In The Know: Oklahoma Supreme Court dismisses Tulsa Race Massacre lawsuit | $12.5B state budget signed | Report shows Oklahoma kids far from Top 10 | Addressing problems in the child welfare and youth justice systems

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

Meaningful change still needed to address mounting problems in the child welfare and youth justice systems (2024 Legislative Wrap-up): Oklahoma, for the second year in a row, ranks 46th nationally in overall child well-being, with only Nevada, Mississippi, Louisiana, and New Mexico ranking lower. Lawmakers this session had recommendations to act upon from the Child Welfare Task Force, most of which took a backseat this session. Oklahoma youth and families will go another year without meaningful changes to the systems that are supposed to serve them. [Jill Mencke / OK Policy]

Policy Matters: Report shows Oklahoma children far from Top 10: Elected officials often claim Oklahoma children are their top priority. However, a new report shows our children have among the nation’s worst outcomes. These results signal the growing disconnect between rhetoric and the policy choices that create such dismal results. [Shiloh Kantz / Journal Record]

Oklahoma News

‘Relief is not possible’: Oklahoma Supreme Court upholds dismissal of Tulsa Race Massacre lawsuit: The City of Tulsa, Tulsa Regional Chamber, Tulsa County Board of Commissioners, Tulsa County Sheriff and Oklahoma Military Department are not liable for creating a public nuisance or unjust enrichment stemming from the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre and its aftermath, the Oklahoma Supreme Court ruled today. [NonDoc]

  • Oklahoma Supreme Court dismisses Tulsa Race Massacre lawsuit [Oklahoma Voice]
  • State Supreme Court sides with Tulsa in 1921 Race Massacre reparations lawsuit [Public Radio Tulsa]
  • OK Supreme Court dismisses Tulsa Race Massacre survivors’ lawsuit [The Oklahoman]
  • ‘They’re dismissing humanity’: Tulsa Race Massacre survivors want case reconsidered [KFOR]
  • State Supreme Court dismisses lawsuit from last survivors of Tulsa Race Massacre [KOCO]
  • Oklahoma Supreme Court Dismisses Tulsa Massacre Lawsuit [The New York Times]

State Government News

Stitt signs $12.5B state budget, calling process “the most transparent in state history”: Following weeks of public debate and arguments over tax cuts, Republican Governor Kevin Stitt signed the $12.5 billion budget passed by the state legislature into law Wednesday evening. The measure allocates funds for fiscal year 2025, which begins July 1. [The Oklahoman]

  • Gov. Kevin Stitt signs off on state budget [Tulsa World]

Oklahoma Senate in no hurry to confirm former OSU athletic director to university board: State senators quickly adjourned without taking action in a special session Wednesday, despite the governor’s calls to confirm his nominee for the Oklahoma A&M Board of Regents. [Oklahoma Voice]

  • Holder’s OSU appointment in limbo pending Senate investigation [Journal Record]
  • Senate’s fourth special session runs 11 minutes, then adjourns [The Oklahoman]
  • State Senate enters, adjourns special session on OSU regents nominee Mike Holder [Tulsa World]
  • Oklahoma’s special session lasted less than 10 minutes; no vote held on Stitt’s regents nomination [KOSU]

Senate leader says Oklahoma’s private school tax credit program is working despite criticisms: Senate President Pro Tempore Greg Treat, R-Oklahoma City, responded to criticism that one-third of families approved for a tax credit to send their children to private schools make over $150,000 a year by emphasizing the two-thirds of families receiving the tax credit make under that threshold. [The Frontier]

Tribal Nations News

Cherokee Nation recognizes first official Pride Month: Same-sex marriage and Pride Month celebrations are not new occurrences in the Cherokee Nation. But neither are discrimination and isolation for members of the 2SLGBTQ+ Cherokee community. [KOSU]

Voting and Election News

Early voting starts Thursday for Oklahoma’s primary elections: Early voting begins on Thursday for next week’s primary elections in Oklahoma, and some important roles to fill are on the ballot. [KOCO]

  • For information about Oklahoma elections, visit the OK Voter Portal.
  • Oklahoma primary elections guide 2024: Who’s on the ballot, where to vote, results [The Oklahoman]
  • OKC Councilmember Nikki Nice, former legislator Connie Johnson battle for state Senate seat [The Oklahoman]
  • House District 22: Republican candidates for farmers, leery of feds [NonDoc]
  • Candidates focus on variety of community issues in Oklahoma City Midtown district [The Oklahoman]

Health News

CVS Health launches first workforce training centers: CVS Health launched its first two Workforce Innovation Talent Centers in Oklahoma this week. The WITCs will provide free career skills training for people seeking employment as pharmacy technicians and retail store managers. [Journal Record]

Opinion: Denial of patient rights bill example of rising power of special interest groups: This bill, designed to protect the rights of patients within medical facilities, sailed through the House with a unanimous vote of 94-0 but was stonewalled in the Senate. The decision to block this crucial legislation highlights the undue influence that special interest groups, such as the Hospital Association, wield over our elected officials. [Charles Key / Tulsa World]

Criminal Justice News

Oklahoma County at risk for lower bond rating and higher interest on jail funds: Delays in providing an annual Oklahoma County financial report to the state auditor could soon lower the county’s bond rating and inflate potential repayment interest costs for a new jail. [The Oklahoman]

Broken Arrow police officers placed on leave for alleged misconduct: Four Broken Arrow police officers have been placed on administrative leave over allegations of misconduct, the department said Wednesday. [Tulsa World]

Education News

Law permits students to miss class for religious instruction: A new law allows public school students to leave class up to three times a week to pursue religious or moral instruction outside of school. [Public Radio Tulsa]

Supreme Court Rejects Education Department’s Attempt to Ban Books: The state’s high court in a unanimous decision said Superintendent of Public Instruction Ryan Walters and the state Department of Education overstepped their authority in trying to force Edmond schools to ban two novels. [Oklahoma Watch]

  • State Supreme Court rules in favor of Edmond schools [Journal Record]

How Oklahoma high school sports transfer rule could impact state: ‘It’s the Wild West’: In a time where the landscape of college athletics has shifted with the transfer portal, Oklahoma high school sports could be impacted in a similar way. [The Oklahoman]

Several Oklahoma universities, colleges to offer artificial intelligence degree programs: The Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education announced last week that students at the University of Oklahoma, Rose State College and Southwestern Oklahoma State University will soon be able to enroll in artificial intelligence undergraduate degree programs. [KOSU]

Community News

These Oklahoma cities are among the best places to live, according to U.S. News list: U.S. News and World Report ranked Tulsa the 76th best place to live in the U.S., citing its “distinct culture” and Native American and cowboy heritage. Topping Tulsa in the rankings, Oklahoma City placed 16th in best places to live in the U.S. [The Oklahoman]

Opinion: Cities are stronger when youths are involved in decision-making: Adults continually underestimate youths and their capacity to tackle hard subjects. The current climate is to shield them from tough discussions when what they want to do is lean in and be part of them. Youths want to be heard, taken seriously and have some power to make change. [Ginnie Graham / Tulsa World]

Local Headlines

  • ‘Tulsa King’ crew returns to capture images of Tulsa for series’ second season [Tulsa World]
  • Norman council calls for citywide vote on project [Journal Record]
  • City Council approves $1.03 billion budget for FY 2024-25 [Tulsa World]
  • Grant Miller won’t run for reelection to Tulsa City Council [Tulsa World]
  • Lawton officials attempt to mitigate East Cache Creek issues amid growing concerns [KOSU]

Quote of the Day

“We’ve had generations and century of injustice and it’s despicable, the decision of the Oklahoma Supreme Court. It’s been 103 years and folks are still saying what you’ve done is wrong, right, the wrong; and you still have judges and attorneys that want to deny not only the survivors, but this community.”

– Rep. Regina Goodwin (D-Tulsa), responding to the Oklahoma Supreme Court’s decision to uphold a lower court’s dismissal of the lawsuit from the last survivors of Tulsa Race Massacre. [KFOR]

Number of the Day


Oklahoma’s ranking among all states for the health of children living in the state. [KIDS COUNT]

Policy Note

Breaking down the South’s economic underperformance: Rooted in Racism and Economic Exploitation: Part Two: Far from delivering on their promises of shared abundance and economic prosperity, “business-friendly” policies have impoverished the South. Instead of funneling resources to wealthy Southerners and corporations, policymakers should strengthen the social safety net, adequately fund schools, provide affordable access to childcare and transportation, and enforce labor laws or safety standards for workers. [Economic Policy Institute]

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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.