In The Know: Lawmakers seek oversight of state park system | Respiratory ailments on the rise in Oklahoma | December crucial month for nonprofits

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

Policy Matters: December a key month for state’s nonprofits: The majority of charitable giving comes during December, which should come as no surprise to those who are familiar with nonprofits. That’s because end-of-year giving in December represents about $1 in every $5 that nonprofits receive throughout the year. [Shiloh Kantz / Journal Record]

Oklahoma News

Oklahoma’s Five Moons Native American ballet dancers to be featured on 2023 gold $1 coin: Five Native American dancers from Oklahoma who rose to international stardom in the 20th century will be immortalized on a golden coin next year. The U.S. Mint has announced that the groundbreaking ballerinas known as the Five Moons — sisters Maria Tallchief and Marjorie Tallchief, Yvonne Chouteau, Moscelyne Larkin and Rosella Hightower — will be featured on the 2023 Native American $1 Coin. [The Oklahoman]

State Government News

Bill seeks to restore power to Tourism and Recreation Commission: In the wake of a debacle over barbeque, a state senator has filed a bill to give more power to the Oklahoma Tourism and Recreation Commission. Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Roger Thompson, R-Okemah, filed Senate Bill 4, which would let the commission hire and fire the Oklahoma Tourism and Recreation Department’s executive director. Currently, Gov. Kevin Stitt hires and fires the executive director. The legislation also would remove a section of law that makes the commission only advisory. [Tulsa World]

  • Some lawmakers want to resume oversight over state park system [Duncan Banner]

Oklahoma citizen-led initiative would codify abortion access: It’s part of a growing trend across the nation to put reproductive freedom to a popular vote after the U.S. Supreme Court struck down Roe v. Wade, which had guaranteed the right to abortion nationwide for nearly 50 years. It won’t be easy. [Associated Press]

Proposed bill would lower age to carry and purchase handguns to 18 years old: Rep. Jim Olsen, R-Roland, has pre-filed House Bill 1001, which would give greater access to guns to younger Oklahomans. The bill would lower the age to purchase a firearm to 18. It would also allow anyone 18 or older to carry a gun. [KOSU]

Federal Government News

President Joe Biden pledges new commitments, respect for tribal nations: President Joe Biden on Wednesday pledged to give Native Americans a stronger voice in federal affairs, promising at the first in-person summit on tribal affairs in six years that he will bolster tribal consultations, inclusion of Indigenous knowledge in decision-making and funding for communities struggling with the impacts of climate change. [The Oklahoman via the Associated Press]

Tribal Nations News

Black Creeks sue for tribal recognition: The Muscogee (Creek) Nation is in violation of the treaty cited in the McGirt ruling that claims much of eastern Oklahoma as Indian land, according to a group that is once again petitioning the tribe to recognize descendants of its former slaves as citizens. [Journal Record]

Voting and Election News

With more elections around the corner, voter fatigue complicates 2023: In Oklahoma, voters were subjected to tens of millions of dollars in dark-month advertising in 2022 that was often negative and sometimes misleading. Now, the 2023 elections are coming up fast. The seemingly endless stream of campaigns and elections can take a toll on voters. [NonDoc]

Outgoing City Councilor Connie Dodson, incoming state Rep. Amanda Swope talk about mother-daughter relationship, politics: Newly elected District 71 state Rep. Amanda Swope will tell you her interest in politics began early, when she would talk about current events with her family. So maybe it only makes sense that, all these years later, Swope found herself seated next to her mother, City Councilor Connie Dodson, at a conference table Wednesday during councilors’ gathering with state legislators. [Tulsa World]

Health News

Respiratory ailments on the rise statewide: Call it the “co-enza,” or perhaps the “flu-ona” – health care providers are tracking cases where individuals test positive for both COVID-19 and influenza. Actually, there are about four different respiratory diseases circulating amongst the public right now, including respiratory syncytial virus, or RSV, and what health care experts call “parainfluenza,” a milder strain of flu. [Journal Record]

Criminal Justice News

OSBI: Majority Of Crime Categories Down Compared To Last Year: The OSBI reports crimes statistics are down across Oklahoma, with just a few exceptions. But crime experts said the new data only shows part of the picture. [News On 6]

Oklahoma marijuana farm where 4 workers were killed one of 63 tied to ‘accountant’: Narcotics agents suspect the marijuana farm where four workers were executed Nov. 20 is one of hundreds operating illegally in Oklahoma, court records show. [The Oklahoman]

Economy & Business News

Gas below $3 a gallon by Christmas? Cost is now cheaper than before invasion of Ukraine: Prices at the pump continue to plunge, dropping the U.S. average for gasoline below where it was when Russia invaded Ukraine. A gallon of regular gas now fetches $3.47 nationally, according to AAA. That is below the $3.54 average on February 24, the day Russia invaded Ukraine. That is down about 12 cents in the past week and 29 cents in the past month. [Tulsa World via the Associated Press]

Charitable giving expected to be strong this season: “Despite a bear market and inflation, American support for charitable causes, overall, remains strong,” reports. “Many donors plan to increase their year-end donations to counter inflation’s effects on their favorite charities.” [Journal Record]

Education News

Allegedly fake message from Clinton Public Schools teacher draws protective order, HB 1775 complaint: Six weeks after social media erupted with outrage over screenshots of a racist Facebook message purportedly sent by a Clinton Public Schools teacher, no one has stepped forward to say they actually received the message, a request for a State Department of Education investigation has been denied, and the teacher has filed a police report and a protective order alleging that another woman impersonated her for the purpose of harassment. [NonDoc]

Oklahoma Local News

Greenwood Rising gets new leadership: Dr. Raymond Doswell has been named the new executive director after a search that began in the spring. Doswell is moving to Tulsa from Kansas City, Missouri where he served as vice president for curatorial services at the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum. [Public Radio Tulsa]

Quote of the Day

“Administrations can bring in their priorities, but they shouldn’t be telling us who have lived here since the beginning of time how to manage our resources, which resources we can even access. These are things that are inherent in our sovereignty.”

– Richard Peterson, president of the Tlingit & Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska, speaking on President Joe Biden’s pledge to give Native Americans a stronger voice in federal affairs. [The Oklahoman via the Associated Press]

Number of the Day


Percentage of live births in Oklahoma born premature, which is higher than the national premature birth rate of 10.5%. [Oklahoma Report Card, March of Dimes]

From OK Policy: Enacting recommended expansion of pregnancy, postpartum care will represent a step forward for Oklahoma families

Policy Note

2022 March of Dimes Report Card: This year’s Report Card offers a comprehensive overview of the health of moms and babies across the U.S. The report grades the U.S., states, Washington DC, Puerto Rico and 100 cities on preterm birth rates, and includes other information such as infant death, states’ efforts on Medicaid expansion and extension, low-risk Cesarean birth, inadequate prenatal care, among other factors and outlines important policy solutions that can make a difference. [March of Dimes] | [Oklahoma Report Card]

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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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