In The Know: Community rallies behind TPS amid accreditation threat | Afghan refugee resettlement highlights major inequities | School enrollment outpaces teacher recruitment | Capitol Update | More

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:

Lawmakers should clear up conflicting language about remaining in office following criminal pleas, convictions (Capitol Update): Two statutes seem to conflict in that one sets up a procedure for suspension from office pending final outcome of the case in some cases, and the other provides for immediate vacation of the office after entry of a guilty plea. The case would have had to be resolved by the court using rather complicated rules of legislative interpretation, the outcome of which was likely unpredictable. [Steve Lewis / Capitol Update]

Oklahoma News

‘TPS isn’t perfect, but it is ours,’ parent tells Tulsa school board: More than 20 people, including teachers, students, parents and public officials, signed up to speak at Tulsa Public Schools’ Board of Education meeting Monday night. [Tulsa World]

  • Tulsans Unite To Oppose Bid For Takeover Of The City’s School System [The Oklahoma Eagle]

Afghan Refugee Resettlement Highlights Inequities for All Vulnerable Oklahomans: Oklahoma was preparing for 1,800 Afghan refugees. Jeff and Christine Poynter were eager to help. The moment they contacted Catholic Charities Archdiocese of Oklahoma City and agreed to help an Afghan family of 11 locate housing, access healthcare, obtain driver’s licenses and enroll their children in school, they didn’t know they’d signed up for a front-row seat to a display of systemic inequities in Oklahoma that plague vulnerable, low-income families across the state. [Oklahoma Watch]

State Government News

ACCESS Oklahoma opponent seeks judge’s disqualification, alleges conflicts of interest: Veteran Norman attorney Stan Ward is asking that an Oklahoma Supreme Court justice be disqualified from hearing further cases challenging construction of new turnpikes over an alleged conflict of interest. [The Oklahoman]

Stitt joins Abbott, other GOP governors in call to tighten border: Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt and governors of four other Republican-led states met near the Mexico-Texas border on Monday to detail the latest in their joint effort to curb illegal immigration crossings ahead of a federal hearing over a floating barrier in the Rio Grande. [Journal Record]

  • Gov. Kevin Stitt calls for Trump-era ‘remain in Mexico’ policies at Texas border gathering [The Oklahoman]

Lawmakers now part of EMS request: A couple of Garvin County lawmakers are now getting in on a request for an opinion from Oklahoma Attorney General Gentner Drummond regarding the distribution of county sales tax revenue to support private businesses providing a public service, specifically for ambulance services. [Pauls Valley Democrat]

Drummond announces Open Records, Open Meetings seminars to be held statewide this fall: The Oklahoma Attorney General’s Office is partnering with the Oklahoma Press Association (OPA) to host seminars on Oklahoma’s Open Meeting and Open Records laws in five locations across the state beginning late next month. [Norman Transcript]

Health News

Talihina Veterans Home closure back on track: After a brief pause owing to concerns raised by some Oklahoma legislators, efforts to close the Talihina Veterans Home have resumed with the goal to have residents out of the 102-year-old facility by Oct. 31 and so that it can be closed by Dec. 1. [NonDoc]

New OSU nursing bachelor’s degree program hopes to address state shortage: Coming amid an ongoing nursing shortage, officials are hopeful that a new degree program will be just what the doctor — and state leaders — ordered. [Tulsa World]

Criminal Justice News

As DA seeks Hughes County Jail alternative, Seminole County Sheriff Shannon Smith resigns: Monday’s drama in Seminole County comes as leaders of neighboring Hughes County continue their years-long discussion about how to address serious health and safety violations at the subterranean Hughes County Jail. [NonDoc]

  • Seminole County sheriff announces resignation [KOCO]

Oklahoma board reviews domestic violence cases hoping to lower rates: Oklahoma has a board that reviews cases of domestic abuse that end in homicide and is acting to prevent future such outcomes. In the most recent annual report the total number of homicide victims due to domestic abuse was at 118, in 2012 it was 88. The increase is concerning to the board members who make recommendations to the legislature and governor to change the outcomes. [The Oklahoma City Sentinel]

Man at center of landmark tribal sovereignty case to get another day in court: Jimcy McGirt, the man at the center of the landmark Supreme Court ruling, will get a new trial beginning Sept. 11. [KOSU]

Housing & Economic Opportunity

Edmond housing ‘unattainable for most’: Lack of workforce housing is creating challenges for Edmond employers. More than 75% of the workforce commutes into Edmond because employees cannot find housing they can afford, according to a new housing study. [Journal Record]

Education News

Oklahoma City schools prioritize student safety with heat measurement program during extreme temperatures: In these extremely high temperatures, it’s important to make sure your kids are safe while walking to and from school or going to practice. Oklahoma City Public Schools District actually has it down to a science. [KOKH]

Oklahoma State University breaks records for enrollment: Oklahoma State University set several records for enrollment this year to stake a claim as the largest university system in the state. [Journal Record]

OU Class of 2027 breaks previous record for diversity, most students admitted: OU welcomed its largest, most diverse first-year class, according to a a Monday press release, as incoming students broke several school diversity records. [OU Daily]

Demand outpaces capacity at Canadian Valley Tech Center: Canadian Valley Technology Center campuses have been unable to accommodate several hundred students interested in taking classes this year because of a lack of capacity, administrators said. [Journal Record]

New School Year Brings Renewed Teacher Shortage Concerns in Oklahoma: Between the teacher shortage and the climate of the State Department of Education, many teachers say they are concerned for the future of their professions. [Ponca City Now]

General News

Want to own your own farm? Oklahoma sheriff auctioning 19 acres from seized marijuana farm: The Johnston County Sheriff’s Office announced Tuesday that a 19.24-acre lot near Coleman will be available from Sept. 11 to Sept. 13 at an online auction. [The Oklahoman]

Searching for ‘forever chemicals’ in Oklahoma’s drinking water: Before you take a sip of water from a public water supply, it runs a gauntlet of tests to make sure it’s safe for you to drink. But in about half of America’s public water supplies lurks something regulators haven’t been testing for — a family of so-called “forever chemicals” or PFAS (pronounced Pea-fas). Dr. Kenneth Ede, a PFAS consultant and retired OSU professor, explains these manmade chemicals were introduced to the world 85 years ago. [KGOU]

Oklahoma Local News

  • Tulsa Ports Authority moves forward with new wastewater treatment plant for Inola [KOSU]
  • OKC tourism is setting records with new, expanding attractions [The Oklahoman]
  • OKCPS asks for exception to make finding job applicants easier [KOCO]
  • Stillwater starts over after new state law affects energy saving project [KFOR]

Quote of the Day

“We think that some common-sense policies at the state level could help alleviate these concerns, not only for our current Afghan families, not only for any future refugees who might find their way to Oklahoma, but for all struggling and marginalized and vulnerable Oklahomans who are also experiencing so many of these challenges.”

– Veronica Laizure, Deputy Director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), on the urgent need for better state-level systems to connect Oklahomans with necessary resources. [Oklahoma Watch]

Number of the Day


Center-based child care for an infant ($9,176, Oklahoma average) would account for 33% of the household income for a single-parent earning the median income for an individual in Oklahoma ($28,134). [Child Care Aware]

Policy Note

Bridging the Child-Care Funding Cliff: Federal pandemic aid that supported thousands of child-care providers will end soon, leading to downsizings and closures. There are innovative ways for states, local governments and businesses to mitigate the blow to working families and employers. [Governing]

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Annie Taylor joined OK Policy as a Digital Communications Associate/Storybanker in April 2022. She studied journalism and mass communication at the University of Oklahoma, and was a member of the Native American Journalists Association. She earned her bachelor’s degree in Strategic Communications from the University of Central Oklahoma. While pursuing her degree, she worked in restaurant and retail management, as well as freelance copywriting and digital content production. Annie is an enrolled member of the Choctaw Nation, and holds a deep reverence for storytelling in the digital age. She was born and raised in southeast Oklahoma, and now lives in Oklahoma City with her dog, Melvin.

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