In The Know: Oklahoma primary election results | Governor rejects mental health competency settlement | Court upholds lawsuit challenging state’s ban on gender-neutral birth certificates

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’s governor rejects landmark mental health competency restoration settlement: Gov. Kevin Stitt and the state’s commissioner of mental health oppose a proposed settlement that would settle a federal lawsuit. The settlement would guarantee timely and legally-mandated competency restoration to jail inmates. [Oklahoma Voice]

  • Oklahoma governor disagrees with AG settlement to ensure timely mental health treatment for inmates [KGOU]
  • Opinion: A proposed settlement on mental health is a win for all Oklahomans. But Kevin Stitt can’t see that [Janelle Stecklein / Oklahoma Voice]

Lawsuit over Oklahoma’s ban on gender-neutral birth certificates can go on, court rules: On Tuesday, the three-judge U.S. 10th Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver reversed a lower court’s dismissal of the lawsuit, which targets Stitt’s executive order in 2021 that barred the Oklahoma Health Department from issuing nonbinary or gender-neutral birth certificates.  [The Oklahoman]

  • Appellate court partially reverses ruling on Oklahoma’s birth certificate gender-change ban [Tulsa World]
  • Transgender plaintiffs’ challenge to Oklahoma ban on changing birth certificates revived [Reuters]
  • Gov. Stitt responds to transgender birth certificate ruling [News 9]

State Government News

Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt quietly replaces cabinet with ‘chief advisors’: Oklahoma law prohibits state officials from holding more than one office and collecting more than one government salary. But as first noted by Shawn Ashley of legislative watchdog Quorum Call, Gov. Kevin Stitt appears to have found a workaround. [KOSU]

Is religious liberty dwindling in Oklahoma? How the state has become a legal battleground: What happens when people define the concept of religious liberty in different ways? Is separation of church and state losing ground in Oklahoma? [The Oklahoman]

Oklahoma auditor’s office uncovers ‘systemic’ misspending of local tax dollars: At least a half dozen small towns across Oklahoma have been rampantly misspending tax dollars over the past decade, according to State Auditor and Inspector Cindy Byrd. She said the problem is systemic, multifaceted and avoidable. [KOSU]

OG&E’s $126.6M rate hike settlement under review by Oklahoma Corporation Commission: The Oklahoma Corporation Commission on Tuesday held the second of three special meetings this week pertaining to energy rates for Oklahoma Gas and Electric Company customers. [Journal Record]

Gov. Stitt completes action on Oklahoma bills: By the time the dust had settled on the legislative session, Gov. Stitt had signed 488 bills and doled out 32 vetoes, some of which were overridden, according to his office. [Oklahoma Voice]

Oklahoma lawmakers enact newest slate of marijuana laws, industry workers adjust: Oklahoma lawmakers are tightening up the state’s medical marijuana laws. Gov. Kevin Stitt signed nearly 20 weed-related bills into law this year, most of which aim to narrow who can access the industry. [KOSU]

Facing violence, Oklahoma postal workers call for new protections: Postal workers are calling for change and new protections following an increase in postal robberies and violence. Over the last year, at least eight postal workers in Oklahoma have been assaulted while doing their jobs. [KOSU]

State senator wants Oklahoma’s Latino voices to be heard in community, politics: Michael Brooks-Jimenez was born and raised on the south side of Oklahoma City. Now he’s that area’s Democratic state senator and pushing hard to increase Latino representation throughout the city and the state. [The Oklahoman]

Tribal Nations News

Tribal nation leaders met with government to discuss sovereignty & more important topics: The United Indian Nations of Oklahoma held their quarterly meeting today with policymakers to discuss tribal sovereignty issues in the state of Oklahoma. [KTUL]

In Oklahoma politics, some tribes emerge as big campaign contributors: Oklahoma tribal nations have spent more than a quarter-million dollars on state political races in 2024, records show. [The Oklahoman]

Opinion: Bringing Light To A Dark Chapter In History: From the mid-seventeenth century till the early twentieth century, Indian boarding schools were used as a tool to assimilate Native American children away from their rich culture. Yet, for far too long, the history, policies, and devastating impacts of these schools have been unknown. [Rep. Tom Cole / Native News Online]

Voting and Election News

Oklahoma primary elections 2024: Key races put state Senate leadership in turmoil: Greg McCortney − the Ada Republican tapped to be the next president pro tempore of the Oklahoma Senate − fell to an onslaught of late, dark money advertising Tuesday, losing his seat in the Oklahoma Senate. Following are the results of other notable state legislative races across Oklahoma. [The Oklahoman]

  • Voters sent some Oklahoma lawmakers packing while others wound up in runoffs [Oklahoma Voice]
  • Oklahoma Legislature primary election winners: 28 seats decided outright [NonDoc]
  • Brian Bingman wins Republican primary for Corporation Commissioner [Oklahoma Voice]
  • Oklahoma Corporation Commission GOP primary race goes to Brian Bingman [The Oklahoman]
  • Paul Gone-dar: Incumbent Tom Cole easily defeats well-funded primary challenger [NonDoc]
  • Cole, Lucas, Hern secure lopsided U.S. House primary victories [Tulsa World]
  • Cole avoids runoff in race that flooded the airwaves with millions in commercials [Oklahoma Voice]
  • Tom Cole outlasts ‘bar fight’ in Republican primary, other incumbents win [The Oklahoman]
  • Tom Cole, House GOP Spending Chief, Defeats Challenger in Oklahoma Primary [The New York Times]
  • Oklahoma Primary Election Results: Goodwin, Stewart & McCane Standout Winners [The Oklahoma Eagle]
  • Oklahoma Sen. Shane Jett wins Senate District 17 seat [The Oklahoman]
  • Mark Mann to face Barton, Pilchman in the fall for Senate District 46 [The Oklahoman]
  • Nikki Nice wins Senate race [The Oklahoman]
  • Oklahoma Senate leadership in limbo after primary defeat of pro tem-elect [Tulsa World]
  • McCortney, Garvin, Rogers lose, incumbents in Congress prevail in Oklahoma’s primary election [KGOU]
  • Senate shake up: Greg McCortney, Jessica Garvin ousted [NonDoc]
  • Incumbent Sen. Greg McCortney falls to political newcomer Jonathan Wingard [The Oklahoman]
  • Pogemiller wins Democratic bid for Oklahoma House District 88 [The Oklahoman]
  • Rep. Ajay Pittman wins Oklahoma House District 99 seat [The Oklahoman]
  • Jason Blair, Nick Pokorny forced into runoff for House District 53 [The Oklahoman]
  • House District 60 will see runoff between Kelley and Lynch [The Oklahoman]
  • District 2 Tulsa County Commission primaries headed to Aug. 27 runoffs [Tulsa World]
  • Oklahoma Senate leader toppled, while Guthrie, Reinhardt win local legislative races [Tulsa World]
  • Double runoffs for Tulsa County Commission District 2 [NonDoc]
  • June 18 primary election results for the Tulsa area [Public Radio Tulsa]
  • Voters reelect Cleveland County sheriff, commissioner in Tuesday primaries [The Oklahoman]
  • Edmond lodging tax hike passes, Stinson reelected, SD 47 heads to GOP runoff [NonDoc]
  • Most incumbents won Oklahoma sheriff elections — including charged Morris — but others lost [NonDoc]
  • Overtime: 10 legislative primaries head to Aug. 27 runoff [NonDoc]
  • Republican primaries remain treacherous for incumbents [Tulsa World]

Health News

State senator questions payment problems as Oklahoma Health Care Authority touts rollout of SoonerSelect: The Oklahoma Health Care Authority is celebrating what it says is the success of the SoonerSelect program three months after its rollout, despite growing concerns about delayed payments for health care providers. [Tulsa World]

Criminal Justice News

Voters Oust Embattled Sheriff in McCurtain County: Frustrations with the sheriff were compounded for some at a bipartisan debate held on June 13. When confronted about the audio and his role in the remarks, Clardy didn’t apologize. Instead, he claimed that according to federal investigators, it was altered. [Oklahoma Watch]

  • McCurtain County sheriff captured in bombshell recording loses seat in GOP primary [The Oklahoman]
  • McCurtain Co. Sheriff voted out after controversial recordings [KFOR]

Felony sentencing guidelines standardized by new Oklahoma law: A new state law that sharpens guidelines for sentencing people convicted of certain felony crimes may help to reduce Oklahoma’s prison population and save taxpayers money. [Tulsa World]

Oklahoma prison inmates outnumber guards by nearly 6 to 1: A new study has found Oklahoma is the worst in the country when it comes to guard to inmate ratio inside prisons. [KFOR]

Opinion: Oklahoma has received a lot of attention through the years for its political stance on executions: Oklahoma political history keeps repeating itself ― at even higher comical and brutal levels. The conclusion of March’s “The Last Week Tonight with John Oliver” began with the 21st-century origins of the Oklahoma Legislature’s effort to bring more cruelty to executions. [John Thompson / The Oklahoman]

Economy & Business News

OKC Council approves annexation for job ‘mega-site.’ What will that mean for residents?: The Oklahoma City Council voted 6-to-3 to annex 320 acres near the Mustang area into Oklahoma City limits for help with the potential creation of a “mega-site” to draw big business. [The Oklahoman]

Education News

Oklahoma’s Battle Over Classroom Censorship: Temporary Halt on HB 1775: A federal judge has issued a temporary injunction against certain sections of House Bill (HB) 1775, marking a significant pause in the enactment of classroom censorship measures. [The Black Wall Street Times]

After Oklahoma banned some state-funded DEI initiatives, schools renamed offices and shuffled jobs: State agencies and universities that don’t comply with an order from Gov. Kevin Stitt to eliminate certain diversity programs risk losing state funding. But most of the 128 agencies that have submitted reports so far said they made no changes as a result of the new rule. [The Frontier]

Gov. Stitt picks new regents nominee, drops former OSU athletic director: Gov. Kevin Stitt on Wednesday withdrew his nomination of former Oklahoma State University athletic director and golf coach Mike Holder to the OSU/A&M Board of Regents. [The Oklahoman]

Opinion: TPS doing great things but needs help to make greater leaps: While we mark the first official day of summer this week, preparation for next year is in full swing at TPS. Our essential mission — building the best education system for our young people — cannot wait. This work doesn’t take a summer vacation. [Tulsa Public Schools Superintendent Ebony Johnson / Tulsa World]

Community News

What to expect in the coming months as La Niña impacts Oklahoma’s weather: The 2024 spring storm season in Oklahoma was a wild one. State Climatologist Gary McManus said many factors contributed to this year’s near-record number of tornadoes. [Public Radio Tulsa]

Juneteenth 2024: How Oklahoma’s unique history still affects residents today: As Americans recognize Juneteenth this week, many reflect on how far the community has come over the past 159 years. [The Oklahoman]

Local Headlines

  • Saint Francis president: Bynum hire brings hospital up to par [Public Radio Tulsa]
  • OKC Council adopts Classen Corridor Economic Revitalization Plan [Journal Record]
  • OKC leaders gather to mark end of MAPS 3, welcome MAPS 4 [The Oklahoman]

Quote of the Day

“This settlement is a win for vulnerable Oklahomans who desperately need restorative mental health treatment. This is a win for our court system. It’s a win for our county jails and local governments, who shouldn’t be forced to house people indefinitely. And, this is a win for our constitutional rights.”

– Janelle Stecklein, editor of Oklahoma Voice, in an op-ed criticizing the governor for his opposition to a proposed settlement from the Attorney General’s office that would guarantee timely and legally-mandated competency restoration to jail inmates. [Oklahoma Voice]

Number of the Day


Percentage of workers earning at or below the minimum wage who were over the age of 25. [Characteristics of minimum wage workers, 2022 / U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics]

Policy Note

A history of the federal minimum wage: EPI takes a look back at the 85-year history of the minimum wage, how it differs in states and localities, and how minimum wage laws continue to have implications for racial, gender, and economic justice today. [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.