In The Know: Gov. approves Landlord-Tenant Act updates | Tourism deal costs $12.4M | Criticism over commutation process | 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.

Oklahoma News

Oklahoma governor approves Landlord-Tenant Act updates: Governor Kevin Stitt has approved major updates to the Landlord-Tenant Act this week. The changes are aimed at improving living conditions for renters. New updates to the Act will give renters a faster turnaround time when needing essential repairs to the space they’re living in. In the modified law, tenants may notify their landlord in writing about what repairs are needed to the property, at the landlord’s expense. And after 14 days, if the landlord fails to comply, the tenant may then complete the work and be reimbursed up to the amount equal of a month’s rent, if the repairs are vital to health or safety. Since the late 70′s, tenants have only been able to deduct $100 worth of repairs to their rent payment. [KSWO

Recently from OK Policy: Oklahoma needs to do more to ensure everyone has access to a stable home

Watchdog: Oklahoma tourism deal cost taxpayers $12.4M: Amendments to a lucrative contract between the state and a barbecue restaurateur to build and operate restaurants at six state parks ballooned the cost of the project by $12.4 million, the head of a state watchdog agency told House lawmakers on Thursday. [AP]  

  • LOFT: Swadley’s contract included inconsistencies, bloated expenses [NonDoc
  • House committee opens investigation of state park restaurant deal [Tulsa World

Grand Jury criticizes Gov. Kevin Stitt, Pardon and Parole Board over commutation processes: Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt’s actions regarding his appointees to the Pardon and Parole Board have been “grossly improper” and the board’s commutation process was focused on speed over public safety, according to an Oklahoma County grand jury report. [Oklahoma Watch

  • Governor, legislative leaders in crosshairs of Oklahoma County grand jury report [NonDoc
  • Oklahoma County grand jury says Gov. Kevin Stitt improperly pressured parole board members [The Oklahoman
  • Grand jury criticizes Pardon and Parole Board, governor over commutations [Tulsa World

State Government News

‘Oklahoma doesn’t want us’: Families grapple with looming displacement from turnpike: Darla LeBlanc thought there had to be some kind of mistake. She remembers the day vividly. Gov. Kevin Stitt had just announced Oklahoma’s turnpike network was about to expand significantly, and that expansion was going to take a toll road right through her property. “I had no idea that a few people in suits in some corner office could take a map, draw a line on it, and destroy thousands of people’s lives,” LeBlanc said. [State Impact Oklahoma

Keith Reed confirmed as Oklahoma health commissioner: The Oklahoma Senate on Thursday confirmed Keith Reed as Gov. Kevin Stitt’s pick to be the state’s next health commissioner, the fourth since Stitt took office in 2019. [AP

New law makes Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Authority standalone agency: The Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Authority will become a standalone agency starting in November. Gov. Kevin Stitt signed Senate Bill 1543 into law. [KFOR]

New law will increase punishment for catalytic converter thefts in Oklahoma: Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt signed a bill on Wednesday that would increase punishments for those found stealing catalytic converters. House Bill 4373, authored by Representative Ross Ford (R-Broken Arrow), includes catalytic converter theft as a third-degree burglary crime, with a fine up to $5,000. [KOSU

Bills would provide funds for Oklahoma historical sites, including museums: Measures moving through the Legislature would make dramatic improvements to state properties, including 24 historical sites. House Bill 4099 would provide $46 million in bond money for the projects, and legislative appropriations would be used to retire the bonds. [Tulsa World

Federal Government News

SoonerCare offers broadband cost benefits: A majority of the SoonerCare population now has access to a long-term benefit to help lower the cost of broadband service. The Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) is a federal program administered by the FCC which helps low-income households pay for internet service and connected devices. [KSWO]

House passes Oklahoma U.S. Rep. Stephanie Bice’s bill to upgrade National Weather Radio: A week after dangerous storms hit Seminole and other parts of Oklahoma, the U.S. House approved legislation by Rep. Stephanie Bice to upgrade and modernize the systems used by the National Weather Service to issue warnings by radio. [The Oklahoman

Tribal Nations News

Native leaders press Congress for formal commission to investigate boarding school traumas: A proposal to set up a formal commission to investigate the Native American boarding school era received its first congressional hearing Thursday, one day after a federal report confirmed the U.S. government supported 408 boarding schools designed to eradicate Native cultures. [The Oklahoman

‘Metrics of economic well-being’ show Native Americans underserved: A new report by the U.S. Congress explores “persistent structural barriers” that limit economic opportunity in Indigenous communities. [Indian Country Today]

Oklahoma City Indian Clinic data breach affects 40,000 individuals: Oklahoma City Indian Clinic (OKCIC) this week announced that it experienced a data breach exposing personally identifiable information (PII) of nearly 40,000 individuals. [InfoSecurity Magazine]

Voting and Election News

New voting precincts, cards to shorten long lines: Following delays in the release of census data, new precinct lines have been drawn and voter identification cards have been issued. [The Norman Transcript]

Health News

‘Safe staffing saves lives’: Nurses march at Oklahoma state Capitol for better working conditions: A nationwide fight to protect nurses came to the Oklahoma state Capitol Thursday with a group marching and hoping they’ll be heard. They’re fighting for legislative action that would support safe staffing measures such as requiring nurse-to-patient ratios to focus on direct care. [KOCO] Staffing troubles came to a head during the stresses of the pandemic, but the issues existed long before COVID-19, health leaders have said. [The Oklahoman

Many states are bracing for a post-Roe world. In Oklahoma, it’s practically arrived: A draft opinion that would overturn Roe v. Wade, the 1973 decision that guaranteed access to abortion, had been published online and verified by the court. In the aftermath, Gallegos, the administrator for Tulsa Women’s Clinic, an Oklahoma-based abortion provider, wasn’t worried about Roe — at least, it wasn’t the first thing she was worried about. [The 19th

Criminal Justice News

Town hall held as vote for new Oklahoma County jail looms: A town hall was held Thursday night at The Village Public Library to allow county citizens their first of several chances to speak on the plan that would fund a new jail. [KFOR]

Woman ‘slammed’ on ground after screaming at Moore police; given felony for spitting on officer’s hand: A woman who a Moore police officer slammed to the ground after she screamed in his face is facing a felony charge for allegedly spitting on the officer’s hand while he was on top of her. [The Norman Transcript]

‘I feel like George Bailey’: Supporters pack courtroom for pastor arrested at Julius Jones vigil: Ministers and activists packed an Oklahoma County courtroom on Thursday in support of a local pastor fighting charges related to his arrest at a Julius Jones’ prayer vigil. Thursday marked the fourth time that the Rev. Derrick Scobey faced off with Oklahoma County District Attorney David Prater’s office over the minister’s November 2021 arrest. [The Oklahoman

Economic Opportunity

40% more people living on the streets in Tulsa, annual headcount finds: The number of people living on the streets in Tulsa jumped 40% this year, reflecting a nationwide trend of homeless encampments spreading across major cities, according to an annual headcount of the local homeless population. “The lack of affordable housing continues to be the greatest barrier to making homelessness rare, brief and nonrecurring,” Becky Gligo, executive director of Housing Solutions, said. [Tulsa World

Economy & Business News

Electric vehicle company reports financial struggle in filing with SEC: An electric vehicle company that announced plans to open a manufacturing plant in Pryor in exchange for taxpayer-funded state incentives is struggling financially and worried about its survival, according to a federal filing. However, the CEO also said in an investor call Tuesday that he is optimistic. [CNHI via The Norman Transcript]

Oklahoma Local News

Still no shelter locations in sight, committee discusses homelessness: While the city’s homeless shelter is soon to be without a home, staff continue to grapple with the needs of the unhoused. [The Norman Transcript]

Quote of the Day

“Are we talking about poor management, or are we talking about embezzlement here?”

– Rep. J.J. Humphrey, R-Lane, asking a Legislative Office of Fiscal Transparency (LOFT) official about its investigation into the state Tourism and Recreation Department’s financial dealings with the Swadley’s restaurant group. LOFT said those findings would be outside the scope of their investigation. [Tulsa World]

Number of the Day

12%

Oklahoma has cut taxes by nearly 12% since 1997. During this time, Oklahoma’s economic growth – other than the historically volatile oil and gas industry — has been substantially lower than that of the surrounding region and the nation. Concurrently, Oklahoma has also seen comparatively less employment growth.

[Source: Oklahoma Policy Institute]

Recently from OK Policy: Personal income tax cuts won’t deliver relief to low- and middle-class Oklahomans

Policy Note

Five things that economists know, but sound wrong to most other people: A curious thing about Economists is that when we academic economists largely agree with each other on something important, the rest of the world often completely ignores our conclusions. Are these findings too counter-intuitive, too impractical, or something else? Here are five examples so that you can decide for yourself. [The Conversation]

You can sign up here to receive In The Know by e-mail.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Kristin Wells joined OK Policy in October 2021 as the Communications and Operations Fellow. 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.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.