In The Know: AG, tribal leaders will work around governor | Supreme Court upholds ICWA | Policy Matters: Oklahoma children deserve better than 46th

In The KnowIn The Know is your daily briefing on Oklahoma policy-related news. Inclusion of a story does not necessarily mean endorsement by the Oklahoma Policy Institute. Some stories included here are behind paywall or require subscription. OK Policy encourages the support of Oklahoma’s state and local media, which are vital to an informed citizenry. Subscribe to In The Know and see past editions.

New from OK Policy

Policy Matters: Oklahoma children deserve better than 46th: Most Oklahomans would say the well-being of our children should be a top priority. A new report from the Annie E. Casey Foundation, however, shows Oklahoma is not serving our children well. In fact, the 2023 Kids Count report showed Oklahoma ranked 46th nationally in overall child well-being. [Shiloh Kantz / Journal Record]

  • Report shows abysmal rankings for child well-being in Oklahoma [The Oklahoman]
  • New report ranks Oklahoma near the bottom for child well-being [KOCO]

Oklahoma News

AG Drummond, tribal leaders say they will advance Oklahoma without the governor: Attorney General Gentner Drummond said Wednesday he believes the state can work with tribal governments to move Oklahoma forward without the governor. Drummond’s remarks land amid controversy over the future of tobacco tax compacts between Oklahoma and several tribes. [The Oklahoman]

State Government News

Governor celebrates new workforce commission that has raised transparency concerns: A new entity with hopes of improving workforce shortages in Oklahoma was officially signed into law Wednesday by the governor, creating a nine-member commission that critics have called a “shadow government.” [The Oklahoman]

Oklahoma chicken litter lawsuit will go into federal remediation with clean-up plan postponed again: A decades-long court battle between Oklahoma and poultry corporations in Northwest Arkansas has been extended once again. Then-Attorney General Drew Edmondson filed the lawsuit against poultry producers in Arkansas in 2005, saying chicken waste was polluting the Illinois River Watershed in Oklahoma. [KOSU]

PlatePay rates to rise on Oklahoma’s turnpikes: Driving on Oklahoma turnpikes is about to become more expensive for those without a PikePass. The Oklahoma Turnpike Authority last week approved rate increases of at least 75% for non-PikePass drivers on the Turner, Muskogee, Will Rogers and Indian Nation turnpikes. [Journal Record]

Federal Government News

USDA awards more than $50 million to Oklahoma for rural broadband expansion: Counties in Southeast Oklahoma and the panhandle will receive funding from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to bring high-speed Internet to rural communities. The U.S. Department of Agriculture has announced it will award more than $50 million to Oklahoma to provide high-speed internet access for rural communities across Beaver, Cimarron and Pittsburg counties. [KOSU]

Tribal Nations News

Tribal families can be given priority in Native American adoptions, Supreme Court rules: The U.S. Supreme Court upheld the Indian Child Welfare Act in a closely-watched ruling Thursday morning. In its 7-2 decision, the court rejected challenges from some states and adoptive families that the law meant to help Native children maintain connections with their cultures was unconstitutional. [The Oklahoman]

  • Supreme Court preserves law that aims to keep Native American children with tribal families [AP via Tulsa World]

Voting and Election News

OK governors have great record of picking presidential winners, but not joining them in D.C.: Going back to the late 1980s, two things are true about Oklahoma governors endorsing candidates for president: They have a remarkable record of picking the winners, and they have a terrible record of being rewarded for it. [The Oklahoman]

Health News

‘I was trying to advocate for my mom’: One family’s fight for a patient bill of rights in Oklahoma: Alissa Cartwright’s mom, Lori Brand, had struggled with health issues for over a decade. When she needed to be hospitalized in 2020, Cartwright was at her bedside. But as COVID-19 became a pandemic, things changed. [StateImpact Oklahoma / KOSU]

Criminal Justice News

Camera use by local police departments rises, but are they worth it? Experts disagree: In the three years since the murder of George Floyd was caught on a bystander’s phone camera, law enforcement agencies large and small across the nation have invested in body-worn cameras, also called BWCs, and dashboard cameras for patrol vehicles. But even as cameras have proved crucial to documenting cases of police brutality, some agencies have yet to fully utilize them. [Tulsa World]

Education News

University of Oklahoma approves third consecutive tuition increase during meeting at lodge: 3% tuition increase has been approved at the University of Oklahoma, guaranteeing students’ costs will rise for the third consecutive year. University leaders say the increase is necessary to cover rising recurring costs, including faculty and staff raises. Although OU received $8.8 million more from the Oklahoma Legislature this year, administrators said state funding levels aren’t as consistent as tuition revenue. [The Oklahoman]

Lawmakers provide $10 million for nation’s first gunsmithing bachelor’s degree program: Lawmakers have approved $10 million for what is expected to be the nation’s first four-year degree in gunsmithing at a small college in south-central Oklahoma. The funding was requested by Murray State College, a community college with campuses in Tishomingo and Ardmore and an enrollment of 2,300. [Tulsa World]

General News

​​Tulsa Juneteenth celebration blends history, health, fun: The annual celebration known as Juneteenth gets its name from June 19, 1865, a date that marked the beginning of the end of chattel slavery in the United States. That was the day Union soldiers arrived in Galveston, Texas, to announce the Civil War had ended and the Emancipation Proclamation had been issued two years earlier. [Tulsa World]

Oklahoma Local News

  • Oklahoma City’s EMBARK providing free transit days [KOSU]
  • OKC to find housing, offer services for 500 homeless [Journal Record]
  • Midwest City to use eminent domain, if necessary, to acquire blighted Heritage Park Mall [The Oklahoman]
  • Tulsa’s FY 2024 budget grows closer to $1 billion [Tulsa World]

Quote of the Day

“We’ve got two paths to go down: one is conflict, and I think we’ve seen where that gets us, and the other is cooperation.” 

– Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr., speaking on Gov. Kevin Stitt’s unwillingness to negotiate with tribal nations over tobacco tax compacts. [The Oklahoman]

Number of the Day


LQBTQ+ workers earn about 90 cents for every dollar the typical worker earns. [Human Rights Campaign]

Note: June 15 is LQBTQ+ Equal Pay Awareness Day.

Policy Note

DACA 11 Years Later: From students to careers and families: DACA has helped undocumented young people build careers and families in the United States. As DACA reaches its 11th anniversary, the policy is under immediate threat in the courts. It is long past time to provide certainty to recipients and their families with a pathway to citizenship. []

Note: June 15 is the anniversary of the announcement for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program in 2012. 

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Hana Saad joined OK Policy in August 2022 as the Communications and Operations Fellow. She graduated from the University of Tulsa with degrees in Media Studies and English and is part of Phi Beta Kappa, an academic honor society. At TU, Hana regularly wrote for The Collegian and was the Co-Editor of the Stylus Journal of Art and Writing. She also serves on the team at Puppy Haven Rescue to help in their mission of saving rescue dogs across Oklahoma. Hana is eager to learn more about public policy in Oklahoma and use her skills to support the OKP work to build a more equitable state. In her free time, she loves to read fiction and poetry, walk her dog, and make copious cups of tea.

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