In The Know: Judge rules in OG&E’s favor on solar power tariffs

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

Administrative judge rules in OG&E’s favor on solar power tariffs: The Oklahoma Corporation Commission should approve a plan to levy demand charges on customers of Oklahoma Gas & Electric Co. who install rooftop solar and other distributed generation, an administrative law judge recommended Monday. The judge, Jacqueline Miller, also said the commission should direct OG&E to provide further evidence of the costs distributed-generation customers impose on the grid in its upcoming rate case [Tulsa World].

Despite complaints, police investigators claim no proof of racial profiling: Over a four-year period, Oklahoma’s two largest police departments and two state agencies received about 60 complaints alleging illegal racial profiling by officers. Investigators substantiated none of the allegations, according to data obtained by Oklahoma Watch. The absence of any finding of profiling contrasts with assertions by many blacks that police detain, arrest, follow or frisk them for little or no reason except their race [Oklahoma Watch].

Oklahoma’s teacher shortage is not just about salaries: The consensus among researchers is that salary does play a critical role in combating teacher turnover—but it is not the most important factor. Teacher job dissatisfaction has four major causes — teacher salaries, administrative support for teachers (especially new teachers), student discipline problems, and levels of faculty influence on decision-making and autonomy. In other words, if teacher attrition is a problem, teacher working conditions are the greatest lever to address it [OK Policy].

Budget cuts threaten access to Soonercare: Nico Gomez, Oklahoma Health Care Authority CEO, said at a Senate budget hearing his agency would request a flat budget in response to early estimates the state could see a shortfall of between $600 million and $1 billion. However, to be able to request a flat budget, the agency had to make cuts, including a 3 percent provider rate cut that goes into effect Jan. 1. “When we cut rates, then we potentially put providers out of business, and then (SoonerCare members) are not able to get the access to the services they need,” Gomez said [NewsOK].

Official suggests using more bonds to help with budget shortfall: Treasurer Ken Miller told a Senate appropriations subcommittee last week that the state will probably divert cash from the Oklahoma Department of Transportation, then replace the money with bonds. Miller’s comments in response to state Sen. Jack Fry, R-Midwest City, included the assessment that Oklahoma is a very low-debt state with a large capacity for bonds. State Bond Advisor James Joseph said trading long-term road funding for public debt is a reasonable proposition [Journal Record].

Senators push for Bill of Rights display at Oklahoma Capitol: Sen. Patrick Anderson, R-Enid, and Democratic Leader Sen. John Sparks, D-Norman, said they’re partnering on a bill that would authorize a privately funded display on the Capitol grounds. Anderson wrote similar bills in previous sessions, but said he was asked by leadership to delay final passage until a lawsuit challenging a Ten Commandments monument at the Capitol had been resolved [NewsOK].

Candidacy challenges mark volatile start to Tulsa County sheriff election: Twenty-four hours hadn’t elapsed after the filing deadline when a Tulsa County sheriff hopeful challenged the candidacies of three others in the super-sized field of 13 candidates. The next day a fourth candidate’s eligibility to run was challenged. Welcome to life in the aftermath of the nearly 27-year reign of former Sheriff Stanley Glanz — the county’s longest-serving sheriff [Tulsa World].

Oklahoma tribes receive federal funds for transit: Seven Oklahoma tribes are among the recipients of $10 million worth of federal transportation funds to bolster transit services on tribal lands. Awarded through the Federal Transportation Administration’s Tribal Transit Program, 65 public transportation projects in 18 states nationwide were selected, with grants ranging from $1,350 to $300,000 [Tulsa World].

Quote of the Day

“We have, I believe, a moral obligation to make sure we do what we can to spend our money wisely from a government standpoint, and so when we’re doing all this retraction of dollars, it does make it difficult because you don’t want to lose sight of the person at the end of the number. There is an individual there who is desperately needing help … and we want to help them.”

-Oklahoma Health Care Authority CEO Nico Gomez, who said his agency has had to make cuts that could put health care providers out of business and threaten access for Soonercare patients just to stay at a flat budget request for next year (Source)

Number of the Day


The median hourly earning of wage and salary workers in Oklahoma in 2014; nationally, the median was $13.14.

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

See previous Numbers of the Day here.

Policy Note

How Walmart Could Afford to Pay $15 an Hour: While raising pay for workers may cut into profits temporarily, investing in its workforce will make Walmart—and the economy as a whole—stronger in the long term. Rather than shying away from the wage increase and cutting worker hours, Walmart can redirect the billions it spends on buying back shares of its own stock and double down on its workforce investment by giving workers the $15 an hour they are calling for [The American Prospect].

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Gene Perry worked for OK Policy from 2011 to 2019. He is a native Oklahoman and a citizen of the Cherokee Nation. He graduated from the University of Oklahoma with a B.A. in history and an M.A. in journalism.

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