In The Know: DHS implements 25% provider rate increase for disability, senior services | Voting barriers for some Oklahoma citizens | 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

Taxes, including tax cuts proposals, expected on agenda for 2023 legislative session (Capitol Update): The legislature appears to have made it through the 2022 regular session and a couple of special sessions without a large election-year tax cut. Legislators last week recessed the special session that they (the legislature) called to appropriate the federal funds allocated to Oklahoma by the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA). Gov. Stitt repeatedly issued statements calling for them to amend their special session call and repeal the state sales tax on groceries, which the Oklahoma Tax Commission estimates would cost the state $325 million annually.  [Steve Lewis / OK Policy]

Oklahoma News

DHS implements 25% provider rate increase for disability, senior services: As part of the Oklahoma Department of Human Services’ push to eliminate its 13-year waiting list for developmental disability services, the agency has implemented a 25% rate increase for providers who work with some of the state’s most vulnerable individuals. [The Oklahoman]

Why 21,000 Oklahoma Citizens Face Significant Barriers to the Ballot: Oklahoma’s Hispanic population increased by 42% since the 2020 census, making it the state’s fastest-growing demographic. Yet 21,000 Spanish-speaking Oklahoma citizens will be required to cast ballots in a language they don’t fully understand next month. [Oklahoma Watch]

State Government News

Oklahoma Conservation Commission approves emergency drought relief program: The Oklahoma Conservation Commission unanimously approved a $3 million emergency drought relief program Monday for farmers and ranchers. [KOSU]

Oklahoma Lawmakers Deny Funding for Transgender Youth Clinics: Oklahoma lawmakers have passed a bill that would force the closure of a transgender youth health care clinic at OU Children’s Hospital by denying taxpayer funds to any facility that offers gender-affirming treatments to transgender youth. [Metro Weekly]

New eight-year plan to rebuild I-35 and I-240 junction, rebuild bridges statewide: The Oklahoma Department of Transportation on Monday awarded the single largest contract in its history for reconstruction of Interstate 40 and the highway’s junction with Doulgas Boulevard while also approving an eight-year plan funding future rebuilding of the Interstate 240 junction with Interstate 35 in south Oklahoma City. [The Oklahoman]

Editorial: Find out how to use and abide by the Open Records and Open Meeting Act: The heart of our government rests in transparency, and in Oklahoma this lies in the state’s Open Records and Meeting Act. The law details what documents are exempt from public inspection and how to conduct legal public meetings. Too many people don’t understand the rights and limitations of what this law provides — that includes public workers, elected officials and people making record requests. [Editorial / Tulsa World]

Tribal Nations News

First-Ever Secretary’s Tribal Advisory Committee Convenes: The Department of the Interior’s first-ever Secretary’s Tribal Advisory Committee (STAC) held its kick-off meeting this week. Secretary Deb Haaland announced that President Whitney Gravelle (Bay Mills Indian Community) and Chairwoman Erica Pinto (Jamul Indian Village) will serve as the new Chair and Vice Chair of the STAC, respectively. [U.S. Department of Interior]

Osage Nation Congress calls for repeal of Oklahoma’s so-called ‘critical race theory’ ban: The Osage Nation Congress unanimously passed a resolution last week, calling on the Oklahoma legislature to repeal House Bill 1775, the so-called critical race theory bill. [KOSU]

The Choctaw Nation efforts to encourage and educate voters to the polls: We’re just a little more than a month away from the general midterm elections and the Choctaw Nation is gearing up with a public proclamation. [KXII]

Cherokee welcome center creates new Route 66 landmark: The new $5 million Cherokee Nation Anna Mitchell Cultural & Welcome Center opened Monday afternoon on historic Route 66 near the Vinita exit from the Will Rogers Turnpike, where it will serve as a sort of tourist gateway to the Cherokee Nation and northeastern Oklahoma. [Tulsa World]

Voting and Election News

National newsletter: Oklahoma governor’s race is something to keep an eye on: The Cook Political Report shifted their rating of the Oklahoma race for governor from “Solid R” to “Likely R.” [KFOR]

In backwoods Oklahoma, Democrats look for their roots: Oklahoma Democrats’ aspirations are both less grand and more audacious than a generation ago. They think they have legitimate chances to win some important races, or at least make Republican votes not quite so automatic as they’ve been lately. [Tulsa World]

Senate District 2: A question of economy vs. education: Rogers and Tulsa County residents voting in the Senate District 2 general election will choose either a public school teacher or an account manager for a Tulsa heritage company to be their next state senator. The race could also affect a Republican Caucus vote to determine who leads the Oklahoma State Senate for the next two years. [NonDoc]

Democracy Watch: Previewing Oklahoma’s Lieutenant Governor Race: Incumbent Republican Lt. Gov. Matt Pinnell will face two challengers in the Nov. 8 general election, one of whom argues the position is unnecessary and should be abolished. [Oklahoma Watch]

Column: What multiple polls tell us: When you have multiple polls that are run within a short frame of time the first thing a reader should do is ask whether the two polls are telling us the same story. [David Searcy / The Lawton Constitution]

Criminal Justice News

Tulsa police decry recent fatal teen shootings, spate of homicides Friday: A shooting that left one teen dead, another critically wounded and an adult and child injured under Friday night lights has Tulsa police leaders looking for change. [Tulsa World]

Suspect shot by police in Oklahoma City identified: A man shot by Oklahoma City police remained at OU Medical Center early Monday. The shooting was the ninth involving a police officer this year. [The Oklahoman]

Deputy seen punching teenager at Tulsa State Fair used ‘force necessary,’ commander says: A Tulsa County deputy seen in several viral videos punching a 17-year-old boy at the Tulsa State Fair over the weekend used “the force necessary” after the teen reportedly fought deputies and refused arrest, the fair commander for the Tulsa County Sheriff’s Office said. [Tulsa World]

Economy & Business News

Stitt decries Chinese land ownership in Oklahoma: Gov. Kevin Stitt proudly claimed credit for halting Chinese nationals from buying land in Oklahoma during a podcast interview that aired over the weekend – though foreign companies continue to own major agricultural properties in the state. [The Journal Record]

Education News

Oklahoma City area schools show many students below grade level in math, reading, science: More Oklahoma City metro-area students fell below grade level in core subjects since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, state test scores show, but many districts say the latest results indicate growth from the year before. [The Oklahoman]

Column: Oklahoma teachers should collectively act against harmful legislation: This school year in Oklahoma is like no other school year before it. If the accreditation downgrade of Tulsa and Mustang was a “watershed moment,” then what we are experiencing now are the first events in a new epoch for Oklahoma public education. [Aaron Baker Guest Column / The Oklahoman]

General News

‘Always a doer’: Former U.S. Rep. Bill Brewster dies at 80: Former Congressman Bill Brewster, who represented Oklahoma’s Third District from 1991 to 1997, died early this morning at the age of 80 after a year-long battle with cancer.  [NonDoc]

Tulsa’s Greenwood District is now nationally recognized as historic: For over fifteen arduous years, The John Hope Franklin Center for Reconciliation has garnered assistance and increased awareness through collective and collaborative efforts from Greenwood supporters near and far. As a result of their tireless efforts, The Greenwood District has now received its listing on the National Register of Historic Places. [The Black Wall Street Times]

Quote of the Day

“It’s just good practical sense for both parties and that is to reach out to the electorate and make it easier for any individual to vote, regardless of their demographic. I think it needs to be done.”

-Fred Mendoza, a Latino community leader who helped the GOP find the Capitol Hill location for its Hispanic community center, speaking on how Oklahoma is overdue for Spanish-speaking voting materials statewide. [Oklahoma Watch]

Number of the Day


Voter turnout rate for Oklahoma voters ages 18-29, which was lowest among southern states during the 2020 general election. Oklahoma’s 2020 voter turnout rate (18-29) was 4 points higher than it was for the 2016 general election. The national average for this age range is 52.5%, which is the lowest voter turnout by age group. [Center for Information & Research on Civic Learning and Engagement]   

Policy Note

Youth Voter Registration Has Surpassed 2018 Levels in Many States, but It’s Lagging for the Youngest Voters: As of early September of this year, almost half of states for which we have reliable data (18 out of 41) already have more young people, ages 18-24, registered to vote than they did in November 2018—a positive sign for youth electoral participation in the 2022 midterms. However, among just the youngest potential voters, ages 18-19, only a handful of states (9 of 41) are above their 2018 registrations and many remain far behind, highlighting that there’s a lot of work to do to reach these newly eligible members of the electorate ahead of fast-approaching registration deadlines. [Center for Information & Research on Civic Learning and Engagement]   

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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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