In The Know: Examining the current state budget process | Drug treatment courts | Lawmakers study AI | More

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

How the sausage gets made: Comparing today’s state budget process to previous process (Capitol Update): An interesting thing about service in the legislature is that when most members get elected and take their seat, they think the process they inherit is the way it has always been. They accept it as the way things are done. JCAB was only created about 10 or 12 years ago, but probably most members today assume that’s just the way it’s done. [Steve Lewis / Capitol Update]

State Government News

Oklahoma official renews call to boost film rebate in light of ‘Killers of the Flower Moon’: Oklahoma’s lieutenant governor hopes a blockbuster movie filmed in Oklahoma will reignite a legislative conversation about increasing the cap on the state’s film incentive. But Republicans in the Oklahoma Legislature remain ideologically divided on whether the state should offer publicly funded incentives to television and movie productions and the appropriate level of funding for the rebate program. [Oklahoma Voice]

  • Martin Scorsese interview: Wide-open Oklahoma gave filmmaker a canvas for ‘Killers of the Flower Moon’ [Tulsa World]
  • From OK Policy: According to a state analysis of filmmaking incentives, the film industry returned only 52 cents in Oklahoma tax dollars for every tax dollar spent on film incentives from 2017-2020 [A Better Path Forward

Oklahoma Developmental Disability Services Division on track to end waitlist: Oklahoma Human Services is on track to end its 13-year Developmental Disability Services waitlist as it works to connect a third group of 914 people to services. It is currently working to connect with applicants from its third, which includes people who joined the waitlist between April 2012 and December 2013. The division set a goal of serving all its applicants in two years. [KGOU]

What role could artificial intelligence play in Oklahoma government? What the experts say: On Monday, members of the Senate’s Business and Commerce Committee held the second of two joint interim hearings this fall focused on artificial intelligence and its effect on the state. The Senate’s two-hour meeting explored the issues surrounding artificial intelligence. [The Oklahoman]

  • Experts offer advice – and warnings – to Oklahoma legislators on AI [Journal Record]

Roundup: Judges face judgment, internet projects pending, ODVA ‘shall’ charge fees for open records: Veterans Commission approves rule, talks nomination process, broadband Office aims to award ARPA money in January, and more. [NonDoc]

Tribal Nations News

Modoc Nation says Northeast Oklahoma reservation never disestablished in wake of McGirt: Attorneys for the Modoc Nation say the State of Oklahoma is improperly prosecuting Indigenous people on their reservation. They recently filed a complaint in federal court against the state and Attorney General Gentner Drummond. [KOSU]

‘Historic agreement’ reached between VA, Cherokee Nation to expand veterans care in Oklahoma: The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and the Cherokee Nation have entered into a “historic agreement” that officials said could serve as a “roadmap” for how rural America can work with tribes to increase care for veterans. [Oklahoma Voice

Osage citizens want to know what the future holds for a memorial dedicated to Lillie Morrell Burkhart: In 1984, the Oklahoma Historical Society took over the management of Lillie Morrell Burkhart’s estate, and today they run the White Hair Memorial — just as Lillie wanted. But, there continue to be questions about what exactly that legacy will be moving forward. [KOSU]

‘The American Buffalo’ traces fall and rise of a ‘sacred relationship’: In a sweeping two-part, four-hour film, master documentary filmmaker Ken Burns tells the story of the near-extinction and Indigenous-fueled return of the American buffalo, an animal that transcends mere existence and rises to spiritual being for Native communities. [Oklahoma Voice]

Criminal Justice News

Oklahoma program to keep drug offenders out of prison is awarded huge boost: An Oklahoma program that keeps people charged with drug-related offenses out of prison has been awarded a huge boost to keep its mission going. The program gives justice-involved people the resources to turn their lives around. Oklahoma County’s Diversion Hub was given a million-dollar federal grant to expand how many people can partake in drug court. [KOCO]

Edmond police officer charged with manslaughter: A former lieutenant with the Edmond Police Department has been charged with first degree manslaughter. [KFOR]

Economy & Business News

Survey: Workforce shifting to employer market: U.S. employers are planning smaller pay raises and fewer promotions in 2024 compared to this year as the job market favoring employees shifts. The job market is moving from two openings per job-seeker to a more balanced status as the Federal Reserve’s actions to cool down the economy are working. [Journal Record]

Center for Public Integrity: ‘Black farmers and ranchers, it’s a dying deal’: One study found that Black farmers lost $326 billion in land — and wealth — between 1920 and 1997 alone. Today’s Black-owned farms are smaller and earn less than farms owned by white people. [Center for Public Integrity via KOSU]

Education News

Oklahoma teachers express surprise over tax deductions from school year’s signing bonus: The State Superintendent’s teacher signing bonuses hit educator’s bank accounts this week. The program’s goal is to provide up to $50,000 to incentivize people into the classroom. One teacher reached out to FOX25 though, saying they felt shortchanged when they got their first check. [Fox 25]

Online information sessions set for potential school board members: The Oklahoma State School Boards Association will host virtual information sessions for Oklahomans who are interested in serving on a local school board. The first three sessions of “So You Want to be a School Board Member?” — at 6 p.m. Oct. 24, noon Nov. 15 and 6 p.m. Nov. 30 — are free and open to anyone who wants to learn more about school board service. [Tulsa World]

Tulsa school board delays action on charter school renewal: Despite dozens of purple-clad supporters packing the Selman Room, Tulsa Public Schools’ Board of Education did not take action on the proposed charter renewal of Tulsa Honor Academy’s high school at Monday night’s meeting. [Tulsa World]

  • School board halts Tulsa charter school’s renewal; district literacy scores improve [Public Radio Tulsa]
  • TPS Deputy Superintendent Paula Shannon announces exit plan [Tulsa World]

All in the family: Mother and daughter named campus teachers of the year: Ashley Bates, a third grade teacher at Tulsa Union’s Boevers Elementary School, and Penny Ward, a special education teacher at Union’s Sixth and Seventh Grade Center, are among Union Public Schools’ 2023 site-level Teacher of the Year honorees. [Tulsa World]

General News

What does the Oklahoma state flag have to do with ‘Killers of the Flower Moon?’ A lot: In the spring of 1925, the Oklahoma Legislature voted almost unanimously to adopt a new design for the state flag: An Osage bison-hide shield that artist Louise Funk Fluke had depicted on a field of blue. [The Oklahoman]

Oklahoma Local News

  • Blighted north Tulsa apartments razed ahead of future affordable housing project [Tulsa World]

Quote of the Day

“We know that if we give them the right amount of treatment and accountability, they can get better and avoid a prison sentence.”

-Oklahoma County District Judge Kenneth Stoner, speaking about the county’s drug court program that allows non-violent, justice-involved people a chance to avoid prison. They are connected with resources and treatment and if they complete the program, their charges are dismissed. [KOCO]

Number of the Day


Individuals who participated in prison-based treatment followed by a community-based program post-incarceration were 7 times more likely to be drug free and 3 times less likely to be arrested for criminal behavior than those not receiving treatment. [Stanford University Network on Addiction Policy]

Policy Note

Strengthening the Foundation: A Look at Past, Present, and Future Research for Adult Drug Courts: This research brief provides a snapshot of the existing evidence base behind the adult drug court model, while also identifying potential areas of interest to seed the next generation of drug court research. Our findings document the data-driven successes of the drug court model, the evidence-based mechanisms that are associated with positive participant outcomes, and lastly, our recommendations for future research. [Center for Justice Innovation]

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David Hamby has more than 25 years of experience as an award-winning communicator, including overseeing communication programs for Oklahoma higher education institutions and other organizations. Before joining OK Policy, he was director of public relations for Rogers State University where he managed the school’s external communication programs and served as a member of the president’s leadership team. He served in a similar communications role for five years at the University of Tulsa. He also has worked in communications roles at Oklahoma State University and the Fort Smith Chamber of Commerce in Arkansas. He joined OK Policy in October 2019.

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