In The Know: Legal system still adjusting to Castro-Huerta decision | Veterans Affairs office ‘firestorm’ | State facing child care shortage

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

Following Supreme Court ruling in Castro-Huerta case, Oklahoma tribes, prosecutors working to adjust: Nearly a month after a Supreme Court decision in Castro-Huerta that narrowed federal jurisdiction over crimes committed by non-Natives against Native people on tribal land, local prosecutors, victims and tribal officials are preparing for what comes next. [The Frontier]

  • After the Castro-Huerta ruling, Oklahoma’s criminal justice system endures another shift [KOSU]

Kintsel remains Oklahoma Department of Veterans Affairs director: The state Veterans Commission on Thursday took no action on the employment of Oklahoma Department of Veterans Affairs Executive Director Joel Kintsel, who mounted an unsuccessful political campaign to unseat Gov. Kevin Stitt. [Tulsa World]

  • Kintsel accuses Gov. Kevin Stitt’s office of creating a ‘firestorm’ within veterans agency [The Oklahoman]

Washington County experiencing shortage of child care options, advocates say: The county has a shortage of child care options, Gabrielle Jacobi, an Oklahoma child well-being policy analyst, told community leaders during a Kiwanis Club of Bartlesville meeting Wednesday. [Bartlesville Examiner-Enterprise]

State Government News

Can you face charges after an abortion? What the AG’s memo on Oklahoma abortion laws means: Oklahoma’s attorney general issued a memo to all law enforcement agencies and prosecutors in the state this week, urging them to pursue criminal charges for anyone involved in providing an abortion outside of medical emergencies. [The Oklahoman]

  • Prosecutors asked to consult with attorney general before filing charges under Oklahoma’s new abortion laws [Tulsa World]

TSET board calls on Oklahoma Legislature to tighten laws: Board members of Oklahoma’s Tobacco Settlement Endowment Trust voted this week to call on state lawmakers to tax e-cigarettes and other new products in line with traditional cigarettes and to close loopholes in laws that might allow teens access to “new and emerging” nicotine products. [The Journal Record]

Former Stitt Cabinet secretary sues state: Former Cabinet Secretary David Ostrowe filed a lawsuit Thursday over a January 2020 attempted bribery charge against him that was dismissed in May 2021. [Tulsa World]

This Week in Oklahoma Politics Podcast (audio): Recreational marijuana, transgender bathrooms, Norman turnpike protests and more [KOSU]

Health News

Oklahoma closing the gap for mental health services: Mental health is top of mind for Oklahoma leaders as September 1st is the first day of National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month. Right on the heels of the state launching its 988 mental crisis hotline, a legislative watchdog is recommending unification across the state’s mental health service agencies. [KFOR]

Oklahoma preordered updated COVID-19 vaccines, which could be available next week: Updated COVID-19 booster shots could be available to Oklahomans as early as next week, now that federal health authorities have signed off on them. [The Oklahoman]

Tulsa Center for Behavioral Health headed for final approval of $38 million for new mental hospital in downtown Tulsa: The Tulsa Center for Behavioral Health is just one step away from securing $38 million needed for its new 106-bed mental hospital in downtown Tulsa. [Tulsa World]

Editorial: Insulin costs need to be capped now, not on a gamble years from now: Reasons given by two Oklahoma lawmakers for opposing federal caps on the exorbitant costs of insulin fall short. The state’s congressional delegation voted against efforts to limit prices on the life-saving medication. [Editorial / Tulsa World]

Education News

“They need all the help they can get”: Oklahoma educator makes case for federal funding: Former El Reno Schools superintendent said not using federal funds for education in Oklahoma could put a squeeze on rural communities. [KFOR]

Education Watch: Oklahoma Education’s Emerging Culture War: Banned Books: Oklahoma’s House Bill 1775 doesn’t ban any specific books, but one effect of the law has been teachers self-censoring the books students can access. The fear: one complaint could put their career and their district’s accreditation at risk. [Oklahoma Watch]

General News

Tulsa City Council puts homeless ordinances on hold, establishes working group to examine issue: Tulsa city councilors agreed this week that they need more time and more information before they decide whether to act on proposed ordinance amendments intended to address the homeless population’s impact on private property and public rights of way. [Tulsa World]

Oklahoma Local News

  • ‘No discovery:’ Developer’s lawsuit trial date set [The Norman Transcript]
  • 36 Degrees North to expand entrepreneurial services with historical renovation in Tulsa Arts District [Tulsa World]

Quote of the Day

“Even if you can access (child care), it’s super expensive, and that impacts families’ ability to work. And that puts children behind in school themselves.”

– Gabrielle Jacobi, OK Policy’s Child Well-being Policy Analyst and KIDS COUNT coordinator, speaking about issues facing communities and families in Oklahoma [Bartlesville Examiner-Enterprise

Number of the Day

$817 million

Estimated federal education funds that Oklahoma will receive in 2023 for U.S. Department of Education agency programs that allocate funds to states or local educational agencies using statutory formulas. This does not reflect all Department of Education funds that a state receives from department funds awarded on a competitive basis. [U.S. Department of Education]

Policy Note

States Can Choose Better Path for Higher Education Funding in COVID-19 Recession: Accessible, well-funded higher education is crucial for residents’ quality of life, a strong state economy, and thriving communities, but after the Great Recession hit over a decade ago, states weakened their futures by sharply cutting higher education funding and raising tuition, making college less accessible — especially for students with low incomes and students of color. In the school year before the pandemic struck, state support was still way down, adding to long-standing racial and income disparities in higher education. [Center on Budget and Policy Priorities]

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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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