In The Know: Gov. signs bill limiting gender care at OU Children’s Hospital, asks lawmakers for wider ban | Drought relief | 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

Stitt signs bill blocking some gender care for transgender youth at OU Children’s Hospital: Gov. Kevin Stitt on Tuesday signed legislation that will immediately block OU Children’s Hospital from providing some gender care to LGBTQ youth. Stitt also called on the Oklahoma Legislature to enact during the 2023 legislative session a statewide ban on “irreversible gender transition surgeries and hormone therapies on minors,” an idea that already has some support among GOP lawmakers. [The Oklahoman]

  • Stitt signs bill preventing gender-transition treatments for minors at OU medical facilities [Tulsa World]

Drought relief funds will go to every county in Oklahoma: A state commission has decided to spread $3 million in relief funds across Oklahoma to assist farmers and ranchers during a worsening drought, while the governor announced he was sending another $20 million to help. [The Oklahoman]

State Government News

Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt appoints Shelley Zumwalt as new Tourism and Recreation director: Gov. Kevin Stitt has tapped a current state agency head to take over as the director of the Oklahoma Department of Tourism and Recreation. [The Oklahoman]

  • Gov. Kevin Stitt shuffles cabinet; employment commissioner moved to troubled tourism department [Tulsa World]

Criminal Justice News

Judge says Rogers County death-row inmate is competent to be executed: A man on death row for killing his 9-month-old daughter is competent to be executed later this month, a judge determined Tuesday. In an order following an evidentiary hearing Friday, Pittsburg County District Judge Mike Hogan found that Benjamin Robert Cole Sr. “does not meet the required ‘substantial threshold’ showing of insanity.” [Tulsa World]

Prosecutors refile murder charges against Oklahoma man after long hospitalization: A man accused of shooting and killing four family members more than nine years ago is back in the Oklahoma County jail after authorities refiled murder charges against him in late September. [The Oklahoman]

Economy & Business News

Online scams on rise; cost Oklahomans $52M last year: The average victim of online scams in Oklahoma lost $12,078 last year, a new study reveals. Statewide, 4,156 victims lost a total of $52 million to scammers in 2021, up from $21 million the previous year. [The Journal Record]

Minority Enterprise Development Week to feature educational forums: Business forums on topics ranging from e-commerce to cryptocurrency have been scheduled in conjunction with an awards ceremony and other events planned to highlight Minority Enterprise Development Week, Oct. 10-15. [The Journal Record]

OKC Apple Store employees trying to become the second US store to unionize: Apple Store employees at Oklahoma City’s Penn Square Mall are trying to become just the second Apple Store in the country to unionize. Workers there will vote this month on whether to join the Communication Workers of America Union. Nearly eight dozen employees at the location will be eligible to vote during the election, which will be held Oct. 13 and 14. [The Oklahoman]

Education News

Oklahoma Supreme Court upholds Western Heights takeover, superintendent suspension: The Oklahoma Supreme Court once again upheld a state takeover of Western Heights Public Schools and on Tuesday affirmed the suspension of the district’s superintendent. [The Oklahoman]

  • After Supreme Court ruling, judgment days approach for Robert Everman, Mannix Barnes [NonDoc]

Tulsa superintendent addresses security at McLain High School after fatal shooting: Classes are scheduled to resume Thursday at McLain High School after one person was killed and three more were injured Friday night when multiple shots were fired at the school’s homecoming game. [Tulsa World]

General News

Editorial: Greenwood District deserves placement on national historic registry: After nearly two decades of work and waiting, a portion of the Greenwood District has rightly been put on the National Register of Historic Places. Benefits include some tax incentives, but the biggest gain is bringing greater attention to the area to a worldwide audience. [Editorial / Tulsa World]

Oklahoma Local News

  • Tulsa utility bills to go up about $7 a month with first trash rate increase in 10 years [Tulsa World]

Quote of the Day

“Our youth and our adults want access to our rights to be able to decide our own best medical practices between ourselves, our families and our physicians.”

 – Rep. Mauree Turner, D-Oklahoma City, during debate on SB 3XX that blocked funding for a state children’s hospital from providing gender-affirming care. During the debate, Turner talked about the toll anti-LGBTQ rhetoric had on their mental health from a young age. [The Oklahoman]

Number of the Day


A recent study by the Native American Agriculture Fund found that during the pandemic, 56 percent of survey respondents across the country experienced food insecurity, with 31 percent experiencing very low food security (the most severe form of food hardship). [CBPP]

Policy Note

The Historical Determinants of Food Insecurity in Native Communities: Due largely to these government policies, food insecurity and poverty are high among Native communities today. From 2000 to 2010, 25 percent of American Indians and Alaska Natives (AIAN) were consistently food insecure, double the rate of white Americans. This trend continued from 2010 to 2020 where AIAN food insecurity was roughly double, and at times triple, the food insecurity white people faced. The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated food insecurity among AIAN communities. [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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