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PM NewsBrief: Feb. 9, 2023

This is the KGOU PM NewsBrief for Thursday, Feb. 9, 2023.

Medicaid for Moms

Oklahoma has extended Medicaid coverage for new moms. Maternal health advocates are hopeful this policy will reduce maternal mortality and serious post-delivery complications.

Under SoonerCare, Oklahomans who wouldn’t otherwise qualify for Medicaid can get coverage while they are pregnant, and the coverage runs until 60 days after birth. That changed in January, when the program’s governing board voted to expand benefits to 12 months.

For years, maternal health advocates and the medical community have called to extend that coverage to one year postpartum. According to the Commonwealth Fund, 52 percent of pregnancy-related deaths take place after birth. New moms can have non-lethal but still very serious issues with infections, clotting, blood pressure and mental health. Oklahomans who make up to 205 percent of the federal poverty level qualify. That’s $38,460 annually for a single person.

Early Voting

Valentine's Day will feature an election next week. But before that, early voting in 62 Oklahoma counties begins Thursday. Voters can cast their early ballots for the Tuesday, Feb. 14 election today and Friday from 8 am through 6 pm. Across the state, ballots will include races for city councils, local bond propositions and more. To check your early voting location, and view a sample ballot, visit the Oklahoma voter portal online.

Cherokee Elections

Incumbents Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr. and Deputy Chief Bryan Warner are two of the candidates running for office in this summer's Cherokee Nation general election. But more people are set to throw their name into the hat.

The deadline to file to run in the Cherokee Nation's general election is February 9th. According to Cherokee Nation election officials, after the filing deadline, people have five days to challenge someone’s candidacy and the election commission has 12 days to certify the candidates running for Principal Chief, Deputy Chief, seven district seats and one at large seat.

The deadline for Cherokee citizens to register to vote is March 31st and the last day to request an absentee ballot is April 10th. The general election takes place on June 3rd. A runoff election should some candidates not receive more than half of the vote is July 8th.

Trans Bills

An Oklahoma Senate committee moved forward two bills Wednesday aimed at restricting transgender transition. Senate Bill 613 by Republican Sen. Julie Daniels would allow the state to revoke the license of a doctor, nurse practitioner or advanced practice registered nurse who offered gender transition services to minors under the age of 18. The Senate Rules Committee also moved forward Senate Bill 129 by Republican Sen. David Bullard.

The bill blocks public funding to any hospital, entity or individual who provides transgender medical care. If the bill becomes law, only privately funded medical professionals and hospitals would be allowed to offer gender reassignment services. Bullard’s bill will receive a second committee hearing because of its budget implications.


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