Education

Other states struggle with school lobbyist issue

The hiring of contract lobbyists by four public school districts during the 2018-2019 school year was unusual for Oklahoma, but the practice has occurred in other states where officials have struggled with all the associated problems caused by the practice.

Ray Carter
August 23, 2019
Education

Schools’ lobbying raises open-records concerns

In addition to raising concerns about government accountability and indirect funneling of taxpayer dollars to political campaigns, schools’ use of contract lobbyists may also reduce government transparency and sidestep open-records laws.

Ray Carter
August 22, 2019
Health Care

Medicaid expansion touted as boon for ex-convicts

When advocates discuss expanding Oklahoma’s Medicaid welfare program, they typically suggest beneficiaries will be financially struggling individuals. But this week’s meeting of the legislative Healthcare Working Group focused on a very different group of expansion beneficiaries: People who have just re-entered society after being convicted of crimes that sent them to prison.



Ray Carter
August 22, 2019
Budget & Tax

Oklahoma tribes enter Arkansas market despite higher taxes

Tribal governments have objected to Gov. Kevin Stitt’s suggestion that fees paid by tribes to state government should be boosted higher than the current 6-percent rate on slot machines. Yet, at the same time, three Oklahoma tribes are seeking to open casinos in Arkansas where the gambling tax rate is as high as 20 percent.

Ray Carter
August 22, 2019
Education

School officials defend use of contract lobbyists

In the last school year four Oklahoma districts paid nearly $200,000 combined to contract lobbyists despite already spending thousands more for membership in other organizations that formally lobby on their behalf.

Officials at two of those districts defend the use of contract lobbyists, saying statewide organizations are not always well positioned to advocate for specific schools.

Ray Carter
August 21, 2019
Education, Higher Education

Researcher offers proposals to improve Oklahoma teacher quality

A new report we recently released calls for changes that will make “a reinvention of teacher education plausible, attractive, and sustainable for the schools” and lead to better outcomes.

Staff
August 21, 2019
Budget & Tax

LOFT Oversight Committee debates how to measure effectiveness

Members of the Oversight Committee for the Legislative Office of Fiscal Transparency (LOFT) voted Tuesday to begin the process of hiring a director for the newly created office, but much of the meeting was spent discussing a more fundamental question: How can officials best measure the effectiveness of LOFT without making it subject to undue political influence?

Ray Carter
August 20, 2019
Higher Education

OU officials flout transparency

Like many colleges and universities, the University of Oklahoma has a “bias reporting hotline” that allows any aggrieved or offended party to anonymously inform on fellow members of their OU family.

What kinds of incident reports have come in—and how were they dealt with? OU won’t say.

Jonathan Small
August 20, 2019
Health Care

Oklahoma officials prepare for federal Medicaid cuts

In the last few years, the federal match for state dollars spent on Medicaid in Oklahoma has increased by a dramatic rate. But officials don’t expect that to last, and are preparing for future cuts in federal funding.

Ray Carter
August 19, 2019