[In The Know] Judge allows Tulsa Race Massacre lawsuit to advance | Investigation found Tulsa schools didn’t directly violate HB 1775 | 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

Judge narrows Tulsa Race Massacre survivors’ reparations lawsuit, but allows it to move forward: A lawsuit for restitution filed by the three known living survivors of the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre can proceed with a narrowed scope, a judge ruled Wednesday. [Public Radio Tulsa] In her ruling, the judge denied a motion by defendants to entirely dismiss the plaintiffs’ claim. However, she did dismiss two defendants, the Tulsa Development Authority and Tulsa Metropolitan Area Planning Commission, as neither existed in 1921. The city of Tulsa, Tulsa Regional Chamber, Tulsa County commissioners, the Tulsa County sheriff and Oklahoma Military Department remain as defendants. [Journal Record]

A state investigation found Tulsa schools didn’t directly violate a law on race and gender teachings: An Oklahoma State Department of Education investigation found that Tulsa Public Schools didn’t directly break a law on teaching race and gender issues before a state board voted to downgrade the district’s accreditation status. But an attorney for the Education Department still recommended punishment for the district, finding that an online teacher training course was based on “outlawed concepts,” according to a letter obtained by The Frontier. [The Frontier]

  • Tulsa school board president asks state board to reconsider warning over race/gender teaching law [Tulsa World]
  • Education Watch: Two Districts Downgraded for Complaints Under HB1775 [Oklahoma Watch]

State Government News

California Gov. Calls on Production Companies To Leave Oklahoma In Campaign Ad: California Gov. Gavin Newsom called on video production companies to “walk the walk” with their values and move out of Oklahoma in a magazine campaign advertisement. [News9]

Tribal Nations News

Cherokee Nation announces program to help Cherokee ranchers amid hay shortage: The “Relief for Cherokee Ranchers” program is a $1 million fund aimed to help Cherokee ranchers struggling to keep livestock fed due to the hay shortage. [KOSU]

Voting and Election News

Column: Grab ’em by the ballot box: It was just five years ago that women were wearing pink hats, chanting #metoo and #timesup and praising the movie “Wonder Woman” for its portrayal of a strong female lead in a male-dominated superhero world. It seemed so empowering at the time. Then, nothing changed. [Ginnie Graham Column / Tulsa World]

Criminal Justice News

Victor Manuel Castro-Huerta’s state conviction reinstated in wake of high court decision: The Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals on Thursday reinstated the state judgment and sentence given to Victor Manuel Castro-Huerta, implementing the U.S. Supreme Court’s mandate in a case that altered criminal jurisdiction in Indian country. [The Oklahoman]

TCC celebrates 38 Second Chance graduates (audio): Tulsa Community College celebrated 38 graduates Thursday morning through its Second Chance program. [Public Radio Tulsa]

Enormously proud’: OSBI director Ricky Adams to retire: After more than 40 years in law enforcement, Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation director Ricky Adams has informed the OSBI Commission that he intends to retire, effective Dec. 1. [NonDoc]

Private prisoner transporter indicted in connection with sexual assault of detainee: A Claremore man who transported pretrial detainees to jails and prisons throughout the country has been indicted in connection with the sexual assault of one of those detainees. [Tulsa World]

Economic Opportunity

A $440 utility deposit almost kept her from finding a home: When an Oklahoma City woman called the utility company OG&E to turn on electrical service ahead of an Oklahoma City Housing Authority inspection, she discovered the utility deposit would cost $440. She said OG&E told her it needed the full amount to turn on the power. Without electricity, the home wouldn’t pass the inspection, which is required for Section 8 housing assistance. She feared she wouldn’t be able to move in. [The Frontier & Curbside Chronicle]

Education News

Teacher shortages plague state as school year approaches: School districts across Oklahoma are struggling to find qualified and willing teachers as the academic year looms. [CNHI via Enid News & Eagle]

Column: Creative solutions used to fix Oklahoma’s teacher challenges: At Oklahoma State University, we want to promote an open dialogue about concerns regarding the teacher pipeline and our efforts to recruit, retain and engage teachers across the state. [Jon Pedersen and Shelbie Witte Guest Column / Tulsa World]

Column: Teaching ‘Hamlet’ correctly would violate Oklahoma law: I am a retired public school English teacher who, if still teaching, would have probably been sued given the current rules set forth by House Bill 1775. [Claire Robertson Column / Tulsa World]

The COVID School-Relief Funds You Might Not Know About, Explained: How helpful has the GEER money been? It remains to be seen. There hasn’t been much accounting nationwide of the effectiveness of GEER and the initiatives it funded. However, a scathing report from the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of the Inspector General revealed recently that Oklahoma mishandled as much as $31 million of its $39 million in GEER funds. [Education Week]

Guest column: Trans students face daunting challenges as school year nears: The excitement in the air is palpable as we make our way into August, and the anticipation of a new school year approaches. But for transgender, Two Spirit and nonbinary students returning to the classroom, this year is especially daunting. [Cindy Nguyen Guest Column / The Oklahoman]

General News

A Republican and a Democrat Walk into a Room and… Switch Votes?: Bipartisan collaboration still exists in state legislatures, lawmakers said. But they also said it’s getting harder to reach across the aisle, leading to either more gridlock or hyperpartisan legislation. Oklahoma state Rep. John Waldron, a Democrat, teacher and House minority floor leader, said he’s been able to work with GOP lawmakers on some education bills, such as a measure to create incentives for teacher training. But it hasn’t been easy for him to convince GOP lawmakers to attend the meetings of the bipartisan educators’ caucus he co-chairs. [Stateline]

Oklahoma welcomes a trickle of Ukrainian refugees: Without large-scale support and federal funding, some of the few Ukraninans seeking refuge in Oklahoma say they have been left to navigate the cumbersome immigration process with little help. [The Frontier]

Quote of the Day

“The bill was written so that schools will not be able to stand up to it because folks are not wanting to take the time to delineate the difference between a concept that teaches that you should feel guilty and someone just arbitrarily saying I feel guilty.”

-Rep. Regina Goodwin, D-Tulsa, speaking about the uncertainty regarding HB 1775 [The Frontier]

Number of the Day


Oklahoma’s birthrate decline from 2019 to 2021. Only eight states showed an increase in birthrate during that period, and 22 states had a greater birthrate than Oklahoma. [Stateline, an initiative of The Pew Charitable Trusts]

Policy Note

Patterns in the Introduction and Passage of Restrictive Voting Bills are Best Explained by Race: White racial resentment — and not just party and competitiveness alone — goes a long way toward explaining where restrictive voting laws were introduced and passed in 2021. While the four whitest uncom­pet­it­ive Repub­lican states (Wyom­ing, North Dakota, Montana, and West Virginia) collect­ively intro­duced 28 restrict­ive provi­sions in 2021, the four least-white uncom­pet­it­ive Repub­lican states (Missis­sippi, Alaska, South Caro­lina, and Oklahoma) intro­duced 63 restrict­ive provi­sions — more than twice as many. [Brennan Center for Justice]

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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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