In The Know: How evictions might spike in July | A look at Medicaid expansion enrollees | Federal funds released to schools

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

How Oklahoma evictions might spike after July: A federal freeze on most evictions that was enacted last year is scheduled to expire July 31, after the Biden administration extended the date by a month. The moratorium, put in place by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in September, has been the only tool keeping millions of tenants in their homes. Many of them lost jobs during the coronavirus pandemic and have fallen months behind on their rent. [AP News] OK Policy: Turning the tide on evictions: Using federal aid, support to reduce Oklahoma’s eviction crisis.

A decade in the making, Medicaid expansion takes effect in Oklahoma: After more than a decade of advocacy and resistance, Oklahoma’s Medicaid expansion is now in effect. Enrollment opened in June, and more than 100,000 Oklahomans successfully entered the program. Their benefits became available June 1. That date drew national attention. U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Bacerra came to Tulsa that day to commemorate it. A woman named Gayle was one of several people who weighed in during the Oklahoma Policy Institute’s recent Countdown to Care event. The think tank is based in Tulsa and has been one of Medicaid expansion’s top proponents. [StateImpact Oklahoma]

New child tax credit is now in effect: Parents will begin receiving more money per child under the new child tax credit rules starting Thursday. Prior to the pandemic, 1 in 5 Oklahoma children lived in poverty. As the child tax credit is now in effect, there is hope in changing this statistic for the better. “Previously, it was a lump sum of $2,000 per qualifying child, and this again came one time per year, but now parents can get real-time relief to help with the expenses they need now,” Oklahoma Policy Institute policy analyst Gabrielle Jacobi said. [News 9]

Feds release final portion of $1.4 billion in stimulus funds for Oklahoma’s schools: Oklahoma has earned the approval of the U.S. Department of Education for its plan to use about $1.4 billion in federal stimulus money for elementary and secondary education. The approval for state and education leaders’ take on how Oklahoma should deploy the American Rescue Plan Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief means the feds will distribute the final third, $498 million, allocated for the state. [Tulsa World]

Poisoned relationship between Oklahoma tribes and Gov. Kevin Stitt doomed a forum to failure: Based on pre-written speeches prepared by mostly white panelists, a Tulsa forum on the landmark McGirt ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court was geared to a different audience than the one that showed up on Tuesday night. The crowd that did attend was mostly American Indian and mostly in favor of the high court’s McGirt ruling last year, which held that reservations for the so-called “Five Civilized Tribes” were never disestablished by Congress and that much of the state is still Indian reservations. [The Frontier]

  • FBI anticipates 7,500 cases in Oklahoma next year in wake of McGirt ruling [The Oklahoman]

Health News

Calling it ‘tyranny’, GOP state lawmakers seek ban on hospitals requiring COVID vaccines for staff: A group of 20 Republican state legislators on Thursday issued a letter to Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt, asking for an executive order banning hospitals in the state from requiring their employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19. “If we do not protect the individual’s right to choose what goes in their body, we no longer live in a free society,” reads the letter from the group, led by Hominy Rep. Sean Roberts. [Public Radio Tulsa]

  • As coronavirus variant spreads, medical experts urge Oklahoma to plan for another surge [KOSU]
  • 7-day average of new Oklahoma COVID-19 cases tops 500 [AP News]
  • COVID-19 information Oklahomans need to know [Tulsa World]

With two weeks to deadline, negotiations between St. Francis and Blue Cross Blue Shield continue: St. Francis Hospital is set to leave the Blue Cross Blue Shield network at the end of the month. It could be a big change for healthcare in Tulsa. What’s behind the potential split? Dr. Diane Heaton is an oncologist and president of the Tulsa Medical Society. [Public Radio Tulsa]

State Government News

Return-to-work incentive payments begin, but continued unemployment claims rise: The Oklahoma Employment Security Commission has begun distributing the first round of return-to-work initiative payments to Oklahomans, but continued unemployment claims are rising. [Tulsa World] Oklahoma has begun distributing the $1,200 Back to Work incentive payments for people who left unemployment for a new job. The Oklahoma Employment Security Commission said Thursday it has received more than 10,000 applications, but 90% of those were denied for various reasons. [The Oklahoman]

Despite hate crime bill, Oklahoma’s Asian American community faces difficulties: Lyn Detphong, a single mother balancing a job as a full-time nurse with ownership of a Thai restaurant, thought the worst of her struggles were ending earlier this year as the COVID-19 pandemic began to ease. But, starting in April, her Del City restaurant, Tasty Thai, became the target of burglary and vandalism — not once, but four times, in incidents Detphong believes were racially motivated. [NonDoc]

Oklahoma City ranks last in fitness report largely due to low scores in parks, transit: Oklahoma City has long had major-league ambitions, and city leaders regularly tout any ranking that showcases OKC in comparison to other major American metros. But this week, Oklahoma City finished dead last in a report on America’s healthiest cities. A big, fat 100th out of 100. [The Oklahoman]

Federal Government News

Communities can get infrastructure, economic development aid: Federal funding is available to bring broadband and economic development to rural Oklahoma – but the process requires quite a bit of prep, planning and specificity, said members of a panel discussion hosted by the Oklahoma Department of Commerce on Tuesday. [The Journal Record]

More funding pushed to address threats of abandoned oil, gas wells: Some 3.2 million abandoned oil and gas wells across the United States should be sources of jobs rather than potential threats to the environment. That’s the reasoning of Oklahoma lawmakers in Washington pushing for passage of the recently introduced Abandoned Well Remediation Research and Development Act. [The Journal Record]

House committee allows federal funding of abortion, defeating Rep. Tom Cole’s amendment: A House committee voted Thursday to allow federal funding of abortion, defeating an attempt by Rep. Tom Cole to add a prohibition that has been part of congressional policy for more than four decades. [The Oklahoman]

Lankford Opposing All Biden DHS Nominees To Protest Lack Of Border Wall: Sen. James Lankford (R-Okla.), a member of the Senate Homeland Security Committee, said Wednesday he has opposed and will continue to oppose all nominees President Biden names to Department of Homeland Security posts as a protest against Biden not pursuing the completion of the previous administration’s U.S.-Mexico border wall. [Public Radio Tulsa]

  • Lankford touts second quarter fundraising ahead of congressional filing deadline [Tulsa World]

Criminal Justice News

Appeals court upholds reversal of ‘Innocent Man’ conviction: A federal appeals court has upheld a federal judge’s reversal of the murder conviction of an Oklahoma man whose case was featured in the book and television series ‘The Innocent Man.’ [AP News]

Economic Opportunity

Imminently dangerous: Fire marshal calls conditions at Vista Shadow Mountain Apartments ‘appalling’: Tulsa’s fire marshal described conditions at Vista Shadow Mountain apartments on Wednesday as appalling and said 83 of the complex’s 100 structures are in imminently dangerous condition. [Tulsa World]

Mortgage delinquency rates decline; rise noted in Enid: An increase in the delinquency rate on mortgages owed by homeowners in Enid was noted in a recently released national report on mortgage delinquency trends that found homeowners in pretty good shape overall across the United States. [The Journal Record]

Education News

Western Heights appoints interim superintendent despite state orders: The Western Heights Public Schools Board of Education held a meeting Thursday afternoon at which members appointed the district’s assistant superintendent, Kim Race, as interim superintendent — a move State Superintendent of Public Instruction Joy Hofmeister had warned against. [NonDoc] This was the school board’s first action acknowledging its former superintendent, Mannix Barnes, isn’t able to continue as the district’s head. The Oklahoma State Board of Education suspended Barnes’ superintendent certification last month. [The Oklahoman]

Oklahoma Local News

  • Former Oklahoma City Thunder worker pleads guilty in U.S. Capitol riot [The Oklahoman]
  • Sunrise Tulsa protests climate change crisis at Golden Driller statue [Tulsa World]

Quote of the Day

“Should we also bar having restaurant employees wash their hands after going to the bathroom?”

-Dr. George Monks, past president of the Oklahoma State Medical Association, speaking about a proposal to ban hospitals from requiring COVID-19 vaccinations [Public Radio Tulsa]

Number of the Day


Approximate number of Oklahomans who said it was “somewhat likely” that they could be evicted in the next two months [Census data via AP News]

Policy Note

Facing the Facts About Housing Injustice Will Help Pave the Way to Racial Equity: For too long, the federal government ignored or denied its obligation to redress the harms of racist policies even despite an explicit mandate in the Fair Housing Act to take “affirmative” steps to address the ongoing harms of discrimination, segregation, and exclusion. Over the past four years, the federal government took aggressive steps to gut fair housing protections, including erasing race (and accountability) from HUD’s mandate to affirmatively further fair housing. [Urban Institute]

You can sign up here to receive In The Know by e-mail.


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.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.