In The Know: Proposal Would Save Oklahoma $84M By Kicking 43,000 off Medicaid

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.

In The News

Proposal Would Save Oklahoma $84M By Kicking 43,000 off Medicaid: A state senator wants to save Oklahoma $84 million by changing Medicaid income requirements, a move that would make more than 43,000 currently covered adults ineligible. Senate Bill 1030 by Sen. Josh Brecheen would change parent and caretaker group income requirements from 41 percent of the federal poverty level to 20 percent. [Public Radio Tulsa] Medicaid makeover: Bills could change requirements [CNHI] 2018 Policy Priority: Stop Proposed Medicaid Work Restrictions [OK Policy] Oklahoma ​should avoid the temptation to pass new Medicaid​ restrictions [OK Policy]

Teachers in Oklahoma might be going on strike next: As West Virginia’s teachers strike enters its second week, educators in Oklahoma are considering walking out on the job, too. Teachers from the state’s two biggest metropolitan areas—Oklahoma City and Tulsa—converged on Friday to discuss the possibility of going on strike to pressure the state legislators to enact what educators call long overdue pay raises. [Newsweek] 2018 Policy Priority: Increase Teacher Pay [OK Policy]

More Proposed Medical Marijuana Legislation Advances in Oklahoma: An Oklahoma House committee passed a medical marijuana regulation bill this week on the heels of a Senate committee doing the same. House Bill 3468, however, is less stringent than its Senate counterpart. It would simply establish the Oklahoma Cannabis Commission to oversee all aspects of medical marijuana should the people legalize it in June. [Public Radio Tulsa] State Question 788: Medical Marijuana Legalization Initiative [OK Policy

Clocking in: Some Oklahoma prisoners are plying a trade behind bars: The men making beans and cornbread waited for the men making state license plates. “Don’t forget the tip,” one of them said, ladling applesauce onto a tray whLocal help saves Oklahoma Historical Society sites amid decade of state funding cutsile other men milled around the lunch line. He wouldn’t get one, but just a dollar would double the two quarters an hour he hustles for. [The Oklahoman]

Cherokee Nation contributes more than $5.4 million to schools: The Cherokee Nation contributed more than $5.4 million to 108 school districts during the tribe’s annual Public School Appreciation Day on Friday. School superintendents from across northeastern Oklahoma gathered at Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tulsa for a luncheon and to receive checks from the tribe, according to a media release. The funds are from the sale of tribal car tags. Cherokee Nation allocates 38 percent of car tag revenue each year to education, providing a boost for schools struggling under the weight of state budget cuts. [Muskogee Daily Phoenix

Sand Springs students walk out of class to protest state cuts to education funding: A group of Charles Page High School students walked out of class Thursday morning amid growing frustration about state budget cuts to education. As estimated 100 to 150 students gathered in front of the school for the 22-minute walkout to protest the $22 million in cuts to education this fiscal year, said Rob Miller, assistant superintendent of Sand Springs Public Schools. [Tulsa World] Another year goes by, and Oklahoma still leads the nation for cuts to education [OK Policy]

Embracing reform to make Oklahoma safer: Many believe our communities are made safer by increased incarceration. During my 30 years in law enforcement, I have learned that this is simply not true. I started my career during the era of zero tolerance and am still a firm believer of someone paying their debt to society. However, I don’t believe that incarceration for certain nonviolent crimes is always the correct response. [Keith Humphrey/The Oklahoman] Oklahoma must become ‘smart on crime’ [Jan Peery/NonDoc] Will 2018 be the year Oklahoma finally gets serious about criminal justice reform? [OK Policy]

The race is on for next year’s House and Senate leaders: It is a sign of the times that there is a leadership race going on in both chambers of the Legislature. The Senate race is not surprising since the current President Pro Tempore, Sen. Mike Schulz, is serving the last year of his final term in the Senate. Candidates are current Majority Leader Greg Treat of Oklahoma City, Sen. Roger Thompson of Okemah, and Sen. Rob Standridge of Norman. In the House, however, Speaker Charles McCall is just finishing his first term as Speaker and has three more terms left in the House. [OK Policy]

OK teachers didn’t know what they were getting into: Webster High School teacher Patricia Mott marched through the rain and heat in the spring of 1990 to bring attention to her working conditions. She chanted “Never last again,” along with thousands of educators descending upon the Capitol, shutting down schools and rallying for four days. That got lawmakers moving. [Ginnie Graham/Tulsa World]

Wastewater injection limit set due to earthquake worries, but Oklahoma could get shakier if oil prices soar again: A year ago state regulators implemented volume limits on the deepest disposal wells in a 15,000-square-mile area prone to earthquakes. But the question lingered of how much injection volumes might increase under the overall threshold if production were to ramp up in the event the crude oil market approached $100 a barrel, such as the $105 peak in June 2014 before the bust. [Tulsa World]

Oklahomans urged to “Go All In” during People with Disabilities Awareness Day: The 24th annual People with Disabilities Awareness Day (PWDAD) will be held from 10 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. on Tuesday, March 13 at the Oklahoma State Capitol in Oklahoma City. The event is hosted by the Oklahoma Department of Rehabilitation Services (OKDRS) joined for the second year by Oklahoma People First. [The City Sentinel] Americans with Disabilities Act is a gift to all Americans [OK Policy]

Oklahoma jury duty bill’s impact could exceed intent: IF one drafted a list of Oklahoma’s major challenges, it’s doubtful “too many people eligible for jury duty” would make the cut. If anything, the common complaint is that it’s increasingly difficult to find enough qualified people to serve on a jury. Yet last week, members of the Oklahoma House of Representatives voted to exempt more people from jury duty and shrink the pool of those who can serve. [Editorial Board/The Oklahoman]

Local help saves Oklahoma Historical Society sites amid decade of state funding cuts: The Oklahoma Historical Society, crushed by nine straight years of funding cuts, continues to look for help to save some of the state’s most significant sites. “No question we’ve had some hard times recently,” said Bob Blackburn, executive director of the Oklahoma Historical Society. “But what we’ve done is to find new opportunities, either by working with local entities or transferring ownership to local organizations. [Tulsa World]

Quote of the Day

“We were so happy we got something done to help with class size and pay. We really did think it was going to help children, and it did for awhile. Then, it just all stopped. It was like no one cared anymore about public schools, the students or teachers. It came to a standstill. We are seeing the same thing happen now as it was in 1990, but it’s getting worse and worse. I’m more determined now to make somebody listen.”

– Patricia Mott, a teacher at Webster High School in Tulsa, who participated in a 1990 rally at the state Capitol that shut down schools for four days (Source)

Number of the Day


Percentage of Oklahoma’s class of 2017 who scored a 3 or higher on an AP exam during high school, 7th lowest in the nation and just over half the national average (22.8%).

Source: College Board

See previous Numbers of the Day here.

Policy Note

The Criminalization of Homelessness: An Explainer: Every day, law enforcement officers across the country issue tickets to those experiencing homelessness as they engage in basic, life-sustaining behaviors, like sleeping on the streets or cooking a meal in public on a griddle. Prosecutors then frequently charge those individuals with crimes. By relying upon law enforcement to address an issue that should more appropriately be considered as falling within the domain of public health, communities are expending a tremendous amount of public money unnecessarily and ineffectively, and exacerbating the underlying causes of homelessness [In Justice Today]

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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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