In The Know: Health Information Exchange rules spurs privacy concerns | Senate advances education bills | AG sues EPA over state’s emission plan

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.

State Government News

Oklahoma health information exchange rules spur privacy, cost concerns: Anje Newnam expects to see a decrease in patients if the state adopts policies requiring mental health professionals to participate in a statewide health information exchange. Citing concerns about divulging patients’ personal information, the licensed professional counselor and school psychologist at Partners in Wellness in Tulsa said she’s likely to stop practicing in Oklahoma if participation in the program becomes mandatory. [Tulsa World]

State Department of Education to hear public feedback Friday on proposed rule changes: The Oklahoma State Department of Education will take public feedback Friday on a pair of administrative rules that would restrict school library content and require school employees to notify parents about changes to their child’s identity. The two listening sessions will be conducted in Room 1-20 of the Oliver Hodge Building, 2500 N. Lincoln Blvd. in Oklahoma City. Written comments may be submitted until 4:30 p.m. Friday to [Tulsa World]

Oklahoma Strikes Down Bill Aiming To End Corporal Punishment For Disabled Students: The bill would have banned school personnel from hitting, spanking and slapping disabled students as a form of discipline. [HuffPost]

  • Lawmakers ‘thought they were voting against the Bible,’ author of anti-spanking bill says [The Oklahoman]

Oklahoma Senate passes education policy at center of Speaker McCall’s ultimatum: The Oklahoma Senate has advanced part of its education agenda that would funnel more money to public schools and teacher development. The package consists of six bills that would cost the state an estimated $81 million. After passing the Senate, bills need approval from the House of Representatives and the governor to become law. [The Oklahoman]

Drummond sues EPA for rejecting Oklahoma’s plan to reduce harmful emissions, calls new federal plan ‘burdensome’: The Environmental Protection Agency announced a final Good Neighbor Plan this week to keep smog-causing emissions from hurting people in downwind states. But after the EPA rejected Oklahoma’s proposed plan to curb its emissions last month, Oklahoma Attorney General Gentner Drummond is suing the EPA, calling its federal plan “burdensome” and overreaching. [KOSU]

  • Oklahoma sues over EPA’s rejection of plan to keep emissions from affecting neighboring states [Tulsa World]

Podcast: Volkswagen snubs Oklahoma, toxic waste, bank closures and more: KOSU’s Michael Cross talks with Republican Political Consultant Neva Hill and Civil Rights Attorney Ryan Kiesel about Volkswagen choosing Canada over Oklahoma for its electric vehicle battery plant despite a $700M incentive package, Gov. Kevin Stitt declining to accept a shipment of toxic waste from the train derailment in Ohio and Oklahoma banks are working to reassure customers and shareholders after two high profile bank closures over the weekend. [This Week in Oklahoma Politics / KOSU]

Federal Government News

US TikTok ban could be near with bipartisan ‘RESTRICT Act’: As US and China relations seemingly grow more frigid by the passing day, a dozen US senators unveiled legislation directed at TikTok on Tuesday called the Restricting the Emergence of Security Threats that Risk Information and Communications Technology (RESTRICT) Act. [Black Wall Street Times]

Criminal Justice News

OKC lawyer charged in attempted child exploitation case, details emerge in court documents: An Oklahoma City attorney faces an attempted child sex charge after authorities accused him of trying to meet who he thought was a 5-year-old girl for sex. Michael Dwaine Lunday, 55, was charged Monday in Canadian County District Court with one count of attempted sexual exploitation of a child under 12. [The Oklahoman]

Testimony heard against Tulsa attorney accused of rape, witness intimidation: The preliminary hearing for Jeffrey Krigel was the buzz of the Tulsa County Courthouse and saw the courtroom gallery filled with curious spectators and supporters, including many members of Krigel’s extended family and friends who traveled from as far as Seattle. [Tulsa World]

Police captain arrested on suspicion of DUI, investigation underway: An Oklahoma City police captain was arrested Sunday on suspicion of DUI, and on Thursday Police Chief Wade Gourley announced an investigation into the incident is underway. [The Oklahoman]

Economy & Business News

Column: Loss of industry prize highlights need for skilled workforce: When it comes to pursuing big economic development prizes, Oklahoma always seems to be paddling against the current. Last year, it was Panasonic’s decision to locate its new $4 billion electric vehicle battery factory near Kansas City rather than Pryor. This week, it was Volkswagen choosing Canada for a $2 billion EV battery operation. [Arnold Hamilton / Journal Record]

Program funding to help Oklahoma communities upgrade industrial sites: The Oklahoma Department of Commerce recently launched its new Supporting Industrial Transformation and Economic Success program to address statewide infrastructure needs both of existing businesses and prospective new industries. [Journal Record]

Edmond OKs financing for 2 big projects: The Edmond City Council voted this week to borrow $88.1 million to finance the construction of two large projects scheduled for completion in spring 2025. The money will fund construction of the three-building downtown City Center Complex and a city-owned building northeast of 15th Street and Interstate 35 that will include a YMCA and a new public library. [Journal Record]

Column: Oklahoma film industry growth isn’t just about tax incentives: Oklahoma’s Legislature is once again taking positive action to support our state’s growing film industry. House Bill 1362, which would nearly triple the tax incentive available for shows and movies filmed here, will make producers and directors from across the country consider doing their work here. [Emily Taylor Guest Column /The Oklahoman]

General News

Trump to attend NCAA wrestling tournament as guest of Mullin: Former President Donald Trump is coming to Tulsa on Saturday to attend the NCAA Wrestling Championship as the guest of Sen. Markwayne Mullin, the senator confirmed in a text to the Tulsa World late Thursday. [Tulsa World]

Quote of the Day

“We know that having one affirming adult in an LGBTQ+ teen’s adult can be literally life saving and disrupt rates of suicidality and suicide ideation. A rule proposal like this doesn’t create space for that affirmation, safety and trust. Instead, it creates a scenario where every student regardless of gender identity or sexuality has to feel like their presentation is being policed at school in a way that if any of their behavior is assumed out be out of line with their sex as assigned at birth it could result in them being outed, regardless of whether that assumption is actually true.”

– Nicole McAfee, executive director of Freedom Oklahoma, speaking on the proposed rule that would require school district employees to disclose any changes or information regarding a child’s health and social or psychological development to parents or guardians within 30 days. The language of the proposed rule specifically includes gender identity information, including the student’s preferred names or pronouns while at school. [Tulsa World]

Number of the Day

Policy Note

No State Has an Adequate Supply of Affordable Rental Housing for the Lowest Income Renters: The U.S. has a shortage of 7.3 million rental homes affordable and available to renters with extremely low incomes – that is, incomes at or below either the federal poverty guideline or 30% of their area median income, whichever is greater. Nationwide, only 33 affordable and available rental homes exist for every 100 extremely low-income renter households. Extremely low-income renters face a shortage in every state and major metropolitan area. [National Low Income Housing Coalition] | [Full Report, PDF] | [Oklahoma Summary]

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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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