In The Know: Exceptions to Oklahoma’s abortion ban | Cuts to food stamps | Envisioning an Oklahoma without poverty | 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

Policy Matters: Envisioning an Oklahoma without poverty: I believe in an Oklahoma where every resident — regardless of where they’re from or what they look like — can live in dignity without fear of how they would pay their bills or put a roof over their head. However, far too many Oklahomans (nearly 1 in 6 adults and 1 in 5 children) live in poverty. The disparities are even larger when comparing categories for race, gender and disability. [Shiloh Kantz / OK Policy]

Oklahoma News

After banning abortion, Oklahoma lawmakers come back with some exceptions: Over the years leading up to the court’s ruling, Oklahoma politicians enacted a series of laws to limit or outright ban abortion, leading to a patchwork of regulation that some doctors said is confusing and sometimes contradictory. Republican legislators, including the same ones who championed legislation that essentially banned abortion here, are now introducing legislation that would include exceptions. A poll released last year showed most Oklahomans don’t want a total ban on abortion. [The Oklahoman]

New Oklahoma PAC will fight influx of anti-trans legislation: Brittany Novotny, a Waurika attorney who is transgender, is forming a new Oklahoma political action committee to fight the influx of anti-transgender legislation at the state Capitol. She’s hopeful that her Securing Liberty PAC can advocate on behalf of transgender Oklahomans in a way that resonates with the GOP majority in the state Legislature. [Tulsa World]

State Government News

State Supt. Ryan Walters Explains Why He Planned To Present Old Budget At Education Hearing: An education budget hearing at the House ended early Tuesday with no action taken. There was some confusion around what was being presented, and multiple people were on different pages. News 9 spoke with State Supt. Ryan Walters and Rep. Mark McBride, R- District 53, about what went wrong and what’s next for the state’s education budget. [News on 9]

Podcast: Listen Frontier: Gov. Stitt discusses his plans for his second term: Despite facing an opponent many believed would give him a challenge in his bid for re-election, Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt coasted to victory on election night. Now that his second-term is beginning, he spent time with us to go over his priorities for the next four years. [The Frontier

Federal Government News

Oklahomans to see food stamp benefits decrease in March as federal pandemic program ends: More than 400,000 low-income families will see a decrease in their Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits in March when the federal government halts pandemic-era emergency allotments. For nearly three years, the federal government increased SNAP benefits, also known as food stamps, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but the final emergency allotments will go out in February. [Tulsa World]

Tribal Nations News

Cherokee Nation program will help fight addiction in Northeast Oklahoma: Oklahoma has one of the highest hepatitis C virus rates in the country. That’s one of the reasons why the Cherokee Nation is gearing up a new harm reduction program in Tahlequah. Even though Cherokee citizens make up only 6% of Oklahoma’s population, a third of the opioids distributed throughout the state went to Cherokee communities, causing health and addiction issues throughout the reservation. [KOSU]

Health News

A collaborative in Tulsa models how Oklahoma communities can fight the methamphetamine epidemic: Methamphetamine is killing more Oklahomans than any illicit drug. Nonprofits, treatment centers, policy analysts and law enforcement in Tulsa created a program to broaden access to recovery from it. [Public Radio Tulsa]

Closed Norman hospital set for $10 million remodel after acquisition by VA department: A closed hospital in Norman will be converted into an inpatient substance abuse treatment and skilled nursing center by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, which acquired it late last year. [The Oklahoman]

Criminal Justice News

Stopped 5 times in 2 months, Saadiq Long seeks answers and protection with OKCPD lawsuit: An Oklahoma City Muslim man is reliving the fear of being stopped by law enforcement officers because he says his name has been on a federal terrorist watchlist since 2012 with no explanation. Saadiq Long, 52, said he has been subject to traffic stops five times since late November — once at gunpoint — by Oklahoma City Police Department officers, one of whom told him his status on the federal terrorist watchlist was part of the reason for the stops. Long filed a federal lawsuit Wednesday seeking an injunction and compensation. [NonDoc]

Economy & Business News

OKC’s growing Asian community has its own chamber of commerce: The new chamber is the culmination of decades of growth among Oklahoma’s thriving Asian American and Pacific Islander community, recognized by city and state leaders as playing a crucial role in Oklahoma’s economy. The Greater Oklahoma City metropolitan area has seen an increasing population of over 50,000 Asian Americans, with over 5,000 businesses generating $1.25 billion in sales tax revenue, and generating $203 million in payroll, according to data compiled by the new chamber. [Journal Record

Education News

Education Watch: An Early Look at the Legislature’s Voucher Proposals: The Oklahoma Legislature is poised to try again this year to pass a policy that would send public education dollars to private and home schools. Voucher proposals have been filed by Sen. Julie Daniels, R-Bartlesville, and Sen. Shane Jett, R-Shawnee [Oklahoma Watch]

Oklahoma lawmaker calling to reject federal money for schools: One Oklahoma lawmaker is calling for the state to eliminate all federal education money in Oklahoma. Sen. David Bullard, R-Durant, authored Senate Bill 863. Under the measure, the state would come up with a 10-year plan to phase out all federal money in Oklahoma schools. [KFOR Oklahoma City]

Quote of the Day

“That we have 1 in 6 adults and 1 in 5 children living in poverty in our communities is a policy choice, as are the solutions that can address it. Our elected officials can enact policies that reduce poverty and its impacts, while also implementing long-term solutions that move us closer to eliminating poverty all together.”

– Shiloh Kantz, Executive Director of OK Policy, discussing actions that could be taken to reduce poverty in Oklahoma. [Shiloh Kantz / Journal Record]

Number of the Day


Oklahoma’s national rank for poverty. Oklahoma’s poverty rate is 15.6%, or nearly 1 in 6 residents live at or below the federal poverty line. [U.S. Census Bureau via Center for American Progress]

Policy Note

Expanding the Safety Net During a Recession Prevents Worsening Economic Pain: U.S. Census Bureau data show how more accessible and larger boosts to safety net programs kept poverty low during the COVID-19 recession, preventing a deeper economic crisis and spurring a faster economy recovery. [Center for American Progress]

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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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