In The Know: Cherokees call on Congress to seat delegate from tribe, State drops to 41st in highway report, Tulsa County lawmaker looks to address “daycare desert” and childcare shortage

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. Click here to subscribe to In The Know and see past editions.

In The News

Citing treaties, Cherokees call on Congress to seat delegate from tribe: Citing two treaties, officials with the Cherokee Nation formally called on Congress on Thursday to seat a nonvoting delegate from the country’s largest tribe. Standing outside the tribe’s National History Museum, Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr. formally announced his nomination of Kimberly Teehee as the Cherokee Nation’s first delegate to the U.S. House of Representatives. [Tulsa World] Cherokee chief says journey to seat US delegate will be long. [AP News]

State drops to 41st in highway report: Oklahoma’s highway system ranks 41st in the nation in overall cost-effectiveness and condition, according to the Annual Highway Report published Thursday by Reason Foundation. The state’s ranking was down eight spots from the previous report where Oklahoma ranked 33rd overall. The state now ranks far behind Texas, Kansas, Missouri and other neighbors, according to Reason Foundation. [Journal Record]

Tulsa County lawmaker looks to address “daycare desert” and childcare shortage: A childcare desert is an area where there are three times as many children as there are daycare slots. One Tulsa County senator tells us it’s a growing problem across her district. [KJRHRecently, new federal grant funding has made it possible to increase Oklahoma’s child care subsidy.

BNSF works to derail new traffic-train law: A rail operator is seeking to derail an Oklahoma law that requires railroads operating in the state to minimize blocking road-rail crossings for longer than 10 minutes without good reason.  [The Oklahoman]

Officials seek to further enforce fines for stopped school bus violations in Oklahoma: Oklahoma Statute Title 47 requires that vehicles come to a stop when a school bus has its red loading signals on and stop sign extended. Those who violate the law face a fine of no less than $100. [The Oklahoman]

Oklahoma AG to agree to stipulation: Police won’t have access to patients’ information on medical marijuana licenses while lawsuit is pending: Police won’t have access to patients’ information on medical cannabis licenses, despite a new law that could allow for that access, while a lawsuit is pending, the Oklahoma Attorney General’s Office has confirmed. [Tulsa World]

Gov. Stitt responds to petition circulating to block permitless carry law: The governor’s office released a statement Thursday saying: “Oklahomans made their voices heard about their support for constitutional carry on the campaign trail and through the legislature’s passage of SB 1212 and HB2597 this year. The governor supports the hard work and commitment of our legislators who listen to their constituents and implement legislation that reflects the will of the people.” [FOX25] Tulsa mayor won’t state his position after OKC mayor signs petition to repeal Oklahoma’s ‘constitutional carry’ gun law [Tulsa World] Hamon seeks resolution supporting effort to halt permitless carry [The Oklahoman]

DOC mission: Imprisonment and freedom: If the Oklahoma Department of Corrections were to be considered a community like Yukon, Enid or Lawton, it would be the seventh-largest in the state. In fact, the DOC is a community unto itself in many ways, corrections officials told a couple of dozen stakeholders who gathered Thursday for an informational seminar held at the DOC administrative headquarters at 3400 N. Martin Luther King Ave. [Journal Record ????]

Carter County drug court participation drops drastically amid criminal justice reform: Participation in the Carter County drug court system has dropped nearly 65 percent since criminal justice reform measure, State Question 780, went into effect Nov. 1, 2017. [Ardmoreite]

Settlement reached in Carter Co. jail death case: The civil trial in the death of a man who died in the Carter County jail in 2015 came to an end Thursday after the parties reached a $3.2 million settlement, according to sources familiar with settlement negotiations. [The Frontier]

CenterPoint, AG’s office square off over proposed rate increase: The Oklahoma Corporation Commission made no decision Thursday on CenterPoint Energy Oklahoma Gas’s requested $1.9 million rate increase following a tense hearing. [Journal Record ????]

(Editorial) Workforce development a needed focus in Oklahoma: Kevin Stitt is new to the governor’s office but one of his chief concerns is not: workforce development in Oklahoma. Many of Stitt’s predecessors have spent considerable time looking for ways to help ensure that Oklahomans have the skills necessary to meet job demands, and thus help existing local businesses grow and bring new businesses to the state. [Editorial Board / The Oklahoman]

Group finds large number of OKCPS students suffering from mental health issues: In a classroom of 20 students, over 9 are in moderate or severe psychological distress. 12 are showing symptoms of moderate or severe depression. Of the more than 45,000 students in the district, about 1,000 of them have tried to commit suicide or made a plan to do so. [KFOR] Oklahoma has 435 students for every counselor, nearly double the recommended ratio of 250 students per counselor. 

Sovereign Community School is part of a larger movement: Sovereign Community School is new charter school in Oklahoma City with a focus on Native American culture and identity. It’s also part of a movement of tribes and tribal citizens using publicly funded, privately run schools to take control over the education of Native children. [StateImpact Oklahoma]

‘Butt ass naked’: Peckham Superintendent Gary Young accused of sexual misconduct: The Oklahoma State Board of Education has suspended the certificates of longtime Peckham Public School Superintendent Gary Young after receiving multiple allegations of sexual assault, sexual battery and sexual harassment from former students and coworkers. [NonDoc]

Tulsa Mass Graves Investigation Public Oversight Committee sets rules for physical process: On Thursday, during the third meeting, members of the Mass Graves Investigation Public Oversight Committee established ground rules for each step in the actual physical investigation and identified decision points that would be made in the future before searches get underway. [Tulsa World]

Recent quakes don’t signify an upward trend: Several recent earthquakes show Oklahoma must still deal with manmade seismic activity. Matt Skinner with the Oklahoma Corporation Commission says recent quakes don’t necessarily equate to an upward trend. [Public Radio Tulsa]

Quote of the Day

“The majority of senate district 37 is a childcare desert. Most of the spots are full. There are wait lists, and we have a lot of parents that struggle to work because of it.” 

– Sen. Allison Ikley-Freeman (D-Tulsa) [KJRH]

Number of the Day


The share of retirement income for low-income Americans that comes from Social Security

[Source: Urban Institute]

See previous Numbers of the Day here.

Policy Note

Voter turnout surged among people with disabilities last year. Activists want to make sure that continues in 2020: New data shows that politicians who ignore disabled Americans may be missing out on a growing group of voters whose support could be up for grabs in 2020 — and activists are hoping to take advantage of this momentum. [TIME]

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Jessica joined OK Policy as a Communications Associate in January 2018. A Mexican immigrant, she was a Clara Luper Scholar at Oklahoma City University where she obtained a B.A. in Political Science and Philosophy. Prior to joining OK Policy, Jessica worked at a digital marketing agency in Oklahoma City. She is an alumna of both the National Education for Women (N.E.W.) Leadership Institute (2013) and OK Policy's Summer Policy Institute (2015). In addition to her role at OK Policy, Jessica serves as a board member for Dream Action Oklahoma in OKC and communications director for Dream Alliance Oklahoma in Tulsa.

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