Health, education and environment: StateImpact Oklahoma’s reporters look ahead to 2022

StateImpact Oklahoma celebrated its tenth anniversary in 2021, and heading into 2022, taking care of editor Logan Layden sat down with the reporters to talk about what listeners can expect heading into the new yr.


LAYDEN: A different yr of StateImpact is in the books, and we have our reporters right here: Catherine Sweeney, Robby Korth, and Beth Wallis. Hello to you all. Well concentrating on the pandemic and Medicaid growth, the impacts of it all, Catherine Sweeney our well being reporter, thanks for becoming a member of me. When you got to StateImpact, did you feel you’d continue to be masking COVID two a long time afterwards?

SWEENEY: I unquestionably didn’t. I arrived in last summer months [2020] correct as the hospitalizations were just beginning to surge. As before long as the vaccines arrived out in the spring, we sort of felt like we were using our foot off the gasoline and points have been receiving a small superior. But then delta arrived. The spike happened. And then it went back down. It was variety of all right, we’re secure once again right up until there is an additional variant. And then omicron arrived.

LAYDEN: There are other challenges connected to well being that Oklahoma is likely to be dealing with in the new 12 months. Tell me a very little about what you’ll be wanting at more than the next few months.

SWEENEY: So a single of the greatest tales is that Oklahoma expanded Medicaid. I’m wanting to glance at how considerably that has assisted wellness accessibility. It is also attention-grabbing mainly because a significant priority of Governor Kevin Stitt is partially privatizing Medicaid. Naturally, I will be covering the legislative session when that kicks off in February. I know there is a large amount of controversy around federal vaccine mandates. The legislature truly regarded as a distinctive session to tackle people, but they form of went back again on that. They seriously just relied on this 10-million-pounds they gave to the attorney basic to file a bunch of authorized battles towards all the unique vaccine mandates coming down from the Biden Administration. I’m certain I’ll be viewing a good deal of that all through the frequent legislative session.

LAYDEN: And Robby Korth, our training reporter, what a calendar year it’s been on the instruction front: masking mandates, dad and mom versus university boards, not just about the virus but Vital Race Principle and these, Epic and other constitution faculties, and funding.

KORTH: Yeah, Logan. I believe we’re going to have to continue to keep an eye on those people very same tendencies you just introduced up. College funding is going to be a big offer. Oklahoma colleges have gotten a lot more than 1-stage-five billion pounds from the several federal reduction designs for COVID-19. That income — most of it has nevertheless to be used, so we’re going to have to continue to keep an eye on that. If you glance at expenditures that have been pre-submitted in the legislature, there are several connected to how we educate social experiments and how we communicate about race and gender and class, and sort of dictating what is taught in the classroom.

LAYDEN: We have a gubernatorial election coming up in 2022. Governor Kevin Stitt, and it seems to be like he’ll be dealing with Pleasure Hofmeister, the superintendent of schools, who you’ve experienced some…

KORTH: …facetime with. If I was a gambler, I’d guess all the things that instruction will be one particular of the principal — almost certainly the principal concentration of this race.

LAYDEN: Yeah, and Catherine as well…

SWEENEY: A further noticeable wedge difficulty when it arrives to health is abortion. Oklahoma has a ton of costs that would result in bans if the Supreme Court docket overturns Roe v. Wade. We do not know significantly about Pleasure Hofmeister’s place.

LAYDEN: What variety of Democrat is she likely to be?


LAYDEN: But we’re also acquiring back again to StateImpact’s roots in the new calendar year. And which is organic means, the natural environment, science. That brings me to Beth Wallis, our new StateImpact reporter. Initially, welcome Beth.

WALLIS: Thank you.

LAYDEN: You’ll hardly ever operate out of tales about Oklahoma and the natural environment, climate change and all-natural assets, water, pollution. What are some of the items that have caught your notice so significantly that our listeners can anticipate to listen to in the up coming number of months?

WALLIS: So some thing that we’re really going to hold an eye on is just how significantly the McGirt ruling extends. With these tribal boundaries being reaffirmed, it is introduced up some questions about mineral legal rights. Who has the legal rights to coal? Who has the rights to all-natural fuel that is sitting on these tribal lands? And then h2o compacts. Drinking water compacts could be influenced by the McGirt ruling as very well.

LAYDEN: So, an exciting calendar year to arrive. Which is science and surroundings reporter Beth Wallis, health and fitness reporter Catherine Sweeney, and schooling reporter Robby Korth. I’m taking care of editor Logan Layden wishing you a pleased new yr, and inquiring you to keep tuned as StateImpact tackles 2022.