In The Know: Department of Justice investigating OKC, OKCPD | School districts overpaid in 2014 to undergo audit | Child Tax Credit

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

U.S. Department of Justice investigating OKC, OKCPD: The U.S. Department of Justice has opened a civil rights investigation into whether the state of Oklahoma — and specifically the City of Oklahoma and the OKC Police Department — have failed “to provide community-based mental health services to people in Oklahoma County, leading to unnecessary admissions to psychiatric facilities and police contact.” [NonDoc]

  • DOJ to probe if state, OKC discriminate against people with behavioral health disabilities [The Oklahoman]
  • Feds look into treatment of mentally ill adults in Oklahoma [Journal Record]
  • U.S. Justice Dept launches probe of Oklahoma’s mental health services [Reuters]

Lawsuit follow-up: School districts overpaid in 2014 to undergo audit: The Oklahoma State Board of Education is seeking the state auditor’s help in determining how much money hundreds of school districts were overpaid nearly a decade ago. [Tulsa World]

State Government News

Weekly unemployment filings remain at record low in state: Initial state unemployment filings continued to hover in record low territory with totals for the week ending Nov. 5 the second-lowest recorded in at least 35 years. [Tulsa World]

Federal Government News

Sen. Jim Inhofe pays tribute to Oklahoma, Senate colleagues as he nears exit: U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe bade farewell to the Senate on Wednesday with an address that touched on his fondness for his colleagues, his work on defense and infrastructure issues and his devotion to Oklahoma. [The Oklahoman]

Voting and Election News

First court hearing on voting irregularity sees testimony from sheriff, candidate: A judge has granted a continuance in a court case involving a voting irregularity in the Tulsa City Council District 5 race between Grant Miller and Mykey Arthrell. [Public Radio Tulsa]

  • Update: City Council recount puts candidates even closer; hearing on alleged voting irregularities continues next week [Tulsa World]

Gov. Stitt, Sen. Lankford take neutral stands on Trump running in 2024: Oklahoma Republicans still support former President Donald Trump, recent polls show, but two of the state’s top GOP office holders stopped short on Wednesday of endorsing his run for another term. [The Oklahoman]

Podcast: ‘It had to be more than just teachers and their families voting’: Oklahoma educator responds to election outcome: Leading up to the midterms, throngs of teachers and education advocates rallied around democratic candidates for governor and superintendent. But after the ticket went to Gov. Kevin Stitt and Education Secretary Ryan Walters, some of those teachers are thinking about leaving the state altogether. [StateImpact Oklahoma]

Health News

‘Not just a flood, but a toxic flood’: Lead mining waste sits in the same floodwaters as Northeast Oklahoma homes and businesses: Miami is the largest city in Ottawa County in Oklahoma’s northeastern corner. The area is dotted with closed lead and zinc mines. Before they closed in the 1960s, those mines generated massive piles of chat—leftover gravel from metal processing that wasn’t useful to sell but still contains high levels of heavy metals. [KOSU]

Criminal Justice News

Oklahoma puts Richard Fairchild to death, tying the state with Texas for most executions this year: Oklahoma on Thursday executed Richard Fairchild, an ex-Marine who was convicted in the brutal 1993 killing of his girlfriend’s 3-year-old son. Fairchild, who turned 63 the day of his execution, was convicted in 1996 of killing Adam Broomhall. [The Frontier]

  • Richard Fairchild executed for murder of Adam Broomhall in Oklahoma [The Oklahoman]
  • Oklahoma executes man for 1993 killing of 3-year-old boy [Journal Record]
  • Richard Fairchild professes faith before his execution on Thursday [The Oklahoman]

Economy & Business News

Crystal Bridge to reopen after $11 million renovation: After an $11 million renovation, the Crystal Bridge at the Myriad Gardens will reopen on Friday. The indoor botanical garden first opened in 1988 and is now completely transformed with all types of tropical plants, including pineapples, mangos and limes. [Journal Record]

Planned sporting goods store at Woodland Hills Mall to get up to $10M in TIF money: The Tulsa Authority for Economic Opportunity (TAEO) moved that project forward Thursday. It approved a development and financing assistance agreement with Scheels that will provide the retailer up to $10 million in sales-tax reimbursements through a recently created tax increment financing district (TIF). [Tulsa World]

Education News

Epic board approves another corrective action plan: Following the June release of an investigative report that lead to the State Board of Education placing Epic Charter Schools on probation, Epic board members unanimously approved a new corrective action plan Wednesday night. [NonDoc]

State board requests audit on school district overpayments, takes Western Heights action: In a two-hour meeting Thursday, Oklahoma State Board of Education members requested the State Auditor and Inspector’s Office conduct an audit of “school districts which may have received more state aid than they were entitled to in 2014” in response to a lawsuit that concluded two years ago regarding an error in the way state aid was calculated and distributed. [NonDoc]

Education Watch: High School Senior Takes Concurrent Enrollment Complaint to State Board: A high school senior says Harding Charter Preparatory High School denied her the opportunity to take college classes next semester through concurrent enrollment. School leaders say she didn’t ask in time, and adding college classes to her schedule now may jeopardize her ability to graduate. [Oklahoma Watch]

Quote of the Day

“What we’ve seen over the years is that the ability to receive community-based mental health treatment, i.e. mental health treatment and services in your community, in your home … is something that is not widely available.”

-Brian Wilkerson, the Disability Law Center’s litigation and legal services director, speaking about the conditions that prompted a U.S. Department of Justice investigation [The Oklahoman

Number of the Day


Oklahoma is one of three states where the state Child Tax Credit is non-refundable. [Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy]

Policy Note

State Child Tax Credits and Child Poverty: A 50-State Analysis: In 2021, as part of the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA), the United States established its first near-universal child benefit in the form of an expanded, monthly Child Tax Credit. The expansion cut child poverty dramatically, with corresponding drops in material hardship among families with children. Its success was due, in large part, to the design enhancements that increased its value, provided the full increased benefit to children in poverty for the first time and delivered the benefit in monthly payments for all recipients. [Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy]

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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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