In The Know: State Supreme Court rules local school districts have final say over library materials | AG says Tribes are in the right in Oklahoma income tax dispute | Oklahoma’s upcoming Juneteenth celebrations

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

Supreme Court: Walters’ OSDE library rule invalid, school districts hold local control: With all justices concurring, the Oklahoma Supreme Court issued a narrow ruling Tuesday siding with Edmond Public Schools over State Superintendent of Public Instruction Ryan Walters, the Department of Education and State Board of Education regarding what body has authority to regulate books in a school district’s library. [NonDoc]

  • Oklahoma Supreme Court rules in favor of Edmond Public Schools in library book dispute [Oklahoma Voice]
  • Supreme Court: Schools, not Ryan Walters or state school board, have authority over libraries [Tulsa World]
  • Oklahoma Supreme Court sides with EPS in library materials case [KOCO]
  • Okla. Supreme Court Rules In Favor Of EPS IN OSDE Dispute [News 9]

National study ranks Oklahoma 46th for overall child well-being: Every year, the Annie E. Casey Foundation assesses child well-being across the country. The 2024 report ranks Oklahoma 46th overall for the second year in a row. [KOSU]

State Government News

Tribes are in the right in Oklahoma income tax dispute, state attorney general says: Courts likely will block Oklahoma from imposing income taxes on tribal citizens who live and work on their nations’ reservations, according to the state’s top law official. [The Oklahoman]

Governor considers bill to limit State Supt. PR campaigns amid new spending revelations: Governor Kevin Stitt has until Friday to sign off on legislation that would stop Oklahoma’s state superintendent from spending your tax dollars on his own personal public relations campaign. [Fox 25]

Tribal Nations News

Cherokee Nation vote on constitution convention divides some citizens: A convention of Cherokee Nation citizens adopted a new Constitution in 1999, implemented it in 2003, and agreed another convention would be held at least every 20 years. On June 15, tribal citizens will vote whether they want to hold a new convention and consider any amendments, alterations, revisions or a new constitution. [Tahlequah Daily Press]

Opinion: Cherokee Nation strong under current constitution, no need to change it: Progress in the Cherokee Nation has been made under our constitution as it is written. Our education, health care and language programs continue to lead the way while we maintain financial soundness. Our constitution has allowed for the strengthening of tribal sovereignty. This is why I am voting no to a constitutional convention. [Cherokee Nation Council Member Joe Deere / Tulsa World]

USNS Cherokee Nation Christened in Ceremony with US Navy, Cherokee Nation: The Cherokee Nation and U.S. Navy christened the USNS Cherokee Nation (T-ATS 7), the Navy’s newest towing and rescue ship named in honor of all Cherokee citizens who served in the Navy and Marine Corps. [Native News Online]

Native leaders, Oklahoma City University announce Tribal Sovereignty Institute: A new institute at Oklahoma City University will seek broader understanding and a greater body of scholarship on tribal sovereignty. [Oklahoma Voice]

Voting and Election News

Oklahoma’s early voting for primary election begins Thursday: On the ballot will be races for the U.S. House of Representatives, the state Senate and the state House. The Corporation Commissioner race, also on the ballot, will be the only state-wide election. [Oklahoma Voice]

  • For information about Oklahoma elections, visit the OK Voter Portal.
  • Boatman, Guthrie on ballot in key state Senate primary for Tulsa County [Tulsa World]
  • Kidd departure opens Senate District 31 in SWOK [NonDoc]
  • Wingard challenging McCortney for SD 13 seat in GOP primary [The Oklahoman]
  • Cheat Sheet: 4-way GOP primary to fill House District 53 [NonDoc]

Personal wealth, independent advocacy influence primary campaigns: As Tuesday’s Republican primaries get closer, the campaign finances get darker and more personal. Darker, as in several shades of dark money — money whose original sources are difficult to impossible to determine but which pay for the mail pieces, text messages, phone calls and social media ads mostly targeting Republican voters in the weeks leading up to the primary. [Tulsa World]

1 in 10 eligible U.S. voters say they can’t easily show proof of their citizenship: Top Republicans are lining up behind a proposal to require proof of U.S. citizenship for voter registration in federal elections. But for millions of U.S. citizens, it’s not easy to prove their citizenship with a document. [NPR]

Health News

Johnson & Johnson to pay Oklahoma millions in talc lawsuit settlement: A lawsuit settlement with Johnson & Johnson will net Oklahoma $9.8 million as well as a pledge from the company to stop producing talc-based products. [Oklahoma Voice]

  • Johnson & Johnson settles with state over baby powder marketing [Tulsa World]

‘Keeps me up at night’: Oklahoma patients, families react to managed care situation: We’re hearing concerns about managed care from Oklahoma patients and their families. The situation is impacting how and where people can get treatment. [Fox 25]

OU Health completes states’ first liver transplant to treat aggressive bile duct cancer: OU Health completed Oklahoma’s first liver transparent to treat an aggressive form of bile duct cancer. The new service could provide options for some patients who will no longer have to leave the state to receive care. [KGOU]

Criminal Justice News

Tulsa police officer faces trial for shooting accessory charges: A Tulsa police lieutenant known for advocating for transparency and for other Black officers faces trial this week for a criminal charge filed in 2021. [Public Radio Tulsa]

Cleveland Co. Commissioners “bailout” sheriff for $3.2 million in overspending: Cleveland County Commissioners unanimously approved the transfer of funds to a “taxpayer assisted bailout fund” to cover more than $3 million in overspending by Sheriff Chris Amason. [KFOR]

Housing & Economic Opportunity News

Opinion: Homeless people in Oklahoma City want jobs. It’s easier said than done: Perhaps you’ve seen a person holding a sign on a street corner and wondered, “Why don’t they just get a job?” Scott’s story is also Harold’s story, and Fred’s story, and Mary’s story. It’s not for lack of trying. [Jamie West Zumwalt / The Oklahoman]

Education News

Records suggest previous business, personal relationship between top OSDE advisor, contractor: Emails obtained by News 4 indicate Oklahoma State Department of Education (OSDE) Chief Policy Advisor Matt Langston had a business and personal relationship dating back more than a decade with the president of a company OSDE awarded a contract worth tens of thousands of dollars. [KFOR]

Opinion: Proposed education rules’ real purpose is to shut down Oklahoma schools, create chaos: This past legislative session saw the Oklahoma State Department of Education attempt to put forth a litany of questionable agenda items through the administrative rule-making process. These proposals were so controversial the Legislature ultimately chose not to act on these and all other agency rules, sending the decision instead to the governor’s desk, where they now sit, waiting for his approval or disapproval. [Rep. Melissa Provenzano / The Oklahoman]

Community News

Tulsa Juneteenth festival hosts 10th year of celebrations: The Tulsa Juneteenth Festival kicked off its events June 8 with a fashion show, and the festivities continue until June 20. The main festival events are June 13-15 in Tulsa’s Greenwood District. [Tulsa World]

Opinion: Juneteenth celebrations important to OKC’s culture: We often say that economic development isn’t simply about investing in real estate; it is about investing in people—their livelihoods, economic prosperity, neighborhoods, access to services, and quality of life. Celebrating our friends’ and neighbors’ history, tradition and contributions is important to uniting and strengthening OKC. [Kenton Tsoodle / Journal Record]

Local Headlines

  • Edmond City Council approves flat budget, investment in Uncommon Ground Sculpture Park [NonDoc]
  • Travelers experiencing extended delays at Tulsa airport security [Tulsa World]
  • River Parks Authority celebrates 50th anniversary [Tulsa World]

Quote of the Day

“We have no limits on what we can do as partners, especially when you redefine the stakes. Presently, the state of Oklahoma negotiates with a tribe on a zero-sum basis. So if the tribe wins, the current concept is the state loses. We know that’s not true.”

– Oklahoma Attorney General Gentner Drummond told a crowd of tribal leaders and lawyers on Tuesday while commenting on the governor’s legal fight with Tribes over Oklahoma’s ability to tax tribal citizens on tribal reservations. [The Oklahoman]

Number of the Day

Percentage of Oklahoma children (about 257,000 children) living in households with a high housing cost burden where more than 30% of the monthly income was spent on rent, mortgage payments, taxes, insurance, and/or related expenses. [KIDS COUNT]

Policy Note

Citizenship and Native America: 100th Anniversary Seems a Very Short Time: Citizenship has rights that Native Americans were denied for the first 150 years. So this year on June 2, 2024, a commemoration of the 100th anniversary of that decision to make Native Americans citizens has mixed messages. [Native News Online]

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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.