In The Know: Unguarded: State Agency Struggles To Regulate Security Guards

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

Unguarded: State Agency Struggles To Regulate Security Guards: A state agency is unable to keep track of the very industry it regulates, and it could be putting the safety of you and your family at risk. That’s the finding of an exclusive News On 6 investigation with our partners at The Frontier. The Council on Law Enforcement Education and Training, or CLEET, handles the licensing and regulation of all police officers and security guards in Oklahoma. The problem: CLEET is struggling to keep track of the more than 8,000 security guards it regulates [NewsOn6].

Early voting this week for Tuesday runoff election in Oklahoma: Early voting is scheduled for Thursday, Friday and Saturday for Tuesday’s runoff election, which will include 13 state legislative races and one congressional contest. All of these races will feature the two top-finishing candidates in party primary contests where nobody got more than 50 percent of the vote. Voters in some counties will also have local elections on the ballot. Early voting will be held at county election boards in the 58 counties where elections are scheduled [NewsOK].

Prosperity Policy: Restoring the right to vote: With this year’s critical elections looming, there’s a good chance a majority of voting-age Oklahomans will not even cast a ballot. Four years ago, barely half of Oklahoma’s eligible voters – 52.4 percent – voted for president, the third-lowest turnout rate in the nation and the state’s lowest turnout in decades. There are many reasons why Oklahomans fail to cast a ballot, from lack of interest in politics to scheduling conflicts and transportation challenges. But over 50,000 Oklahomans don’t vote because they are ineligible due to having been convicted of a crime [David Blatt / Journal Record]. Under Oklahoma law, felons are disenfranchised, or have their voting rights suspended, for the full lengths of their sentences [OK Policy].

Study: Tulsa Head Start Program Produces Lasting Positive Effects: An analysis of participants in a Tulsa Head Start program found many indicators that the federal early-education program works — and the positive effects last into middle school. Overall, participants in the Community Action Project Head Start program had higher math scores, lower rates of grade retention and were less likely to be chronically absent. The findings are significant because they contrast with other research showing the program’s positive effects fade quickly [Oklahoma Watch]. The paper is available here.

Foundation announces $1 million-plus donation for Tulsa Public Schools: The Foundation for Tulsa Schools has raised more than $1 million for Tulsa Public Schools through the Together for Tulsa Campaign that was launched in June. Brian Paschal, president of the foundation, made the announcement Wednesday afternoon at the Tulsa Teacher Institute. About 2,800 teachers were attending the professional learning event at the Cox Business Center. “When you get to raising that much that quickly, it is truly a cross-section effort,” Paschal said [Tulsa World].

OKCPS high schools file grievances over air conditioning woes: Two high schools within the Oklahoma City Public Schools district have filed grievances over air conditioning woes. Representatives with both Capitol Hill and U.S. Grant high schools have filed grievances within the last week. In the grievances, schools have reported that temperatures inside classrooms have reached 90 degrees because air conditioning systems are not working properly, creating an unsafe school environment and causing teachers and students to become ill [KOCO].

Education fail, part the infinity: “I personally don’t like sales taxes particularly.” That was OU President David Boren, during an interview with Intermission Magazine in January, talking about State Question 779, an amendment on November’s ballot that would raise sales taxes statewide by 1% to help fund education in Oklahoma. That the cornerstone of this amendment—the increase itself—is loathed by the man who came up with the idea is, all things considered, in keeping with how things work in these parts [The Tulsa Voice]. OK Policy’s statement on the proposal is available here.

Bailey Perkins joins OK Policy as new Outreach & Legislative Liaison: Oklahoma Policy Institute is excited to announce that Bailey Perkins is joining the staff as Outreach & Legislative Liaison. The full-time position will be based in Oklahoma City. Perkins will be assuming primary responsibilities for representing OK Policy at the State Capitol during the legislative session, as well as working closely with advocacy groups and coalitions in the Oklahoma City area to help advance OK Policy’s agenda for broad-based prosperity [OK Policy].

Rural Fire Departments Secure Grant Money From State Ag Department: In the midst of state budget cuts, hundreds of rural Oklahoma fire departments just got some good news. About $3.3 million in grant money is about to be spread out amongst 861 fire departments. The money comes from the budget of the state Agriculture, Food and Forestry budget. Each of those rural fire departments — all that serve less than 10,000 people — will receive just over $3,800 each to help with “operational costs.” [NewsOn6]

Gov. Fallin: No decision on special session for teacher salaries: Gov. Mary Fallin says she is meeting with legislative leaders to discuss a possible special session to consider raising teacher salaries but that no decision has been made. Fallin says she met with leaders of the House and Senate on Tuesday to discuss appropriating $140.8 million for teacher salaries. The funds were part of mid-year budget cuts ordered for Oklahoma agencies amid a revenue downturn caused largely by declining oil and natural gas prices during the fiscal year that ended June 30 [KFOR].

Evans to council: OKC in economic limbo: Oklahoma City is in economic limbo, a maddening transition from acute distress to recovery, and Russell Evans is tired of it. “Economists like to talk out of both sides of the forecast, covering ourselves by talking about circumstances on one hand and then the other,” the Oklahoma City University economist told City Council members Tuesday. “But I’ll confess: It really is growing tiresome for me to have to continue to talk about the uncertainty in the forecast.” [Journal Record]

Low lake level, high water prices lead to lawsuit: A legal fight about where a small water system gets its water has spilled over into the Oklahoma Supreme Court. The system, 51 East Water, sued provider Lone Chimney Water Association in Payne County District Court last year, alleging that the association hiked the price after switching to another water source. Drought conditions caused the water level at Lone Chimney Lake to fall, which forced the Lone Chimney Water Association to buy from the city of Stillwater [Journal Record].

Oklahoma Wesleyan joins lawsuit over federal mandate on sexual harassment cases: Oklahoma Wesleyan University in Bartlesville this week joined a lawsuit challenging a 2011 federal mandate governing how universities handle sexual harassment cases. The mandate from the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights covers institutions governed by Title IX — nearly all colleges and universities in the nation. It requires schools to set up unofficial panels of faculty, staff and students to investigate claims of harassment [Tulsa World].

Quote of the Day

“To use an analogy, we’re at the interim between when you’re at the very worst of your flu but before you’re back to 100 percent. You know you don’t feel quite right, but you’re certainly on the mend. That’s where we are right now in the energy industry.”

– Oklahoma City University economist Russell Evans (Source)

Number of the Day


The percentage of US natural gas produced in Oklahoma in 2014

Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration

See previous Numbers of the Day here.

Policy Note

“Don’t Take Their Word For It”: Waiting for Evidence on the New SAT & ACT: Recent changes to federal education law give states explicit permission to ditch their old high school assessments and use college entrance exams like the SAT and ACT to evaluate the performance of their schools instead. Close to ten states have jumped at the opportunity in the last year alone: Connecticut’s legislature, for instance, recently passed legislation discontinuing high school end-of-course exams mid-year and replaced them with the SAT. Oklahoma also began a pilot program to administer the ACT to 11th students across their state, and shortly after, eliminated their current program of high school tests [New America].

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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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