In The Know: Change to COVID-19 case average calculation | Potential daylight saving change | Public debate heats up on voucher bill

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

State Health Department changes how it calculates COVID cases average, dramatically lowering what the metric shows: Two years into the pandemic, the Oklahoma State Department of Health has changed how it calculates its seven-day average of new COVID-19 cases, dramatically reducing the numbers reported from what they would have been under the previous methodology. [Tulsa World

Daylight saving year-round? Here’s how sunrise, sunset times would change in Oklahoma: After years of failed legislation in Oklahoma to change how the state observes daylight saving time, a law now making its way through Congress would stop clock-changing for all Americans. [Tulsa World

State Government News

Senate Debate on School Voucher Bill Will Wait; Public Debate Heats Up: The state Senate was expected to take up a much-talked about school voucher bill this week. It didn’t happen, and lawmakers are taking a spring break through the rest of this week. Meanwhile, public debate surrounding the measure is heating up. [Oklahoma Watch

  • Ginnie Graham: Playing education bill whack-a-mole at the Oklahoma Legislature [Column / Tulsa World

Oklahoma City woman unknowingly dropped from DHS waitlist years ago: Despite the Legislature throwing $9 million at the problem, 5,800 Oklahomans are still waiting for help – including an OKC family who fell through the cracks. Bailey Miller was dropped from the waitlist for those with severe disabilities after her father failed to respond to a letter he maintains he never received. [KOCO

Seeking to boost the image of state parks, Oklahoma tourism officials sank millions into a private restaurant venture: Tourism officials hope a hot new restaurant chain serving ribeye steaks and burgers dressed with arugula can breathe new life into state parks, but the deal has cost Oklahoma millions of dollars. Since 2020, the state has paid Swadley’s Foggy Bottom Kitchen, operated by Oklahoma City-based Swadley’s BAR-B-Q, more than $13.6 million. [The Frontier

Tribal Nations News

Indigenous communities celebrate reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act: Advocates for women and Indigenous people have waited nearly 10 years for the reauthorization of the act, which is commonly known as VAWA. The 2022 version extends new rights to tribal authorities. [KOSU

SCOTUS to hear Castro-Huerta case in April: The U.S. Supreme Court has set a date to hear Oklahoma’s challenge to a landmark 2020 ruling upholding tribal jurisdiction in a wide swath of eastern Oklahoma. The State of Oklahoma wanted the nation’s High Court to consider a petition to overturn the McGirt ruling. [KOSU

Voting and Election News

Former Teacher of the Year is first Democrat to enter campaign for Oklahoma state superintendent: A Democrat and former Oklahoma Teacher of the Year has established a campaign for state superintendent of public instruction, a key race that so far has seen only Republican candidates. [The Oklahoman

Ad targets Gov. Kevin Stitt over commutation of alleged killer’s earlier prison sentence: Gov. Kevin Stitt’s reelection is being targeted by ads that tie the governor to a man who is accused of killing three people after being set free from prison. [Tulsa World

Health News

Saint Francis to expand Muskogee campus as part of lawsuit settlement: Saint Francis Health System will build a new hospital tower on its main Muskogee campus, part of an agreement with local officials that effectively puts to bed a dispute that began over property taxes. [Tulsa World

Ascension, Encompass break ground on $26M rehabilitation hospital in Owasso: The groundbreaking ceremony for the $26 million project convened dozens of hospital officials and community leaders at the future 7-acre site, which will provide care for local patients recovering from debilitating illnesses and injuries. [Tulsa World

Criminal Justice News

Tulsa Police to begin deploying license plate reader cameras to test new program: The Tulsa Police Department said Thursday it plans to place six to nine Flock Safety cameras in and around the 61st Street and Peoria Avenue neighborhood as part of a yearlong program to test license plate reader technology. [Tulsa World

Economic Opportunity

Study: Oklahoma’s workforce near bottom of earnings: Oklahoma’s workforce continues to be among the lowest paid per hour nationwide, a study released this month confirms. The news comes when households are facing rising costs of gasoline, food and housing. The consumer price index was up 8% in February over the same month one year ago, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports. [The Journal Record

Education News

Guthrie principal who regularly hosts visitors to school recognized for his advocacy work: A few years ago, Chris LeGrande welcomed a staffer from Sen. Jim Inhofe’s office for a tour of Guthrie High School, where he’s been a principal for 10 years. Three months later, that staffer said he wanted to come back and learn more about how the school incorporated vocational training, which was a focus for the senator. [The Oklahoman

EPS District 5 runoff: Jones, Grande hold different parent-first approaches: After an achingly close primary, Marcus Jones and Michael Grande will be competing for the District 5 seat of the Edmond Public Schools Board in the April 5 general election, thanks to a handful of voters who cast their primary ballots for a candidate who had announced that she no longer wanted to be elected. [NonDoc

Editorial: Holocaust education opens door to hard discussions, true history: To learn about the Holocaust is to learn about freedom, prejudice, stereotyping, oppression and propaganda. A well-rounded education requires having knowledge and an understanding of this world-shaping genocide. At least 22 other states have laws mandating Holocaust education. [Editorial / Tulsa World

Oklahoma Local News

Afghan refugees to get help getting around Tulsa: The city received two grants totaling $160,000 which will provide bus passes, driver’s education and contextualized English classes for Afghan refugees all to help them integrate socially and provide economic mobility. [KJRH

Quote of the Day

“The joke among educators is everyone thinks they know everything about schools because everyone went to school. But unless you have been to a school recently, you really have no idea.”

-Chris LeGrande, principal of Guthrie High School [The Oklahoman]

Number of the Day


Evictions filed in Oklahoma courts during January 2022. The trend of eviction filings in Oklahoma is rising more sharply during the past six months than it has during the previous 15 months. [Open Justice Oklahoma via Oklahoma Watch]

New from OK Policy: Evictions in Oklahoma are returning to pre-pandemic levels. That’s not a good thing.

Policy Note

Eviction Diversion: Preventing Eviction Before Going to Court: With federal eviction prevention measures removed and cash benefits like expanded unemployment ending, local and state eviction diversion programs could be key to address a national crisis. [Eviction Lab]

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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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