In The Know: Child care providers face financial hurdles | Board to vote on contract for religious charter school | Fiscal transparency | Indigenous Peoples Day

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

Inflation, federal funding drop off worries Oklahoma child care center owners: The owners of child care centers face a financial cliff as federal funding that helped stabilize the industry and keep parents working comes to an end. Despite state and federal efforts to increase access for low-income families, day care owners say it’s a daily battle to staff facilities for parents who struggle to afford child care. [Oklahoma Voice]

State Government News

State board to consider contracting with Catholics for first-ever religious charter school: A state board is set to vote Monday on contracting with Catholic leaders in Oklahoma for the nation’s first religious charter school, St. Isidore of Seville Catholic Virtual School. [Tulsa World]

Oklahoma judge upholds gender-affirming ban on minors, ACLU to appeal: Oklahoma’s ban on gender-affirming care will be allowed to go into effect after a Tulsa federal judge ruled the ACLU’s challenge to SB 613 would likely fail. The ACLU of Oklahoma is planning to appeal. [KGOU]

  • Oklahoma judge upholds law banning gender-affirming treatments for minors [The Oklahoman]

Oklahoma Health Care Authority faces suit over its information exchange: The Oklahoma Fraternal Order of the Police is suing the Oklahoma Health Care Authority, claiming its Health Information Exchange is unconstitutional because it requires providers serving Medicaid patients to report patient information into the exchange. [KGOU]

  • Police, physicians say Oklahoma’s system for sharing medical records is unconstitutional [The Oklahoman]

Is the Oklahoma Turnpike Authority ‘spying’ on people? Here’s what Public Eye found: Opponents of the state’s ACCESS Oklahoma plan have accused the Oklahoma Turnpike Authority of “political spying” by tracking what people say on social media about both the plan and the authority. They argue that authority and the public relations firm it hired may have violated both state and federal law by tracking social media posts that they and others made last year. [The Oklahoman]

Political notebook: State revenue continues lower: Gross revenue to the state treasury was 7.1% lower in September than in the same month a year ago, continuing a trend that began after a long upward climb ended in the spring. [Tulsa World]

Lawmakers Weigh Budget Transparency Reforms: The Oklahoma Legislature tends to fast-track appropriations bills, but that could soon change. This year it took just three days for a $13 billion state budget proposal to be introduced and signed into law. Since 2014, the general public has had at most seven days to review proposed appropriations to state agencies. [Oklahoma Watch]

Tribal Nations News

New report finds another 115 Indigenous boarding schools, most run by missionaries: The legacy of the federal Indian boarding school system is not new to Indigenous people. For generations, Indigenous people across the country have experienced the loss of their culture, traditions, language and land at the hands of federal boarding schools. However, there are more schools, not federally supported but operated instead by church institutions, that still worked to assimilate Indigenous children. [Oklahoma Voice]

Racism, greed during oil boom created environment for Osage murders: Most of those who came to Osage County were just trying to make an honest — or at least semi-honest — living. But, as detailed in many sources, including the FBI’s Osage Murders file, all of that money often proved too much of a temptation. The Osages were not the only ones targeted. The Tulsa World and other newspapers reported regularly on Cherokees and Muscogees who had been kidnapped, swindled and killed for oil rights. [Tulsa World]

  • FBI files reveal Tulsa connections to Osage murders [Tulsa World]

Opinion: Today is a time to celebrate, but also acknowledge painful shared history with the Freedmen: Indigenous Peoples’ Day is a relatively recent celebration of the contributions Indigenous people have made to this country, and a reminder of how long it’s taken for America to fully own its intertwined, painful history with Indigenous peoples, one marred by conquest and colonization, broken treaties and disputed lands. [Mary L. Smith / The Oklahoman]

Voting and Election News

County Election Board secretary calls bipartisan effort to recruit poll workers ‘innovative’ and ‘unprecedented’: The Tulsa County Republican and Democratic parties have come together to work with businesses to recruit more poll workers. The initiative, which will be facilitated by the Tulsa Regional Chamber, aims to get businesses across the county involved in recruiting their employees to work at voting precincts on Election Days in 2024 and beyond. [Tulsa World]

Now is a good time to check your voter registration: Oklahomans who plan to vote in next year’s elections might want to check their registration status now — especially those who move often and/or don’t vote much. Like all states, Oklahoma conducts what’s known as list maintenance to remove registrations deemed no longer valid. Most voters never notice, but occasionally it can lead to confusion and surprises at the polls, so checking registration status, either online at or at the county election board, is a good idea. [Tulsa World]

Health News

Mandates magnify Oklahoma nursing home staffing shortage: More than 5,800 Oklahomans could be displaced if nursing homes are forced to meet new unfunded federal staffing requirements, a new analysis shows. [Journal Record]

Criminal Justice News

School leaders question proximity of potential Oklahoma County jail sites: The first Oklahoma County jail relocation in generations has raised questions and worries over how close a detention center can — and should — be to schools. Multiple school district superintendents spoke out in recent weeks as county commissioners considered potential sites less than a mile from school facilities. [Oklahoma Voice]

  • Could Oklahoma County consider a smaller property near airport for new jail? [The Oklahoman]

More Oklahoma teens are getting access to guns — and are using them in crimes. What can be done?: Through Sept. 25 in Oklahoma County, the district attorney’s office filed 203 firearms-related charges against minors. With three months left before the end of the year, that number is well ahead of the 200 similar charges filed in all of 2022, according to data the DA’s office released to The Oklahoman. The data show more than 25% of the charges filed against minors this year in Oklahoma County have been firearms-related. In 2019, just 10% of the charges brought against minors were related to firearms. [The Oklahoman]

Economy & Business News

Opinion, Labor Commissioner Leslie Osborn: Removing licensing requirements in Oklahoma is not a prudent idea: Occupational licensure is the legal requirement that a credential be obtained in order to practice a profession. In 2018, the Oklahoma Legislature created the Occupational Licensure Commission to review which jobs in the state required a license to practice, and to ensure the licenses were reasonable and necessary. There have been groups that advocated for removing all licensing in our state, to let the free markets rule. There are multiple reasons why that is not a prudent idea. [Leslie Osborn / The Oklahoman]

Opinion: Should Oklahoma simplify its licensing requirements or do away with them altogether?: The top outcome from government licensure is stifling competition in many industries, which decreases jobs, increases costs and reduces access for consumers. [Bradley Ward / The Oklahoman]

Education News

Catoosa, Pretty Water have school bond proposals on Tuesday’s ballot: Catoosa Public Schools and Pretty Water School, a dependent district on Sapulpa’s northwest side, will hold elections on bond packages Tuesday. Polling places will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday in Creek, Rogers and Wagoner counties. [Tulsa World]

Opinion: Nuggets of truth: Working at Buc-ee’s could earn you more pay, respect than an Oklahoma teacher: Outside of every Buc-ee’s is a recruitment sign that advertises starting pay. Believe it or not, a management trainee can make 25% more than a veteran teacher in Oklahoma. Kick in health care, 401(k) and three weeks of bankable vacation, and the deal is sweeter than a Buc-ee’s kolache. Quite literally, a new high school graduate with retail experience can make more than his or her teachers the day after he or she receives a diploma. But this story is not about pay. It is about much more. [K. John Lee / The Oklahoman]

General News

Opinion: We must choose forgiveness constantly, not violence or harm: It’s no one’s favorite Scripture. Even Hobby Lobby hasn’t figured out a way to make a buck off these verses. It turns out no one wants bedazzled home decor that reminds us we are supposed to forgive seventy-seven times, as the New Revised Standard Version translates it or “seventy times seven,” if you’re reading from the King James Version. [The Rev. Lori Allen Walke / The Oklahoman]

Quote of the Day

“The end goal was largely much the same. It was the cultural reprogramming of Native children. It was the intention to strip Native people of language, culture, tradition and ties to the land. That part can’t be overstated.”

-National Native American Boarding School Healing Coalition Deputy CEO Dr. Samuel Torres, speaking about church-sponsored schools that worked alongside federal efforts to destroy Native culture and way of life through assimilation into white, Christian, American society. [Oklahoma Voice]

Number of the Day


A new report has identified 523 Indian boarding schools that operated in the United States from 1801 to present. Oklahoma had the largest number of boarding schools (95) operating in the state. [National Native American Boarding School Healing Coalition]

Policy Note

Indigenous Peoples’ Day, Explained: More than 100 cities have adopted the holiday, choosing to heed calls from Indigenous groups and other activists not to celebrate Christopher Columbus, the Italian navigator after whom the holiday is named. They say he brought genocide and colonization to communities that had been in the Americas for thousands of years. Some members of Indigenous communities say recognizing the day, which this year is on Monday, Oct. 9, does not go far enough. It is not yet a federal holiday, though lawmakers in Congress have introduced legislation that proposes to make it one. [New York Times]

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David Hamby has more than 25 years of experience as an award-winning communicator, including overseeing communication programs for Oklahoma higher education institutions and other organizations. Before joining OK Policy, he was director of public relations for Rogers State University where he managed the school’s external communication programs and served as a member of the president’s leadership team. He served in a similar communications role for five years at the University of Tulsa. He also has worked in communications roles at Oklahoma State University and the Fort Smith Chamber of Commerce in Arkansas. He joined OK Policy in October 2019.

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