In The Know: State Higher Ed. Chancellor resigns | Tulsa Race Massacre survivors ask for case rehearing, federal investigation | Overcoming Oklahoma’s ties to white supremacy | More

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 ties to white supremacy are older than the state itself. Can it be overcome?: Experts who track white nationalism and historians who are versed in Oklahoma’s past are not surprised the movement has taken hold in the state. Its history is marked by times when public officials and civic leaders worked to advance white residents at the expense of people of color. [The Oklahoman]

  • Timeline: Tracking Oklahoma’s white supremacist roots over more than a century [The Oklahoman]

State Government News

Oklahoma governor names new chief of staff: Gov. Kevin Stitt on Tuesday named Grayson Walker as his next chief of staff. Walker will replace Brandon Tatum who is stepping into the role of executive director for the Regional University System of Oklahoma. [Oklahoma Voice]

  • Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt names a new chief of staff [The Oklahoman]

State senator says she intends to take Walters, education officials to court: A state senator says she intends to take the state’s top school board, the state superintendent and the Oklahoma State Department of Education to court after she was denied entry to a closed-door meeting last week. [Oklahoma Voice]

Oklahoma Senate to tackle youth vaping, cellphones at school: Oklahoma senators during the interim are expected to take a deep dive into cellphones in schools, voucher costs and other topics. Senate President Pro Tem Greg Treat, R-Oklahoma City, approved 39 interim study requests. The requests have been assigned to committees. [Oklahoma Voice]

After 3 years leading Oklahoma higher education, Chancellor Allison Garrett resigning: Late Tuesday, Oklahoma Chancellor Allison Garrett announced her plan to resign from the state’s top higher education position in January, about three years after she became the first woman to serve in the role. [NonDoc]

  • Oklahoma higher education chief announces retirement [Oklahoma Voice]
  • Allison Garrett says she’ll retire as state higher education chancellor in January 2025 [The Oklahoman]

Oklahoma attorney general to accept airline customers’ complaints: Attorney General Gentner Drummond’s office said Tuesday that it launched an online form to submit complaints about airline carriers and ticket agents to his office. [Oklahoma Voice]

  • New airline complaint form allows Oklahomans to submit travel grievances [KOCO]

Tribal Nations News

Lawmakers aren’t planning to study this Oklahoma-tribal relations issue: Oklahoma lawmakers aren’t planning to look into Gov. Kevin Stitt’s concerns about policing on tribal reservations this fall. The governor’s recent reservation public safety task force recommended legislators hold an interim study tied to the issue. But no one filed paperwork to do that, and the final deadline to request an interim study was Friday. [The Oklahoman]

Voting and Election News

Tulsa Judge Dismisses Lawmaker’s Election Lawsuit: A Tulsa County judge rejected an election-fraud lawsuit filed by outgoing Sen. Cody Rogers last week, ruling that the legislator failed to provide sufficient evidence that his Republican primary challenger Aaron Reinhardt violated state election laws. [Oklahoma Watch]

Health News

An estimated 4,000 Oklahomans traveled out-of-state to obtain an abortion in 2023: A near-total abortion ban in Oklahoma means residents are traveling across state lines to obtain an abortion. A new study looks into where they are going. [StateImpact Oklahoma / KGOU]

Criminal Justice News

Legal roundup: Rehearing sought in Race Massacre case, poultry ruling ruffles feathers, UCO settles Title IX suit: Now that the Oklahoma Legislature is (mostly) adjourned for the summer and we have more than a month until the state runoff election, the final workday before Independence Day marks a great time to catch up on court cases and judicial decisions in Oklahoma. [NonDoc]

  • Drummond seeks injunction blocking start of new Title IX rules [Tulsa World]
  • Delaware County judge rules state allowed poultry farms without proper review [Tulsa World]

1921 Massacre survivors want state case reheard, call on Biden to launch federal probe: The last two survivors of the 1921 Race Massacre are hoping to go back to the state’s highest court. After the dismissal of their case, attorneys representing survivors Lessie Benningfield Randle and Viola Fletcher want another chance in front of the state’s justices. [Public Radio Tulsa]

  • Legal Team and Survivors Map Out New Tulsa Reparations Strategy [The Black Wall Street Times]
  • Tulsa Race Massacre survivors ask for Biden administration intervention [Tulsa World]
  • Last survivors of Tulsa race massacre call for US investigation [Reuters]

Housing & Economic Opportunity News

As Eviction Filings Rise, Oklahoma Could Enact Right-to-Counsel Laws: Evictions can be a pipeline to homelessness. They linger as permanent blemishes on a person’s court record in Oklahoma. While groups such as Legal Aid Services and Shelterwell are tracking and publicizing the state’s standing as one of the worst for evictions, the problem is not correcting itself. Rather, it’s getting worse. [Oklahoma Watch]

Economy & Business News

Oklahoma grocery tax cut countdown begins: What’s taxed and what’s not?: Starting August 29th, grocery stores, movie theaters and farmers markets across Oklahoma won’t be able to charge the 4.5% state portion of the grocery tax on certain items. [Fox 25]

Education News

Oklahoma education head discusses why he’s mandating public schools teach the Bible: A new directive from Oklahoma’s top education official requires all public schools to teach the Bible and the Ten Commandments. It comes weeks after Louisiana mandated the display of the Ten Commandments in classrooms. Stephanie Sy discussed more with Ryan Walters, the author of the order and Oklahoma’s state superintendent of public education. [PBS NewsHour]

  • Several religious leaders tell Supt. Walters to keep religion out of classrooms [KFOR]
  • Walters’ Bible directive draws ‘wait-and-see approach’ from Collinsville school district [Tulsa World]
  • Long Story Short: Court Blocks Catholic Public School, Superintendent Orders Bible Study (audio) [Oklahoma Watch]
  • Opinion: Oklahoma doesn’t have minute of publicly funded instruction time to lend to sectarian studies [Rabbi Vered Harris / The Oklahoman]

Oklahoma’s new charter school board will meet on nation’s first private charter school: Oklahoma’s new school board charged with overseeing the future contract of the nation’s first private charter school meets July 8. [KOSU]

‘You just never really stop being a teacher’: Oklahoma educator looks back at journey as National Teacher of the Year: A teacher from Oklahoma is finally coming home after an entire year of traveling the country as National Teacher of the Year. Former Union High School math teacher Rebecka Peterson looks back at what got her there while looking ahead to her new role at Union Public Schools. [News 9]

Community News

July Fourth And Early Black Americans: It’s Complicated: On July 15, 1776, the signing of the Declaration of Independence was front-page news in the New-York Gazette and Weekly Mercury. The paper also featured two freedom notices of a different sort. One offered a reward for a 21-year-old Black man named Prince, who had escaped his enslavers and was “supposed to have gone towards Rye [New York] or entered the Army.” The other featured two brothers, Nathanial and Jacob, who had escaped from separate enslavers near Long Island, New York. [The Cornell Chronicle via The Oklahoma Eagle]

Local Headlines

  • OKC approves new bus rapid transit routes [Journal Record]
  • Buses, a space cowgirl and the Mother Road’s “capital” – the latest Route 66 developments in Tulsa [Public Radio Tulsa]
  • Total Wine & More, denied a permit, appeals the decision; will it open an OKC-area store? [The Oklahoman]
  • Violence intervention nonprofit celebrates progress in Northeast Oklahoma City [KOSU]

Quote of the Day

“One of the things that’s most egregious about Ryan Walters’ work and about House Bill 1775 is to suggest that Black history is just Black people’s history. When in fact, Black folks didn’t burn down Greenwood. It’s a part of white folks’ history, too.”

– Quraysh Ali Lansana, a visiting professor at the University of Tulsa, on the recent push to conceal Oklahoma’s racial history that lawmakers and other top officials have embraced with new laws such as House Bill 1775, which limits how educators can teach about race. [The Oklahoman]

Number of the Day


Percentage of Americans who said most elected officials don’t care what people like them think. This rate has increased steadily since 2000, when about 55% of Americans felt this way. [Pew Research Center]

Policy Note

7 Facts About Voting — and Myths Being Spread About Them: Voter fraud is extremely rare, and there is simply no evidence to support claims that it is widespread. In this piece, we separate fact from fiction. [Brennan Center for Justice]

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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.