In The Know: Gov. Fallin disappointed in lack of progress made during special session

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

Gov. Fallin disappointed in lack of progress made during special session: Governor Mary Fallin says she is disappointed in the lack of progress made on the state’s budget during the special session. Lawmakers only briefly met at the State Capitol three weeks ago when the special session convened to fill a $215 million hole in the state’s budget before going in to recess to meet behind the scenes. [Fox25] Gov. Fallin calling on both parties to compromise [KFOR] Frequently asked questions about Oklahoma’s special session [OK Policy]

‘Disappointed’: Wallace, Fallin, Doerflinger trade criticisms: Call it the nature of the beast, but elected officials are rarely as candid in their press releases as they are behind closed doors. With that in mind, dueling “disappointed” pronouncements Friday afternoon from House Appropriations and Budget Chairman Kevin Wallace (R-Wellston) and Gov. Mary Fallin underscore growing tension at the Oklahoma State Capitol. [NonDoc] What happens ‘when push comes to shove’ on the budget [OK Policy]

Health care advocates hope to avoid ‘moral crisis’: Across the state, health care officials are bracing for the worst. Without prompt legislative action, they say it will soon start to become more difficult for hundreds of thousands of Oklahomans to find doctors, receive mental health treatment or receive social services. [CNHI] Care for seniors, people with disabilities at risk as DHS grapples with budget shortfall [OK Policy]

Oklahoma agency ‘scrambles’ after taking medical contract in-house: A backlog of requests to perform medical services for SoonerCare patients is going down, but the state still has work to get the process up and running after budget problems forced a quick plan B. [The Oklahoman] Time to hit the brakes on SoonerCare privatization [OK Policy]

Legislators need to listen to Oklahoma voters: When voters were asked which revenue ideas they would support, the most popular of all (63 percent supporting) was an income tax increase on households making more than $200,000 a year. Also winning majority support was increasing the cigarette tax, ending an expensive tax break for capital gains income, and restoring the 7 percent gross production tax. [Gene Perry/Oklahoman]

Oklahomans deserve better from their elected officials: In advance of the current special session, one item was paramount — finding a way to fill a $215 million hole in the 2018 fiscal year budget. The hole was created by a state Supreme Court opinion that rejected as unconstitutional a $1.50-per-pack cigarette cessation “fee” approved narrowly in the final days of the regular session. [Editorial Board/The Oklahoman]

The state Capitol goes dark next week, a metaphor for a powerless state government: After three weeks, here’s what’s happened so far with the Oklahoma special session: Practically nothing. You can count the time spent in session by the state House of Representatives — where any progress on closing the state’s $215 million budget hole must begin — in minutes. No legislation has passed and only two bills have moved forward meaningfully in the committee process. [Wayne Green/Tulsa World] What’s the holdup with the Oklahoma Legislature’s special session? [Tulsa World]

Pregnant Women In Rural Oklahoma Forced To Travel For Care: Federal and state cuts to health care in recent years have resulted in the closure of rural hospitals across our state. Now, OU Medical Center is seeing a spike in women traveling long distances to get prenatal care. [News9]

Money available to do right by our children: The problem is obvious. So is the solution. Oklahoma needs to put its money where its mouth is when it comes to public education. I’m sick of the lip service – elected officials declaring education the state’s No. 1 priority then not properly investing in it. [Arnold Hamilton/Journal Record]

Trump to halt subsidies to health insurers: In a brash move likely to roil insurance markets, President Donald Trump plans to halt payments to insurers under the Obama-era health care law that he has been trying to unravel for months. [AP] OKC residents worried about President Trump’s healthcare subsidy cuts [Fox25] Oklahoma’s Insurance Commissioner is preparing ​t​o undermine the people working to insure Oklahomans [OK Policy]

Quote of the Day

“We’re just so perplexed that there’s a lot of talk about right-sizing government, but I don’t hear any legislator talking about what the priorities are. Nobody wants your taxes to go up, but tell me what you want to cut then.”

– Craig Jones, President of the Oklahoman Hospital Association, discussing the frustration health care advocates feel about the inability of the state legislature to produce a budget plan during special session (Source)

Number of the Day


Change in Oklahoma’s average monthly participation in the Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC), 2006-2016

Source: Food Research and Action Center

See previous Numbers of the Day here.

Policy Note

While the rest of the world invests more in education, the U.S. spends less: The world’s developed nations are placing a big bet on education investments, wagering that highly educated populaces will be needed to fill tomorrow’s jobs, drive healthy economies and generate enough tax receipts to support government services. Bucking that trend is the United States. U.S. spending on elementary and high school education declined 3 percent from 2010 to 2014 even as its economy prospered and its student population grew slightly by 1 percent, boiling down to a 4 percent decrease in spending per student [The Hechinger Report].


Courtney Cullison worked for OK Policy from 2017 to 2020 as a policy analyst focused on issues of economic opportunity and financial security. Before coming to OK Policy, Courtney worked in higher education, holding faculty positions at the University of Texas at Tyler and at Connors State College in eastern Oklahoma. A native Oklahoman, she received an Honors B.A. in Political Science from Oklahoma State University, and an M.A. and Ph.D. with emphasis in congressional politics and public policy from the University of Oklahoma. While at OU, Courtney was a fellow at the Carl Albert Congressional Research and Studies Center. As a professor she taught classes in American politics, public policy, and research methods and conducted original research with a focus on the relationship between representatives and the constituents they serve.

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