In The Know: Oklahomans rally to protest new immigration law | Poorest Oklahomans need actions, not words | Budget talks continue without Gov. Stitt | Dept. of Justice steps in Muscogee Creek Nation lawsuit against Tulsa

In The KnowIn The Know is your daily briefing on Oklahoma policy-related news. OK Policy encourages the support of Oklahoma’s state and local media, which are vital to an informed citizenry. Inclusion of a story does not necessarily mean endorsement by the Oklahoma Policy Institute. Some stories included here are behind paywall or require subscription. Subscribe to In The Know and see past editions.

New from OK Policy

Policy Matters: Poorest Oklahomans need actions, not words: Oklahoma has among the nation’s highest poverty rates with 1 in 6 people — and 1 in 5 children — living at the federal poverty level. Given these high rates, Oklahoma leaders should prioritize ways to invest in the health and well-being of low-wage earners, raising the quality of life in communities statewide. But that’s just not happening. [Shiloh Kantz / Journal Record]

Oklahoma News

HB 4156: Hispanic Cultural Day at Capitol becomes rally opposing anti-immigrating bill: What was first planned to be only a Hispanic cultural celebration, the annual Hispanic Cultural Day at the Capitol shifted to a day of protest against HB 4156. Hundreds gathered to express their frustration with the recent signing of a controversial anti-immigration bill. [Black Wall Street Times]

  • Capitol rally spotlights new ‘impermissible occupation’ law, fear in Latino community [Tulsa World]
  • Hundreds gather in support of immigrants during Hispanic Day at Oklahoma Capitol [KOSU]
  • Hundreds of Hispanic Oklahomans rally to protest new immigration law [Oklahoma Voice]
  • Oklahoma Capitol protest over anti-immigration bill draws large crowd: ‘Now make them hear you’ [The Oklahoman]
  • ‘Nobody working today’: Businesses close so employees can protest immigration bill [Fox25]

Law enforcement organizations speak out against Oklahoma’s HB 4156: The Oklahoma Association of Chiefs of Police and metro law enforcement agency leaders recently released a joint statement on House Bill 4156, saying that the immigration bill would deteriorate public trust in law enforcement and pose legal challenges in anti-racial profiling. [The Oklahoman]

State Government News

Oklahoma Budget Summit Day 4 proves productive without tax-cut talk: Oklahoma House Speaker Charles McCall, R-Atoka, Senate Pro Tem Greg Treat, R-Oklahoma City, their budget chairs and majority floor leaders saw considerable momentum build toward a FY 2025 budget agreement, coming to alignment on issues including a supplemental appropriation for education. [Journal Record]

  • Budget summit round four continues without Stitt or McCall, and without tax cut talks [The Oklahoman]
  • Stitt absent from latest budget ‘summit’ of legislative leaders [Tulsa World]

‘Church bus bill’ would put up ‘guardrails’ for school-release time for religious instruction, lawmakers say: Legislation that would require public schools to allow students to miss up to three class periods a week for religious instruction is intended to solve a “legal conundrum,” the two lawmakers carrying the bill and the advocacy group that brought it to them say. [Tulsa World]

Governor approves arch construction at Oklahoma Capitol complex: Gov. Kevin Stitt on Wednesday signed a measure to build an arch on the south side of the Oklahoma Capitol complex. The cost is $4.3 million. [Oklahoma Voice]

April GRF collections continue above estimates, below last year’s collections: General Revenue Fund collections in April totaled $1,017.6 million, which is $35.6 million, or 3.6%, above the monthly estimate. This is $59.7 million, or 5.5%, below collections in April 2023. Total GRF collections for the first 10 months of fiscal year 2024 are $7.1 billion, which is $284.8 million, or 4.2%, above the estimate and $384.1 million, or 5.2%, below prior year collections for the same period. [Oklahoma Office of Management and Enterprise Services]

Oklahoma Corporation Commissioners at odds on best response to State Auditor’s condemnation of ‘no-bid’ contracts: After State Auditor Cindy Byrd condemned “no-bid” contracts with state agencies, the Oklahoma Corporation Commission considered multiple motions on how to address the issue and protect public funds. [KOSU]

Federal Government News

Sen. Lankford pushes for Black Wall Street monument designation: Oklahoma’s senior U.S. senator would like to see Greenwood in league with protected American landmarks like the Statue of Liberty. Sen. James Lankford (R-Okla.) authored Senate Bill 3543 with Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ). The proposal seeks to establish the Greenwood neighborhood, known as Black Wall Street, as a national monument. That would mean support from the National Park Service to preserve the area’s history. [KGOU]

House excludes hemp from 2024 Farm Bill draft. What does this mean for delta-8 in Oklahoma?: Consumable hemp product use is sky-high in Oklahoma. Arguably one of the biggest loopholes in legislation, delta-8 and THCa sales are reaching new heights as users learn its effects are eerily similar to cannabis. [The Oklahoman]

  • Delta-8 THC is legal in Oklahoma. But is it safe? FDA gives warning [The Oklahoman]

Tribal Nations News

Justice Department steps in on Tulsa and Creek Nation’s jurisdiction dispute: The federal government is weighing in on a jurisdiction dispute between the City of Tulsa and tribal governments. The United States Department of Justice filed a motion to intervene in the Muscogee (Creek) Nation’s lawsuit against Tulsa and they filed a proposed complaint against Tulsa, alleging that it has unlawfully asserted criminal jurisdiction against tribal members within the Muscogee (Creek) Reservation. [KTUL]

  • Muscogee Nation welcomes DOJ’s push to intervene in lawsuit against Tulsa [Tulsa World]
  • Justice Department Moves to Intervene as Plaintiff-Intervenor in Muscogee (Creek) Nation’s Lawsuit Against Tulsa Alleging the City Has Unlawfully Asserted Criminal Jurisdiction Against Tribal Members [U.S. Dept. of Justice]

Health News

Opinion: Oklahomans past talking about mental health; it’s about action now: Parents have embraced the stigma shattering with 40% listing mental health as the No. 1 concern for child well-being, over bullying, police interactions, teen pregnancy and getting shot or attacked, according to the Pew Research Center. The problem is they don’t have a lot of options for care. [Ginnie Graham / Tulsa World]

Criminal Justice News

Lawsuit filed over Oklahoma County jail inmate’s death: The latest lawsuit over the Oklahoma County jail alleges “gross deficiencies in staffing, facilities and procedures” are to blame for an inmate’s death from fentanyl. [The Oklahoman]

Opinion: Animal fighting is organized crime, yet some rural sheriffs show disregard for law: Animal fighting harms animals and humans and undermines the rule of law and safety of our communities. We must address it as a most serious crime. [Kevin Chambers / The Oklahoman]

Opinion: Top police problems often trace back to lack of community mental health services: I recently attended the Major Cities Chief’s Association winter conference, comprising 72 of the largest local agencies in the U.S. and Canada. As the chiefs spoke to issues challenging their communities, the commonalities were astounding: homelessness and homeless encampments; opioids and fentanyl; mental illness. [Matt Kirkland / Tulsa World]

Housing & Economic Opportunity News

City Council approves update of city ordinance addressing obstruction of sidewalks: After two years of talking and tweaking, city councilors on Wednesday approved an ordinance amendment to address the obstruction of sidewalks and other public rights of way. The pushback from local service providers and advocates for the homeless was immediate. [Tulsa World]

Opinion: We can fix the housing problem one community at a time: Why did communities in the United States quit building affordable places to live? One of the reasons is that few people buy houses anymore; instead, they buy mortgages held by huge financial institutions like Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac. Those institutions determine what kinds of homes get financed, and they prefer financing large, detached homes in subdivisions for people with robust incomes and well-established credit. [Richard Kyte / Tulsa World]

Economy & Business News

Late Filers: Things To Consider If You Missed The Tax Deadline: If you’re ready to get on the other side of late tax filing, you’ve come to the right place. From understanding potential penalties to exploring options for filing late, we’re here to help you get back on track. [Black Wall Street Times]

Inflation eases in the first slowdown of 2024: Led by lower food and auto prices, inflation in the United States cooled slightly last month after three elevated readings, likely offering a tentative sigh of relief for officials at the Federal Reserve [Journal Record]

Education News

Oklahoma schools need bus drivers and are straining to fill the gaps: Statewide, Oklahoma public schools are experiencing a shortage of bus drivers — and they’re struggling to adapt. [KGOU]

OSDE signs $50K contract with Texas firm that produced videos attacking teachers’ union, trans students: The Oklahoma State Department of Education has signed a $50,000 contract with a Texas marketing firm that previously has produced videos shown at State Board of Education meetings that critics say have disparaged teachers and transgender persons. [The Oklahoman]

Project HOPE transforms high school experience at Francis Tuttle: Project HOPE is a program housed at Francis Tuttle’s Rockwell and Reno campuses to assist students who have dropped out of school or who are in danger of dropping out. [Journal Record]

Local Headlines

  • Eight internal candidates apply to be next Tulsa police chief [Tulsa World]
  • New exhibit uses futuristic technology to give Cowboy museum visitors a feel for the past [The Oklahoman]

Quote of the Day

“We belong, we’re contributing members and not terrorists, criminals, traffickers, (we are) people that are doing as much as they can to contribute to themselves, their families, and in doing so to contribute in so many ways to the state of Oklahoma.”

– Rep. Alonso Arturo-Sandoval, D-OKC, speaking at a state capitol rally opposing anti-immigration legislation HB 4156, which was recently signed into law. [Black Wall Street Times]

Number of the Day


Homeownership rate for Black Oklahomans, compared to the state average of 65.4%. In Oklahoma, the homeownership for whites is 70.1% and the Hispanic/Latino rate is 53.6%. [Prosperity Now]

Policy Note

The Home Mortgage Interest Deduction Reinforces Racial Disparities: A new report finds that the US tax code’s home mortgage interest deduction (HMID) favors White families relative to Black and Hispanic or Latino families. That’s not surprising.  A legacy of discrimination in the housing market and mortgage lending industry has contributed to lower homeownership rates among Black and Hispanic families than among White families. [Tax Policy Center]

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Kandis West is a communications professional with more than 15 years of experience. Most recently, she served as the Communications Director for the Oklahoma House Democratic Caucus. She spent nine years in the Olympia/Tacoma area of Washington organizing compensation campaigns for teachers for the Washington Education Association. Kandis has a proven track record of increasing community engagement, public awareness and media exposure around the most pressing issues that impact citizens. She is a graduate of the University of Oklahoma Gaylord College of Journalism.