In The Know: Feds say 5-year residency requirement for disability services is unconstitutional | Supreme Court to fast track mask lawsuit

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.

Oklahoma News

Five year residency requirement for Oklahoma developmental disabilities services unconstitutional, federal agency says: The Oklahoma Department of Human Services said it plans to drop a five-year residency requirement for people seeking to sign up for intellectual or developmental disability waiver services after a letter from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services stated the requirement was unconstitutional. [The Frontier] In a letter sent Thursday, a Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services official said the law (HB 2899) is unconstitutional based on previous U.S. Supreme Court decisions that determined the 14th Amendment to the Constitution requires states to treat new residents the same as longtime residents. [The Oklahoman] The letter was addressed to the legal director of the National Health Law Program, but was also sent to the Department of Human Services and to several Oklahoma advocacy groups challenging the law, which took effect July 1. [CNHI via The Norman Transcript]

State Supreme Court agrees to fast-track hearing in AG’s appeal in school mask mandate lawsuit: The Supreme Court of Oklahoma has agreed to a fast-track hearing of the state attorney general’s appeal in the school mask mandate lawsuit. The Oklahoma Attorney General’s Office is appealing a district court’s temporary injunction currently blocking the enforcement of the state’s new law against school mask mandates. [Tulsa World]

  • Claremore Public Schools to require masks [Tulsa World]

Oklahoma districts can join in-school COVID-19 testing program, Health Department announces: Oklahoma school districts will be able to opt into a program to provide free, in-school COVID-19 testing, the state Health Department announced Thursday. The program launched this week in partnership with the state Department of Education and is funded through a grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, deputy health commissioner Keith Reed said at a news conference. [The Oklahoman]

Oklahoma governor seeks audit of state education department: Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt said Thursday that he has requested an audit of the state Department of Education. The request came after an audit last year of Epic Charter Schools revealed that tens of millions of dollars were diverted into a for-profit business controlled by the school system’s two founders and its chief financial officer, Stitt said. Epic officials have denied wrongdoing. [AP News] | [KOSU] | [The Oklahoman] | [Public Radio Tulsa]

Health News

Oklahoma Domestic Violence Reports Reach Highest Level in 20 Years: In Oklahoma, which consistently ranks among states with the highest rates of women killed by men, 2020 produced a record number of domestic violence reports. Last year, 27,089 abuses perpetrated by family members, current or former significant others and roommates were reported to Oklahoma law enforcement agencies, including murder, sex crimes, threats and assaults, according to a newly-released crime report from the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation. That’s the highest number in at least 20 years. [Oklahoma Watch]

State Government News

Oklahoma legislative redistricting maps to be redrawn based on most recent census data: Oklahoma lawmakers will go back to the drawing table to craft new legislative redistricting maps based on the most recent census data. Although legislators and Gov. Kevin Stitt approved House and Senate redistricting maps in the spring, U.S. Census Bureau data released in August shows some of the districts that were drawn based on population estimates have either too many or too few residents. [The Oklahoman]

  • Completed Census shows dramatic rural to urban shift in Okla population [OKC Free Press]

First-time state jobless claims increase 10% in past week: First-time jobless claims in Oklahoma increased by 10% last week, ending two consecutive weeks when initial claims for unemployment benefits declined, according to a government report released Thursday. [Tulsa World]

Public Safety Commissioner Defends OHP Pursuit Policies To State Lawmakers: The new head of the Oklahoma Department of Public Safety defended the highway patrol’s pursuit policies this week in an interim study. [Public Radio Tulsa]

Julius Jones Commutation, Hiett Survives Legal Challenge, COVID-19 Funding Consultants and More (podcast): This Week in Oklahoma Politics discusses the Pardon and Parole Board sending a recommendation to Governor Stitt for the commutation of inmate Julius Jones from the death sentence to Life with the Possibility of Parole and Corporation Commissioner Todd Hiett surviving a state Supreme Court challenge trying to remove him from his position. [KOSU]

Joan Hastings Camp, former Tulsa County clerk, state legislator, dies at 89: Joan Hastings Camp, a former Tulsa County clerk and state legislator, died Sept. 5. She was 89. Camp, a Republican from Tulsa, served 10 years in the Oklahoma House of Representatives, followed by nearly two decades heading the County Clerk’s Office. [Tulsa World]

Federal Government News

Oklahoma AG joins GOP prosecutors threatening lawsuits over vaccine requirement: Two dozen Republican attorneys general, including Oklahoma’s John O’Connor, warned the White House on Thursday of impending legal action if a proposed coronavirus vaccine requirement for as many as 100 million Americans goes into effect. [The Oklahoman]

  • U.S. Rep. Kevin Hern threatens legal action against Biden mandate [Tulsa World]

Tribal Nations News

Promised Land recap: AG O’Connor focused on challenging SCOTUS reservation ruling: Oklahoma Attorney General John O’Connor, who was appointed by Gov. Kevin Stitt in July, has made it clear that one of his top priorities is to limit or completely roll back the U.S. Supreme Court’s landmark decision in McGirt v. Oklahoma, despite opposition from tribal citizens and officials. [NonDoc]

Court: Oklahoma has no concurrent authority on tribal lands: The Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals on Thursday again ruled that Oklahoma has no concurrent jurisdiction over crimes committed on tribal lands by non-American Indians against American Indians. The court rejected the state’s appeal of the dismissal of the manslaughter conviction and 19-year sentence of Richard Roth, 42. [AP News]

Cherokee Nation launches effort to repair or replace homes: ‘Too many elders and veterans are living in substandard housing’: The COVID-19 pandemic put the tribe’s home-repair program more than a year behind schedule as construction crews didn’t want to enter homes and risk exposing older residents to the virus. But now, with vaccines widely available, the Housing Authority has launched a massive effort to catch up. [Tulsa World]

Texas forced out nearly all Indigenous people. A new monument memorializes broken treaty: City officials have worked for years in this Dallas suburb to memorialize an 1843 treaty that promised peace and friendship among Indigenous communities and the Republic of Texas. [The Oklahoman]

Criminal Justice News

The Source Podcast: Julius Jones shouldn’t be on death row, board says: The tumultuous case of Julius Jones is nearing a resolution, with the Oklahoma Pardon and Parole Board recommending that he be released from death row. Jones, 41, is facing execution for the 1999 fatal shooting of Edmond insurance executive Paul Howell during a carjacking. [The Oklahoman]

Police: Man who took Oklahoma officer’s gun fatally shot: A south Oklahoma man was fatally shot by police after taking an officer’s gun and firing a shot with the weapon, according to the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation. Christopher George died after being shot late Wednesday outside a home in Davis, about 70 miles (113 kilometers) south of Oklahoma City, according to OSBI spokesperson Brook Arbeitman. [AP News]

Economy & Business News

Carvana approved for state incentives, set to provide 350 jobs in Oklahoma City: Carvana, the online used-car dealer, plans to hire 350 people to work at its $40 million inspection and reconditioning center under construction in southwest Oklahoma City. The Arizona-based company received approval Thursday to participate in the Oklahoma Quality Jobs Program for those employed at its new reconditioning center. [The Oklahoman]

Cannabis business fights ‘ghost owner’ lawsuit after $1M investment to convert chicken farm: An Oklahoma County judge granted a temporary injunction in favor of a medical cannabis business whose owner said authorities wrongly deactivated his license amid busts of “ghost owner” enterprises. [Tulsa World]

Port of Catoosa manufacturer plans up to 160 new jobs, $6 million investment to plant: A heat exchanger company at the Tulsa Port of Catoosa is planning to invest $6 million to refurbish its plant and expects to add as many as 160 jobs by 2024. [Tulsa World]

Education News

Career tech board rejects leader’s resignation: The Oklahoma CareerTech Board on Thursday voted unanimously not to accept the resignation of Director Marcie Mack. The vote came after an executive session that lasted more than two hours. [Tulsa World]

Oklahoma Local News

  • First Americans Museum expected to elevate Oklahoma City as a tourist destination [The Oklahoman]
  • Expect quick start to MAPS 4 projects [The Journal Record]
  • Candlelight vigil marks fifth anniversary of Terence Crutcher’s death [Tulsa World]

Quote of the Day

“People with disabilities already have a fight on their hands to get services anyway. Let’s not make it harder.”

-Sand Springs resident Bobbi Westmoreland, who has two young children on the Oklahoma Department of Human Services waiting list for disability services. The wait for disability services in Oklahoma currently is about 13 years. [The Frontier]

Number of the Day

$5.7 billion

Estimated cost of preventable COVID-19 hospitalizations from June to August in 2021 [Kaiser Family Foundation]

Policy Note

Unvaccinated COVID-19 hospitalizations cost billions of dollars: Despite the availability of safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines, vaccination rates have lagged, particularly in some states and among younger people. As of early September 2021, 25% of adults over the age of 18 in the U.S. remain unvaccinated for COVID-19. As a result of lagging vaccinations and the more infectious delta variant, COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations, and deaths are on the rise again. These COVID-19 hospitalizations are devastating for patients, their families, and health care providers. The hospitalizations are also costing taxpayer-funded public insurance programs and the workers and businesses paying health insurance premiums. [Kaiser Family Foundation]

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Jessica joined OK Policy as a Communications Associate in January 2018. A Mexican immigrant, she was a Clara Luper Scholar at Oklahoma City University where she obtained a B.A. in Political Science and Philosophy. Prior to joining OK Policy, Jessica worked at a digital marketing agency in Oklahoma City. She is an alumna of both the National Education for Women (N.E.W.) Leadership Institute (2013) and OK Policy's Summer Policy Institute (2015). In addition to her role at OK Policy, Jessica serves as a board member for Dream Action Oklahoma in OKC and communications director for Dream Alliance Oklahoma in Tulsa.

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