In The Know: Cherokee Nation boosts minimum wage, family leave | New Panasonic plant in play? | More government transparency needed

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

Effective democracy requires more transparency in Oklahoma state government: Oklahoma’s government is one of the least transparent in the nation. In contrast to other states, the general public is largely left out of the budget process and deprived of basic expectations of government such as public debate. [Sabine Brown / OK Policy]

Oklahoma News

Cherokee Nation boosts minimum wage, family leave benefits: The Cherokee Nation – one of the largest employers in northeast Oklahoma – is implementing increased paid family leave and a minimum wage nearly double the state level to attract and retain employees. [The Journal Record]

Report: Another Panasonic battery plant in play for Oklahoma: Oklahoma is being considered as a site for another electric vehicle battery plant, the Wall Street Journal reported Friday, citing people familiar with the matter. [Tulsa World]

Voting and Election News

Oklahoma Supreme Court to decide if SQ 820 will be on November ballot: A change in how signatures for state questions are verified is causing major delays for the long-awaited ballot measure proposed to legalize recreational marijuana in Oklahoma. Oklahomans for Sensible Marijuana Laws are waiting on the final sign off from the state’s supreme court on whether or not State Question 820 will be featured on the November 8th ballot. [Public Radio Tulsa]

Editorial: Bring dark money into the light: It may be impossible to curb the billions of dollars spent nationally on races. But, it is reasonable to expect more transparency on who is behind the money. [Editorial / Tulsa World]

Criminal Justice News

Man at center of tribal jurisdictional issue sentenced in federal court: A federal judge signed off on a shortened prison term Monday for a man at the center of a jurisdictional fight in Oklahoma’s Indian Country. [Tulsa World]

Oklahoma City police investigating suspected homicide at homeless camp: Officers were called to the camp near N Western and the John Kilpatrick Service Road around 8:15 a.m. Saturday. The deceased person had “injuries consistent with homicide,” according to a police department news release. [The Oklahoman]

Benjamin Plank allegedly shot at third Oklahoma County deputy during deadly gun battle: A man accused of shooting to death an Oklahoma County sheriff’s deputy and injuring another also shot at a third deputy during a hail of gunfire, court documents show. [The Oklahoman]

Oklahoma prisoner from ‘The Innocent Man’ on Netflix has murder conviction reinstated: A prisoner featured on the Netflix documentary series “The Innocent Man” won’t be going free after all. [The Oklahoman]

Education News

Key word was ‘accountability’ in OKCPS Board of Ed meeting: The word “accountability” was used so many times in Monday’s Oklahoma City Public Schools Board of Ed meeting that one would be forgiven for having lost count. [Oklahoma City Free Press]

Shrum’s OSU inauguration highlights accomplishments, goals: Oklahoma State University recently held an inauguration celebration held for Dr. Kayse Shrum, who was named the 19th president of Oklahoma State University in April 2021. [Journal Record]

General News

Justice for Greenwood: Tulsa’s DNA collection program is a ‘scam’: A nonprofit that advocates for survivors and descendants of the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre gave details at a Thursday night community meeting about its stance that Black Tulsans should not submit DNA to the city. [Public Radio Tulsa]

Whistleblowers allege embezzlement, fraud at Tahlequah nonprofit that championed Indigenous women: Lack of oversight resulted in years of mismanagement and allegations of fraud and embezzlement, leaving Native American women without the aid the nonprofit National Indian Women’s Health Resource Center was designed to provide, an Oklahoma Watch investigation found. [Oklahoma Watch]

Column: Oklahoma Joe: Let’s cultivate inclusion, not exclusion in Oklahoma: As we think about future business growth in Oklahoma, we need to consider that a more inclusive society is better for our state’s future than the current regressive environment that is being created within it. [Joe Hight / The Journal Record]

Oklahoma Local News

  • Emergency well drilled in Sasakwa, where some residents lacked running water for months [NonDoc]
  • Cyber-defense program earns Rose State College national recognition [The Journal Record]
  • Supply-chain issues delay pedestrian bridge placement over Northwest Expressway [The Oklahoman]
  • Crest Foods to begin construction on second Edmond store [The Journal Record]

Quote of the Day

“No worker should ever have to choose between caring for their family and keeping their jobs.”

– Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr. announcing the Cherokee Nation’s new increased paid family leave along with a minimum wage nearly double the state level to attract and retain employees. [Journal Record

Number of the Day


During the 2021 legislative session, Oklahoma’s state budget was available for public deliberation for three days, which was the nation’s third shortest such timeframe that year. The average state deliberated about their budget for 82 days. [OK Policy]

Policy Note

A Better Path Forward: Focus on Transparency: A January 2022 report from the Oklahoma Policy Institute shows that Oklahoma is among the nation’s least transparent states when engaging its residents during the development of the annual state budget. The report outlines several ways Oklahoma is not delivering transparency in the budget development process, and it suggests several solutions that lawmakers can consider to make the process more transparent. [Emma Morris & Paul Shinn / OK Policy

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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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