In The Know: Oklahoma Gov. Fallin vetoes payday loan bill

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.

Check out OK Policy’s resources for the Legislative session, including Advocacy Alerts, the Legislative Primer, the What’s That? Glossary, and Online Budget Guide.

Today In The News

Oklahoma Gov. Fallin vetoes payday loan bill: A payday loan bill that had drawn strong opposition from many church leaders because of its financial impact on low-income families was vetoed Friday by Gov. Mary Fallin. [The Oklahoman] OK Policy thanks Governor Fallin for vetoing expansion of predatory lending [OK Policy]

Resolution that would prohibit ‘elective abortions’ in Oklahoma on legislative agenda; no budget in sight: Lawmakers have 10 days to agree on a budget plan to clear up a nearly $900 million shortfall and send it to Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin’s desk for approval. So far, there has been little progress on that front. With the clock ticking, scrutinizing eyes are turned toward the Capitol. An agenda that appeared on the website for the House of Representatives on Friday featured several different bills, but very few that had anything to do with the budget. [KFOR]

Oklahoma’s economy continues to show signs of rebound: Oklahoma took in more state revenues in April than it did in the same month last year as the state’s economy continued to show signs of a rebound, state Treasurer Ken Miller announced Friday. The state’s gross receipts for April were about $1.2 billion, up $34.1 million, or 2.9 percent, compared to April 2016. [NewsOK]

Tulsa wants to help with education … if the state would just let us: Last month, the Tulsa City Council and I joined the Tulsa Public Schools Board and Superintendent Deborah Gist for a joint meeting to discuss the issues we face locally relative to education. Over a few hours of discussion, one thing became very clear to me: The state has given local communities few clear ways to pitch in and help. [G.T. Bynum/Tulsa World]

Income tax bill heads to governor: House Bill 2348 would decouple the standard deduction rate for personal income taxes and freeze it at the fiscal 2017 limit. Under current law, Oklahoma’s standard deduction rate has to match the federal rate, which gets raised regularly to adjust for inflation. The Trump administration has pitched raising the rate to $15,000, more than doubling it. [Journal Record]

Two legislative seats to go before Oklahoma voters Tuesday: In Seminole and Pottawatomie counties, voters will select a state representative to fill the Oklahoma House District 28 seat, which was vacated last year by former state Rep. Tom Newell. In Tulsa County, Democratic and Republican primary elections will be held for the Oklahoma House District 75 seat, which was vacated earlier this year by former state Rep. Dan Kirby. [The Oklahoman]

Enough! State’s dumb-on-crime system tops 62,000: During a recent four-month period, 1,000 people were added to the Oklahoma correctional system. That unnerving news brings the total number of offenders in the system to 62,000, a record high and disturbing news that Oklahoma’s dumb-on-crime momentum continues apace. [Editorial Writers/Tulsa World] Justice Reform Task Force recommendations could be the solution Oklahoma desperately needs [OK Policy]

Unemployment rate dips in 55 Oklahoma counties: State officials say the unemployment rate is dropping in most Oklahoma counties, though some counties remain well above the national rate for people out of work. The statewide jobless rate was 4.6 percent in February, just below the national rate of 4.7 percent. [Fox25]

As the opioid epidemic continues, Oklahomans require better support systems: Turning the tide on the opioid epidemic is possible but is limited without adequate funding to the Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services (ODMHSAS), a state agency that saw its appropriations reduced by about $20 million when paired with loss of federal matching funds this year. Often, Oklahomans looking for help might wait days, weeks or months for residential treatment. [OK Gazette] Oklahoma is missing a big opportunity to improve mental illness and addiction treatment [OK Policy]

Broken Arrow State Senator To Seek Jim Bridenstine’s House Seat: Broken Arrow State Senator Nathan Dahm says he’s running for Jim Bridenstine’s U.S. House seat in 2018. The Republican made the announcement Friday morning at the Rose District Pavilion. After the rally, News On 6 asked him if the state budget will get done. Dahm says state lawmakers are working on it and that it will be on the governor’s desk in time. [NewsOn6]

Reducing the burden of cigarette use in Oklahoma: As Oklahoma’s leading cause of death with a hefty annual price tag of $1.62 billion in health care costs, cigarette smoking is costing our state in lives and dollars. You may have heard of an effort to increase the tax on each pack of cigarettes sold in Oklahoma. The proposal would use a portion of the tobacco tax revenue collected to be used for a revenue collected to provide core health care services. [Ted Haynes/The Oklahoman] The progressive case for increasing the cigarette tax [OK Policy]

Oklahoma Legislature stumbles in search for new revenues: The Oklahoma Legislature faces political gridlock as lawmakers balk at legislation to raise hundreds of millions of dollars in new revenue and close an $878 million hole in next year’s budget to avoid catastrophic cuts to state agencies and services. Republican Gov. Mary Fallin has called for a “major overhaul” of the state’s tax system and says she is willing to veto any budget that does not include new revenue for the fiscal year that begins on July 1. [KJRH] Blueprint for a better budget has several proposals for new revenue to help solve the budget crisis [Save Our State]

Oklahoma politicians, groups react to the American Health Care Act vote: The U.S. House of Representatives voted to pass the American Health Care Act (ACHA), an alternative to President Obama’s Affordable Care Act. The voting margin was close, 217 to 213, and America is just as split on the plan. [Fox25]

New Oklahoma law could mean heavy fines, jail time for pipeline protesters: Gov. Mary Fallin on Wednesday signed a bill that would levy steep fines or prison time against people convicted of trespassing at a critical infrastructure facility to impede operations. That includes pipelines, refineries, chemical plants, railways and other industrial sites. [The Oklahoman]

Cherokees called Andrew Jackson “Indian Killer”: Donald Trump has a portrait of Andrew Jackson hanging by his desk in the Oval Office. On Monday, in an interview with Salena Zito, the 45th president lauded the seventh president, calling Jackson “a swashbuckler” who could have prevented the Civil War.The Cherokees had a different name for Jackson. They called him “Indian killer.” The Creek called him “Sharp Knife.” [Washington Post]

Quote of the Day

“Not one more Oklahoman should die because of untreated mental illness or substance abuse problems. Not one more should. We have to put a positive face and voice on recovery to show people it is a reality.”

– Donna Woods, Oklahoma Citizen Advocates for Recovery and Transformation Association (OCARTA) executive director, calling on the Oklahoma legislature to invest in addition treatment and support (Source)

Number of the Day


Number of Oklahoma Highway Patrol officers in 2017, down from 825 in 1990

Source: Oklahoma Department of Public Safety

See previous Numbers of the Day here.

Policy Note

The Opioid Epidemic Is Actually Two Epidemics: The sharp increase in US overdose deaths over the last half-decade has split into two distinct epidemics based on age and type of drug, researchers suggested here at a nationwide drug abuse summit on Tuesday. Opioid drugs include both prescription painkillers (such as Vicodin or Oxycodone) and illegal heroin. They are involved in about 60% of all deadly overdoses in the US, or about 33,000 people in 2015 — a death toll projected to grow even worse. Prescription drug supplies have tightened in the last five years, shutting down “doctor shopping” for pills and “pill mill” pain clinics. That’s led many people addicted to painkillers to switch to heroin. [BuzzFeed News]

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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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