In The Know: Evictions process varies by county | Walters asks state board to revoke former Norman teacher’s certificate | The real issue behind student loan crisis

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

Policy Matters: The real issue behind the student loan crisis: Last week’s announcement about a federal student loan forgiveness for certain borrowers brought about much clutching of pearls and claims that it benefited Ivy Leaguers rather than everyday folks. The reality is far different. A closer look shows that the people who will benefit most from loan forgiveness are most likely to be students who are low-income, Black, and/or older. [Shiloh Kantz / OK Policy]

Oklahoma News

Eviction process varies from county to county, Oklahoma study finds: Courts handle evictions cases so differently from county to county that it can almost seem like different laws are being applied, according to a new statewide study from the Oklahoma Access to Justice Foundation. [Tulsa World]

AG’s office, state boards craft guidance for doctors, law enforcement on abortion laws: Both the Oklahoma attorney general’s office and the state’s medical boards have crafted guidance meant to shed light on how Oklahoma’s multiple abortion laws should be interpreted by doctors and law enforcement agencies. [The Oklahoman]

Walters asks state board to revoke former NPS teacher’s certificate: Oklahoma Secretary of Education Ryan Walters asked the state Board of Education to revoke the teaching certificate of a former Norman Public Schools teacher who quit her job after a complaint from a parent that she made political statements about access to literature in her classroom. [The Norman Transcript]

  • Ryan Walters calls to revoke certification of Norman teacher who resigned over HB 1775 [The Oklahoman]
  • Walters calls for former Norman English teacher to have license revoked over sharing link to banned book resource [KGOU]
  • State secretary of education demands former Norman High School teacher’s certificate be revoked [OU Daily]
  • Oklahoma teachers weigh legal protection options in the aftermath of book bans [OKC Fox]

Column: Former Norman teacher: We can choose inclusion or exclusion for schools. What side are you on?: As both an educator and a public school proud Oklahoman, I want something similar for all — and I mean ALL — of my students, including the many amazing learners who often look, think, love, live and/or pray differently than I do. [Summer Boismier Guest Column / The Oklahoman]

State Government News

Pandemic Relief Committee Approves $323 Million in Projects: Oklahoma lawmakers on Wednesday passed almost $323 million in water infrastructure, behavioral health and electronic medical records projects funded by federal pandemic relief dollars on to an upcoming special session of the Legislature. [Oklahoma Watch]

  • Oklahoma lawmakers on Wednesday approved the construction of two new mental health hospitals – one in Norman — along with funding to help communities pay for water infrastructure improvements. [The Norman Transcript]

OWRB: Oklahoma needs up to $90 billion in water infrastructure improvements: Officials are sharing more information on the water shortage response in the Seminole County town of Sasakwa. [OKC Fox]

Oklahoma legislators discuss grocery tax and income tax cuts: Today legislators of the Joint Committee on pandemic relief funding met to discuss how they want to provide Oklahomans inflation relief. [KJRH

Sen. Kirt seeks public input on state taxes through September forums: Sen. Julia Kirt will host a series of public forums in September to let Oklahomans hear from tax and economic experts about Oklahoma’s tax system as well as allow citizens to share their ideas, concerns, and questions on the issue. [Oklahoma Senate, News Release]

Voting and Election News

‘Someone hit me in the face’: Senator-elect Tom Woods cited after fight with truck shop owner: A financial dispute between an automotive shop owner and a state senator-elect from eastern Oklahoma boiled over into a fistfight after a Westville festival Saturday, resulting in police citations, a woman’s shoulder being dislocated and additional criticism for an incoming public official. [NonDoc]

Health News

Journeys of Pain, Survival and Triumph: Black Tulsans Share Their Mental Health Services: This is second part of our ongoing series on the state of mental health in Tulsa’s Black community. [The Oklahoma Eagle]

‘YES Oklahoma’ Project to improve American Indian representation in cancer research: The National Cancer Institute of the National Institutes of Health has awarded the University of Oklahoma an expected $2 million over five years to develop a program to improve representation of Oklahoma American Indian students in biomedical and cancer research. [The Norman Transcript]

Report: Oklahoma needs unified mental health strategy across state agencies: A legislative watchdog office is recommending Oklahoma craft a unified strategy for providing mental health services to avoid any gaps in aid across state government. [The Oklahoman]

Criminal Justice News

They lost their pregnancies. Then prosecutors sent them to prison: Dozens of women who used drugs while pregnant have faced criminal charges. Experts expect even more cases now that Roe has been overturned. [The Frontier]

Murder charge filed in deadly shooting of Oklahoma County sheriff’s deputy: Authorities filed a first-degree murder charge against Benjamin Harrison Plank on Wednesday in connection with last week’s fatal shooting of Oklahoma County Sgt. Bobby Swartz. [The Oklahoman]

Economy & Business News

New venture capital firm targets OU startups: For a long time, University of Oklahoma graduate and retired business executive James Spann has been watching OU innovations take flight. The problem was, they were flying to places like Austin, Texas, and Boulder, Colorado, where they found financial backing needed to succeed. [The Journal Record]

Griffin Foods investment to add jobs, continue legacy in Muskogee: A Muskogee institution and maker of food products familiar to people across Oklahoma has announced plans to invest $1 million in itself and the local community. [The Journal Record]

Education News

Race-related incidents at Sand Springs high school mar first weeks of class: About 40 students at Charles Page High School walked out of classes Wednesday morning in the wake of two racially tinged incidents in the first two weeks of school. [Tulsa World]

COVID-19 forces one Oklahoma school to go to virtual learning: Just 6 days into the new school year and already some students in an Oklahoma school district are moving to virtual learning. [KFOR]

General News

OKC luncheon speakers aim for awareness by sharing painful discrimination experiences: A local Oklahoma City community leader explained why some members of his Asian community are often hesitant to speak out during a recent Breaking Bread luncheon that highlighted the people and stories of the Asian community. [The Oklahoman]

Quote of the Day

“When you boil it down, this is all about basic fairness, impartiality and just treatment that all Oklahomans expect and deserve.”

-Michael Figgins, Executive Director of Legal Aid Services of Oklahoma and chairman of the Oklahoma Access to Justice Commission, speaking about the wide variance in legal proceedings for Oklahomans facing eviction [Tulsa World]

Number of the Day


The percentage change of the nation’s total student loan balance between 2004 and 2021. Americans owed nearly $1.57 trillion in outstanding student loans at the end of 2021. [New York Federal Reserve, 2022 Student Loan Data] | [Excel]

Policy Note

Looking Back to Move Forward: A History of Student Aid: To understand the current state of federal student aid, it’s important to understand its origins. In six short chapters, Looking Back to Move Forward explores the 60-year history of federal student aid programs and the historical perspectives of those involved in their creation and evolution. Each chapter features a short film, an expanded history and timeline of events, and a comprehensive viewing guide. [Lumina Foundation]

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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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