[In The Know] Schools continuing academic recovery from pandemic | Tribal gaming in Oklahoma | Improving children’s futures requires long-term investment today

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

Improving future for Oklahoma children will require long-term investments today: The future of Oklahoma requires a shared commitment to ensure that our children are safe, healthy, educated, and thriving within their communities. A bold commitment from our state’s decision-makers could create investments in our children and their families that can get our children back on a path for success. [Gabrielle Jacobi / OK Policy]

Oklahoma News

Oklahoma City area students head back to school as district begins individual academic tracking: A long road to academic recovery resumed this week, as Oklahoma City metro-area students returned for their third full school year during the COVID-19 pandemic. [The Oklahoman]

  • Oklahoma education officials discuss decline in state’s national rankings [KTUL]

As gaming industry changes in Oklahoma, tribes ‘should be the ones driving it,’ their leaders say: Oklahoma tribes need to drive changes in the state’s gaming industry and not simply wait to react to changes, a tribal leader said this week at the Oklahoma Indian Gaming Association Conference and Trade Show. One especially big change will involve the legalization of sports betting in the state, according to several participants at the conference. [Tulsa World]

Rental assistance application will close Aug. 31 for Oklahoma City and state: Oklahoma residents in need of rental assistance have until the end of August to apply for up to 15 months of back rent and future rent. With over 30,000 applications in process and more expected before the Aug. 31 deadline, the need for assistance will likely exceed the amount of funding remaining, said Ginny Bass Carl, executive director of Community Cares Partners. As Oklahoma County landlords continue to file evictions at above average rates, Carl and other community members fear a critical rise in evictions granted and homeless numbers once the emergency assistance is gone. [The Oklahoman]

  • Tenants receive eviction notice at Oklahoma City apartment complex with no A/C [KFOR]

State Government News

Veterans group sues over Stitt appointee to state commission: In a lawsuit filed late Wednesday in Oklahoma County District Court, the Oklahoma Military Order of the Purple Heart and five of its members allege that Stitt did not follow the law in appointing Robert W. Allen Jr. to the panel. The suit alleges that the appointment must come from a list of five names submitted by the Oklahoma Military Order of the Purple Heart, which did not occur. [Tulsa World] Stitt’s office claims the order of the Purple Heart was ineligible to submit names for consideration because it has not met certain requirements under state law. Stitt has replaced 5 of the 9 members of the Oklahoma Veterans Commission.  [The Oklahoman]

Voting and Election News

Rural ranching: SD 28 GOP runoff pits Grant Green against Jeff McCommas: Voters in the Republican primary runoff election in Senate District 28 will choose between two ranchers who say they only recently had the idea to run for public office. [NonDoc]

As election looms, Bob Jack’s biggest challenge isn’t his political opponent: With less than two weeks to go before the Aug. 23 elections, law enforcement officials are investigating whether District 3 Tulsa County Commission candidate Bob Jack violated state law prohibiting absentee ballot harvesting. [Tulsa World]

Political newcomers vie for new Oklahoma state House seat in August primary runoff: Oklahoma’s newest state House district is headed for a runoff between two Republicans, and with no other parties in the race, the winner will hold the seat come 2023. [The Oklahoman]

Health News

Oklahoma has asked for smaller share of monkeypox shots than any other state: Even as Oklahoma sees its first reported cases of monkeypox, public health officials here have ordered a smaller share of the vaccine than any other state and are offering the shots to a narrower set of people than federal authorities recommend. [The Frontier]

‘We want them to feel at home.’ Hospital, nonprofit partner to offer respite care for homeless: Through a partnership between the hospital and Catholic Charities of Oklahoma City, Cardinal Community House is providing respite and resources that many people may take for granted after hospitalization or an emergency room visit. These resources could include safe shelter, three meals a day, prescription management, hygiene supplies and counseling resources — which are often key factors in an individual’s recovery after a hospital stay. [The Oklahoman]

Opinion: Medical education in a post-Roe world: student advocacy is patient advocacy: Student leaders at the University of Oklahoma College of Medicine have organized the Reproductive Health Symposium, a student-led initiative aimed at providing a bevy of educational sessions on reproductive medicine. Student-led initiatives like this are a vital component of medical education, shining light on essential medical information in environments that otherwise may minimize access to such training. [The BMJ]

Criminal Justice News

Oklahoma City FBI office responds to rise in national threats, following Ohio attack: Following an attack Thursday on a Cincinnati FBI field office and a national rise in threatening language against agents after the recent execution of a search warrant at Mar-a-Lago, Oklahoma City’s FBI field office is “monitoring the situation very closely,” according to a public affairs official. [The Oklahoman]

Education News

Column: Oklahoma educators want to teach without fear. That isn’t possible under HB 1775: I had the privilege of growing up in Oklahoma with amazing public school teachers who continue to influence me every day. I never learned about the Choctaw people ― nothing outside of the Trail of Tears and that my people were “civilized.” I did not learn that the 19th amendment didn’t actually mean all women could vote. The history I learned was quite Eurocentric, and my teachers were, too. I share this because it informs my belief system, my love for public schools and some concerning realities of my experience. [Stacey Woolley Guest Column / The Oklahoman

General News

  • Greenwood Rising marks anniversary with launch of virtual experience via smartphone app [Tulsa World]
  • What Oklahoma highway engineers are doing to prevent wrong-way crashes [The Oklahoman]
  • New OSU supercomputer to be largest in three states [Journal Record]


  • This Week in Oklahoma Politics: Sean Roberts, COVID education funding lawsuit, Governor Stitt Polling and more (Audio) [KOSU]
  • Long Story Short: The Latest on Oklahoma’s Election Audit, State Question Petition Verification (Audio) [Oklahoma Watch]

Quote of the Day

“We’re really nervous. That sort of thing drives Oklahoma City’s homeless numbers more than anything else. If we are not able to find a way to address those issues — like reform of landlord tenant laws and affirmative right to counsel in eviction court — we could really see the numbers go up, and the resources just aren’t there.”

-Homeless Alliance Executive Director Dan Straughan speaking about his expectations that the number of evictions granted will increase once rental assistance is gone [The Oklahoman

Number of the Day


Percentage of Oklahoma babies born with low birth-weight. The national average is 8.2%. [KIDS COUNT

Policy Note

Opportunities to Support Maternal and Child Health Through Medicaid’s New Postpartum Coverage Extension: The new state option to extend Medicaid and CHIP coverage for one year after the end of pregnancy is a transformational opportunity for states to support improved maternal and infant health in the year following birth. It also offers state Medicaid leaders a focused moment to use the successful implementation of the new policy to advance broader state priorities, including advancing racial justice and health equity, increasing access to mental health care, and supporting healthy child development. [Center for Children and Families, Georgetown University Health Policy Institute

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David Hamby has more than 25 years of experience as an award-winning communicator, including overseeing communication programs for Oklahoma higher education institutions and other organizations. Before joining OK Policy, he was director of public relations for Rogers State University where he managed the school’s external communication programs and served as a member of the president’s leadership team. He served in a similar communications role for five years at the University of Tulsa. He also has worked in communications roles at Oklahoma State University and the Fort Smith Chamber of Commerce in Arkansas. He joined OK Policy in October 2019.

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