In The Know: Deadly shooting at football game sparks calls for security, gun safety | Opioid settlement funds distributed | OK Dept. of Ed requests ‘Pronoun Report’ | Capitol Update

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

Current events show need to revisit education governance (Capitol Update): A look back at how the composition of the State Board of Education has changed from six-year staggered terms to four-year concurrent appointments serving at the will of governor. Given the current turmoil, it seems the time may be right for the legislature to take another look at education governance in Oklahoma. [Steve Lewis / Capitol Update]

Oklahoma News

Oklahoma lawmakers asked what can be done to prevent tragedy at sporting events: After the tragic shooting in Choctaw, some may be asking what can be done to prevent a similar tragedy at other sporting events. [KOCO]

  • Everything we know about the shooting at Friday’s Choctaw v. Del City football game [The Oklahoman]
  • ‘What place is sacred anymore?’: Shooting at Choctaw football game part of larger trend [The Oklahoman]
  • ‘It hit me like a ton of bricks’: Choctaw shooting victim’s former teacher speaks [News 9]
  • Off-duty officer fired shot that wounded man at high school football game [AP via Public Radio Tulsa]
  • Del City officer shot one of the victims at high school football game shooting, police say [The Oklahoman]
  • Metro schools take closer look at security for high school football games following deadly shooting [KFOR]
  • Mayes County Sheriff’s Office takes gun away from juvenile at football game [Fox23]

State Government News

Governor Stitt says Oklahoma should eliminate state income tax: Stitt has been calling for tax cuts for a while now, but he flat out said on Fox Business it’s time to eliminate the state’s income tax. [KOKI]

OK Dept. of Ed. asks districts to complete “pronoun report”: While the attention of the room and even the entire state during last week’s Oklahoma State Department of Education board meeting was on the accreditation of Tulsa Public Schools, a new policy announcement that usually would have made headlines was announced but got little attention. [Fox23]

Oklahoma pension trustees vote for exemption to law barring business with some banks: Trustees of the Oklahoma Public Employee Retirement System voted last week to take a financial exemption from a new law forbidding state pension systems from doing business with banks perceived to be hostile to oil and gas companies. [The Oklahoman]

Federal Government News

SNAP remains a GOP target as farm bill deadline looms and food insecurity rises: The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program is a flashpoint in Congress yet again as members work to renew the farm bill. And the debate comes in the midst of rising food insecurity across the U.S. [KOSU]

Health News

Oklahoma to dole out $23 million in first round of opioid lawsuit settlement funds: Attorney General Gentner Drummond announced the Oklahoma Opioid Abatement Board will begin awarding eligible groups money to counteract some impacts from the opioid epidemic. [KOSU]

Oklahoma combating rise in opioid overdoses: The Oklahoma Department of Heath says opioid overdose deaths jumped more than 600% since the pandemic started. Now, officials are hoping education can help. [KFOR]

Lack of nursing home staffing a chronic issue in Oklahoma: The desperate need for nursing home staffing continues nationwide, and the Sooner State is no exception. Nursing homes are closing at a rate of 100 facilities per year since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in early 2020, according to the American Health Care Association. [Journal Record]

New initiative to provide free medicine to Oklahoma travelers along turnpikes: The Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services (ODMHSAS), is bringing life-saving resources to Oklahomans in the form of Naloxone and Fentanyl Test Strips. Both products will be available through a vending machine, placed at seven of the state’s travel centers along turnpikes. [KOKH]

Oklahoma scores a ‘D’ on Oral Health Report Card: The Oklahoma Oral Health Coalition (OOHC) this week announced that, when compared to the nation’s performance on 13 key oral health indicators, Oklahoma scored a “D” on its oral health report card. [The Duncan Banner]

Criminal Justice News

Local advocates call for DOJ to investigate dropped police shooting cases: In 2020, seven police officers in Oklahoma County were involved in the deaths of three individuals. Former district attorney, David Prater, filed criminal charges against the officers before his retirement earlier this year. But last month, the new DA, Vicki Behenna, announced she was dismissing the charges against all seven officers with prejudice, meaning the cases cannot be refiled. [KGOU]

Judge dismisses sex abuse lawsuit against Mount St. Mary Catholic High School: A federal judge has dismissed an explosive lawsuit filed by several young women who accused a prominent private high school in Oklahoma City of fostering a culture of sexual abuse and harassment. [The Oklahoman]

Housing & Economic Opportunity

City aims to control ‘slumlord’ properties: Tulsa is looking to ensure rental properties are safe and habitable. Two years ago, about 100 residents were forced out of Vista Shadow Mountain apartments due to multiple code violations. According to City Councilor Lori Decter Wright, some of those tenants were paying market rent of $1,400 a month. A working group was subsequently formed to make sure nothing like Vista Shadow Mountain happens again. [Public Radio Tulsa]

Cherokee Housing Authority turns over keys to new tenants: The keys to the first four rental homes of the planned 21 in the Mige Glory Addition, a subsidized housing program through Cherokee Nation Housing Authority, were turned over to new tenants Aug. 25. [Tahlequah Daily Press]

Education News

Parents sue Kingfisher School District, State Supt. Walters over claims of decades-long culture of child abuse in athletics program: Two parents have petitioned for a Writ of Mandamus against the Kingfisher School District and State Superintendent Ryan Walters for reportedly failing to stop child abuse at Kingfisher Schools. [KOKH]

  • Can Oklahoma Supreme Court have Kingfisher High School coach fired over hazing? [The Oklahoman]

Mayor Bynum on Gist’s departure: ‘I hate it for Tulsa Public Schools’: Mayor G.T. Bynum said Monday that he hated to see the departure of Tulsa Public Schools Superintendent Deborah Gist, and he described State Superintendent Ryan Walters’ handling of the news as not “in any way appropriate or professional.” [Tulsa World]

Dr. Deborah Gist speaks out after mutual separation from Tulsa Public Schools: Superintendent Ryan Walters said TPS Superintendent Deborah Gist’s departure was cutting out a cancer as he called it. For her part, Dr. Gist says this has not been a back-and-forth between the district and the state superintendent, but a relentless assault from him. She says his attacks on the district are based on lies that she has seen firsthand. [KTUL]

General News

Oklahomans consider how to ‘Be The Dream’ on 60th anniversary of MLK’s iconic speech: Oklahomans who gathered at the State Capitol on Sunday were asked how they could embody the spirit of hopeful words shared by a civil rights leader six decades ago at the 1963 March on Washington. [The Oklahoman]

Oklahoma Local News

  • Oklahoma City begins search to root out lead water service lines [KGOU]

Quote of the Day

“We already have to think about that in movie theaters, in malls, in Walmart, but for us to also have to think about this at a football game. What place is sacred anymore?”

– Joshua Harris-Till, communications lead for the Oklahoma chapter of Moms Demand Action, on the rising prevalence of gun violence at school sporting events, which account for 16.5% of school shootings. [The Oklahoman]

Number of the Day


Projected decrease in the share of children experiencing poverty in Oklahoma as a result of 2021’s American Rescue Plan Act, which temporarily expanded the federal Child Tax Credit during the pandemic. [Urban Institute]

Policy Note

Expanding the Child Tax Credit Would Advance Racial Equity in the Tax Code: The federal Child Tax Credit (CTC) is one of the most effective tools that the U.S. uses to assist families with children, raise incomes, and reduce poverty. The CTC provides families with a tax credit of up to $2,000 for each child in their household. The credit is only partially refundable, though, with limits that prevent families with lower income from receiving the full credit. Often the poorest families get no credit at all. This means that a policy meant to help children does less for poor children of all races and disproportionately leaves out Black and Hispanic children. [Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy]

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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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