In The Know: Lawmakers asked to reform state’s eviction process | Questions about call for special session | Poll: Oklahomans favor stronger tribal, state collaboration

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

Lawmakers asked to reform Oklahoma’s eviction process: A legislative panel was told Tuesday that the state needs to reform its eviction process and provide protections for tenants from the process, which one speaker called “an on-ramp to homelessness.” The Senate Judiciary Committee heard an interim study on housing availability, safety and stability requested by Sens. Julia Kirt, D-Oklahoma City, and Chuck Hall, R-Perry. Oklahoma has one of the highest eviction rates in the country. [Tulsa World]

Treat says it’s up to Stitt to persuade Legislature to act: If Gov. Kevin Stitt wants the Legislature to cut taxes during a special session that begins next Tuesday, he better tell lawmakers how he proposes it be done, said Senate Pro Tem Greg Treat. He has invited Gov. Stitt to explain how he would implement such a reduction, but said he’s had no reply from the administration. The governor’s office did not respond to a request for comment Tuesday afternoon. [Tulsa World]

Poll: Oklahoma voters want state and tribes to work together amid political tensions: Most voters view tribal nations as a benefit to Oklahoma and believe state officials should collaborate with tribal leaders, a new poll shows. The results of the latest Sooner Survey cut through the political tension that has ramped up between Gov. Kevin Stitt and many tribal leaders over disagreements as wide ranging as tobacco taxes and traffic tickets. [The Oklahoman]

State Government News

Why Oklahoma sheriffs are citing a Texas law to help address staffing shortages: Dozens of Oklahoma sheriffs and deputies asked state lawmakers this week to consider legislation that would boost funding to help tackle staff shortages. Sheriff officials testified Monday they can’t hire or retain employees for the wages they’re able to pay. While recruitment is a nationwide problem, Oklahoma deputies often face dangerous situations alone due to understaffing issues. [The Oklahoman]

Divided court allows turnpike authority to proceed with bond sales for ACCESS Oklahoma: A majority of Oklahoma’s Supreme Court rejected a request Monday to reconsider authorizing the Oklahoma Turnpike Authority to sell a half-billion dollars in bonds backing its ACCESS Oklahoma plans. [The Oklahoman]

Federal Government News

Active-duty military would work without pay in shutdown, White House warns: The White House is warning that a partial government shutdown would mean 1.3 million active-duty armed services members must keep working without receiving paychecks and hundreds of thousands of Pentagon employees would face furloughs. [Oklahoma Voice]

Tribal Nations News

Tribe breaks ground on $70M casino expansion: A planned $70 million expansion of a casino in the Oklahoma Panhandle will include the addition of a 100-room hotel, a restaurant, a recreational vehicle park and other amenities to attract gamblers from the Amarillo, Texas, market and surrounding region. [Journal Record]

Voting and Election News

Popular vote preferred by most voters, Pew Research study shows: A new report from Pew Research Center shows 65% of Americans prefer a popular vote rather than the electoral college to decide presidential elections. Nearly two-thirds said they want to change the current system so the candidate who receives the most votes wins in the study published on Monday. It’s an increase from previous years. [The Black Wall Street Times]

  • Majority of Americans continue to favor moving away from Electoral College [Pew Research]

Health News

Oklahoma’s anti-abortion laws spur greater demand for vasectomies: Oklahoma health care providers say there’s been an increase in demand for vasectomies since the Supreme Court overturned long-standing abortion protections with its Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization decision last summer. After the court’s ruling, Oklahoma banned all abortions except those necessary to preserve the life of a pregnant woman in a medical emergency. [Oklahoma Voice]

A patient-dumping probe clears two Tulsa hospitals after man left paralyzed on the streets: Oklahoma hospitals discharge a growing number of patients to homelessness. But experts say the bar is high to prove hospitals are violating federal law. [The Frontier]

Criminal Justice News

Osage County sheriff drops request to let crew film reality show: Osage County Sheriff Eddie Virden has withdrawn a request to allow a new reality television series film crew to follow his deputies around while they work. [Tulsa World]

Measuring marijuana impairment proves difficult, lawmakers learn: Field testing conducted by trained law enforcement personnel likely will remain as the standard for determining any impairment of drivers who have used medical marijuana, despite the fact that it may be next to impossible to actually quantify such impairment – as officers are able to do with breathalyzer tests in cases of people pulled over for drunken driving. [Journal Record]

Economy & Business News

FTC and 17 states sue Amazon over claims of monopolistic conduct with online retail: The Federal Trade Commission and 17 state attorneys general are suing Amazon, claiming that the Seattle-headquartered tech and retail giant is engaging in monopolistic and uncompetitive practices. Oklahoma is among the states joining the lawsuit, which the FTC announced on Tuesday. [Oklahoma Voice]

  • Oklahoma among 17 states joining federal government in sweeping antitrust lawsuit against Amazon [NPR]

Education News

Western Heights school district under investigation for hiring principal who performs in drag: The Oklahoma State Department of Education will investigate a southwest Oklahoma City school district for hiring a principal who performs as a drag queen in his spare time. The investigation could put Western Heights Public Schools’ state accreditation at risk. The school district already is on probation, the lowest possible accreditation status before closure, because of mismanagement by its previous administration. [Oklahoma Voice]

  • Western Heights accreditation in limbo after controversy over drag queen principal [The Oklahoman]

Sapulpa school bond package withstands recount: A manual recount has upheld the passage of Proposition No. 1 of Sapulpa Public Schools’ $279.2 million bond package, Creek County Election Board Secretary Vicki Martin confirmed Monday. [Tulsa World]

Tulsa Public Schools contract at center of Chinese controversy ended in August: An agreement between Tulsa Public Schools and a Texas charter school network to provide additional resources for Booker T. Washington High School’s Chinese language program was terminated a month ago, documents show. [Tulsa World]

Oklahoma African American Educators Hall of Fame honors four with Booker T. Washington ties: The Oklahoma African American Educators Hall of Fame’s class of 2023 includes 10 new members, four of whom have ties to Tulsa’s Booker T. Washington High School. This year’s honorees will be recognized for their significant contributions to local education during a formal induction ceremony Friday at the Oklahoma History Center in Oklahoma City. [Tulsa World]

General News

After 36 public comments, OKC Council sets Dec. 12 election for new Thunder arena: The OKC City Council set a Dec. 12 election date for a proposed new taxpayer-funded arena for the Oklahoma City Thunder, approved a letter of intent with the team that would keep the Thunder here beyond 2050, and passed a resolution exploring the idea of the team being required to pay arena workers a living wage during its meeting. [NonDoc]

  • OKC city council votes to put NBA arena to vote of the people [The Oklahoman]

Without permanent legal status, Afghan refugees face losing employment: After Kabul fell more than two years ago, 1,800 Afghan refugees were resettled in Oklahoma. The Oklahoma chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations says refugees were given a two-year temporary status as parolees after being evacuated from Afghanistan. During the last two years, the parolees needed to apply for asylum, but there is a significant backlog in processing the applications. [KGOU]

Oklahoma Local News

  • Listen Frontier: Karen Keith enters the Tulsa mayoral race [The Frontier]
  • Monroe Nichols for Tulsa Mayor: Former Leaders Rally Behind Him [The Black Wall Street Times]
  • Black business owner response to break-in gives grace, redemption [The Black Wall Street Times]
  • ‘No one wants a jail in their backyard’: Board narrows down to four possible OK County jail sites [KFOR]

Quote of the Day

“An eviction filing is an on-ramp to homelessness.”

-Amy Coldren, CEO of Shelterwell, a nonprofit focused on housing stability and eviction prevention. [Tulsa World]

Number of the Day


Seniors make up nearly 1 in 4 (23%) of Oklahoma’s extremely low income renters. These are seniors who have household incomes that are at or below the federal poverty line, or 30% of their area median income (whichever is greater). [National Low Income Housing Coalition]

Policy Note

The Gap 2023: A Shortage of Affordable Homes: This annual report finds a national shortage of 7.3 million affordable and available rental homes for extremely low-income renters – those with incomes at or below either the federal poverty line, or 30% of their area median income (whichever is greater). Between 2019 and 2021, the shortage increased by more than 500,000 rental homes, as the number of renters with extremely low incomes increased and the supply of housing affordable to them decreased. The report calls for greater federal investments in the preservation and expansion of the affordable housing stock, more Housing Choice Vouchers, a national housing stabilization fund for renters who experience an unexpected short-term financial shock, and federal tenant protections. [National Low Income Housing Coalition]

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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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