In The Know: Far-reaching implications of Ukraine crisis | SCOTUS reaffirms McGirt not retroactive | Curriculum bans and book reviews

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

Feb. 25th Approaching Deadline for Three Staff Positions: In addition to two new Fellow positions, OK Policy is accepting applications for three full-time staff positions: Manager of Organizational Advancement, Staff Accountant, and Digital Communications Associate / Storybanker. The deadline to apply for a staff position is Friday, February 25 at 5:00 PM (CST). [Learn more and apply]

Oklahoma News

Ukraine crisis has far-reaching implications, says University of Tulsa professor: University of Tulsa professor Benjamin Peters boils down Ukraine’s importance to Russia and to the world into a principle attributed to former U.S. National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski: “Without Ukraine, Russia ceases to be an empire, but with Ukraine suborned and then subordinated, Russia automatically becomes an empire.” [Tulsa World

US Supreme Court reaffirms that McGirt is not retroactive: The U.S. Supreme Court has reaffirmed that its ruling to limit state jurisdiction for crimes committed on tribal reservations by or against tribal citizens is not retroactive. Also Tuesday, the court again rejected a request by the state of Oklahoma that it overturn what is known as the McGirt decision. [AP News] Among those losing appeals were seven inmates challenging their murder convictions and death sentences at least in part based on McGirt claims. [Tulsa World] The rulings come after a McAlester couple who are members of the Choctaw Nation filed a federal lawsuit against the Oklahoma Tax Commission alleging that they are exempt from state income taxes due to McGirt. [CNHI via The Norman Transcript]

How Oklahoma’s classroom curriculum bans affect Black educators and families: Karlos Hill plops the books on his desk in Norman. One. Two. Three… He’s counting the texts that he says contain controversial topics that could be questioned under Oklahoma’s so-called Critical Race Theory ban. “They would have to cancel half my shelf, man,” he said. “Look at that. I mean, but this is canceling knowledge.” [State Impact Oklahoma

  • Oklahoma attorney general’s office reviewing 54 school library books for alleged obscenity [The Oklahoman]
  • “We are very careful about what we put in our libraries,” Oklahoma teachers, librarians react to AG John O’Connor’s book review list [KFOR
  • Viewpoint: Oklahoma faces many real problems, so why are we arguing about books? [Opinion / The Oklahoman

State looking to lure huge company to eastern Oklahoma, governor says: Gov. Kevin Stitt confirmed on Tuesday that officials are trying to lure a huge company to eastern Oklahoma. Oklahoma reportedly is competing with Kansas for an electric vehicle battery factory, according to the Kansas City Star. The Kansas Legislature recently approved $1.2 billion in economic development incentives in an effort to lure it to that state. [Tulsa World]

State Government News

Oklahoma turnpikes: Cashless tolling, political push led to proposed improvements: The launching of cashless tolls and a political push by Gov. Kevin Stitt are being credited with inspiring an unprecedented $5 billion makeover of the state’s turnpike system. Leaders of the Oklahoma Turnpike Authority acknowledged the system as it exists creates challenges for drivers, especially those in rural areas and those traveling the Turner Turnpike, the state’s oldest and busiest toll corridor. [The Oklahoman]

Oklahoma legislature fights the feds as questions come from both sides of the aisle: Across the spectrum of issues the Oklahoma Legislature will take up this session, from protecting gun rights to allowing Oklahomans to grow their own food, many bills intend to limit federal oversight. But with that effort to assert preemptive state control, questions persist among legislators from both parties on what the state actually can and should do, while others beat the drum of preventing “federal overreach.” [The Oklahoman

A bill seeks to expand Oklahoma’s definition of domestic violence, but would it help victims?: Rebecca Hogue didn’t think it was abuse when her former partner Christopher Trent tried to keep her from seeing family or friends. “Looking back I can see how him secluding me was all part of his plan,” Hogue said in an interview with The Frontier from Cleveland County Detention Center. “He was very controlling over everything.” [The Frontier

(Audio) Long Story Short: Oklahoma’s execution process on trial, eviction crisis is far from over: Oklahoma Watch reporters discuss their recent and upcoming stories: Trevor Brown on voting rights legislation, Rebecca Najera on a spike in eviction, and Keaton Ross on a federal lawsuit contesting Oklahoma’s eviction protocol. [Oklahoma Watch

Law enforcement officers conduct massive raid of black market marijuana, issue arrest warrants: Oklahoma drug enforcement officers conducted a massive raid of nine marijuana grow operations across the state early Tuesday, targeting criminal organizations that are believed to have transported black market cannabis out of state. [The Oklahoman] OBN Spokesman Mark Woodward says more than 200 state, federal and local law enforcement officers executed Search Warrants and Arrest Warrants early this morning at a dozen locations across the state tied to this on-going investigation. [Enid News & Eagle]

  • Oklahoma officials tout bust of marijuana grows operating illegally statewide [Tulsa World]

Their seat at the roundtable: Oklahoma’s first nonbinary, Muslim representative: Mauree Turner was around 7 years old when they first sat at a community roundtable. Turner had practically begged to join their mother at the meeting in their hometown of Ardmore around 1999. “I guess it all started there, in a way,” Turner said. [OU Daily

Tribal Nations News

Catching up with Cherokee Nation delegate Kim Teehee: In 2019, Kim Teehee was named the Cherokee Nation’s first delegate to the U.S. House of Representatives. She joins the newscast to say she’s hopeful she’ll be seated this term. [Indian Country Today]

Offensive place names persist in Oklahoma despite decades-old legislative call for change: More than 20 years before U.S. Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland federally declared the word “squaw” to be a derogatory term, a concurrent resolution of the Oklahoma House and Senate did the same thing and called for removal of the word from sites across the state. [The Oklahoman]

Health News

Maternal mortality rate for Black women continues to climb, CDC reports: The maternal mortality rate in the United States continues to climb, especially for Black women. The number of women who died during childbirth has risen to 861 in 2020, from 658 in 2018. And while those numbers may seem small, the United States has the highest maternal mortality rate of any developed country in the world. [The Black Wall Street Times

Editorial: Chief’s mental health care idea a boon for all: It’s a good thing the Cherokee Nation is putting a sharp focus on mental and behavioral health, because the state certainly isn’t going to do it. Ever since the Supreme Court of the United States issued the McGirt opinion, affirming that Oklahoma tribes had never been disestablished as per the Major Crimes Act, Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr. has emphasized how this ruling will benefit not just Natives, but all those living within the 14-county reservation.  [Editorial / Tahlequah Daily Press

Criminal Justice News

Oklahoma legislators, law firm moving forward with death row review: The case of a twice-convicted Oklahoma death row inmate is being reviewed by an independent law firm at the request of state legislators concerned that justice is yet to be served. [The Oklahoman]

Jail CEO Greg Williams maintains employment support after voicemail flap: Amid controversy surrounding a hot-mic moment and a spate of deaths at the Oklahoma County Jail, CEO Greg Williams still enjoys support among jail trust members and at least one county commissioner. [NonDoc

Economy & Business News

OSU research leads to increased biofuel production:  Research conducted by an Oklahoma State University professor could lead to revolutionary changes in the way biofuels are produced, resulting in big cost savings for industry and benefits for the environment. [The Journal Record

Severe winter weather causes concerns for Oklahoma farmers during calving season: With the recent winter weather, farms, ranchers and producers like Emerson brace for the impact on calves and pregnant cows. The current winter weather is not expected to be as severe or long as the winter storm in February 2021, but preparation is still necessary. [KOSU]

Canoo commences clearing land for plant at MidAmerica Industrial Park: Electric vehicle start-up Canoo has begun site work where it plans to build roughly a $400 million factory at Mid-America Industrial Park in Pryor. [Tulsa World]

General News

Sleet pelts Tulsa; winter storm to continue through Thursday: An unusual winter storm that brought heavy sleet to Tulsa and surrounding areas Wednesday is expected to continue to pelt the area Thursday, with up to 2 inches expected, forecasters said. [Tulsa World

  • Winter storm covers Oklahoma City metro with sleet, freezing rain, light snow Wednesday [The Oklahoman]

Oklahoma Local News

An apparent push to build new stadium in Greenwood sparks frustration: North Tulsa community leaders are expressing frustration and concern after discussions of building a new stadium in the Greenwood district came to light this week. The revelations began after audio began circulating of an interview with Oklahoma Lt. Gov. Matt Pinnell on The Blitz 1170. [The Black Wall Street Times

City has limited authority over where 5G poles are installed, officials say: The city is reviewing all permit requests to install 5G cell poles in response to an increasingly loud chorus of voices demanding an explanation of the process and questioning why residents were never told the poles were going up. [Tulsa World]

Quote of the Day

“We’ve criminalized all sorts of conduct but do absolutely nothing to rehabilitate and change the behavioral patterns of males who are doing this”

– Bob Ravitz, Chief Public Defender for Oklahoma County [The Frontier]

New from OK Policy: Recent history has shown that Oklahoma voters want to see our state make more investments in treatment and restoration, rather than incarceration, to make our communities stronger and safer.

Number of the Day

$1.3 billion

Amount of one-time carryover funds and special cash from previous sessions included in the $10.5 billion available for state appropriations for the fiscal year starting July 1, 2022.

[Source: State Board of Equalization]

Policy Note

States Are Seeing Steep Income Tax Revenue Growth. Will It Last? States collected nearly $455 billion in total income tax revenue in fiscal 2021—an astounding 14.7% increase over the prior year. That’s according to the latest report from the National Association of State Budget Officers (NASBO), which covers spending through June 2021. Over two years, income tax revenue is up 15%. However, these numbers are highly influenced by unusual economic times. [Forbes]

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Kristin Wells served as the Communications and Operations Fellow for OK Policy from October 2021 to July 2022. She previously worked as a digital content producer for News On 6. A native Kansas Citian, Kristin graduated with a B.A. in Media Studies and a B.A. in Spanish from the University of Tulsa in 2020. While there, she was accepted into the Global Scholars program, spurring her interests in policy, social movements, global identities, and the importance of education and advocacy. She hopes to use her skills to continue to learn and create a more equitable future for Oklahomans. An avid sports fan, Kristin lives in Tulsa with her rescue dog and is passionate about college basketball, documentaries, and coffee.

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