In The Know: Religious charter school may head to U.S. Supreme Court | Oklahoma’s ‘aging plan’ to care for growing senior population | Questions circulate about authority of dual officeholders turned gubernatorial ‘advisers’

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

Legal Experts Weigh in On Whether Catholic Charter School Case is Headed to U.S. Supreme Court: The Oklahoma Supreme Court on Tuesday ruled against a state-funded Catholic charter school in a case testing the wall of separation between church and state. The case is likely to be appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court, whose conservative majority has expanded the allowed uses of taxpayer dollars to religious schools. [Oklahoma Watch]

  • Oklahoma Supreme Court: St. Isidore Catholic charter school unconstitutional [NonDoc]
  • Oklahoma Supreme Court Says No to State Funding for a Religious Charter School [The New York Times]
  • Oklahoma Supreme Court strikes down Catholic charter school [Oklahoma Voice]
  • Drummond comments on state Supreme Court ruling against taxpayer-funded religious public charter school [Office of the Attorney General]

State Government News

Oklahoma’s ‘aging plan’ to address needed care for older adults: Adults over the age of 60 are expected to outnumber children for the first time in Oklahoma by 2034, according to the Oklahoma Department of Human Services. The agency unveiled a 10-year plan on Tuesday to improve care for older adults and to strengthen the infrastructure for the aging population. [Oklahoma Voice]

  • Oklahoma aging plan proposes support for growing demographic of seniors [KGOU]
  • Oklahoma Human Services seeks ambassadors for multisector aging plan [Journal Record]

Power over state agencies still in question as Stitt turns secretaries into ‘advisers’: On Tuesday, a spokesman for Stitt, Meyer Siegfried, was asked to clarify whether leaders who had been Stitt’s Cabinet secretaries before but who are now called advisers would have the authority to make administrative decisions over agencies. His emailed response left the question open. [Tulsa World]

Long Story Short: Stitt vetoes legislature’s limits on State Superintendent’s media outreach (audio): Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt on Friday vetoed limits on spending on public relations by State Superintendent of Public Instruction Ryan Walters and instead issued a broader executive order stopping state agencies from sole-source contracts for public relations. [Oklahoma Watch via KGOU]

Oklahoma Senate will reconvene special session to vote on OSU regent nomination: The Oklahoma Senate will come back into special session on July 15 to consider a nomination for the OSU Board of Regents, and the Republican Caucus will meet to elect a new pro tem designee. [Tulsa World]

Can the OK Legislature shift its anti-LGBTQ+ rhetoric? Advocate is hopeful: The 2024 Oklahoma legislative session saw more than 50 anti-LGBTQ+ bills, and one Oklahoma City-based activist was on the frontlines fighting against them all. [The Oklahoman]

Opinion: To be top 10, Oklahoma can’t put inclusion, equity on the back burner: I know that Oklahomans have big goals for our state. To reach or exceed our goals, we can’t afford to put inclusion and equality on the backburner. When it comes to attracting top talent to our state, leaders should remember that new generations prioritize inclusive public policy and workplaces more than ever. [Andrew Silvestri / The Oklahoman]

Tribal Nations News

Historic Bacone College taught generations of Native students. Now it’s struggling to survive: Bacone College officials hope voluntary bankruptcy will allow them to save the school’s historic Muskogee campus in the face of more than $4 million in debts, said Leslie Hannah, Bacone’s new interim president. [The Oklahoman]

Cherokee Nation proclaims Pride Month, will advance LGBTQ+ support: At a ceremonial signing to proclaim June as Pride Month for the Cherokee Nation, Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr. told Chief of Staff Corey Bunch and Secretary of State Shella Bowlin to spend the rest of the fiscal year examining tribal departments. They will identify and mitigate potential barriers to access for people in the LGBTQ+ community, as well as explore opportunities to expand access for LGBTQ+ people to medical care or whatever services are needed. [ICT]

Cherokee Nation breaks ground on new park in honor of late chief Wilma Mankiller: The tribal nation broke ground on Mankiller Park on June 21. The $10 million project is set on a fifteen-acre plot located across from the tribal complex in Tahlequah. [KOSU]

  • Cherokee Nation breaks ground on new Wilma Mankiller park [ICT]

Voting and Election News

Sen. Cody Rogers alleges ‘ballot harvesting’ scheme helped Aaron Reinhardt, judge disagrees: After a false start at a hearing this morning that caused a minor delay, Tulsa County District Court Judge David Guten dismissed Sen. Cody Rogers’ challenge to the June 18 primary election results that spelled his defeat. [NonDoc]

Health News

Oklahoma Veterans Commission considering closing 126 beds, but no veterans would be turned away: The Oklahoma Veterans Commission is considering removing 126 beds across three veterans homes from its inventory. If approved, the beds would no longer be available in the Claremore, Ardmore and Sulphur facilities. [Oklahoma Voice]

Criminal Justice News

Second Tulsa juvenile detention officer charged with sexual assault: A second detention officer has been charged in connection with ongoing allegations of widespread sexual abuse at the Tulsa County Family Center for Juvenile Justice. [Public Radio Tulsa]

DA denies request to overturn conviction of man convicted alongside Glynn Simmons: Oklahoma County District Attorney Vicki Behenna denied a request Tuesday to exonerate and overturn the conviction of a man convicted in a 1974 Edmond murder, despite the fact courts already declaring his co-defendant innocent. [KFOR]

Housing & Economic Opportunity News

OG&E to start highest rate increase in customers’ bills in 20 years on July 1: OG&E is moving forward with raising customers’ bills starting July 1 even though the request has yet to be heard by the Oklahoma Corporation Commission. [The Oklahoman]

Economy & Business News

Sold out: The rise and fall of America’s most ambitious sports media company: Sellout Crowd’s founders lured writers with promises of lucrative pay, and, thanks to some big name investors, enough funding to stay in business for three years. None of it was true. [The Frontier]

How much do middle class people make in Oklahoma and other states?: A new report found that the change in Oklahoma’s middle-class income range over 10 years is slightly less than national trends — but that isn’t the case with every state. [The Oklahoman]

Norwegian solar energy company to build manufacturing plant in Tulsa: The project, which will be constructed on Tulsa International Airport property east of Mingo Road and west of U.S. 169, is expected to employ approximately 320 people. [Tulsa World]

Education News

As diversity education threatened, students spend summer days learning about Greenwood’s past: Educators in the state have tried to work around House Bill 1775 restrictions or supplement kids’ history education through alternative means or programs. One such program at the Greenwood Cultural Center in north Tulsa is trying to do just that and has a new book to thank for its format. [Public Radio Tulsa]

Local Headlines

  • Foot traffic: OKC snags federal funding for third pedestrian bridge over Oklahoma River [The Oklahoman]
  • River Parks Authority approves contract to manage Zink Lake, dam, whitewater flume [Tulsa World]
  • Philbrook announces departure of CEO, president [Public Radio Tulsa]
  • Edmond to begin construction on $31.5M library and YMCA facility [Journal Record]

Quote of the Day

“I know that Oklahomans have big goals for our state. To reach or exceed our goals, we can’t afford to put inclusion and equality on the backburner.”

– Andrew Silvestri, head of state political engagement at Google and former deputy policy director for former Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin, writing in an op-ed about the importance of inclusive public policies and workplaces. [The Oklahoman]

Number of the Day


Number of hours a minimum wage worker would have to work each week to afford a modest one-bedroom rental home at fair market rent in Oklahoma. [National Low Income Housing Coalition]

Policy Note

Policymakers Can Solve Homelessness by Scaling Up Proven Solutions: Rental Assistance and Supportive Services: Housing is a basic human need, but stable housing is out of reach or hard to keep for far too many people. This is a policy choice, not an economic inevitability. Evidence shows that we can solve homelessness if we address its primary driver: the gap between incomes and rent. Access to the supportive services people need to find and keep housing is also critical. [Center on Budget and Policy Priorities]

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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.