In The Know: Gov. vetoes $24 million in ARPA appropriations | Biden pardons thousands for ‘simple possession’ of marijuana | 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 vetoes $24 million in ARPA appropriations, more than $1 billion approved: Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt signed a number of bills that came out of the Legislature’s special session to appropriate American Rescue Plan Act funds, vetoed three, and allowed a slew of others to enter into law without his signature. [NonDoc]

  • Gov. Kevin Stitt vetoes funds for Arts Council, OETA, Emergency Management stimulus projects [The Oklahoman]
  • Editorial: Lawmakers must work through ARPA fund hold up [Editorial / Tulsa World]

State Government News

Veterans’ disability payments highest for Oklahoma on average, state agency finds: Oklahoma ranks first in the average amount veterans receive annually in disability payments, said Joe Kintsel, Oklahoma Department of Veterans Affairs executive director. [Tulsa World]

State legislators hold school safety study at Oklahoma State Capitol: School security remains top of mind for Oklahomans. Thursday, three state legislators held a study at the Oklahoma State Capitol to learn what safety laws should be pushed for in the upcoming legislative session. [KFOR]

Oklahoma Scorecard: Infrastructure improved; poor marks for education: A new report that measures Oklahoma’s economic competitiveness shows the state has made significant progress in infrastructure since the 2021 report but stills ranks 39th overall among the 50 states. [The Journal Record]

This Week in Oklahoma Politics Podcast (audio): Gender-affirming care, critical race theory ban, OKC Human Rights Commission and more. [KOSU]

Federal Government News

Biden pardons thousands for ‘simple possession’ of marijuana: President Joe Biden is pardoning thousands of Americans convicted of “simple possession” of marijuana under federal law, as his administration takes a dramatic step toward decriminalizing the drug and addressing charging practices that disproportionately impact people of color. [AP News via Tulsa World]

Voting and Election News

Video: Libertarian Natalie Bruno makes her case to be Oklahoma’s governor: Incumbent Republican Gov. Kevin Stitt, Democratic nominee Joy Hofmeister, independent Ervin Yen and Libertarian Natalie Bruno make up the 2022 field running for governor in Oklahoma. [NonDoc]

Health News

Column: Steps Oklahoma lawmakers can take to turnaround mental health system: Every sector in Oklahoma is affected by the state’s poor status of mental health. Schools face rising behavior challenges and depression among students; homelessness has significantly stepped up; adults cannot hold on to jobs; and families suffer from dysfunction. [Ginnie Graham / Tulsa World]

Education News

McLain High School students, staff return to class following fatal shooting: McLain alumni, community members and staff from other campuses across Tulsa Public Schools greeted students with cheers, fist bumps, upbeat music and signs of encouragement for the first day of school since shots were fired at the football game. [Tulsa World]

Surreptitiously obtained video targets TPS’ Rogers Middle School teacher on HB 1775: A national conservative organization has released a video of a Tulsa Public Schools teacher describing himself as an anarchist and expressing frustration with a state law meant to limit instruction on race and gender. [Tulsa World]

Economy & Business News

State jobless claims increase after hitting historic low point: After hitting a historic low number of filings, first-time claims for state unemployment insurance benefits increased last week, yet still remain relatively low, according to a government report. [Tulsa World]

OPEC+ says it’s cutting oil production. What that means for Oklahoma: A decision made half a world away could cause gasoline prices to rise once again this year, but the full impact, especially in Oklahoma, isn’t yet known. [The Oklahoman]

Column: Beware lawmakers in grips of tax-cut mania: A revamped system in which everyone equitably shoulders the burden would be a noble pursuit indeed. Unfortunately, what “reform” all-too-often means is the rich-get-richer and poor-get-poorer. [Arnold Hamilton Column / The Journal Record]

Oklahoma Local News

  • 5 ways Oklahoma City’s appearance could improve with new rules for signs and billboards [The Oklahoman]

Quote of the Day

“Currently, Oklahomans not in crisis may be waiting months for an appointment. We don’t wait for a heart attack to address heart disease. We shouldn’t wait for a psychotic break to give Oklahomans brain health services. We need more mental health workers.”

-Tulsa World Columnist Ginnie Graham addressing how Oklahoma needs to prioritize mental health services as much as other health services [Ginnie Graham / Tulsa World]

Number of the Day


Percentage of Oklahoma households with children under four years old where childcare arrangements were disrupted because of the coronavirus pandemic (7/25/2022 to 8/8/2022)  [KIDS COUNT]

Policy Note

Women are returning to (paid) work after the pandemic forced many to leave their jobs: In those months when women dropped out of the workforce in large numbers, economists, businesses and policymakers began to fear they’d never return, creating a worker shortage that could hobble the economic recovery. But nearly two-and-a-half years after the coronavirus first struck, the number of working-age women in the job market has finally returned to pre-pandemic levels. [NPR]

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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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