Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Oklahoma Birth Statistics

Okay, this has nothing to do with government- or at least it should not. These are just some of those interesting facts some of us like to explore.

The number of live births in Oklahoma has dropped about 5% since 2009. In that year there were 53,177 reported births and 50,684 in 2011. 

Almost half of all babies born in Oklahoma are to unmarried mothers.

 Oklahoma’s rate of unmarried mothers having babies has remained relatively constant over the past few years. In 2010 and 2011 the percentage of births to unmarried mothers remained at 42%. So far in 2012 the rate is 41%.

Of those mothers unmarried at the time of birth about a quarter, 23% in 2012 and 2011 were to teens, down from 24% in 2010. The majority, around 61% for each of the years, have been to women in their 20’s.  The remaining 16% were born to women over 30.

It is interesting to note that the number of these single mothers that are living with their partner has been increasing.  The CDC reported 25 percent of women who gave birth to their first child were cohabiting with their partner. The Census confirms this in the 2011 Living Arrangements of Children Under 18 report which shows that 21% of children 2 years and younger that lived with both parents had parents that were unmarried.

With regards to teen sex, the CDC study showed for both male and female teenagers, a significantly smaller percentage were sexually experienced if they lived with both parents when they were aged 14, their mothers had their first birth at age 20 or over, the teenager lived with both of her/his parents.

For example, 35% of female never-married teenagers who lived with both parents were sexually experienced, compared with 54% among those who lived in any other parental arrangement.
The teen birth rate in Oklahoma (per 1,000 girls) was at 50.4 where the United States average was 30.3. This number has been declining in the US as well as in Oklahoma. 

The percent of teens that have had a baby at all went from 14.7% in 2009 to 11.2% in 2011. That means that there are still 1 in 10 teen girls (under 18) in Oklahoma who have had a baby, but the number of teens getting pregnant has dropped overall.

Last year 51.2% of the babies were males while 48.8% were female (of course).

Approximately 39% of the women were having their first baby while 31% were bringing in their second. 

In 2009 14% of mothers reportedly used tobacco during pregnancy. This has been steadily going down to 12% in 2011 and 11% so far in 2012. This is slightly lower that the national level of 14%.

On average since 2009 the percentage of twins born remained fairly constant at around 3%. The rate for triplet births remained constant at .1% of all births in Oklahoma.

Governor Fallin Signs Water Conservation Plan into Law

Governor Fallin on Monday signed into law the Water for 2060 Act, the most comprehensive, ambitious statewide water conservation measure in the United States.  The bill, House Bill 3055, establishes a statewide goal of consuming no more fresh water in 2060 than is consumed currently in the state.  The bill also creates an advisory council that will develop a strategy for achieving the statewide goal, as well as recommendations on more efficient use of existing water supplies, identification of new water supplies and more efficient infrastructure.

According to the 2012 update to the Oklahoma Comprehensive Water Plan, localized shortages and groundwater depletions could become more prevalent in the next 50 years in more than half of the state’s watersheds.

HB 3055, authored by Speaker Kris Steele, places the focus on preserving fresh water through conservation while also looking toward expanding the use of alternative supplies, such as wastewater, brackish water, and other non-potable supplies, in order to meet the needs of the public and the needs of business, industries and agriculture producers.

“To protect this precious natural resource for generations to come, it’s important we look for ways to conserve fresh water,” Fallin said.  “By setting an ambitious water conservation goal and expanding the use of other non-potable supplies, HB 3055 will help ensure we protect our freshwater while helping cities, businesses, industries and agriculture producers find the water resources they need to grow and expand.”

This legislation does not amend the provisions of current law pertaining to water rights or permits to use water.  Instead, it encourages voluntary practices to use water more efficiently and creatively.

Goals of the Oklahoma Water Resources Board are cited in the measure;
1.  Increase the awareness of the public through education programs or public information campaigns regarding the value of our water resources and how water can be used more efficiently;
2.  Provide assistance to communities or entities initiating water conservation plans, programs, and activities and to research and document the potential for improving water use efficiency through demonstration projects and other activities; and
3.  Assist in the development of policies which will encourage the implementation of water conservation measures.

The board will set rules for pilot projects as well. The pilot projects shall be innovative programs that will serve as models for other communities in the state.  Pilot projects may include, but are not limited to, community conservation demonstration projects, water use accounting programs, retrofit projects, school education projects, Xeriscape demonstration gardens, projects which promote efficiency, recycling and reuse of water, and information campaigns on capturing and using harvested rainwater and graywater.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Budget Deal Reached: Fallin & Legislative Leaders Announce Fiscally Conservative Budget

Press Release
Governor Mary Fallin and leaders in the Oklahoma House and Senate today came to a budget agreement that includes targeted funding increases for core services. Fallin and other state leaders said the proposed $6.8 billion budget was a fiscally conservative roadmap for the state that controls spending while allowing for improvements to be made in health and human services, public safety, transportation, education and other important areas of government.
“This budget deal is a responsible, fiscally conservative agreement that appropriately funds core government services,” Fallin said. “The targeted increases we are pursuing will help to improve child welfare services, repair structurally deficient bridges, increase access to health care in rural areas, and boost resources for public safety. Additionally, this budget agreement will also ensure the state supports common education and keeps its promise to teachers by funding health benefits and bonuses.  All of these things will help to improve state government services and make Oklahoma a better place to live and raise a family.”
House Speaker Kris Steele said the budget deal successfully limited unnecessary government growth.
“This budget moves Oklahoma forward on multiple fronts,” said Steele (R-Shawnee). “It represents a commitment to responsible fiscal conservatism by limiting unnecessary government growth while still increasing resources for government’s core services. It’s a straightforward, balanced budget that will benefit the public and private sectors alike in many different ways.”
Senate Pro Tem Brian Bingman said the proposal represented a common sense, conservative approach to budgeting.
“Oklahomans deserve a conservative budget that reflects our values,” Bingman (R-Sapulpa) said.  “Budget dollars should be targeted to fund important core functions of government—giving Oklahoma’s kids a better education, fixing our broken roads, and protecting society’s most vulnerable children from abuse and neglect. This agreement demonstrates a commitment to govern in a fiscally responsible way-- I’m proud of our common-sense, conservative approach.”
FY 2013 Budget Proposal: Funding Increase Highlights
·         State Department of Education: Annualization of FY 2012 $52.4 million supplemental for flexible benefit allowance for teachers and support staff and National Board Certified Teacher bonuses.
·         CareerTech : Annualization of FY 2012 $1.4 million supplemental for operations
·         Higher Education: Annualization of FY 2012 $10 million supplemental for operations.
·         Military:  $500,000 for renovation of armories
·         Transportation: $99 million increase to repay FY 2012 fund transfer; ensures eight year road and bridge plan remains intact and anticipates implementation of the Bridge Improvement and Highway Modernization plan proposed by the governor in future fiscal years
·         Health Department:
o   $1 million increase for infant mortality initiatives
o   $500,000 for Cord Blood Bank
·         Health Care Authority:
o   $3.080 million to fund the rural residency program to increase access to health care in rural and underserved areas.
o   $57 million – Maintenance of Effort and Growth
o   Transfer of Behavioral Health dollars to the Department of Mental Health - $118,492,703
·         Department of Human Services:
o   $25 million to fund Pinnacle Plan reforms
o   $17 million for maintenance of effort and replacement of one-time funding in FY-2012
o   $1.5 million for Advantage Waiver Program to provide reimbursement rate increases for home health care providers that serve the elderly
o   $1.5 million to provide Developmental Disabilities Services Division (DDSD) reimbursement rate increases
o   $1 million to reduce the current DDSD waiting list
·         Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services
o   $5.5 million for Systems of Care Grant and for an additional crisis center.
o   $667,000 for mental health screenings to determine the risks and needs of each offender; justice reinvestment.
o   Transfer of Behavioral Health dollars from OHCA - $118,492,703
·         Department of Rehabilitation Services : $300,000 increase to reduce the waiting list for services
·         University Hospitals Authority:
o   $3 million increase for  Tisdale center in Tulsa
·         Veterans Affairs : $1 million increase to increase nursing staff and reduce staff/patient ratios
·         Commerce:  $500,000 for Base Realignment and Closure Commission
·         Conservation Commission: $500,000 increase for water monitoring projects
·         Water Resources Board:  $1.5 million increase for water monitoring projects
·         Attorney General: $5 million supplemental for water lawsuit and $2 million for justice reinvestment grants to local law enforcement agencies
·         Corrections :
o   $2.9 million to close designated wings of the Oklahoma State Penitentiary in McAlester, build a lethal fence, transfer up to 800 prisoners to private beds
o   $1 million for justice reinvestment
·         Medicolegal Investigations: $1 million supplemental and $1.5 million annualization of supplemental to obtain re-accreditation (personnel, equipment and infrastructure improvement)
·         Department of Public Safety:
o   $5 million for authorization of an annual trooper academy with capacity for 40 participants
Funding Cuts
·         Commission on Indian Affairs and Oklahoma Human Rights Commission will be eliminated which will cut $192,307 and $531,270 from the FY 2013 budget respectively
·         Department of Civil Emergency Management cuts 98% of its budget equal to $34,145,707
·         Oklahoma Health Care Authority funding is cut but 5.9% or $531,270 (FY2012 $983,085,563 to FY2013 $925,063,007)
·         Department of Environmental Quality receives a 2.58% cut of $200,000
·         Attorney General funding cut of $3,000,000 or 16.46%
·         Department on Consumer Credit has a 90.43% cut of $300,000
Most agencies will receive the same amount in funding from FY2012 in the proposed FY2013 state budget (see agency level appropriations here).  
The budget includes an overall increase of 3.13% or $206,840,686 in spending for FY2013. The agreement will need to be passed by this Friday, May 25 when the session is scheduled to end.  We should have a more detailed breakdown by then.

Ban on Sex Offenders Living with Minors Signed into Law

Today, state Rep. Mike Sanders praised Gov. Mary Fallin for signing a bill to protect Oklahoma’s children.
Sanders authored House Bill 3049 after learning that state law does not prohibit a sex offender from living with a minor child. This legislation bans sex offenders who previously abused a child from living with minors.
“A convicted sex offender was living with a minor in my district and I was told that it was not technically illegal,” said Sanders, R-Kingfisher. “I couldn’t have been more surprised. It seems illogical to me that sex offenders cannot reside near schools, yet they can live with a minor child. It’s time to fix this loophole and I was proud to see it win the support of our lawmakers.”
Sanders said the new law will complement Department of Human Services reforms to make the state safer for children.
“It’s heartbreaking to hear the story of a child’s death or suffering and to know that there were ways that it could have been prevented,” Sanders said. “I thank Governor Fallin for her support on this legislation.” 
The final version states that it shall be unlawful for any person who is required to register pursuant to the Sex Offenders Registration Act for any offense in which a minor child was the victim to reside with a minor child or establish any other living accommodation where a minor child resides.
However, the person may reside with a minor child if the person is the parent, stepparent or grandparent of the minor child and the minor child was not the victim of the offense for which the person is required to register.

April Oklahoma Employment Numbers

The BLS has released April employment and unemployment numbers. The preliminary unemployment rate for April in Oklahoma is 4.4%. This is down .5% from the March rate of 4.9%. In terms of numbers that is a little over 7,600 fewer unemployed than the March count of 86,403.
As compared to April 2011, the rate last year was 5.4% which was also a .5% drop from March of 2011. April 2012 is 1% lower than last year. The total unemployed in April of 2012 was 94,872 compared to 78,740 of this year. That is a decline of 16,132 or 17% fewer people unemployed in April of 2012 than in April 2011.
As shown in the graph below, the rate has dropped 1.9% since January of this year.
Oklahoma Unemployment Rate 2011 – 2012

Oklahoma Number Unemployed 2011 -2012

The number reported as employed in April 2012 grew by 14,121 to 1,705,846. This represents a 1% growth in the number of people employed from March of this year. This also represents a growth of 2% or 38,870 from April of 2011.
Oklahoma Employed 2011 – 2012

Labor Force
The increase in the number employed outpaced the growth of the labor force by over 2 to 1. The workforce saw an increase of 6,458 from March to April as compared to the increase of 14,121 people employed over the same period.
Oklahoma Labor Force 2011 – 2012

The new claims filed for the first week of May (ending May 05, 2012) from the previous reporting week (ending April 28, 2012) increased by 394 from 2,199 to 2,153.
Initial Claims May 5,2012

Monday, May 21, 2012

Watch Your Mouth

If Oklahoma really wanted to get some extra cash they could enforce a few laws.  For instance:
§21 906.  Obscene language a misdemeanor, when.
If any person shall utter or speak any obscene or lascivious language or word in any public place, or in the presence of females, or in the presence of children under ten (10) years of age, he shall be liable to a fine of not more than One Hundred Dollars ($100.00), or imprisonment for not more than thirty (30) days, or both.

This would land a number of folks on the street, in malls, stores, bars, etc in jail or due a fine. Not to mention that many comics and musical acts could be sited under OS 21-906.

Obscene language should not be confused with profane swearing.
§21 904.  Profane swearing.
Profane swearing consists in any use of the name of God, or Jesus Christ, or the Holy Ghost, either in imprecating divine vengeance upon the utterer, or any other person, or in light, trifling or irreverent speech.
§21 905.  Punishment for profane swearing.
Every person guilty of profane swearing is punishable by a fine of One Dollar ($1.00) for each offense.

This one does not get a big pay for the fine but I would submit that the sheer numbers, many of whom I mentioned above, would bring in the dollars. Since the two types of speech are often used by the same person or persons, many people would need to watch their mouths to avoid fines. Not to mention the kids would have fewer new words to use.
Along those lines:
§21 1362.  Disturbance by loud or unusual noise or abusive, violent, obscene, profane or threatening language.
If any person shall willfully or maliciously disturb, either by day or night, the peace and quiet of any city of the first class, town, village, neighborhood, family or person by loud or unusual noise, or by abusive, violent, obscene or profane language, whether addressed to the party so disturbed or some other person, or by threatening to kill, do bodily harm or injury, destroy property, fight, or by quarreling or challenging to fight, or fighting, or shooting off any firearms, or brandishing the same, or by running any horse at unusual speed along any street, alley, highway or public road, he shall be deemed guilty of a misdemeanor, and, on conviction thereof, shall be fined in any sum not to exceed One Hundred Dollars ($100.00), or by imprisonment in the county jail not to exceed thirty (30) days, or by both such fine and imprisonment, at the discretion of the court or jury trying the same.

If you are cursing and riding a horse at unusual speed you will get a double charge and fines. Next time someone threatened to beat you up you can file criminal as well as civil charges.

Speaking of horses, §21-1700 says it is unlawful to Promote, engage in, or be employed at a bear wrestling exhibition or horse tripping event, receive money for the admission of another person to any place where bear wrestling or horse tripping will occur, or sell, purchase, possess, or offer a horse for any horse tripping event.
Any person convicted and found guilty of a misdemeanor punishable by imprisonment in the county jail not exceeding one (1) year, or by a fine of not more than Two Thousand Dollars ($2,000.00), or by both such fine and imprisonment. 
As used in this section, "horse tripping" means to cause an animal of the equine species to fall or lose its balance with the use of a wire, pole, stick, rope or other object.

I suppose this is why those horse tripping cadres are underground.