In The Know: Election Day today | Recreational marijuana state question secures enough signatures | Teacher pay penalty

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

State ARPA spending starting slowly, but likely ramping up this fall (Capitol Update): It looks like the legislature is pointing toward late September or early October to go back into special session to appropriate part of the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding.  My understanding is legislators would like to appropriate a large portion of the funding before the end of October. [OK Policy]

Oklahoma News

Primary runoff election day is Tuesday in Oklahoma. Here’s everything you need to know: Election Day is Tuesday in Oklahoma, with voters casting ballots for candidates in primary runoffs ahead of November’s general election. The polls will be open to registered voters from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday. To view a sample ballot and to find your polling place, go to the Oklahoma Election Board’s voter portal at [The Oklahoman]

  • A guide to voter rights in Oklahoma. What you need to know before you cast a ballot [The Oklahoman]
  • When parents take children with them to the polls, they will be more likely to vote when they’re adults [Tulsa Kids]

Recreational marijuana petition secures enough signatures to get on a ballot, but November election not a certainty: Supporters of an initiative petition have obtained enough signatures to get legalized recreational marijuana on an upcoming ballot. But whether all the processes that must be gone through can be completed in time to get the state question on the Nov. 8 ballot is uncertain. [Tulsa World]

  • Oklahoma recreational marijuana question unlikely to make November general election ballot [The Oklahoman]
  • Recreational Marijuana Question Unlikely to Make November Ballot [Oklahoma Watch]
  • Proponents of recreational marijuana call for November vote [The Journal Record]

Oklahoma pursuing easier voting access, election integrity: Oklahoma has taken steps in recent years to make voting easier and ensure the integrity of elections. The Oklahoma Election Board in July conducted post-election manual tabulation audits in 33 of the state’s 77 counties. The audits, of the June 28 primary elections, confirmed the accuracy of the certified results, according to the board. [The Oklahoman]

State Government News

Oklahoma lawmaker plans to refile bill that prohibits gender reassignment treatment before 21: An Oklahoma lawmaker says he plans to refile legislation prohibiting anyone under 21-years-old from undergoing gender reassignment treatment. [KFOR]

Voting and Election News

Education secretary, Shawnee superintendent face off in GOP runoff: Republican voters are being asked once again to make their choice for their party’s nominee for state superintendent. Ryan Walters and April Grace finished first and second atop a four-candidate field in the June 28 primary with 41.46% and 30.63% respectively of the votes cast. [Tulsa World]

HD 31 runoff: Sketchy ads, dark money and a Stitt endorsement: In Guthrie’s House District 31, Republican runoff candidate Karmin Grider says she has been the target of attack ads that she claims are created by the strategist of her opponent, Collin Duel. Neither candidate agreed to conduct an interview for this article ahead of Tuesday’s election, but Duel’s strategist has called Grider’s comments “slander” and “a lie.” [NonDoc]

Will Hochatown be Oklahoma’s newest municipality? Residents will finally vote to decide: Hochatown finally gets to decide its own fate after a surprise twist in its decades-long saga. [The Oklahoman]

Republicans try to connect with Oklahoma City Hispanic voters at new community center: The Republican National Committee has opened a community center in one of Oklahoma City’s bluest districts to connect with more Hispanic voters. The new center in south Oklahoma City’s Capitol Hill neighborhood is part of the GOP’s strategy to reach more Hispanic residents with conservative values. [The Frontier]

‘Old school’ Rep. Frank Lucas says money is at the root of extreme nastiness in politics: Third District Congressman Frank Lucas longs for the days when candidates and parties ran political campaigns, corporations weren’t people, and dark money wasn’t legal. [Tulsa World]

Health News

Column: Century-old tuberculosis vaccine might help stave off COVID-19: Early in the pandemic, before the advent of COVID-specific vaccines, scientists began trials to see if existing vaccines might help. One they looked at was the BCG (Bacillus Calmette-Guerin) vaccine, developed a century ago to combat tuberculosis. [Adam Cohen and Dr. Rod McEver / The Oklahoman]

Criminal Justice News

‘A sad day.’ Oklahoma County deputy killed, second wounded while serving eviction notice: A gunman killed one Oklahoma County deputy and wounded another as they tried to serve an eviction notice on Monday afternoon in southwest Oklahoma City. [The Oklahoman]

Economy & Business News

Local gas prices increase after weeks-long drop: Gasoline prices nationally have gone down for the 10th straight week, but Oklahoma and much of the Midwest have seen an increase. [Tulsa World]

Education News

New NOC, NWOSU program fast-tracks education degree: A fast-track course for completion of an elementary education degree has been developed for the students at the Enid campuses for Northwestern Oklahoma State University and Northern Oklahoma College. [Enid News & Eagle]

Two Tulsa high schools have gun incidents since school began Thursday: Students at two Tulsa high schools have been found in possession of guns since the new school year began Thursday. [Tulsa World]

General News

Why Some Afghan Refugees in Oklahoma Live In Squalor: An Oklahoma Watch review of more than 100 complaints, apartment unit tours and interviews with residents paint a portrait of unsafe and substandard living conditions for many Afghan refugees who resettled in Oklahoma City and Tulsa. A year after the fall of Kabul, some who worked toward American interests during the 20-year war in their country and expected to find safety in Oklahoma are subject to break-ins, pest infestations, no air conditioning and uncertain futures. [Oklahoma Watch]

Column: Today’s anti-government rhetoric dangerously close to that of 1995: Anti-government tracts, video tapes and books handed out in the days before the Oklahoma City bombing have been replaced by TikTok videos. The instant reach of extremism has never been greater. Those with the biggest platforms — politicians, pundits and so forth — were fairly staid in 1995. Not so much anymore. [Bob Doucette Column / Tulsa World

Oklahoma Local News

  • Woodward County Commissioners extend burn ban, approve fiber optics pipeline bid [Woodward News]
  • Rate hikes or new tax to fund Shawnee water plant upgrades [The Shawnee News-Star]

Quote of the Day

“At least (with parties) you’ve got a broad group of people, and — unlike a PAC or a Super PAC, which say things beyond imagination, nasty, ugly and rude, and disappear — the parties don’t go away. They have to answer for what they’ve done.” 

-U.S. Rep. Frank Lucas, R-Oklahoma, speaking at a town hall in Mannford about the negative impacts of dark money in campaign financing. He said there was more accountability when candidates and parties ran political campaigns rather than political action committees. [Tulsa World]

Number of the Day


Oklahoma teachers, all other factors being equal, earn almost 33% less than other workers with college degrees, which is second nationally behind only Colorado. This teacher wage “penalty” means Oklahoma teachers earn 67.2 cents on the dollar compared with what similar college graduates earned working in other professions. [Economic Policy Institute]

Policy Note

The teacher pay penalty has hit a new high: Over the past two decades, a picture of increasingly alarming trends for teacher pay has emerged. Simply put, teachers are paid less (in weekly wages and total compensation) than their nonteacher college-educated counterparts, and the situation has worsened considerably over time. Prior to the pandemic, the long-trending erosion in the relative wages and total compensation of teachers was already a serious concern. The financial penalty that teachers face discourages college students from entering the teaching profession and makes it difficult for school districts to keep current teachers in the classroom. [Economic Policy Institute]

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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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