In The Know: Indian Health Service has a new leader | State Ed Board OKs budget request with $5k teacher raises | 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.

Oklahoma News

Poll: Big majority of Oklahoma Republican voters think 2020 election was stolen: As Congress moves to change the process for counting Electoral College votes after a presidential election, nearly two-thirds of likely Republican voters in Oklahoma still think the 2020 election was stolen. Legislation to raise the threshold for challenging a state’s Electoral College votes and to clarify the vice president’s limited role in the certification cleared the House on Wednesday, with the aim of heading off a future attempt to overturn the outcome of a presidential election. The bill was backed by only nine Republicans, none from Oklahoma. [The Oklahoman]

State Government News

Daylight saving time 2022: Will Oklahoma still “fall back” this year?: The biannual time change will occur at 2 a.m. on Nov. 6 local time, when the time will instantly become 1 a.m. While many phones and computers now change automatically, the annual start and end of daylight saving time regularly leads to confusion and conversation, with state and federal lawmakers considering recent proposals to end the practice. [The Oklahoman]

Federal Government News

USDA awards $31 million to Oklahoma for rural broadband development: The U.S. Department of Agriculture has announced it will award more than $31 million to Oklahoma to provide high-speed internet access for rural residents and businesses across seven counties. [KOSU]

Tribal Nations News

After 609 days, the Indian Health Service has a new leader: In a long-awaited vote, the U.S. Senate on Wednesday confirmed President Joe Biden’s pick to lead the Indian Health Service. The health care provider for 2.6 million Native Americans had not had a permanent leader in the 20 months since Biden took office. Roselyn Tso takes over as IHS director after leading the agency’s operations on her own Navajo Nation. [The Oklahoman]

Cherokee Nation seeks help urging Congress to seat a delegate in U.S. House: Oklahomans are being asked to intervene with their lawmakers as the Cherokee Nation pushes Congress again for a treaty-promised delegate in the U.S. House of Representatives. [Tulsa World]

  • It’s time for Congress to seat the Cherokee Nation Delegate [Cherokee Nation]

Voting and Election News

Court’s ruling could delay Oklahoma legal pot vote for 2 years: Although the state law establishing deadlines for initiative petitions is clear, the Oklahoma Supreme Court’s ruling on Wednesday could not identify a legal requirement for the government to move quickly on State Question 820. [The Journal Record]

Gov. Kevin Stitt drops new statewide ad, says he ‘was right about COVID-19’: Gov. Kevin Stitt’s opponents have regularly criticized him over his handling of the pandemic, but in a new statewide campaign commercial the governor proclaims he was right all along. The commercial will run on broadcast and cable channels and comes a week after Joy Hofmeister, his Democratic opponent, celebrated a poll that showed a 1-point difference in the race. [The Oklahoman]

In a tight race for governor, Ervin Yen hopes to stand out: But in a tight gubernatorial race, Dr. Ervin Yen’s independent candidacy could prove to be a spoiler for incumbent Republican Gov. Kevin Stitt or Democratic challenger Joy Hofmeister, who are polling neck and neck, according to SoonerPoll. [The Frontier]

Criminal Justice News

Advocates urge legislation that stops criminalizing survivors of domestic violence: As they shared graphic stories of sexual and physical abuse, advocates for survivors of domestic violence on Wednesday urged state lawmakers to pass new legislation that stops criminalizing survivors. [The Norman Transcript]

Death row inmate Richard Glossip accuses prosecutor of flagrant misconduct at retrial: Death row inmate Richard Glossip challenged his conviction again Thursday, this time alleging a prosecutor at his 2004 retrial got the key witness to change his testimony “to patch up holes in the state’s case.” [The Oklahoman]

Column: Why Oklahoma should not execute Benjamin Cole: Benjamin Cole is a man who is so debilitated by paranoid schizophrenia and brain damage that he barely speaks or moves, crawls on his cell floor or drags himself into and out of a wheelchair, and cannot care for his most basic hygiene. It should shock our collective conscience that an execution of a person in this state would be carried out in our names. [Brett Farley Guest Column / The Oklahoman]

Economy & Business News

Weekly jobless claims continue to decline in Oklahoma, hit 25-year low: State jobless claims continue to decline in Oklahoma, approaching levels not seen in over two decades. [Tulsa World]

EDA officials celebrate $39 million in federal funding for Tulsa’s TRAM corridor: Officials from the U.S. Economic Development Administration visited Tulsa on Thursday to celebrate the nearly $39 million in federal funding to boost the region’s advanced mobility, automation, and unmanned aerial systems industry. [Public Radio Tulsa]

$22.3 million federal grant to Port of Inola to lay groundwork for larger-scale manufacturing: Tulsa Ports’ largest grant in its 51-year history — $22.3 million from the federal government — will position the waterway-manufacturing complex to become a “mega-site” for future operations, the ports’ director said Thursday. [Tulsa World]

Education News

Financial incentives designed to spark interest in teaching: People who aspire to be teachers in Oklahoma might want to check out an opportunity to receive more than $25,000 in scholarships and cash benefits awarded over several years after they begin careers. [The Journal Record]

State Board of Education OKs budget request with $5k teacher raises: The Oklahoma State Board of Education on Thursday approved a nearly $3.6 billion budget request that would provide a $5,000 across-the-board teacher pay hike in 2023-24. [Tulsa World]

State board asks Legislature to hike teacher pay, forces Western Heights hire: In a lighthearted meeting today that included board members joking extensively with one another, the Oklahoma State Board of Education approved a legislative budget request for Fiscal Year 2024 that proposes a $5,000 teacher pay raise. [NonDoc]

Oklahoma Local News

  • ‘A huge difference’: Meals on Wheels opens new Tulsa facility with triple the space [Tulsa World]
  • Federal grant to help Tulsa revitalize neighborhood [The Journal Record]
  • HUD secretary visits Tulsa to celebrate $50 million redevelopment grant [Tulsa World]

Quote of the Day

“Efforts to cope with trauma or defend themselves against abuse serve as a pathway to prison for women in Oklahoma.”

– jasmine Sankofa, an attorney with, a national bipartisan advocacy group that focuses on reducing prison populations, saying nearly 66% of the women behind bars reported being in an abusive relationship within a year before incarceration [Norman Transcript]

Number of the Day

$3.7 billion

Oklahoma currently spends approximately $455,000, or nearly half a million dollars, to hold a single person in prison for 20 years. As a result of Oklahoma’s harsh sentencing practices, Oklahoma taxpayers will spend an estimated $3.7 billion to hold the 8,027 people currently in prison with sentences of 20 or more years. [Turning the Page /]

Policy Note

How American public spaces became so criminalized — and how we can win them back: America has a long history of criminalizing public spaces and our existence in them. As such, it’s far past time to reexamine whether some “public” behaviors merit criminalization. Many of these laws have explicitly racist or classist roots. These laws were born directly out of Jim Crow-era racism and continue to be enforced disproportionately against people of color today. [The Appeal]

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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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