In The Know: Early voting starts today | 2021 winter storm costs | Expanded pregnancy, postpartum care is major step forward

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

Enacting recommended expansion of pregnancy, postpartum care will represent a step forward for Oklahoma families: Oklahoma consistently ranks poorly on women’s and children’s health. While Oklahoma’s decision to expand Medicaid has significantly lowered the state’s uninsured rate, Oklahoma women have historically seen high rates of uninsurance. At 23.5 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births, the state’s maternal mortality rate is much higher than the national rate of 20.1, and Black Oklahomans face an even higher mortality rate at 40.8. When compared with national peers, Oklahoma women face comparatively high levels of frequent mental and physical distress, and the state ranks 47th worst for infant mortality. [Emma Morris / OK Policy]

Oklahoma News

Editorial: Early voting provides one less excuse to miss this chance to vote: In-person early voting begins today for the mid-term elections for 2022. Those who want to take advantage of the early voting period will have to go to Garfield County Election Board, 903 Failing. Hours for early voting are 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. today through Friday, and 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday. [Enid News & Eagle]

  • Early voting in Oklahoma is Wednesday through Saturday. Here’s what you need to know [Public Radio Tulsa]
  • Early in-person voting begins Wednesday [Tulsa World]

Election 2022: How Oklahoma Counts and Certifies Votes: County election officials have started processing tens of thousands of mail-in ballots. Early voting begins today, Wednesday, Nov. 5, and runs through Saturday. The polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on election day. In anticipation of election day, Oklahoma Watch has prepared a guide on how Oklahoma counts ballots and certifies election results. [Oklahoma Watch]

Bi-partisan group calls for investigation into 2021 winter storm costs: One former Republican lawmaker joined a group of progressives to call for more accountability after Oklahomans footed the bill to pay for the 2021 winter storm. [KFOR]

State Government News

Turnpike authority accused of altering public agendas, withholding expansion details: Homeowners fighting plans to uproot their neighborhoods to make way for a new toll road are battling the Oklahoma Turnpike Authority over allegations commission agendas detailing the $5 billion ACCESS Oklahoma plan were altered after being posted. [The Oklahoman]

Tribal Nations News

Tribes seek to lead way on opioid treatment: The story of Choctaw citizen Clayton Clark’s opioid addiction begins with a compressed disc, and pirouettes into a tale of devastation and loss. [Norman Transcript]

First Americans Museum emphasize importance of celebrating history: Tuesday marked the start of Native American Heritage Month and there will be no shortage of ways to honor our neighbors in Oklahoma. [KOCO]

Voting and Election News

At campaign stops in rural Oklahoma, voters quiz Stitt over school vouchers: During a campaign stop at a coffee shop in the small western Oklahoma town of Seiling, Kevin Stitt was losing his patience as the local newspaper publisher grilled him over private school vouchers. “I’m not cutting expenditures, bro,” Stitt said, in response to the publisher’s questions on public school funding. [The Frontier]

Hofmeister trails Stitt in fundraising, but independent expenditures on her behalf far outpace his: Democratic gubernatorial nominee Joy Hofmeister may have allies spending a lot of money on her behalf, but fundraising for her own campaign has been considerably more modest, according to a report filed Monday night with the Oklahoma Ethics Commission. [Tulsa World]

  • Hofmeister trails Stitt in campaign spending in final months of race [The Oklahoman]

As polls tighten, Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt to host rallies with big GOP names: Election day is next week, and Gov. Kevin Stitt is hosting a pair of “Red Wave Rallies” in Oklahoma City and Tulsa this week. [Public Radio Tulsa]

  • Sen. Ted Cruz headlines Stitt for Governor rally in Oklahoma City [FOX25]

Cheat sheet: Overviews of key Oklahoma judicial races: Voters will decide several key Oklahoma judicial races on Nov. 8, including whether to retain four of nine justices on the Oklahoma Supreme Court and five of 12 judges on the Oklahoma Court of Civil Appeals, in addition to voting in county-level races for district judge. [NonDoc]

Caldwell, Payne vie for House District 40 seat: Among the races votes will decide in Tuesday’s general election is who will occupy the state House District 40 seat, which represents Enid, North Enid and part of Garfield County. [Enid News & Eagle]

Disappearing campaign signs are a reminder that city has volunteer ordinance enforcers: Tulsans noticing campaign signs disappearing from their yards may be quick to blame opposing viewpoints, but as one resident recently learned, a city ordinance allows for their removal in some cases. [Tulsa World]

Health News

Oklahoma will allow hospitals to use adult beds for kids amid surge in RSV cases: The Oklahoma State Department of Health will temporarily allow hospitals to designate adult beds for children amid a surge in RSV cases in children statewide, officials announced Tuesday. Cases of RSV, or respiratory syncytial virus, have been rising across the U.S., straining children’s hospitals. [The Oklahoman]

  • 3 things to know about RSV in children, including when to go to the ER [The Oklahoman]

EMSA settles lengthy legal dispute with former ambulance provider: The Emergency Medical Services Authority, otherwise known as EMSA, has agreed to pay American Medical Response ambulance service $10.5 million to settle a lawsuit and end a lengthy legal dispute that could have seen the Oklahoma public trust pay more than $16 million to the private company. [NonDoc]

Criminal Justice News

Column: Rally behind candidates that are going to be smarter on crime and our tax dollars: What we are seeing state by state is that locking people up does not deter them from committing crimes. The United States, along with much of the Western world, has adopted a blanket response to the fruit of glaring mental, emotional and socioeconomic disparities that says “our one and only solution, no matter how many times you’ve cried out for help, is to put you in jail.” [Jasmine Thomas Guest Column / The Oklahoman]

Economic Opportunity

Canoo says it will build electric vehicle battery module facility in Pryor: Electric vehicle start-up company Canoo said Wednesday it plans to build its own EV battery module manufacturing facility at Mid-America Industrial Park in Pryor. [Tulsa World]

A foreign-owned company wants to hire hundreds of workers at this Oklahoma airport: A new aerospace company with foreign ownership has plans to build several hangars at the Oklahoma Air & Space Port that will be used for commercial aircraft painting and interior remodeling. [The Oklahoman]

Economy & Business News

Devon Energy posts $1.89 billion in Q3 earnings: Devon Energy Corp. on Tuesday reported third-quarter earnings of $1.89 billion. On a per-share basis, the Oklahoma City-based company said it had profit of $2.88. Earnings, adjusted for non-recurring gains, were $2.18 per share. [The Journal Record]

Work begins at resort, indoor water park site in downtown OKC area: The $400 million OKANA resort, being developed by the Chickasaw Nation along the Oklahoma River adjacent to the First Americans Museum, should be a major draw to the downtown area when it’s complete in 2025. [The Journal Record]

Home construction is plummeting in OKC to a point that’s scaring industry professionals: October was scary for metro-area homebuilders, with fewer starts than in any October for at least 10 years — and it was the second-slowest of any of the 120 months over the past decade. [The Oklahoman]

Education News

Pitched as ‘transformational,’ a $955 million OKCPS bond proposal faces opposition: On Nov. 8, voters within Oklahoma City Public Schools boundaries will determine the fate of a nearly $1 billion bond proposal, which would be the largest in the district’s history, but that has been criticized for not including some of the young people attending school in the area. [NonDoc]

  • Proposed OKC district bond will touch every school. Here’s what would happen at your school. [The Oklahoman]

Oklahoma City Public Schools Cancels Classes For Nov. 8: Oklahoma City Public Schools announced that it will cancel classes on November 8, 2022. The district’s board of education approved the change to its calendar earlier this week. [News On 6]

UCO plans national search for a new president: The search for a successor to University of Central Oklahoma President Patti Neuhold-Ravikumar will begin this month, following her announcement Monday that she will leave UCO effective Jan. 31. [The Journal Record]

Quote of the Day

“Voters are elevating beyond trigger phrases and emotionalism and taking a harder look at the state of our communities. And what we are finding is the same thing the data has proven several times over ― that both in Oklahoma and across the nation, our approach isn’t working. Incarceration is not keeping our communities safe.”

– Jasmine Thomas, the Oklahoma City fellow for IGNITE, the nation’s largest and most diverse young women’s political leadership organization, writing about the need for justice reform in Oklahoma [Jasmine Thomas Guest Column / The Oklahoman]

Number of the Day


Oklahoma’s national rank for infant mortality [America’s Health Rankings]

Policy Note

Maternity care ‘deserts’ on the rise across the U.S., report finds: A maternity care desert is defined by the organization as any county without a hospital or birth center offering obstetric care and without any obstetric providers. The latest report, which March of Dimes will publish on Wednesday, shows that the number of American counties categorized as deserts increased by 2% since the organization’s 2020 report. Over a third of all counties are designated by the report as maternity care deserts, most of which are in rural areas. Seven million women across the country live in areas of limited or no access to maternity health care services. [STAT]

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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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