In The Know: Gov. Fallin endorses Trump’s presidential bid, welcomes VP talk

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 endorses Trump’s presidential bid, welcomes VP talk: Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin is offering her enthusiastic endorsement of Republican presidential contender Donald Trump, saying she supports the New York billionaire “100 percent.” Fallin also said Wednesday she’s honored to be mentioned as a possible vice presidential candidate and would be happy to consider such an offer [NewsOK].

Oklahoma Medicaid Agency Ending Planned Parenthood Contracts: Oklahoma is ending its contracts with two Planned Parenthood organizations that provide health services to thousands of mostly low-income women and families, the head of the state’s Medicaid agency said Wednesday. Oklahoma Health Care Authority Chief Executive Officer Nico Gomez said the agency notified Planned Parenthood of Central Oklahoma and Planned Parenthood of Arkansas and Eastern Oklahoma in February of its intent to terminate provider agreements with the two affiliates [ABC News].

When teachers stopped screaming: Quite a day, then, April 13, when Oklahoma Public School social studies and English and biology and gym teachers, tired of state legislators using their profession as a chew toy, decided to do something about it. It shouldn’t have come to this. As Charles P. Pierce of Esquire said, “Sometimes it’s enough to yell at the right building.” This is what happens when it’s not [Tulsa Voice]. Oklahoma continues to lead the nation for the largest cuts to general school funding since the start of the recession [OK Policy].

Prosperity Policy: Public education fights back: Many Oklahomans were taken by surprise last month by news that dozens of educators have stepped up to run for the Legislature. On the first day of filing season, more than 30 members of what the Tulsa World dubbed the “teacher caucus” gathered together at the state Capitol to declare their candidacies. Running as Democrats, Republicans and independents, and including a national finalist for Teacher of the Year, retired and active superintendents, and parents of public school children, all are united by a fierce commitment to public education [David Blatt / Journal Record].

More Red States Embrace Obamacare, As Long As You Don’t Call It That: Presidential candidates and other national politicians throw around a lot of rhetoric about health care reform, but the real action is happening in conservative state legislatures across the country. Red state governors and lawmakers are deciding what health care for low-income people and those with disabilities delivered through Medicaid, the joint federal-state health benefit program, will look like in the post-Obamacare era [Huffington Post]. Here’s what we know about Oklahoma’s plan to expand health coverage [OK Policy].

Oklahoma Policy Institute’s Do Something OK raises state budget crisis awareness: While news about Oklahoma’s budget crisis continues to trickle to the masses, the sad fact is that many people are unaware about just how devastating these cuts are going to be in the very near future. It’s a problem that the Oklahoma Policy Institute, an “independent nonprofit think-tank who does research and puts information out to help people understand what’s going on in our state politics and policy issues,” is desperately trying to rectify [Red Dirt Report].  Click here to learn more and join the campaign.

Tobacco settlement money should be off-limits: As word of the national tobacco Master Settlement Agreement came down to states in 1998, many states hoped for a windfall — a pot of money that could immediately be put into state coffers to pay for pressing and immediate needs. Oklahoma voters endorsed a different idea and, today, the Tobacco Settlement Endowment Trust continues to be an example of a wise choice to make provision for long-term funding to combat health problems that cost our state money and take lives [Ken Miller, Scott Meacham, Robert Butkin / Tulsa World].

Fallin signs bill to require insurance companies to cover autism treatment: Coverage for children with autism will be required in insurance policies under a bill signed into law Wednesday by Gov. Mary Fallin. House Bill 2962, by Rep. Jason Nelson, R-Oklahoma City, mandates that insurance policies issued in the state provide coverage for the screening, diagnosis and treatment of autism spectrum disorder for children younger than 9 or for up to six years for children diagnosed after age 3, with an annual maximum benefit of $25,000 [Tulsa World].

Prisons have become today’s psychiatric hospitals: I can remember the banging sound clearly. I stood on the first floor of the mental health unit at Joseph Harp Correctional Center. I was in the room where offenders who were suffering from serious mental health crises were housed in single cells. A man on the second floor banged his door, moaning. More than 16,500 of the offenders in the Oklahoma Department of Corrections’ populations — 57 percent — have a history of mental illness or current symptoms [Jaclyn Cosgrove]. The Legislature is sending mixed signals on mental health and incarceration [OK Policy].

Oklahoma Corrections Board to vote on private prison rental: Corrections officials have devised a novel way to ease overcrowding — renting an empty 2,600-bed private prison in Sayre and shuttering the state’s inmate work centers. The contract, negotiated by Interim Director Joe Allbaugh, will be presented for a vote to the Oklahoma Board of Corrections at their Thursday meeting, a source close to the deal told The Oklahoman on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the contract publicly [NewsOK]. From 2002 through 2009, the number of Americans incarcerated in private prisons grew by 37 percent [OK Policy].

Oklahoma lawmakers unveil bill after court’s sodomy ruling: Oklahoma lawmakers have unveiled a bill designed to fix a loophole in Oklahoma’s forcible sodomy law after criminal charges were dropped against a 17-year-old boy accused of forcing a heavily intoxicated girl to perform oral sex. The new language was introduced Wednesday in a House conference committee and author Rep. Scott Biggs says he expects no problems getting the signatures needed to have the bill considered by the Legislature [KOCO].

State proposals would loosen rules for openly carrying firearms: Two gun measures are making their way through the Legislature, but not without some resistance from some high-profile opponents. House Joint Resolution 1009 and House Bill 3098 both aim to protect Oklahomans’ right to keep and bear arms, but may take that idea beyond the meaning of the Second Amendment, which should require some very close consideration. HB 3098 would allow unconcealed carrying of weapons with no training or license requirement [Editorial Board / Tulsa World].

Deaf Grassroots Movement rallies at the Oklahoma Capitol: Nearly 200 people marched at the Oklahoma Capitol in support of expanded services for the deaf community. Participants from Oklahoma’s Deaf Grassroots Movement joined a national effort on Wednesday to demonstrate the needs of the deaf in education, employment and access to communication. Deaf Grassroots Movement spokesman Chris Reagle says unemployment rates are particularly high for the deaf and that they often face discrimination in the workplace and barriers in education [KRMG].

TU Trustees Vote To Remove Law School Founder’s Name Due To KKK Ties: Wednesday, the University of Tulsa Board of Trustees voted to remove the name of John Rogers from the TU College of Law Building. The decision comes after TU became aware of Rogers’ involvement with the KKK. According to our partners at The Frontier, the university became officially aware of Rogers’ involvement in the Klan after hiring an attorney to review all programs and buildings named after individuals [News9].

TU names Gerry Clancy president: Dr. Gerard Clancy was named the University of Tulsa’s 20th president Wednesday during a meeting of the school’s trustees. Clancy, 54, is a former University of Oklahoma-Tulsa president and is currently TU vice president for health affairs and dean of the new Oxley College of Health Sciences. He will assume his duties as TU’s president on Jan. 1, 2017. Clancy will replace Steadman Upham, who is retiring at the end of 2016 [Tulsa World].

Upcoming Event: Free public lecture discusses infant and toddler welfare: On Tuesday, May 10, from noon to 1pm, a free public presentation sponsored by the Oklahoma Department of Human Services Office of Planning, Research and Statistics and the University of Oklahoma Center for Public Management will examine the child welfare system. The event, titled “Making the Invisible Visible: The Real Cost of Child Welfare for Infants and Toddlers in Oklahoma,” will be held at the Oklahoma History Center (800 Nazih Zuhdi Drive, Oklahoma City, OK 73105) [OK Policy].

Proposed Oklahoma City Budget Shows Continued Hiring Freeze, Cutbacks To Violent Crime Units: A large, phone-book type document. That’s how Mayor Mick Cornett described the proposed Oklahoma City budget for Fiscal Year 2017 unveiled during the city council meeting Tuesday morning. City Manager Jim Couch proposed a nearly $1.3 billion budget, which is down 0.8 percent from the current fiscal year. The city’s general revenue fund is down about 4.9 percent [KGOU].

Water quality reports a font of information: When people found out the City of Stillwater had used pipe fittings with more lead than the law currently allows for drinking water they started using the “F” word, as in Flint, Michigan. But city officials want you to know Stillwater’s situation is very different and the latest water quality report backs that up. A review of annual water quality reports from the past seven years shows the city’s water quality monitoring program had no violations of either Environmental Protection Agency or Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality rules and regulations [Stillwater News Press].

Quote of the Day

“Yeah, so now, we’re not just screaming at the building. We want in.”

– Tulsa Public Schools teacher and state Senate candidate John Waldron, on the surge of educators running for office two years after more than 20,000 Oklahomans rallied unsuccessfully for education funding at the Capitol (Source)

Number of the Day


Average annual cost of child care for a 4-year-old in Oklahoma.

Source: Economic Policy Institute

See previous Numbers of the Day here.

Policy Note

One in 14 Americans will grow up with a parent in prison: When Erica was a young child, she had a hard time coping with the absence of her father. Even as a five-year-old, she would violently act out. Her mother shielded Erica from the knowledge that her dad was in prison, a convicted serial rapist. Eventually, counselors at a specialized after-school program revealed to Erica that her father was behind bars. They did not talk about his crimes, but they helped her make supervised contact. Erica began visiting and exchanging letters with her father, which greatly improved her behavior. But then, when she was nine, Erica’s dad sent her a letter admitting the reason for his incarceration, and she unraveled again [Quartz].

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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.

One thought on “In The Know: Gov. Fallin endorses Trump’s presidential bid, welcomes VP talk

  1. Shut down public operations to give money to private corporations which will control what you pay for years into the future. Please remember two things when you consider this: (1) the DOC director says he’s really, really, really, really is opposed to using private prisons as the governor brought him in to accomplish and (2) his lips are moving.

    So Trump may have a private prison “recipient” as his running mate, advocating taking tax dollars based on more and more crime and victimization, but at least the Democrats won’t also have a candidate who’s taken thousands of dollars from those private prison companies . . . oh, wait.

    Kiss your tax dollars goodbye, Oklahoma. It’s not like you had better things to spend them on.

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