In The Know: Gov. won’t renew hunting fishing compacts with two tribes | Funding requests signal approaching session | 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.

New from OK Policy

Funding requests signal approaching session (Capitol Update): It’s a sure sign the legislative session is close when the appropriations committees begin hearing from state agencies about how they are spending their funding for the current fiscal year and what their funding requests are for the next year. The Senate began its hearings last week. These hearings mainly function as educational meetings for appropriations committee members to learn more about the agencies they are responsible for funding, how they are performing, and the direction they are headed. The hearings provide an opportunity for an agency to put its best foot forward and for legislators to probe areas of interest or concern. [Steve Lewis / Capitol Update]

Oklahoma News

Oklahoma Gov. Stitt won’t renew hunting, fishing compacts with Cherokee, Choctaw tribes: Leaders of Oklahoma’s two largest tribes said Monday that they would issue their own hunting licenses to citizens. The announcement came soon after Gov. Kevin Stitt’s administration notified the Cherokee and Choctaw nations that it would not renew the state’s current hunting and fishing license agreements with the tribes. [The Oklahoman] Oklahoma tribal leaders said Monday that Gov. Kevin Stitt’s decision to not renew hunting and fishing license compacts with the Cherokee and Choctaw nations is part of an ongoing dispute between the tribes and the Republican governor. [AP News] The compacts have been in place since 2015 and 2016 following an agreement with former Republican Gov. Mary Fallin. They were heralded as the first of their kind in the country, and the two agreements have generated close to $38 million in new revenue for the state since 2015. [CNHI via Enid News & Eagle] The Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation dedicates that money to wildlife management and conservation efforts that benefit Natives and non-natives alike. [KOSU]

  • Cherokee Nation chief blasts Stitt’s refusal to renew hunting, fishing compacts [Tahlequah Daily Press]

About 20% of last month’s COVID-19 cases are ‘breakthrough cases,’ health commissioner says: As COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations have climbed in the last month, about a fifth of Oklahoma’s new cases have been breakthrough cases, the top Health Department official said Thursday. Many of those cases were people who would have been eligible for booster doses. The average number of days between the positive test and the person’s last vaccine dose was 228 days, or about seven and a half months. [The Oklahoman] There were 1,541 new cases reported Saturday, 1,192 new cases reported Sunday and 932 cases reported Monday. [The Oklahoman]

  • A year since Oklahoma’s first COVID vaccine was given, health chief reflects on saved lives [The Oklahoman]

State Government News

Former Oklahoma County commissioner pleads guilty to felony for unauthorized tractor use: Former Oklahoma County Commissioner Earl Rooms has paid $5,400 to resolve a criminal case involving his personal use of a Tinker Air Force Base tractor. Rooms, 81, of Harrah, pleaded guilty Nov. 30 to a felony and is on probation for two years. [The Oklahoman]

Column: Legislative Learning Lab helpful for advocates: The first deadline for the 2022 session of the Oklahoma Legislature was reached recently. It was the deadline by which lawmakers were required to turn in ideas for the myriad of bills they expect to introduce. [Joe Dorman / The Journal Record]

AAA: Gas prices may have peaked for the year; Oklahoma has had lowest in nation: The price of gasoline may have peaked this year and Oklahomans have had the lowest prices in the nation throughout the fall price surge, AAA of Oklahoma said Monday. [Tulsa World]

Criminal Justice News

Oklahoma County jail inmate dies at hospital, cause unknown: An inmate at the Oklahoma County Detention Center died Monday afternoon of unknown causes, according to a jail press release. Other detainees “were alerted to” the cell of Lucas Gonzales around 3:50 p.m. [The Oklahoman]

Feds award grant to state to fight crime: Oklahoma was recently awarded nearly $327,000 from a federal program to address crime through efforts tailor-made for the community. U.S. Attorneys involved in the program highlighted their efforts to address gang activity and domestic violence. Recent data shows that car thefts and violent crimes such as murder and assault are on the rise in the state. [The Journal Record]

Economic Opportunity

OKC, Tulsa regions among finalists for major federal cash infusions: Coalitions in Oklahoma City and Tulsa have been named among finalists in a nationwide competition for hundreds of millions of dollars in federal funding to be awarded through the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA). [The Journal Record] The $1 billion “Build Back Better Regional Challenge” is the centerpiece of the EDA’s American Rescue plan programs designed to boost pandemic economic recovery and rebuild American communities, including some that have been struggling with decades of disinvestment. [Tulsa World]

Education News

Midwest City-Del City to close 2 schools next year: Two elementary schools in Midwest City-Del City Public Schools will close at the end of this school year. The Mid-Del Board of Education on Monday approved the closure of Highland Park and Steed Elementary, two schools that even before the pandemic endured declining enrollment, underused space and millions of dollars worth of deferred maintenance. [The Oklahoman]

Tulsa Union Public Schools adopts diversity, equity and inclusion policy: Citing increasing diversity among the student body, Union Public Schools’ Board of Education unanimously adopted a new district-wide diversity, equity and inclusion policy Monday night. [Tulsa World]

General News

‘A place for us’: Oklahoma home to 3 of 21 lesbian bars in U.S.: In many ways, the Yellow Brick Road Pub on 15th Street feels like any other dive bar. Lit with neon lights, the bar has a jukebox and two pool tables in the back. Above the bartender, a disco ball hangs from the ceiling, and the scents of smoke and beer hang in the air. [NonDoc]

Oklahoma Local News

  • Tulsa city councilors, local officials tour 61st and Peoria, explore options to improve neighborhood [Tulsa World]
  • 5 homes, 14 barns destroyed in Oklahoma wildfire near Lawton [AP News]
  • Blood donors needed after tornadoes as Oklahoma shares supplies with Kentucky [Tulsa World]

Quote of the Day

“The state’s decision to end the hunting and fishing compacts with the Cherokee and Choctaw nations is disappointing especially in that it only hurts the state of Oklahoma, but the true intent is to demean tribal sovereignty.”

-Muscogee Principal Chief David Hill [The Oklahoman]

Number of the Day


Number of juvenile arrests in Oklahoma reported during 2020, accounting for 6.6% of all arrests [OSBI

Policy Note

Minors Facing Major Debt: The Immense Burden of Court Fees on Macomb County Youth and Families: Juvenile court debt has become a priority for reform across the country, as local jurisdictions and state governments realize that assessments and collections are inconsistently imposed, fiscally ineffective, exacerbate poverty for indigent families, and disproportionately impact families of color. This report discusses the impact of juvenile court fines and fees on youth/families in Macomb County, Michigan; assesses the extent to which Macomb’s juvenile court used fines and fees levied against youth and families to fund its court operations; and calculates the real costs associated with assessments and collections. [Michigan Center for Youth Justice]

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Jessica joined OK Policy as a Communications Associate in January 2018. A Mexican immigrant, she was a Clara Luper Scholar at Oklahoma City University where she obtained a B.A. in Political Science and Philosophy. Prior to joining OK Policy, Jessica worked at a digital marketing agency in Oklahoma City. She is an alumna of both the National Education for Women (N.E.W.) Leadership Institute (2013) and OK Policy's Summer Policy Institute (2015). In addition to her role at OK Policy, Jessica serves as a board member for Dream Action Oklahoma in OKC and communications director for Dream Alliance Oklahoma in Tulsa.

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