The Oklahoma Observercast

The Oklahoma Observercast

Latest Episodes

Observercast Episode 17: Getting Oklahoma Right On Crime
May 23, 2020

In 2016, Oklahomans made clear they are tired of being the incarceration capital of the world, approving two state questions aimed at reversing decades of punitive, tough-on-crime policies and refocusing criminal justice on rehabilitation,

Observercast Episode 16: Administrator Of The Courts
May 19, 2020

The 2020 Oklahoma Legislature tentatively waved so long to the Capitol on May 15, hoping its in-session work was complete two weeks before the constitutionally mandated 5 p.m. May 29 deadline. There was drama galore in the pandemic-shortened session: l...

Observercast Episode 15: The Redheaded Stepchild Of Government
May 15, 2020

The Oklahoma Legislature has approved the FY 2021 budget – but not without considerable statehouse intrigue. Like many past state budgets, next year’s $7.7 billion spending blueprint is replete with smoke and mirrors.

Observercast Episode 14: Your Lyin’ Eyes
May 12, 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic exposed huge holes in Oklahoma’s safety net. Whether it was unequal access to distance learning for our school kids or unequal access to emergency health care, state government proved itself remarkably unprepared for an emergency....

Observercast Episode 13: A Priority Of Compassion And Service
May 05, 2020

The Oklahoma Legislature’s No. 1 job – crafting the annual state budget – is typically the stuff of palace intrigue: A small group of elected insiders gathers in secret, choosing fiscal winners and losers … which are then not revealed until the final h...

Observercast Episode 12: Where Are The Voices Of Public Health?
April 28, 2020

Last week, Gov. Kevin Stitt took steps to begin reopening Oklahoma, confident the state can manage the coronavirus that already has infected 3,280 Sooners and killed 197. The governor’s plan – which includes opening restaurant dining rooms,

Observercast Episode 11: Medicaid Meets The Ballot Box
April 21, 2020

Oklahoma is at a pivotal moment. A global pandemic has claimed the lives of 143 Sooners in little more than a month. Oil prices plunged into negative territory for the first time in history, meaning it costs more to store oil right now than to refine i...

Observercast Episode 10: Public Education In A Pandemic
April 14, 2020

Last month, in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, Oklahoma shuttered its public schools for the rest of the academic year. Suddenly, State Superintendent Joy Hofmeister and her State Department of Education team found themselves with a Herculean tas...

Observercast Episode 9: Covid Comes To Oklahoma
April 07, 2020

When it comes to state services, you get what you pay for. That reality came into sharp focus in recent days as the coronavirus tightened its deadly grip on Oklahoma. Not only was an already stressed health care system driven closer to the brink,

Observercast Episode 8: Long Inertia For Criminal Justice Reform
March 31, 2020

In the 1990s, Oklahoma went all-in on the nation’s get-tough-on-crime movement, cracking down on law-breaking whether it involved violence or not. In just one generation, Oklahoma emerged as the world’s per capita incarceration leader.