In The Know: Gov. creates task force on crisis pregnancies | Turnpike extension plan approved | Clemency hearings set

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.

State Government News

Oklahoma governor creates task force on crisis pregnancies: In the wake of Oklahoma’s new bans on abortions, Gov. Kevin Stitt has signed an executive order creating an 11-member task force on crisis pregnancies. The order was filed Monday with the Oklahoma Secretary of State’s Office. [Tulsa World] | [Read the Executive Order]

Oklahoma turnpike expansion plan approved by transportation panel despite concerns: Three proposed new turnpike routes were approved Monday by the Oklahoma Transportation Commission despite concerns by one member that the process is being rushed and the absence of a member representing threatened homeowners. [The Oklahoman]

Federal Government News

Biden Admin. announces federal steps to protect abortion rights: On Monday, the Biden administration announced that federal law preempts state abortion bans when emergency care is needed and that the federal government can penalize institutions or providers that fail to provide abortions as needed to treat medical emergencies. [The Black Wall Street Times]

Tribal Nations News

Hoskin: Court breaks vow to tribal nations: The U.S. Supreme Court’s disconcerting decision in Oklahoma v. Castro-Huerta will go down in history as a ruling against legal precedent and basic principles of federal Indian law. Tragically, it is another broken promise from the federal government to tribes. [Opinion / The Journal Record]

Criminal Justice News

Clemency hearing dates announced for 6 death row inmates: Dates are set for upcoming clemency hearings for at least six death row inmates through the end of the year, the state’s Pardon and Parole Board announces. [KJRH]  |  Twenty-five inmates sentenced to death are scheduled to be executed at the Oklahoma State Penitentiary in McAlester through 2024, with the first taking place next month. [The Oklahoman]

State Health Department files administrative compliance proceeding against OK County jail: The Oklahoma County jail is facing an administrative compliance proceeding filed by the Oklahoma State Department of Health, which could result in nearly $350,000 in fines. [The Oklahoman]

  • Homicide investigation underway after man beaten at Oklahoma County jail dies [The Oklahoman]

Economy & Business News

Walmart signs contract with Canoo to purchase 4,500 electric vehicles: Retail giant Walmart has signed an agreement with electric vehicle start-up Canoo to purchase 4,500 all-electric delivery vehicles to support Walmart’s e-commerce business. [Tulsa World]

State lotteries transfer wealth out of needy communities: While the growing expansion of casinos and state-sanctioned sports betting steal the spotlight, state lotteries have nearly doubled in size over the past two decades, driving a multibillion-dollar wealth transfer from low-income U.S. communities to powerful multinational companies. [AP]

Gradual gas price decline continues, longest drop since pandemic started: Gasoline prices have dropped for the fourth straight week, the longest decline since the COVID-19 pandemic began 2½ years ago, a national analyst said. [Tulsa World]

Education News

Tulsa school board ends abruptly after 3 members walk out: Tempers boiled over Monday night at Tulsa Public Schools’ Board of Education meeting after Superintendent Deborah Gist voiced her concerns about some of the board’s decisions. Board members Jennettie Marshall, E’Lena Ashley and Jerry Griffin walked out of the meeting after Gist began using the superintendent’s report portion of the agenda to lay out her objections about some of the board’s votes on items that did not receive the required majority for adoption. [Tulsa World]

New high schools? A fresh stadium? OKC schools unveil projects for 2022 bond: New middle and high schools, 20,000-square-foot spaces and a stadium highlight Oklahoma City Public Schools’ list of projects for a potential $900 million bond issue this year. The Oklahoma City Board of Education approved the bond’s “transformational project list” with a 5-1 vote Monday. [The Oklahoman

OU Board of Regents files protective order against NonDoc Media in open records lawsuit: The OU Board of Regents filed a protective order against NonDoc Media and Tres Savage for their efforts to make the university search and release information and reports from the law firm Jones Day regarding the investigation into former OU President David Boren and former OU Vice President Jim “Tripp” Hall. [OU Daily]

General News

Remembering the ‘prairie power’ of Oklahoma’s student protest years: They took on causes such as desegregating the bathrooms at the Cleveland County Courthouse (at the urging of Clara Luper) and inviting political speakers to campus. Nevertheless, they attracted enemies. [Commentary / NonDoc]

Quote of the Day

“(It) is incumbent upon the board to take the time to deeply consider the actions of tonight, consider the implications of what may happen if they persist.” 

-Tulsa Public Schools Interim Chief Talent Officer Andrea Castañeda, speaking about the mid-meeting departure of three board members from Monday night’s school board meeting. This left the board without quorum, so the consent agenda needed to be tabled. The agenda included the district’s 2022-23 agreement with Reading Partners to place volunteer reading coaches at 18 elementary schools, contracts for new teachers and support personnel, staffing moves within the district, recruitment stipends and summer pay for some members of the district’s transportation department. [Tulsa World]

Number of the Day

48th

Oklahoma’s national rank for per pupil spending in the most recent Annual Survey of School System Finances. Oklahoma’s per pupil spending in 2020 was $9,508, and the only states with lower per pupil spending rates were Arizona, Utah, and Idaho. Oklahoma’s rate was lowest in survey’s southern region, which included 16 states and the District of Columbia.
[U.S. Census Bureau]

Policy Note

Interest Rates Are Going Up to Fight Inflation. Schools May Feel the Pain Either Way: School district leaders hope the Federal Reserve’s recent interest rate hikes will provide fiscal relief as they strain to keep up with persistent inflation—but some also will find that the interest rate hikes only deepen their problems. School districts, like everyday consumers, are seeing increased prices of construction materials, fuel, energy, and classroom supplies. Anything to bring rising prices to a halt would be welcome, but some districts worry about the trade-offs. [Education Week]

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Annie Taylor joined OK Policy as a Digital Communications Associate/Storybanker in April 2022. She studied journalism and mass communication at the University of Oklahoma, and was a member of the Native American Journalists Association. She earned her bachelor’s degree in Strategic Communications from the University of Central Oklahoma. While pursuing her degree, she worked in restaurant and retail management, as well as freelance copywriting and digital content production. Annie is a proud member of the Choctaw Nation, and holds a deep reverence for storytelling in the digital age. She was born and raised in southeast Oklahoma, and now lives in Oklahoma City with her dog, Melvin.

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