In The Know: Gov. resurrect gaming compact fight | Outside spending on governor’s race | State crime rate discussion needs context | 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 Gov. Stitt resurrects gaming compact fight with tribes, hires new outside legal counsel: In a notice sent to Timothy J. Kelly, a judge in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia dated October 11, 2022, the attorneys retained by the governor cite the Oklahoma v. Castro-Huerta ruling as a reason for wanting to dismiss a 2020 lawsuit by Citizen Potawatomi Nation, Cherokee Nation, Choctaw Nation and Chickasaw Nation. The four tribes were seeking to stop gaming compacts Stitt signed with four other tribes. [KOSU]

Millions in outside spending has appeared to impact Oklahoma’s race for governor: The commercials show Gov. Kevin Stitt in grainy black and white, his face frozen in an unflattering expression as a narrator accuses the first-term governor of facilitating the Epic schools scandal, approving a “sweetheart deal” for a barbecue restaurant to open in state parks, and allowing utility companies to hike rates to cover inflated natural gas prices during a 2021 winter storm. [The Oklahoman]

  • From OK Policy: Political attack ads, often funded through dark money, sensationalize the positions of opposing candidates while demonizing them through what could charitably be considered half-truths. [Shiloh Kantz / Policy Matters]

Higher crime in Oklahoma? Hofmeister-Stitt clash from debate needs context, expert says: It would not be true to say Oklahoma had more violent crime, just more violent crime per capita, said David Gateley, an Oklahoma Policy Institute criminal justice policy analyst. Oklahoma has had higher violent crime rates for decades, he said. According to FBI data going back to 1985, Oklahoma has had a higher violent crime rate per capita than the national rate since about 2001. [Tulsa World]

  • Stitt’s false claim about Oklahoma’s crime rate a key moment during governor’s debate [The Oklahoman]

One-on-one: Real talk with two polar opposites vying for state superintendent: Oklahoma voters could hardly have more different choices when it comes to selecting the next state superintendent. [Tulsa World]

Planning to vote by mail? Your guide to absentee voting in Oklahoma: Millions of voters across the nation will cast their midterm election ballots by mail. With Election Day on Nov. 8, we’ve gathered the information you need to know about absentee voting in Oklahoma. Today (Monday, Oct. 24) is the deadline to request an absentee ballot. [The Oklahoman]

State Government News

Metadata show Oklahoma Turnpike Authority modified public meeting agendas: Metadata from publicly posted meeting agendas appear to indicate Oklahoma turnpike staff altered agendas for a pair of public meetings leading up to the announcement of a controversial $5 billion turnpike project. The Norman Transcript first reported the news. [StateImpact Oklahoma]

Column: It’s time to close digital divides within Oklahoma’s rural communities: When widespread stay-at-home orders demonstrated the real-world negative consequences of huge gaps between internet service areas, it became clear that this lack of connectivity left much of rural Oklahoma in the dark. Even before the pandemic, Oklahoma ranked 47th in the nation for both the number of residents connected to the internet and the average internet speed. [Guest columnist Kevin Smith / The Oklahoman]

Column: Oklahoma needs a long-term strategic plan to address rural highway safety problems: The Oklahoma Department of Transportation recently reported that 65% of Oklahoma’s traffic fatalities occur on rural roadways. The disparity between our state’s rural and urban highway safety is especially troubling in light of our national highway fatality trend of increasing fatalities nationwide. [James Grimsley Guest Column / Tulsa World]

Political notebook: O’Connor targets ‘Net-Zero’ banks: Oklahoma Attorney General John O’Connor and his office last week joined a 19-state alliance investigating banks pursuing net-zero carbon emissions policies promoted by the United Nations. [Tulsa World]

Voting and Election News

What did Stitt accomplish in four years? A look at 5 campaign promises: The Oklahoman looked back on five of Gov. Stitt’s campaign promises to see what the governor accomplished after he took office. This is not a comprehensive look at everything Stitt said he hoped to achieve in elected office. But it is an attempt to revisit some of the governor’s common talking points on the campaign trail four years ago. [The Oklahoman]

O’Connor kept campaign donation from attorney under criminal investigation, records show: Attorney General John O’Connor accepted a maximum campaign donation from a politically connected attorney as O’Connor’s assistants aided a criminal investigation of the attorney’s work for medical marijuana growers, according to campaign records and multiple law enforcement sources. [The Oklahoman]

In Oklahoma’s largest county, one of the most important criminal justice roles in the state is set to change hands: One candidate has in the past threatened to set himself on fire over abortion and has little experience as a prosecutor. The other is a former prosecutor turned defense attorney who carries the baggage of being a Democrat in a deeply conservative state. [The Frontier]

What we know about OK lieutenant governor, AG, treasurer, labor commissioner candidates: Oklahoma’s races for the U.S. Senate, governor and state schools superintendent have captured significant attention leading up to the Nov. 8 general election.[The Oklahoman]

Previewing Oklahoma’s U.S. Senate Elections, Part II: Compiled through publicly accessible materials, here’s a brief breakdown of the candidates and the issues they’re running on. [Oklahoma Watch]

Two newcomers vie for reconfigured House District 66 seat: No matter who wins the Nov. 8 election, a change is about to come to House District 66. The district — represented for the past 12 years by term-limited Republican Jadine Nollan, a lifelong Sand Springs resident — will have a new voice in the state House. [Tulsa World]

Mike Masters, Amanda Swope compete for open House District 71 in Tulsa: House District 71 has been in Democratic hands for four years, following decades as a Republican stronghold, but the seat is once again up for grabs as Rep. Denise Brewer (D-Tulsa) departs the House after two terms. [NonDoc]

Who and what’s on the ballot for the November 8th general election: Oklahoma’s Nov. 8 General Election will decide many statewide, federal and local races. [KOSU]

Two Republican guest columnists present arguments for governor candidates Stitt, Hofmeister: Tulsa World Opinion features guest columns in Sunday editions leading up to the Nov. 8 election that make arguments, based on specific issues, for the Republican and Democratic candidates running for Oklahoma governor. [Tulsa World Opinion]

Column: Extremists draw more attention, but moderates are worth seeking out: Former Gov. Brad Henry has been on television lately supporting Joy Hofmeister’s run for governor — not unexpected since both are Democrats. But surprising to me was Henry’s emphasis on Hofmeister’s willingness to be a moderate and listen to ideas from the other party. [Guest Columist William C. Wertz / The Oklahoman]

Criminal Justice News

Gov. Kevin Stitt names replacement DA for Pottawatomie, Lincoln counties: Adam Panter, 42, of Shawnee, was appointed Thursday to serve the final months of the term of Allan Grubb, who resigned in August. Panter could continue in the position four more years if reappointed in January. [The Oklahoman]

Clergy group, activists call for ouster of jail administrator: A new member of the trust overseeing the Oklahoma County jail on Friday called for a change in leadership at the troubled 13-story facility. [The Oklahoman]

Oklahomans for Criminal Justice Reform (OCJR) – Supporting bipartisan efforts for implementation of State Question 780 and 781: In a press release circulated this week, Oklahomans for Criminal Justice Reform (OCJR) declared, “The state of Oklahoma owes taxpayers over 70 million dollars worth of investments in local mental health resources. So, where’s the money?” [The Oklahoma City Sentinel]

Domestic abuse is often ‘behind closed doors’ in well-resourced communities; officials aim to change conversation: DVIS recently announced that “Conversations to Confront Violence” will be held across the city in different iterations over the next year, and Thursday’s event recognized October as Domestic Violence Awareness Month. [Tulsa World]

Economy & Business News

Oklahomans cut back on spending as costs rise: As the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma works to help people hurt by rising costs of food and other necessities, the organization itself is confronting the effects of high inflation. [The Oklahoman]

3 hand sanitizer fires, 1 owner. What’s behind fires at Oklahoma company facing $6.6M penalty?: Hand sanitizer stored at three industrial properties owned by Bordwine Development Inc. is getting consumed by a string of fires, including one that likely won’t be extinguished until next week. [The Oklahoman]

Education News

Oklahoma fourth- and eighth-graders see post-pandemic declines in reading, math scores: The latest results of the National Assessment of Educational Progress capture the academic losses students across the country, including here in Oklahoma, experienced during the pandemic. [Tulsa World]

Sex ed isn’t political, experts say. So why do Oklahoma lawmakers want to limit it?: Rather than being expanded, sex education could be the next political target for Oklahoma lawmakers, who spent recent years at the cross section of education and social issues. [The Oklahoman]

New OSU strategic plan tackles student debt, graduation rates: ‘We want to set our sights high’: Boosting enrollment, increasing graduation rates and reducing student debt through more scholarships are among the goals Oklahoma State University has set for itself in a new strategic plan. [Tulsa World]

General News

Bob Doucette: Americans running the risk of losing sight of who we are: The fact that we survived the Civil War, Reconstruction, Jim Crow and any number of other crises that have divided us over nearly two-and-a-half centuries is a testimony to how resilient America’s ideals have been. But something I’ve learned since Jan. 6, 2021, is that concepts like ideals, precedents or laws are only as strong as people’s beliefs in them. [Bob Doucette Column / Tulsa World]

Quote of the Day

“Since the rural economy accounts for about 10% of our nation’s gross domestic product, the significance of rural communities to the nation’s economic vitality should not be understated. But, without reliable internet connections, rural communities often lack the infrastructure needed to compete in today’s economy.”

-Kevin Smith, General Manager of Perry-based Ditch Witch, writing about the need to close the digital gap for rural Oklahomans [The Oklahoman]

Number of the Day


Percent of households with incomes below $35,000 who spent their child tax credits on food, utilities, rent or mortgage, clothing, or educational costs.  


Policy Note

Policymakers Should Expand Child Tax Credit in Year-End Legislation to Fight Child Poverty: The Child Tax Credit expansion drove child poverty sharply downward in 2021. Combined with other relief efforts, the expansion helped lower child poverty by more than 40 percent between 2020 and 2021, reaching a record low of 5.2 percent, Census Bureau data released last week show. The credit’s expansion expired at the end of last year, but policymakers can renew this successful poverty-fighting policy in year-end bipartisan tax legislation. [Center on Budget and Policy Priorities]

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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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