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PM NewsBrief: Jan 6, 2023

This is the KGOU PM NewsBrief for Friday, January 6, 2023.

1775 Pushback

2021’s legislative session produced House Bill 1775, which prohibits a range of discussions in the classroom on race and sex. One former educator-turned-lawmaker is introducing his own bill to strike 1775 down.

Norman Democratic Representative Jacob Rosecrants filed House Bill 1013, or the “Restoration of Sanity in Education Act.” Two districts, Tulsa and Mustang Public Schools, have been found in violation of 1775 since its implementation, though they both dispute those findings. Rosecrants says 1775 is political fear mongering with no basis in reality.

"You’re creating that wedge in between teachers and parents, that’s a feature of our new state superintendent, that’s kind of their tactic. And the governor. So they needed something to be able to say, ‘Hey, we’re fighting against this in our schools and here’s how we’re fighting it.’ Well, my thing is you’re fighting against something that never existed in the first place," Rosecrants says.

Rosecrants says it’s unlikely his bill would be signed by the governor, but it’s still important to have these conversations. For StateImpact, I’m Beth Wallis.

Opioid Settlements 

Four new settlements in Oklahoma’s opioid litigation will bring more money for crisis remediation. Attorney General John O’Connor announced new settlements from Walgreens, CVS, Walmart, and Allergan, an opioid manufacturer, add up to more than $226 million, bringing the total amount the state has recovered in opioid settlements to more than $900 million. Most of Walmart’s settlement will be paid over the next year, while CVS’s settlement will be paid over the next 10 years and Walgreens’ over the next 15. The settlement funds will be used for prevention, harm reduction, treatment, and recovery services.

Fluoride Ban

An Oklahoma lawmaker has filed legislation to ban fluoride from being added to Oklahoma’s public water supplies.

Republican Sen. Nathan Dahm’s Senate Bill 165 would prohibit counties, cities, schools, and public or private businesses... among others... from introducing or depositing fluoride into the public water supply. According to Dahm, several countries have stopped using fluoride in their water due to health concerns and lack of supporting evidence for its efficacy when ingested. According to the Oklahoma State Department of Health, fluoride in drinking water reduces dental decay by 18 to 40%. The addition of fluoride to public drinking water systems has been routine in communities across the U.S. since the 1940s and ‘50s.

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