In The Know: Governor sends ‘one-size-fits-all’ car tag compact to tribes | #OKLeg gives legal immunity to poultry companies polluting Oklahoma’s waterways | Oklahomans will go another year without solutions to housing crisis

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

Oklahomans will go another year without solutions to housing crisis (2024 Legislative Wrap-up): Oklahoma does not have enough housing, especially for low-income families. The state has a severe shortage of housing that is affordable for extremely low-income renters and evictions are on the rise. As pandemic-related rental assistance ends, the situation will become more dire. [Sabine Brown / OK Policy]

Oklahoma News

Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt sends ‘one-size-fits-all’ car tag compact to tribes: Oklahoma tribal nations across the state have received a letter and model compact from Gov. Kevin Stitt. The letter says if tribal leaders can accommodate the governor’s concerns about tag issues, he would sign the one-size-fits-all compact. These concerns range from public safety problems to outstanding toll fines. [KOSU]

State Government News

Gov. Stitt signs bill into law giving ‘immunity’ to poultry companies polluting OK waterways: Governor Kevin Stitt has now signed into law a measure that gives poultry farmers/companies “immunity” for polluting Oklahoma waterways. Senate Bill 1424 says if companies or farmers are following state laws then they can’t be sued, even if their actions caused harm. [KFOR]

As DOJ examines Oklahoma mental health system, Legislature designates $4.1M to settle similar lawsuit: As part of the budget bills sent to the governor last week, the Oklahoma Legislature specified that $4.1 million appropriated to the Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services “be reserved for implementation of potential consent decrees entered during the 2024 calendar year.” [NonDoc]

How Laws Passed This Year Will Affect Oklahomans: The dust is settling on the 2024 legislative session. Most of the hundreds of bills passed from February to late May are minor tweaks to existing law with little bearing on day-to-day life. But a handful will shape how Oklahomans interact with state government. [Oklahoma Watch]

Health News

Variety Care, NorthCare enter into partnership to provide ‘whole-person care’ for Oklahomans: Oklahoma’s largest community health center is partnering with a behavioral health services provider effective June 15 to enhance the group’s collaboration and improve Oklahomans’ physical and mental health. [KGOU]

Criminal Justice News

State Prison Staff Face Criminal Charges, Litigation For Plotting Prisoner’s Assault: David Coker stepped off an inmate transport bus at the Lexington Assessment and Reception Center expecting to be interviewed, photographed and fingerprinted. But the mundane affair turned violent when a correctional officer alleged Coker had sexually assaulted his niece several times. [Oklahoma Watch]

Oklahoma Army veteran admits to assaulting officer during Jan. 6 riot: Benjamen Scott Burlew, 44, of Miami, Oklahoma, pleaded guilty Thursday to a felony offense of assaulting, resisting or impeding law enforcement. [KOSU]

Site near Del City still on table for new Oklahoma County Jail, mental health facility: Oklahoma County’s Board of Commissioners is reviewing two new potential jail locations, reexamining their application that was recently rejected by the Oklahoma City Council and considering their options for asking a court whether a county even needs municipal zoning approval to build a detention facility. [NonDoc]

  • Oklahoma County commissioners explore options for proposed jail, mental health facility [The Oklahoman]

Housing & Economic Opportunity News

Unhoused people in Oklahoma County jail counted for first time ever: Oklahoma City’s 2024 Point in Time survey was published on May 31. It’s an annual count of people living on the streets, in shelters, and in transitional housing on one night in January. This year, 1,838 people were counted, around 400 more than last year. [KOSU]

Economy & Business News

Oklahoma, Google team up to offer free AI course: Oklahoma residents looking to develop artificial intelligence skills can now take a free course through Google. The course teaches ways to use AI tools to increase efficiency with daily tasks, make more informed decisions and develop innovative ideas. [Journal Record]

Education News

Oklahoma enacts changes to high school credits. School chaplain bill fails.: Bills that create new high school credit requirements are now law while others that would have permitted school chaplains and banned corporal punishment are dead. [Oklahoma Voice]

Oklahoma HBCU Underfunded, Lawmakers Call for Audit: Representatives Jason Lowe and Regina Goodwin have called attention to the continued underfunding of Oklahoma’s only Historically Black College and University (HBCU). [The Black Wall Street Times]

Oklahoma City Public Schools employees left stunned by unexpected layoffs: The loss of federal funding is leading to some big changes at Oklahoma City Public Schools as the district is letting go of employees. Oklahoma City Public Schools officials won’t say how many employees they’ve let go this summer, but some of those employees told KOCO 5 that it’s dozens. [KOCO]

Former Oklahoma lawmaker appointed to fill OKCPS board vacancy: Mike Shelton is back in public office. The former Democratic state representative took the oath of office for an open position on the Oklahoma City Board of Education on Monday evening. The board appointed him to the District 5 seat that Adrian Anderson vacated in April. [Oklahoma Voice]

  • Oklahoma City school board appoints former state legislator Mike Shelton to open seat [The Oklahoman]

Opinion: Oklahoma should invest in fine arts like it does for athletics: The Oklahoma public school system severely underfunds its fine arts programs, and these programs continue to shrink as athletics programs continue to gain more funding. Between 2014 and 2018, Oklahoma public schools cut 1,110 fine arts classes, and, as of 2019, about 30% of students report having absolutely no fine arts classes to enroll in. [Jaci Walker / The Oklahoman]

Community News

Gov. Stitt announces new USS Oklahoma submarine, named after ship sunk at Pearl Harbor: Gov. Kevin Stitt has announced that a new U.S. Navy submarine now under construction will be named the USS Oklahoma. The new USS Oklahoma will be a Virginia Class, Fast Attack Nuclear Submarine, which has a crew of 132 sailors and 18 officers. [The Oklahoman]

Local Headlines

  • Former location of Brown’s Bakery designated as historical site [KOSU]
  • Reworked plans for sculpture park approved by Edmond City Council [The Oklahoman]

Quote of the Day

“If we keep going at this rate, the new jail administrator is going to be able to say she runs the largest homeless shelter in the state. And that is not what the jail is for. We know there are better ways to address homelessness than by criminalizing it.”

– Dan Straughan, recently retired director of the Homeless Alliance, speaking about the number of unhoused people in the Oklahoma County Jail in this year’s Point in Time snapshot of homelessness. The Homeless Alliance and Open Justice Oklahoma plan is to conduct the jail survey again next year to watch for trends. [KOSU]

Number of the Day


Large landlords filed evictions 186 percent more often and medium landlords filed 55 percent more often than small landlords, according to a study of evictions in Boston from 2003 to 2017. [Housing Matters]

Policy Note

Do Large Landlords’ Eviction Practices Differ from Small Landlords’?: In an average year between 2000 and 2016, more than 2 million households faced eviction. Evictions have a wide range of negative consequences for individual households and the broader community. Though much of the research on evictions has focused on renters, landlords have a critical role in housing stability. In this study, the author focuses on how different types of landlords respond to social and institutional pressures and put tenants at risk of eviction. [Housing Matters]

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Annie Taylor joined OK Policy as a Digital Communications Associate/Storybanker in April 2022. She studied journalism and mass communication at the University of Oklahoma, and was a member of the Native American Journalists Association. She earned her bachelor’s degree in Strategic Communications from the University of Central Oklahoma. While pursuing her degree, she worked in restaurant and retail management, as well as freelance copywriting and digital content production. Annie is an enrolled member of the Choctaw Nation, and holds a deep reverence for storytelling in the digital age. She was born and raised in southeast Oklahoma, and now lives in Oklahoma City with her dog, Melvin.