In The Know: Gov.’s sports betting plan surprises lawmakers, tribes | Addressing state’s housing needs | PragerU getting foothold in schools

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

Stitt surprises lawmakers with sports betting plan, McCall sets compact convo with tribal leaders: Days after Gov. Kevin Stitt caught legislative leaders off guard by announcing a “plan” to legalize sports betting in Oklahoma, House Speaker Charles McCall is preparing to host an interim study discussion with officials from the state’s four largest tribes on the topic of state-tribal compacts, a subject of enormous tension over the past five years. [NonDoc]

  • State, tribal agreements to go under the microscope at Oklahoma hearing [The Oklahoman]
  • Stitt’s sports betting proposal draws puzzled reaction, frustration [Tulsa World]
  • ‘The need for treatment… doubles’: Advocate shares warning amid calls for sports betting in Oklahoma [Fox25]

State Government News

Officials seek feedback on plan to make Oklahoma streets more friendly for cyclists, walkers: State officials are finalizing transportation plans aimed at making communities more friendly to cyclists and pedestrians. The Oklahoma Department of Transportation’s public comment period on its inaugural Active Transportation Plan ends Nov. 9. The plan will serve as a guiding document for cities and rural communities looking to make infrastructure improvements. [Oklahoma Voice]

  • ODOT construction work plan includes nearly $670 million for Tulsa County projects [Tulsa World]

Capitol Insider: New laws hit the books as calendar turns to November: A look at a few of the more than 200 new state laws that went into effect on November 1st. [KGOU]

Political notebook: Trick or Treat! Political campaign contributions reported: Last Tuesday was not only Halloween. It was also the deadline for third-quarter campaign finance reports. According to the Oklahoma Ethics Commission, the biggest bag of candy belongs to Lt. Gov. Matt Pinnell, who reported just under $1 million — $986,900.81, to be precise — in cash on hand. Pinnell is term-limited and does not seem to be actively fundraising, but he is widely viewed as a potential 2026 gubernatorial candidate. [Tulsa World]

Opinion: Oklahoma’s Top Ten rankings not good for education, health or vampires: Many lists and rankings get attention because the sources are considered legitimate due to transparency, expertise or being the primary reporting agencies, such as government entities. But there are a few groups out there coming up with their own loosely defined “studies.” These don’t make news, and some are a little off-beat. [Ginnie Graham / Tulsa World]

Federal Government News

D.C. Digest: Lucas says Johnson has won him over — for now: Third District Congressman Frank Lucas, who entered Congress in 1994 and is the longest-serving member of Oklahoma’s current delegation, told a Republican group last week that he thinks new House Speaker Mike Johnson will work out fine. [Tulsa World]

Tribal Nations News

Muscogee election: Robyn Whitecloud, Dode Barnett oust Speaker William Lowe, Rep. Joseph Hicks: The Muscogee National Council will be looking for a new speaker after voters selected challengers Dode Barnett and Robyn Whitecloud over incumbent Rep. Joseph Hicks and Speaker William Lowe. [NonDoc]

Voting and Election News

Can voters fire an elected official in Oklahoma?: Oklahoma is no stranger to political controversy and calls to remove officials from their jobs. Elected officials sometimes do bad things. One of them could be engaging in criminal activity, showing gross incompetence or simply failing to do their job. Occasionally, their offense is so serious that the political discussion eventually settles on one question: Should they be removed? [The Oklahoman]

Health News

Mental health services making progress as criticism mounts, advocates say: Oklahomans’ access to and utilization of mental health services have improved substantially in recent years, complaints to the contrary notwithstanding, several leaders in the field say.[Tulsa World]

  • Oklahoma behavioral care access is expanding with new laws in effect [KGOU]

Criminal Justice News

Employment services for formerly incarcerated expand in Tulsa: A nonprofit dedicated to helping people released from prison is expanding in Tulsa. The Center for Employment Opportunities opened a new location on Denver Avenue and held an open house Thursday evening. CEO says they’ve helped thousands of former prisoners gain employment. [Public Radio Tulsa]

Why Oklahoma County could use jail bond money to cover upcoming payroll: Commissioners will be asked Monday to authorize the temporary use of $5 million in funds set aside to build the new county jail to help pay its ongoing bills. The money is expected to be repaid in mid-January. It isn’t the first time the county has had to borrow money to meet payroll needs. [The Oklahoman]

Opinion, Rep. Justin Humphrey: Oklahomans believe in self-defense, so why is Phillip Hancock about to be executed?: I am deeply concerned that Oklahoma is poised to execute Phillip Hancock for defending himself against an unprovoked armed assault by a meth-crazed drug dealer. These circumstances shouldn’t have supported a first-degree murder charge, let alone the death penalty. [Rep. Justin Humphrey / The Oklahoman

Housing & Economic Opportunity

Opinion: A strong farm bill is needed to help alleviate hunger, provide basic food needs: Food and faith are intertwined in many ways, especially during the holidays when food is at the center of traditions that bring us together in celebration of our faith. Beyond sharing meals with family and friends, it also is a tenet of most faith traditions to ensure everyone in our communities has enough to eat. [The Most Rev. Paul S. Coakley / The Oklahoman]

Opinion: Fix the current housing crisis by fixing our relationships with each other: My experience of being unhoused was brief and avoidable thanks to my social support system. A big difference I see between myself and so many who are in danger of eviction in our community is a stable relational network. Economic pressures and poor legal protections absolutely play a role, as well, but the breakdown of relationships is a major risk factor we underestimate. [Kristine Hadeed / Tulsa World]

Opinion: What seems to be missing from OKC arena promotion is ‘the interests of others’: What has many people concerned about funding the new arena is that it so clearly shows that something is amiss in Oklahoma City when there is a plan to build a new house for multi-millionaires, but not one to house average Oklahomans. [The Rev. Lori Allen Walke / The Oklahoman]

Editorial: Homelessness is not just a city of Tulsa challenge: Perhaps the second time will be a charm with the city of Tulsa’s request for proposal to build a low-barrier shelter to serve people who are homeless. The first attempt was a bust, but not a complete loss.  [Editorial / Tulsa World]

Economy & Business News

Jobs report reflects sound economy in Oklahoma, across US: Strong employment continued to be reflected in the latest data released by the Oklahoma Employment Security Commission. Though claims for unemployment benefits increased slightly in the state across four categories, employment has remained strong despite efforts of the Fed to cool the economy. [Journal Record]

Fed survey sees increasing costs in service industry: Service industry activity in Oklahoma and the region held steady in October, and expectations for the next six months picked up, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City. [Tulsa World]

Education News

Controversial PragerU videos gain educational foothold in a handful of states: The growing movement concerns many researchers and scholars, who say the videos share misinformation and who worry that it may set a precedent for allowing other such distorted content into public schools. The videos are available free of charge for any classroom. Despite its name, PragerU is not a university. It is a conservative nonprofit that produces short videos on historical, economic and climate topics. [Oklahoma Voice]

Civil rights activist Joyce Henderson and Talihina Supt. Ray Henson named to Educators Hall of Fame: Longtime Oklahoma City civil rights activist Joyce Henderson is one of two people who will be inducted next week into the Oklahoma Educators Hall of Fame. Just one slight problem — at the moment there is no actual place to hang the Hall of Fame portraits. [The Oklahoman]

Opinion: New generations will be deprived of the wisdom of history if policies continue: At stake in these fights is not only factual accuracy. It is also how new generations will be taught to record and remember the past — both the good and the bad — so that they can learn to make their own history. [Jim Gray and David Grann / The Oklahoman]

Opinion: Bedrock of democracy rests on strengths of public education: As a product of public education and in my time working with community leaders, families, students and educators, I have witnessed the transformative impact of public education, on both an individual and a societal level. Public education is not merely a system; it is the backbone of democracy, fostering equality, nurturing informed citizens and paving the way for future generations to lead. [Moises Echeverria / Tulsa World]

General News

Revitalization of historic Black towns to be focus of Tulsa event: Celebrating the history of the country’s original all-Black towns while trying to ensure that they have a brighter future will be among the goals of an upcoming gathering in Tulsa. The Black Towns Revival Weekend will kick off Friday, Nov. 10. Participants are invited to join in discussing and learning more about revitalization efforts affecting Black towns in Oklahoma and throughout the United States. [Tulsa World]

Opinion: What I’ve learned after serving 40 years working for locally elected leaders: Leadership in public service is learned, not inherited, and it is expected because you were elected, not promoted. After years of working for local government leaders, there are lessons that might be of help to those leaders yet to come. [Terry Simonson / Tulsa World]

Oklahoma Local News

  • Family & Children’s Services in Tulsa names new CEO [Tulsa World]
  • Five takeaways from Mayor Bynum’s 2023 State of the City of Tulsa address [Public Radio Tulsa]
  • How is a new OKC amphitheater being funded? By selling its own private suites to investors [The Oklahoman]
  • Vinita theme park ‘producing new hope and faith for our country,’ investor says [Tulsa World]
  • Councilor Jeannie Cue to run for Tulsa County Commission [Tulsa World]

Quote of the Day

“We remain hopeful that (Gov. Stitt) is committed to moving forward in a productive manner in accord with established law and process, which would include working with the Oklahoma Legislature to offer a compact supplement to tribes within the State-Tribal Gaming Act construct that protects the tribes’ ‘substantial gaming exclusivity.’ To approach it otherwise is simply to invite failure.”

-Matthew Morgan, chairman of the Oklahoma Indian Gaming Association, in a statement saying his group also was not consulted by the governor prior to Thursday’s press release about a sport betting plan. [NonDoc]

Number of the Day

1 in 4

In Oklahoma, 25% — or 1 in 4 — live in households with a high housing burden where more than 30 percent of the monthly income was spent on rent, mortgage payments, taxes, insurance, and/or related expenses. In 2021, there were 242,000 Oklahoma children living in households with a high housing burden. [KIDS COUNT]

Policy Note

HUD Expands Promising Policy to Support Housing Choice: The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) published a notice last week expanding a promising policy that has been found to enable families with housing vouchers to choose to live in a wider range of neighborhoods. Giving voucher holders greater choice about where they live can have far-reaching positive effects on families and especially on children, research shows. HUD’s action will also help ensure that the voucher program furthers fair housing goals, as federal law requires. [Center on Budget and Policy Priorities]

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


David Hamby has more than 25 years of experience as an award-winning communicator, including overseeing communication programs for Oklahoma higher education institutions and other organizations. Before joining OK Policy, he was director of public relations for Rogers State University where he managed the school’s external communication programs and served as a member of the president’s leadership team. He served in a similar communications role for five years at the University of Tulsa. He also has worked in communications roles at Oklahoma State University and the Fort Smith Chamber of Commerce in Arkansas. He joined OK Policy in October 2019.

Leave a Reply

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