oklahoma, too.

Read more from NewsOK

Quote of the Day

“A short-term solution means wait and see what’s next. Businesses will throttle investment, expansion and job creation. The hurt goes deep. Oklahoma was affected. In the defense industry here alone, thousands were furloughed and some contracts put on hold. [T]he Journal Record reported the widespread financial damage to Oklahomans. In the end, only, Republican U.S. Rep. Tom Cole had the courage to vote yes to reopen the government and end the fiasco.”

Phil G. Busey, CEO of The Busey Group

Number of the Day


The number of primary care physicians (PCPs) the state would need to add in one year to meet the current national average

Source: OSU Center for Mental Health via Stillwater NewsPress

See previous Numbers of the Day here.

Policy Note

Federal Efforts To Help Homeowners May Be Strangling Them
According to the Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies, there has been a continuing, and precipitous decline in the nation’s homeownership rates. More troubling is that the trend is most pronounced within those demographic groups with the most ground to make up: African-Americans, Hispanics, young people, and first-time home buyers. The Center attributes much of the cause of the decline to increasingly stringent lending standards on the part of mortgage lenders nationwide.

Read more from Forbes

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