In The Know: Health officials watching COVID numbers heading into the holidays | People Have the Power event, Nov. 30 | 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.

NOTE: In The Know will be on hiatus Thursday and Friday, but will return Monday, Nov. 29. 

New from OK Policy

We’re Hiring! Join the team as a Data Analyst: The Oklahoma Policy Institute is currently hiring for a Data Analyst to carry out critical data-driven research projects, using the Open Justice Oklahoma database to turn court, prison, and jail administrative records into data that supports efforts to create a more open and equitable justice system. Applications for this position close on January 4, 2022 at 5:00 PM (CST). [OK Policy]

Nov. 30 ‘People Have the Power’ event to feature national speaker: Together Oklahoma, the grassroots advocacy program for the Oklahoma Policy Institute, will host a virtual and in-person event on Nov. 30 designed to support and empower advocates statewide featuring a keynote address by a nationally renowned speaker. People Have the Power: Preserving Democracy Through Participation will be livestreamed starting at 7 p.m., Tuesday, Nov. 30, via the Together Oklahoma website ( and the OK Policy website ( and the organizations’ social media channels. [Miguel Rios / OK Policy]

Health News

Experts urge Oklahomans to get booster shots as COVID-19 cases rise: As the holidays approach, experts urge Oklahomans not to delay getting their booster doses of the COVID-19 vaccine. Boosters are now available to all adults, after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention updated eligibility guidelines last week. [The Oklahoman]

  • COVID-19 surge starts sooner than projected, but not expected to be worse than delta wave, OU epidemiologist says [Tulsa World]
  • Health Leaders To Provide Update On COVID-19 In Oklahoma As Holidays Begin [News 9]
  • Rising COVID-19 concerns complicate holiday [The Journal Record]
  • Health officials press the need to vaccinate children, get adult boosters [Stillwater News Press]

Federal judge sends Ascension St. John employee vaccination case back to state court: A federal judge has remanded a lawsuit aimed at Ascension St. John Health System’s employee vaccination requirement back to state court, where it is subject to a temporary restraining order. [Tulsa World]

Legal Aid can offer help with health insurance: This year’s open enrollment period for the online Healthcare Marketplace begins Monday, Nov. 1 and Legal Aid Services of Oklahoma is offering Navigators across the state to help Oklahomans weigh their options. [Woodward News]

State coalition to address challenges presented by Alzheimer’s: The Oklahoma State Department of Health has formed a statewide coalition to address issues related to Alzheimer’s disease, which claims the lives of more than 1,700 Oklahomans each year. The department is seeking people to participate in the Oklahoma Healthy Brain Initiative Coalition. [The Journal Record]

State Government News

New bill seeks to speed access to treatment for people found incompetent to stand trial: A state lawmaker has introduced a bill to speed up access to treatment for people found incompetent to stand trial. Senate Bill 1113, authored by Sen. Micheal Bergstrom, R-Adair, would allow people with severe mental illness to receive treatment in county jails instead of waiting for a bed to open up at a state hospital. The bill would also require the Oklahoma State Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services or another provider to begin treatment in jail for people found incompetent to stand trial if a bed doesn’t open up at a state hospital within 30 days. [The Frontier]

Why an opioid case boosts arguments in lawsuit over Tulsa massacre: An Oklahoma Supreme Court ruling earlier this month that overturned a $465 million judgment against Johnson & Johnson for allegedly fueling the state’s opioid epidemic raises questions in a related but quite different lawsuit. [Reuters]

  • Jury holds CVS, Walgreens and Walmart responsible for role in opioid crisis [CNBC]

Tribal Nations News

Column: Osage Nation citizens seeking peace, respect for ancestors going into next year: “I am glad our story is being told. Because even though I grew up on the Osage Nation reservation, the Reign of Terror was not taught in my Oklahoma history class. I think Americans, especially Oklahomans, need to know their history, even if it’s ugly, even if it’s evil.” [Shannon Shaw Duty / Tulsa World]

Criminal Justice News

Bigler Stouffer denied stay of execution: Judge Stephen Friot, of the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Oklahoma, on Tuesday ruled against a requested stay of execution for Oklahoma death-row inmate Bigler Stouffer. [NonDoc] Bigler Stouffer II, 79, and his attorneys argued that the state’s current three-drug lethal injection protocol poses the risk of subjecting him to unconstitutional pain and suffering. [AP News] Attorneys for death row inmate Bigler Stouffer asked a federal judge for a stay of execution due to an upcoming trial in February that will challenge whether Oklahoma’s execution protocol is constitutional. [KFOR] His execution is set for Dec. 9, and he was denied a stay Tuesday in Oklahoma City federal court. Now he is asking the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver to intervene. [The Oklahoman]

Economy & Business News

Nationwide worker shortage complicates holiday hiring. How it’s impacting Oklahoma: The nationwide worker shortage still lingers as a roadblock for employers, especially during the annual hiring surge to meet consumer demand during the holidays. [The Oklahoman]

General News

Miss USA contestants tour Tulsa’s Greenwood District, ‘gain some history’: Ahead of their upcoming competition in Tulsa, contestants from the 2021 Miss USA Pageant were given a special welcome Tuesday with a tour of the historic Greenwood District. [Tulsa World]

Crowning achievement: How an Oklahoma nonprofit is changing the state of youth haircare: The Hair Initiative non-profit provides education to foster and adoptive parents for proper care and hygiene of highly textured hair, including basics about how often to wash textured hair, styling, tools and products to use and how to prevent damage. [The Oklahoman]

Oklahoma Local News

  • OKC City Council approves MAPS 4 subcommittees but with controversy [OKC Free Press] | [The Journal Record]
  • After redistricting, Cathy Cummings plans move to continue commissioner campaign [NonDoc]
  • Cleveland County Commissioner boundaries adopted [The Norman Transcript]
  • Enid public transit general manager leaving; EPTA expecting major funding change with census [Enid News & Eagle]

Quote of the Day

“The future of our nation rests on our ability to work together from the good of all; we must be able to see past partisanship and politics, and ensure that every family in our nation has a real shot at a better future.”

-Frederick Isasi, Executive Director of Families USA (FUSA) – one of the country’s leading nonpartisan, nonprofit health care advocacy organizations – who will deliver the keynote speech for Together Oklahoma’s Nov. 30 People Have the Power: Preserving Democracy Through Participation event that will be livestreamed starting at 7 p.m., Tuesday, Nov. 30. [OK Policy] | [Event Information]

Number of the Day


Percentage of Oklahomans who report being American Indian and Alaska Native alone or in combination with another race or ethnicity. Oklahoma has the nation’s second rate for this population, behind only Alaska at 21.9% [U.S. Census Bureau

Policy Note

Historical Basis for Health Services: An awareness of the legal basis for the federal obligation to provide health care to American Indians and Alaska Natives is important when designing health care programs, developing federal budgets, coordinating with other agencies, and obtaining regulation waivers for selected Indian programs. [Indian Health Services]

Note: November is Native American Heritage Month, or as it is commonly referred to, American Indian and Alaska Native Heritage Month. The month is a time to celebrate rich and diverse cultures, traditions, and histories and to acknowledge the important contributions of Native people. 

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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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