In The Know: State Superintendent, Attorney General challenge new Title IX rules with lawsuits | Disagreements apparent as Stitt, state leaders meet on budget | Violent tornadoes leave thousands without power | Gov. Stitt signs bill to reduce maternal death rates

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.

Oklahoma News

Oklahoma AG, Education Department sue Biden administration over Title IX changes: Oklahoma’s attorney general and state Department of Education are both suing the Biden administration over new Title IX rules protecting gender identity in schools. [Oklahoma Voice]

  • State superintendent and attorney general announce separate lawsuits against Title IX rule changes [Tulsa World]
  • State Superintendent, Attorney General challenge new Title IX rules with lawsuits [Fox 25]

Republican leaders publicly air grievances during historic Oklahoma budget summit: Gov. Kevin Stitt and legislative leaders on Monday met in a historic public budget summit to try to hammer out differences in proposed appropriations for next fiscal year. For the first time, the negotiations were live streamed and made public. [Oklahoma Voice]

  • Lawmakers agree to $45 million for emergency management during Monday budget ‘summit’ [The Oklahoma]
  • ‘They lied to our team?’: Public budget talk gets chippy [NonDoc]
  • Oklahoma leaders make priorities clear during summit at Capitol [Journal Record]

Violent tornadoes touch down in Oklahoma, leaving thousands without power: At least seven tornadoes were reported statewide Monday night and more than 45,000 customers lost power. At least one person is dead in Osage County, according to Newson6. [KOSU]

  • Tornado Kills 1 in Oklahoma as Severe Weather Batters Central U.S. [New York Times]
  • Barnsdall reportedly takes direct hit from tornado [Tulsa World]

Tribal Nations News

Dozens advocate at Oklahoma Capitol to bring awareness to missing and murdered Indigenous people: Dozens of advocates for missing and murdered Indigenous people gathered at the state Capitol on Monday in an effort to spotlight the plight of hundreds of Oklahomans. They pressed for increased collaboration between Native residents and their local law enforcement, tribal, county and state leaders. [Oklahoma Voice]

McGirt v. Oklahoma: Supreme Court decision and aftermath: In July 2020, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled 5-4 that a large chunk of eastern Oklahoma remains an American Indian reservation. The decision meant that Oklahoma prosecutors lack the authority to pursue criminal cases against American Indian defendants in parts of Oklahoma that include most of Tulsa. [Tulsa World]

Prominent Native artist Norma Howard dies age 65: As a little Chickasaw-Choctaw girl living in Stigler, Oklahoma, Norma Howard and her seven siblings grew up on the same plot of land her grandmother had received after being forced to walk 500 miles from Mississippi to Oklahoma. [KOSU]

Health News

Doctors plead with Congress to help improve U.S. maternal mortality rates for Black women: In 2022, the maternal mortality rate for Black women was 49.5 deaths per 100,000 live births, compared to 19 for white women, 16.9 for Hispanic women and 13.2 for Asian women. During a hearing in the U.S. Senate’s Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, a panel of five medical professionals detailed health disparities for communities of color, including higher rates of maternal mortality. [Oklahoma Voice]

Gov. Stitt signs bill requiring investigations, reports of maternal deaths in Oklahoma: Gov. Kevin Stitt signed a bill into law intending to reduce Oklahoma’s growing maternal death rate. House Bill 2152, authored by Rep. Cynthia Roe (R-Lindsay) and Sen. Jo Anna Dossett (D-Tulsa), requires hospitals to make a reasonable effort to report all maternal deaths to the Chief Medical Examiner within 72 hours. [StateImpact / KGOU]

Opinion: How Oklahoma Medicaid’s shift to managed care empowers providers and enhances patient care: As Oklahoma Medicaid transitions to a managed care model, providers and patients alike feel a palpable sense of anticipation and anxiety. This shift represents a significant opportunity to revolutionize the delivery of health care services in the state, bringing tangible benefits to providers and patients. [Ron Lobato / The Oklahoman]

Housing & Economic Opportunity News

City officials to celebrate opening of 72 units of affordable housing in Tulsa: Most Tulsans know the Pearl District property for the five old Tulsa Boys’ Home dormitories that have occupied the land since the late 1940s. After the Tulsa Boys’ Home moved to Sand Springs in 1979, the buildings became home to the Laura Dester Children’s Center. Now, the studio apartments will be approximately 400 square feet and start at $700 a month, utilities included. The first tenant is expected to move in later this month. [Tulsa World]

Local officials reluctant to draw conclusions from homelessness case before Supreme Court: Local officials say it’s too early to know what effect, if any, a current U.S. Supreme Court case will have on the city’s ability to address homelessness through the adoption and enforcement of city ordinances. [Tulsa World]

Norman Natural Grocers workers attempt to unionize: As the labor movement in Oklahoma experiences a recent revival, some grocery workers are now attempting to unionize in Norman. Ahead of this week’s union election, members of the community are showing support. [KGOU]

Education News

Ryan Walters’ proposed administrative rules for state schools will get extra scrutiny from lawmakers: In an unexpected twist Monday afternoon, the House Administrative Rules Committee separated its consideration of proposed rules by Walters, the state board and the Oklahoma State Department of Education from those submitted by other agencies. For the rules to become permanent, they must be approved by both the Legislature and the governor. [The Oklahoman]

  • ‘Not through yet’: Decision pending on OSDE rules; Walters, Drummond file suits over Title IX changes [NonDoc]

Tulsa school board approves new support workers contract: Without discussion, the Tulsa school board approved a collective bargaining agreement Monday night that will provide pay raises for hundreds of the district’s support employees. [Tulsa World]

Opinion: It’s obvious Oklahoma’s school chaplains bill was written with a specific religion in mind: An Oklahoma bill allowing public schools to hire paid or volunteer chaplains to proselytize school-age children has recently passed the Oklahoma House and is headed to the Senate. It must be voted down. [Ryan D. Jayne / The Oklahoman]

Local Headlines

  • How to shelter if you’re in a tornado warning. Plus, other explainers  [Tulsa World]

Quote of the Day

“We know Oklahomans are worried about our kids succeeding in school, being able to pay their bills at the end of the month, and seeing their doctor as soon as they need to. We don’t believe the current budget proposals from the House or Senate include solutions to those challenges.”

-Senate Minority Leader Kay Floyd said in a press release in response to budget negotiations at the State Capitol yesterday. [Oklahoma Senate]

Number of the Day


Estimated number of Oklahoma households that would be eligible for a tax reduction if lawmakers modernized the Sales Tax Relief Credit, which hasn’t been adjusted since its creation in 1990. [OK Policy]

Policy Note

The Pitfalls of Flat Income Taxes: Flat taxes consign states to regressive and inequitable taxation that falls far short of the “flat tax” ideal proponents claim to value, and do not advance the economic, budgetary, or simplicity goals commonly used to advocate for their enactment. [Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy]

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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.