In The Know: Audit: State misspent some COVID relief funds | OK home ownership harder than rest of nation | More

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.

Oklahoma News

Federal auditors want Oklahoma to return at least $650,000 of Governor’s COVID-19 relief funds: A federal audit provides new insight into how Oklahoma failed to properly oversee $39.9 million in federal relief funds meant to support education amid school closures during the coronavirus pandemic. United States Department of Education auditors recommended clawing back more than $650,000 in misspent federal coronavirus relief funds from Gov. Kevin Stitt and reviewing an additional $5.5 million in purchases, according to a federal audit released Tuesday. [The Frontier] [Oklahoma Watch

Home ownership is harder in Oklahoma than rest of the nation: A new study is showing Oklahoma has one of the nation’s highest rates of new loans going to landlords, meaning less availability for Oklahomans to own their own homes. [Fox 25]

State Government News

New law to overhaul Oklahoma tag agencies: Many of Oklahoma’s tag agencies will have a new look by he end of 2022 after lawmakers recently approved an overhaul of the system that handles how driver’s licenses and motor vehicle registrations and titles are issued. [CHNI via The Norman Transcript

Troubled Water: Public Water Operator’s Violations Keep Flowing: For three Oklahoma communities, the issues with water and wastewater became so large they frightened residents and evolved into an ongoing nightmare for city officials — a nightmare the cities spent thousands of hours and millions of dollars trying to fix. [Oklahoma Watch

Federal Government News

House overwhelmingly passes same-sex marriage bill, with no help from Oklahoma delegation: The U.S. House overwhelmingly approved legislation Tuesday to protect same-sex and interracial marriages amid concerns that the Supreme Court ruling overturning Roe v. Wade abortion access could jeopardize other rights criticized by many conservatives. No member of Oklahoma’s all-Republican House delegation voted for the bill. [Public Radio Tulsa

Tribal Nations News

‘Elephant in the room’: U.S. Senate committee invites Five Tribes for Freedmen hearing: Leaders of the U.S. Senate Committee on Indian Affairs have invited representatives of the Five Tribes to testify at a July 27 hearing on the status of their Freedmen, the descendants of slaves formerly held by the Muscogee, Chickasaw, Choctaw, Seminole and Cherokee nations. [NonDoc

Voting and Election News

New law lets blind Oklahoma voters cast electronic ballots in future elections: Gov. Kevin Stitt recently signed a new law that will enable registered voters who are blind to vote by electronic absentee ballots if they are unable to vote at their precinct polling locations on election day. [Enid News & Eagle

Mullin Senate campaign brings in $250,000 in three weeks; more than $500K went to a PAC that supports him: More than $250,000 flowed into 2nd District Congressman Markwayne Mullin’s U.S. Senate campaign during the last three weeks of June, and more than $500,000 went into a dark-money political action committee whose only expenditures were in support of Mullin, according to recently filed Federal Election Commission reports. [Tulsa World

‘From the cuff’: Senate District 2 runoff pits Jarrin Jackson against Ally Seifried: In the Republican primary runoff for State Senate District 2 in the Claremore area, one candidate has the endorsement of her two previous opponents and the other says he is working “to defend Oklahomans against further communist infiltration.” [NonDoc

Health News

New blood test at Mercy could give peace of mind to families with history of aggressive cancers: Mercy hospitals are now offering a new blood test that can detect markers for over 50 types of cancer — including several that are otherwise impossible to screen for — to catch the disease in early stages. [The Oklahoman

Criminal Justice News

Death penalty foes push for clemency for James Coddington, who faces execution Aug. 25: Death penalty opponents on Tuesday called on the Oklahoma Pardon and Parole Board to show mercy to death row inmate James Coddington at his clemency hearing next week. [The Oklahoman

Multicounty grand jury investigates DA Allan Grubb, could call for his early removal: The state’s multicounty grand jury is investigating a defeated district attorney and could call for his removal from office early for oppression and willful maladministration. [The Oklahoman

Mother files $1 million wrongful death lawsuit after her son was killed by Oklahoma police: The mother of a Black man shot and killed by Lawton police in December has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against two former officers and the city. Mina Woods, a Texas resident and mother of Quadry Malik Sanders, seeks a jury trial and more than $1 million, according to the lawsuit filed July 15 in federal court. [The Oklahoman

Economy & Business News

OG&E ratepayer-backed bonds to pay for last year’s cold snap are now hundreds of millions more than estimated: Oklahoma Gas and Electric ratepayer-backed bonds issued to pay for added costs from the February 2021 winter storm will result in roughly $330 million more in consumer costs than originally forecast, the Oklahoma Corporation Commission said. [Tulsa World

Oklahoma Local News

OKC City Council reinstates Human Rights Commission: The OKC City Council today narrowly voted to reinstate the city’s Human Rights Commission, which was disbanded more than 25 years ago. But the move didn’t come without robust debate from the public and members of the council. [NonDoc

Quote of the Day

“We know that home ownership is the best way to have generational wealth and equity in oneself.”

-Rep. Mickey Dollens, D-Oklahoma City, addressing the increase in home purchases by investors, making it harder for Oklahomans to purchase a home. [Fox 25]     

Number of the Day


In states like Oklahoma with restrictive licensing rules for immigrants who are undocumented, insurance premiums are an estimated $17.22 higher per year than in states with licenses available to all drivers. [Notre Dame Student Policy Network

Policy Note

DACA Decade: From students to careers and families: Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) has helped undocumented young people build careers and families in the United States. With the policy under immediate threat, it is long past time to provide certainty to recipients and their families with a pathway to citizenship. [

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Kristin Wells served as the Communications and Operations Fellow for OK Policy from October 2021 to July 2022. She previously worked as a digital content producer for News On 6. A native Kansas Citian, Kristin graduated with a B.A. in Media Studies and a B.A. in Spanish from the University of Tulsa in 2020. While there, she was accepted into the Global Scholars program, spurring her interests in policy, social movements, global identities, and the importance of education and advocacy. She hopes to use her skills to continue to learn and create a more equitable future for Oklahomans. An avid sports fan, Kristin lives in Tulsa with her rescue dog and is passionate about college basketball, documentaries, and coffee.

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