In The Know: Indian boarding school survivors speak | Life after incarceration | Next year’s state budget picture

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

Latest state treasurer’s report gives clues for next year’s state budget picture (Capitol Update): State Treasurer Randy McDaniel’s most recent “Gross Receipts to the Treasury” report that came out last week is interesting because it contains the annualized state revenue numbers for Fiscal Year 2022, which ended June 30. Also, absent some major dislocation in the economy, McDaniel’s end-of-year numbers give legislators a clue as to what they might be working with when they begin to write the state budget next session. [Steve Lewis / OK Policy

Oklahoma News

‘We need to tell what happened’: Indian boarding school survivors speak in Anadarko: Standing among about 300 people this morning in the Riverside Indian School gymnasium, Donald Neconie told federal officials, tribal leaders, tribal citizens and media about his experiences at the Indian boarding school from 1946 to 1958. “Those days, I can remember going home only twice,” Neconie said. “I spent 12 years in this hell-hole, and that’s what it was like: Hell.” [NonDoc

  • Editorial: ‘Road to Healing’ part of Oklahoma’s troubling history [Editorial / Tulsa World
  • ’12 years of hell’: Former students recount life at Native American boarding schools in OK [The Oklahoman
  • Tribal elders recall painful boarding school memories [AP

More Oklahomans are being released from prison. Now what?: As the phone rang, Mashilah Powell was hopeful she would soon be able to move out of her sister’s place. But that optimism quickly turned to despair when she heard another landlord say they do not rent to convicted felons.  By using voter-approved sentencing reforms, gubernatorial commutations and aggressive use of other forms of parole and probation, the state is trying to overcome its status as one of the world’s top incarcerators of its residents. [The Oklahoman

State Government News

State of Oklahoma enters new fiscal year with large increase in gross revenues: In spite of nagging inflation, Oklahoma enters the 2023 fiscal year in strong financial shape, according to State Treasurer Randy McDaniel’s annual gross revenue report. [KGOU

State Health Department files administrative compliance proceeding against OK County jail: The Oklahoma County jail is facing an administrative compliance proceeding filed by the Oklahoma State Department of Health, which could result in nearly $350,000 in fines. [The Oklahoman

Gist welcomes audit, rejects Stitt’s political attacks on Tulsa Public Schools: Tulsa Public Schools superintendent Dr. Deborah Gist told media she “welcomes” the state audit demanded by Governor Stitt. Gist said she “has confidence” in the practices and processes of the district. She also noted that if the audit reveals issues within district management practices, she will take action. [The Black Wall Street Times

  • State education secretary, TPS board members call for transparency, accountability through audit [Tulsa World

State looks to hire director in effort to increase internet access: The state is looking to hire someone to lead what has been described as the most important infrastructure improvement project undertaken in decades, an effort to get 95% of Oklahomans connected to the internet by 2028. [The Journal Record

Federal Government News

‘Devastating consequences’: Conservation groups oppose bill supported by Rep. Mullin: Oklahoma U.S. Rep. Markwayne Mullin is one of 58 House Republicans who are co-sponsoring a bill that would repeal certain firearms and ammunition excise taxes that have funded wildlife conservation for 85 years. [The Oklahoman

Tribal Nations News

Tribal leaders, legal experts weigh next moves after Oklahoma v. Castro-Huerta ruling: The recent U.S. Supreme Court decision that states have some authority on tribal lands not granted by Congress raised widespread alarm across Indian Country. Now tribal leaders and academics are strategizing the best ways to push back through policy, precedence and public opinion. [The Oklahoman

National Council spends $400k for Indigenous suicide prevention: A law of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation authorizing the expenditure of funds awarded from the United States Department of Health and Human Services Indian Health Services for the Muscogee (Creek) Nation Department of Health. Rep. Hufft sponsored the bill, which passed unanimously 14-0. The grant will award the MCNDH $400,000 to be used to reduce the prevalence of suicide among Indigenous populations. [Mvskoke Media

Health News

Abortion-rights protesters rally at Woodland Hills Mall in Tulsa: Abortion-rights advocates in Tulsa gathered outside Woodland Hills Mall on Friday evening to acknowledge President Joe Biden’s executive order to help protect access to abortion and to demand still more federal action. [Tulsa World

  • Biden announces steps to protect abortion access, but advocates urge him to do more [The Oklahoman
  • Providers challenge abortion bans in Oklahoma Supreme Court [Tulsa World

Column: Plea from a first-year medical student for empathy, understand: Some say that an uninsured person needs to work harder or sacrifice comfort to find a way to get insurance. I would argue that this man works harder and has sacrificed more than most of us have. He was uninsured, so he could not fix his deformed foot or access the necessary medications to treat his chronic illness. This vicious cycle only exacerbated his health issues. [Column / Tulsa W0rld

Criminal Justice News

“An Innocent Misadventure” The Twisted Legal Path to Oklahoma’s Looming Execution Spree: One week before he was killed in the death chamber at the Oklahoma State Penitentiary, Donald Grant asked a woman named Sue Hosch a question about his coming execution. “He asked me, did I think it was going to be botched?” Hosch recalled. “And I said, ‘I don’t know.’” [The Intercept

Chairman of Oklahoma College Republicans arrested on charges alleging sex acts with minor: The chairman of the Oklahoma College Republicans and a former campaign manager for a candidate in the GOP state superintendent run-off was arrested in Oklahoma City on Friday on accusations of sex acts with a minor. [Tulsa World] Jonathan Hernandez, 21, was booked into the Oklahoma County jail on charges of sodomy and lewd or indecent proposals to a child under 16. [The Oklahoman

Education News

Dark money flowed into Oklahoma to support school choice candidates: Most state legislative candidates opposed to school vouchers survived primary campaigns fueled by dark money. The groups, which spent over $1.5 million on Oklahoma races, are also claiming victory. They said they remain undeterred and that the victories of candidates they opposed were not a referendum on how most Oklahomans feel about vouchers and school choice expansion. But one Republican House lawmaker, who was targeted by the groups, said he believes the attacks backfired, and have actually increased opposition among his state House colleagues to the groups’ goals of implementing a broader school voucher program that would shift millions in public taxpayer funds into private school funding. [CNHI via Enid News & Eagle]

New funding formula among changes in store for schools: The start of the 2022-23 school year marks the implementation of a change to the school funding formula passed by the Legislature in 2021. The measure bases a district’s state aid (a significant source of school funding) on the current or prior year’s student count, whichever is higher. [The Journal Record

Quote of the Day

“The people who exit prison who have the opportunity to access treatment, to access job training, those sorts of things, by and large, those people are successful. That tells us that the answer is right there.”

-Damion Shade, Executive Director of Oklahomans for Criminal Justice Reform, addressing the need for policy decisions that give former inmates the “tools” to be successful. [The Oklahoman] 

Number of the Day


Incarceration in Oklahoma is 13 times more expensive than probation or parole supervision [Crime and Justice Institute]

Policy Note

A better path forward for criminal justice: Prisoner reentry: Over 640,000 people return to our communities from prison each year. However, due to the lack of institutional support, statutorily imposed legal barriers, stigmas, and low wages, most prison sentences are for life—especially for residents of Black and Brown communities. More than half of the formerly incarcerated are unable to find stable employment within their first year of return and three-fourths of them are rearrested within three years of release. [Brookings]

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Kristin Wells served as the Communications and Operations Fellow for OK Policy from October 2021 to July 2022. She previously worked as a digital content producer for News On 6. A native Kansas Citian, Kristin graduated with a B.A. in Media Studies and a B.A. in Spanish from the University of Tulsa in 2020. While there, she was accepted into the Global Scholars program, spurring her interests in policy, social movements, global identities, and the importance of education and advocacy. She hopes to use her skills to continue to learn and create a more equitable future for Oklahomans. An avid sports fan, Kristin lives in Tulsa with her rescue dog and is passionate about college basketball, documentaries, and coffee.

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