In The Know: Fallin says Trump can unite a divided and fearful country

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.

Today In The News

Fallin says Trump can unite a divided and fearful country: Depicting Americans as divided and afraid, Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin said here Thursday Republican presidential nominee Donald J. Trump “will get this country on the right track.” “We must make America one again and restore confidence in the strength of our nation,” Fallin said in a speech at the Republican National Convention. The second-term governor spoke in prime time for a third consecutive national convention, though this was her first to speak on the final night [NewsOK]. Video is available here.

Capitol to be under construction for six years, tenants told: Construction on the outside of the state Capitol will begin early next month and take six years to complete, tenants were told Thursday. Scaffolding has started going up on the north side of the building. The restoration of the outside will begin Aug. 8. Officials will be repairing, restoring and replacing exterior stone, said Josh Martin, vice president of operations for JE Dunn Construction Co. [Tulsa World].

Confront the ‘parasite economy’ by raising the minimum wage: Every three months, the ADP Research Institute releases its Workforce Vitality Index, a measure of private sector job and wage growth. For the past two quarters, Washington state has led the nation in growing jobs and boosting wages, far outpacing the national average and such states as Texas, Florida, and California. Why does this matter? Because Washington state has one of the highest minimum wages in the nation at $9.47 an hour [OK Policy].

TPS discipline guidelines de-emphasizes suspensions: The Tulsa school board has approved new student discipline guidelines that are designed to find ways to solve problems without suspensions. The statistics on TPS suspensions are remarkable. In the 2015-16 school year, the district suspended more than 8,000 students a total of 48,464 school days, and those numbers are down significantly from the 2014-15 totals. When district administrators looked into the numbers, they found that some of the reasons for suspending students didn’t always seem to make sense, including suspensions for skipping school [Editorial Board / Tulsa World].

Oklahoma mom says school budget cuts mean she can’t get her son to school: A metro mother says school budget cuts could leave her with no way to get her son to school. She says the massive cuts mean that schools are not accepting transfers. Victoria Barrios is a busy single mom of four boys. Her oldest, Isaac, graduated from kindergarten last year and is headed to first grade. But Barrios recently learned her kids’ daycare, Southwest Child Development Center, doesn’t transport to Fillmore Elementary School, her neighborhood elementary [KFOR].

Tulsa Gets Federal Grant To For Police Body Cams: The Tulsa City Council is considering an ordinance that would pay for body cameras for the Tulsa Police Department. The city got a grant of $599,200 from the U.S. Department of Justice to help pay for the cameras. The total cost of the purchase would be $1,249,200, so the city council will have to appropriate the other $650,000 [NewsOn6].

Tulsa division commander criticized for writing that police ‘are at war’ transferred: Tulsa Police Maj. Travis Yates, who came under fire earlier this week for an online editorial he wrote saying police “are at war,” has been transferred from north Tulsa’s Gilcrease Division, police officials confirmed. The transfer is a part of a periodic reshuffling of division commanders and includes not only Yates but three other division commanders at the Tulsa Police Department, said police spokesman Leland Ashley [Tulsa World].

Interim study a national embarrassment: Thanks to outgoing House Speaker Jeff Hickman, Oklahoma yet again is poised for national embarrassment this fall. In case you missed it, Hickman recently authorized state Rep. John Bennett’s between-sessions study into whether “radical Islam” is a problem in the state. Think about it: Oklahoma is mired in perhaps its worst fiscal crisis ever, yet precious tax dollars will be squandered on a witch hunt that affords a bigoted lawmaker a platform to spew anti-Muslim hate [Arnold Hamilton / Journal Record].

CDC awards $302K to Oklahoma to fight Zika virus: The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will award $302,000 to the state of Oklahoma to fight the Zika virus, the agency announced Thursday. The award is Oklahoma’s share of about $60 million the CDC is awarding to states, cities and territories to support efforts to protect Americans from adverse health outcomes that can result from Zika infection [Tulsa World].

Oklahoma Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice recognizes women’s rights advocates: The Oklahoma Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice honored a Planned Parenthood attorney and a Tulsa abortion clinic Thursday night at the organization’s annual fundraising event. Tamya Cox, a lobbyist and attorney at Planned Parenthood of the Heartland in Oklahoma City, and Reproductive Services, a nonprofit abortion clinic with an integrated adoption agency, were presented with the organization’s Faith and Freedom Awards [Tulsa World].

As Cities in Oklahoma Update Streetlights With LEDs, Doctors Warn About Road Ahead: Cities across the state are hoping to cut down their electricity and maintenance bills by updating street and highway lights with new technology. LEDs save energy and money, but doctors say the lights could have unintended health and environmental consequences [StateImpact Oklahoma].

Localore project at Oklahoma’s KOSU reveals possibilities for Native news coverage: Where are all the Native Americans? That’s the question that a job candidate at KOSU in Oklahoma City asked Rachel Hubbard, associate director and g.m., as the two drove around town a couple of years ago. The prospective staffer’s question wasn’t surprising; Oklahoma is known for its Native heritage. However, “you can see vibrant communities of Vietnamese, Latin Americans, African Americans,” Hubbard said, “but we don’t have reservations in the way people understand them. There’s no visible tribal community.” [Current]

Quote of the Day

“We are now working in a building that will be under construction for the next six years.”

– Trait Thompson, Oklahoma Capitol project manager, briefing Capitol employees before exterior renovation begins in August (Source)

Number of the Day


Percent of adults 65+ who had had all of their teeth extracted in 2014, tied with Mississippi for third-highest in the nation.

Source: Kaiser Family Foundation

See previous Numbers of the Day here.

Policy Note

The Growing Imperative for Age-Friendly Communities: We hear a lot these days about the need to make communities smart and sustainable. But there’s another aspect of our communities that is getting more and more attention, not only from forward-looking public officials but also in university studies and international conferences: preparing communities to be friendly for the unprecedented aging of their populations. It’s not hard to see why more communities are recognizing the need to be age-friendly. According to data from the Census Bureau and AARP, one in three Americans is 50 or older now, and by 2030 one in five will be 65 or older [Governing].

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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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