In The Know: Teenage pregnancy in the US is at an all-time low. Trump could soon change that

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.

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Today In The News

Teenage pregnancy in the US is at an all-time low. Trump could soon change that: It was a muggy afternoon, and Nakesha Martin raised her voice to be heard over the rattle of the air conditioner. “Is that a high-risk behavior, or a low-risk behavior?” she shouted to the class. “High-risk,” came a murmured response. …Martin was on the outskirts of Tulsa, Oklahoma, where two dozen teens and several 12-year-olds had gathered as part of the city’s first serious push to offer every local teenager comprehensive lessons in sex education [The Guardian]. Oklahoma’s teen birth rate is near the highest in the country. We can do better [OK Policy].

Chickens have come home to roost in Legislature: At the end of last year’s unusual legislative session, some Republican leaders left it to the Oklahoma Supreme Court to decide if lawmakers interpreted the state’s revenue-raising laws correctly. That’s because the tobacco and automotive industries — along with other interests — lobbed lawsuits after legislators approved hundreds of millions in new revenue-raising measures to help bridge the state’s $878 million revenue budget shortfall. Now state justices are scratching their heads as they prepare to hand down an eventual ruling [Editorial Board / Enid News].

OKC clinic pulls teeth for free, but hundreds still need care: Clinton Short sounded upbeat for a man about to get four teeth pulled. Then again, he’d already been through 11 extractions the week before, and an infection had caused his face to swell to the point that getting the teeth out was a “blessing,” he said while waiting his turn at Good Shepherd Ministries’ weekly extraction clinic [NewsOK].

Prosperity Policy: Our compassion deficit: This summer we are again seeing daily headlines about the damage of budget cuts on critical services for Oklahoma’s children, students, seniors, and those with mental illness and disabilities. The biggest problems we face, however, may arise not from budget deficits but from deficits of compassion and understanding [David Blatt / Journal Record].

It’s time to expand Medicaid in Oklahoma: At long last, it appears that the Affordable Care Act will remain the law of the land. Efforts to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act have fallen apart over deep and fundamental schisms around health care within the Republican party, particularly where Medicaid is concerned. With the ACA and the coverage it provides shifted out of the political spotlight, it’s time for Oklahoma leaders to deal with the law as it is and work within it to improve health care coverage and outcomes for Oklahomans. One way they can do this is by expanding Medicaid coverage [OK Policy].

Tribal AG says opioid case is not going away: After the Cherokee Nation launched a lawsuit in tribal court against some of the largest, richest pharmaceutical companies in the world in April, the case has garnered attention from news outlets all over the country. The court battle has since gone to the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Oklahoma for a ruling on whether the companies – McKesson Corp., Cardinal Health Inc., AmerisourceBergen, CVS Health, Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc. and Wal-Mart Stores Inc. – are subject to tribal court jurisdiction [Tahlequah Daily Press].

KIPP, Santa Fe South to open charter sites on south side: A pair of charter school programs looking to fill a need will extend their reach on Oklahoma City’s south side starting this week. Santa Fe South Schools, a K-12 charter with multiple locations, is set to open a new high school building Thursday on the grounds of the former Crossroads Mall [NewsOK].

Edmond school district to cut back on bus service: A bus driver shortage has prompted Edmond Public Schools officials to consolidate bus stops in some neighborhoods and discontinue service to 10 neighborhoods that are within a mile of a neighborhood school. School starts Aug. 18, and as of Wednesday the district was short 29 drivers [NewsOK].

‘It definitely feels like we’re swimming upstream:’ west Tulsa church finds new ways to address food insecurity: A tornado is just the most recent in a series of events that have impeded a west Tulsa church’s battle against food insecurity in its neighborhood. The first was just over a year ago when donations began to dwindle amid Oklahoma’s economic downturn. That, at the same time as more residents were finding ways to shop at a new grocery store a few miles away instead of at the church market, ultimately caused church officials to shutter their store [Tulsa World].

Discussion of moratorium on dollar stores grows passionate; City Council continues discussion to next week: Residents of north Tulsa made a litany of passionate pleas to city councilors Wednesday night asking for support of a moratorium to block more dollar stores in their community. Councilors ultimately tabled the discussion, which now heads to an executive session next week to discuss legal ramifications to amendments that came up during the meeting. There is no planned vote to immediately follow next week’s session [Tulsa World].

Former jailer in Purcell gets more than four years in inmate’s death: A former McClain County jail administrator was sentenced to more than four years in federal prison Wednesday for violating the civil rights of an inmate who died in custody. Officials said former Lt. Wayne Barnes was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Stephen Friot, who also ordered Barnes to pay a $10,000 fine. Barnes pleaded guilty in February and faced up to life in prison [Tulsa World].

Gov. Fallin appointed to NGA Education and Workforce Committee: Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin will hold a new position within the National Governors Association. Governor Fallin has been appointed to the NGA’s Education and Workforce Committee for the 2017-18 session. The committee will be chaired by Washington Governor Jay Inslee [FOX25].

Two women working hard for state labor post: Only two people have filed to run for Oklahoma labor commissioner, but both candidates are widely visible women in Oklahoma politics. One of them, state Rep. Leslie Osborn, served as the House Appropriations and Budget chairwoman during a tumultuous legislative session. The other, Cathy Costello, is the widow of a former labor commissioner and has been publicly advocating for mental health nationwide [Journal Record].

Government to harvest data from state farmers, ranchers: The U.S. Department of Agriculture is making a final big push to get farmers and ranchers to participate in a quinquennial census. The department even wants those who don’t believe they count anymore. “Small producers make up a large proportion of the agricultural industry,” said Troy Marshall, Oklahoma statistician for the National Agricultural Statistics Service under the U.S. Department of Agriculture [Journal Record].

Three disposal wells shut in following Edmond earthquakes: Operators of three disposal wells near Edmond have agreed to stop disposing into the Arbuckle formation after last week’s magnitude 4.2 earthquake in the area, the Oklahoma Corporation Commission said Wednesday. After meeting with representatives from the commission’s Oil and Gas Conservation Division, the operators shut in their saltwater disposal wells [NewsOK].

Quote of the Day

“It will be hard to find a funding source to replicate that. $1.5m a year, for this community, is a huge investment. Where do you find $1.5m?”

– Youth Services of Tulsa executive director David Grewe, on the Trump administration’s decision to cut short teen pregnancy prevention grant funds to eighty-one grantees across the US, including four in Oklahoma (Source)

Number of the Day


Number of motor vehicle renewals processed online in 2016, up from 108,500 in 2014

Source: OK State Stat

See previous Numbers of the Day here.

Policy Note

ACA Marketplaces Poised to Grow Stronger — If They’re Not Sabotaged: President Trump is again threatening to stop cost-sharing reduction (CSR) payments to insurers under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), just as new data show that such action would fuel sharp premium hikes in 2018. If, however, the payments continue, ACA marketplace customers in some areas would see little to no premium increase next year — a likely sign that the marketplaces continue to grow financially healthier and more stable [Center on Budget and Policy Priorities].

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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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