In The Know: ‘Child care deserts’ in Oklahoma | Criminal justice fines and fees | Your vote is your voice

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: Your Voice is Your Vote: As the countdown continues toward the Nov. 8 general election, it is crucial that all eligible Oklahomans are registered to vote. With this upcoming Tuesday being celebrated as National Voter Registration Day, organizations statewide are holding voter registration drives to ensure more folks can exercise this fundamental right. [Shiloh Kantz / Journal Record]

  • From Together Oklahoma: Save Our Democracy: VOTE! | Sept. 20 online event to highlight Oklahoma’s voter registration activities [Together Oklahoma]

Criminalizing Poverty: The Consequences of Court Fees in a Randomized Experiment: OK Policy’s Criminal Justice Policy Analyst David Gateley joins the Pulse podcast to look at Oklahoma’s over-reliance on fines and fees and the consequences to our communities, economy, and more. [Pulse Podcast / Oklahomans for Criminal Justice Reform

Oklahoma News

Oklahoma to offer startup funding in ‘child care deserts’: Oklahoma will offer start-up grants to ease a shortage of child care across nearly half the state, officials said Tuesday. [Tulsa World]

New statewide survey shows Oklahoma teacher shortage growing: The results of an annual back-to-school survey of Oklahoma public schools show the state’s teacher shortage is growing, but there are early signs that a new incentive program to lure college students into the profession may hold promise. [Tulsa World]

State Government News

Oklahoma Gov. Stitt joins other GOP governors in criticizing Biden student loan forgiveness plan: More than 20 Republican governors signed a letter to the Biden administration criticizing his plan to pay off student loan debt for millions of borrowers. [KGOU]

Tribal Nations News

First Americans Museum celebrates first anniversary with big attendance and bigger plans: More than 130,000 people have visited the First Americans Museum almost a year after the long-awaited landmark opened near downtown Oklahoma City. After more than three decades of planning, delays and construction, the First Americans Museum opened to the public Sept. 18, 2021, with hundreds of visitors, dignitaries and cultural ambassadors, including representatives from all 39 Native American tribes based in Oklahoma, taking part in the multi-day grand opening. [The Oklahoman

Voting and Election News

Oklahoma Voter Registration Guide: How to Participate in the 2022 Midterm Election: The Nov. 8 general election is fast approaching. Here’s a voting guide to help you navigate upcoming deadlines and prepare to cast a ballot. [Oklahoma Watch]

Criminal Justice News

Despite restrictions, Oklahoma County looking at federal funds to help build a new jail: Federal guidelines forbid using American Rescue Plan funds to build correctional facilities. But some county officials believe there are options to get around the rules and shore up an estimated $40-million budget hole. [The Frontier]

Missing people, buried bones at center of Oklahoma mystery: A dozen or more people who have disappeared in recent years from the wooded, unincorporated terrain outside the Oklahoma City metro area, a rural haven for drug traffickers. Some families said they’re scared to call police or even to put up “missing person” signs because they suspect the involvement of violent white-supremacist prison gangs. [Washington Post]

Former Ninnekah schools superintendent accused of rape: A former Ninnekah Public Schools superintendent, accused in a lawsuit of allowing a culture of sexual abuse in his school district, now faces a rape allegation. [The Oklahoman]

Oklahoma looks into giving more money to people who are wrongfully convicted, incarcerated: Lawmakers heard from the Innocence Project, legislators from other states, and relatives of the wrongfully convicted Wednesday afternoon. [KOCO News 5]

Education News

Editorial: Some Oklahoma lawmakers piling on to harass former teacher over books: A dozen Oklahoma lawmakers are using their standing to intimidate — and possibly end the career of — a Norman teacher who resigned after a controversy over sharing a QR code for the Brooklyn Public Library. [Tulsa World]

General News

To see what Oklahoma could do with nuclear waste, StateImpact goes underground: A $3 million research project led by the University of Oklahoma’s Institute for Public Policy Research is aiming to develop a new framework for consent-based interim siting of spent nuclear fuel. As the nation’s nuclear waste storage crisis becomes increasingly more imminent, researchers hope they can craft policy that will incentivize communities to volunteer themselves as interim storage sites. [StateImpact Oklahoma]

Oklahoma Local News

Quote of the Day

“A lot of (child care providers) never reopened. We’ve never recouped from the pandemic, and now there are lot more children who need child care than there are places for them.”

— Jackie Evans, who owns Aunt Jackie’s Childcare Home in Tulsa, speaking about the impacts of the pandemic on child care providers in Oklahoma. [Tulsa World]

Number of the Day


Percentage of eligible Oklahoma voters who cast ballots during the 2020 presidential election. Oklahoma’s rate was the lowest in the nation. [Ballotpedia]

Policy Note

After Roe’s End, Women Surged in Signing Up to Vote in Some States: On average in the month after the Supreme Court’s decision that overturned Roe v. Wade, 55 percent of newly registered voters in those states were women, according to the analysis, up from just under 50 percent before the decision was leaked in early May. The increase varied greatly across the 10 states — Kansas, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Oklahoma, Florida, North Carolina, Idaho, Alabama, New Mexico and Maine. In Oklahoma, the change of women as a percentage of new regististered voters increased by 3.2 points to 51% after the Dobbs decision was released. [New York Times

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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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