In The Know: Oklahoma medical marijuana petition gets enough signatures to be examined for ballot

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

Oklahoma medical marijuana petition gets enough signatures to be examined for ballot: An initiative petition to let Oklahomans vote on whether to legalize marijuana for medicinal purposes has enough signatures to potentially get on the ballot, Oklahoma Secretary of State Chris Benge announced Tuesday. Backers of the petition say they hope to get the issue on the November ballot, but state officials say time constraints may make that impossible. If the issue fails to make the November ballot, voters still might get a chance to vote on it later during a special election or the 2018 primary or general election, officials said [NewsOK].

Runoffs produce November favorites in many legislative races: Most of the 13 legislative runoffs on Tuesday produced likely general election winners in heavily Democratic and Republican districts, while a few results set the table for competitive November ballots. “I think people were attracted to the type of campaign we ran and I think they were attracted to the message we shared,” said Adam Pugh, the Republican runoff winner in Edmond’s Senate District 41 [NewsOK]. A former Amazing Race’ contestant lost his Oklahoma Senate runoff [Associated Press]. Longtime Oklahoma County Clerk Caudill lost her re-election bid [NewsOK]. Here are the full results from Tuesday’s elections [NewsOK]. 

Seminole voters defeat school bond issue: For the second time in 18 months, voters in the Seminole School District have soundly defeated a bond issue designed to finance construction of a new high school. Defeat of the proposal means that for the foreseeable future, high school students will have to continue attending classes in a renovated building that previously served as a grocery store and call center [NewsOK]. Voters approved school bond issues in several central Oklahoma school districts Tuesday [NewsOK].

Pruitt opens the tap for brewery beer sales: Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt said high-point beer sales at Oklahoma breweries should proceed, as allowed by an amendment to Title 37. Pruitt was asked for his opinion on the matter after the Alcoholic Beverage Laws Enforcement Commission was unclear on the amendment’s wording. Commission Director A. Keith Burt said he did not think the language allowed for high-point beer to be sold by the pint and consumed on brewery premises. Pruitt said that’s exactly what Senate Bill 424 meant [Journal Record].

2016 ACT results: Oklahoma graduates’ college-readiness rate decreases slightly: The percentage of Oklahoma graduating high school seniors in 2016 who demonstrated college and career readiness in all four core subjects on the ACT college entrance exam decreased slightly since last year, according to ACT’s annual Condition of College and Career Readiness report, released early Wednesday. The report is based on the results of the 2016 ACT college entrance exam, which was taken by 32,854 Oklahoma students — 82 percent of Oklahoma’s graduates [Tulsa World].

Charter school at Oklahoma juvenile detention center offers hope to students: Inside an 8-by-8-foot cell at the Central Oklahoma Juvenile Center in Tecumseh, concrete walls, a metal-framed bed with modest cot, and a dirt-covered window screen letting in little light makes up the mandatory home of a young man who has violated state law. But in this room, a diploma sits atop a metal table in the corner. The young man who lives here will be leaving state custody in several weeks with not just a criminal record, but also a high school education [NewsOK].

An achievable step towards justice for all: End money bail: The criminal justice system tends to move slowly. The time between a person’s arrest and sentencing usually stretches for months, depending on the charges, but where that time is spent depends mainly on whether the person can afford to pay bail. An increasing number of jurisdictions, including here in Oklahoma, are now paying attention to the inequality and inefficiency this creates and taking steps to improve the situation [OK Policy].

Turnpike Authority delays toll increase: The Oklahoma Turnpike Authority on Tuesday postponed consideration of a proposed 17 percent toll increase, pending a lawsuit. The increase was to help pay off nearly a half-billion dollars in bond debt the authority plans to incur to fund new construction. Major expansion and improvements are to include an eastern Oklahoma County toll road between Interstate 40 and the Turner Turnpike [NewsOK].

Oklahoma City School Board votes to add bond proposal to November ballot: Members of the Oklahoma City School Board voted to add a bond proposal to the November ballot. The bond would cover school maintenance, transportation, new schools and other items as needed. The $180-million bond addresses critical needs, according to the district [KOCO].

Department Store Chain Asks Oklahoma Supreme Court For Rare Oral Arguments In Workers’ Comp Case: Oklahoma’s highest court is preparing to decide one of the biggest workers’ compensation cases in years. The state Supreme Court could invalidate or uphold part of an Oklahoma law that lets dozens of companies write their own workers’ comp policies. The legal dispute started when clothing retailer Dillard’s denied an employee’s comp claim [KGOU].

Quote of the Day

“It was basically being run like a state prison, and there was not a lot of treatment going on. My philosophy is, it’s all about treatment and not giving up on kids. I’m about giving them the opportunities they should have had in the first place.”

– Jerry Fry, Facility Superintendent of the Central Oklahoma Juvenile Center, on the charter school operates within the juvenile center and provides high school education to the students there (Source)

Number of the Day

665.8 trillion

BTUs of natural gas used by Oklahomans in 2013

Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration

See previous Numbers of the Day here.

Policy Note

The Effects of the Massachusetts Health Reform on Household Financial Distress: The primary purpose of health insurance is to protect the insured against the risk of incurring medical expenses. Individuals who lack health insurance are exposed to potentially catastrophic medical expenses should they become ill or injured. Therefore, the effectiveness of public policies that expand health insurance coverage depends fundamentally on whether such policies actually improve the financial security of those who gain coverage [American Economic Association].

You can sign up here to receive In The Know by e-mail.


Ryan Gentzler worked at OK Policy from January 2016 until November 2022. He last served as the organization's Reserach Director and oversaw Open Justice Oklahoma. He began at OK Policy as an analyst focusing on criminal justice issues, including sentencing, incarceration, court fines and fees, and pretrial detention. Open Justice Oklahoma grew out of Ryan’s groundbreaking analysis of court records, which was used to inform critical policy debates. A native Nebraskan, he holds a Master of Public Administration degree from the University of Oklahoma and a BA in Institutions and Policy from William Jewell College. He served as an OK Policy Research Fellow in 2014-2015.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.