In The Know: Medicaid Expansion in Oklahoma: Year One | New SCOTUS decision limits McGirt ruling | School land office audit requested

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

Medicaid Expansion in Oklahoma: Year One: In conjunction with the first anniversary of Medicaid expansion in Oklahoma, OK Policy has published a new report that looks at how Medicaid expansion has increased health care access, improved health outcomes, and strengthened our economy. Since going into effect on July 1, 2021, Medicaid expansion has brought comprehensive and affordable health insurance to more than 280,000 Oklahomans, decreased Oklahoma’s uninsured rate, and helped keep the lights on for hospitals statewide. Expansion has benefited Oklahomans of every race, gender, and age in every county in the state. [Full report and additional resources]

  • Analysis: Medicaid expansion’s rippling impact on Oklahoma:  Since implementation on July 1, 2021, Medicaid expansion has decreased Oklahoma’s uninsured rate from 14.4 percent to below 10 percent, and Oklahomans of all races, genders, ages, and in all counties have benefitted. Expansion has strengthened our hospitals and will continue to fortify our communities as more Oklahomans are able to access basic needs like seeing their doctor and filling a prescription. [Emma Morris / OK Policy]

Policy Matters: Celebrating expanded health care options: Health care is vital to ensure we – along with our friends and neighbors – can live healthy lives and contribute to our communities. Friday marks the one-year anniversary of Medicaid expansion taking effect in Oklahoma, so I think it’s a good time to reflect on the positive changes this has brought to our communities. [Shiloh Kantz / Journal Record

Oklahoma News

Castro-Huerta decision: State gets some concurrent jurisdiction on reservations: In a victory for Gov. Kevin Stitt’s legal effort to limit the effects of the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2020 ruling in McGirt v. Oklahoma, a 5–4 decision released by the court this morning in the case Oklahoma v. Castro-Huerta found that the state holds concurrent jurisdiction with tribal nations and the federal government to prosecute crimes committed by non-Indians against Indians on reservation land. [NonDoc

  • ‘Alarming step backwards’: Tribal Nations respond to Oklahoma v. Castro-Huerta decision [Public Radio Tulsa
  • Decision to limit McGirt met with opposition from tribes, draws sharp dissent from Gorsuch [Tulsa World
  • U.S. Supreme Court gives Oklahoma authority over some crime on reservation lands [CNHI via McAlester News-Capital]
  • Supreme Court joint-jurisdiction ruling roils Indian land questions [The Journal Record
  • (Audio) Listen Frontier: The fallout from the Supreme Court’s ruling on the Oklahoma v. Castro-Huerta case [The Frontier
  • U.S. Supreme Court revisits McGirt: Oklahoma can prosecute non-tribal citizens on tribal land [Tulsa World
  • Supreme Court rules Oklahoma can prosecute non-Indians when they commit crimes against Indians on reservations [KOSU
  • Supreme Court Narrows Ruling for Tribes in Oklahoma [The New York Times

State Government News

Stitt requests audit, Hofmeister requests law enforcement investigation and school land office secretary’s resignation: Both Gov. Kevin Stitt and State Superintendent Joy Hofmeister are requesting new responses to allegations of self-dealing and misappropriation of taxpayer funds at the school land office. [Tulsa World

Oklahoma progressing on plan to do away with turnpike tollbooths: A $17 million construction contract approved this week by the Oklahoma Turnpike Authority reflects continuing progress being made on plans to do away with tollbooths on state turnpikes. [The Journal Record

Federal Government News

‘When a right is created by the Supreme Court, it can go away’: What overturning Roe could mean for contraception access, sexual privacy, marriage equality: In the recent Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health decision, Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey were struck down. StateImpact Oklahoma reporter Beth Wallis interviewed Kathleen Tipler — an OU political science professor who specializes in gender, sexuality and the law — to understand how the Dobbs decision could impact other precedents related to contraception, sexual privacy and marriage equality. [State Impact Oklahoma

1st Native American treasurer to push economic development: Mohegan Chief Marilynn “Lynn” Malerba, the nation’s first Native American U.S. treasurer, comes from a line of chiefs who instilled in her the need to keep her tribe healthy and to survive. Last week President Joe Biden appointed her U.S. treasurer and overseer of a new Office of Tribal and Native Affairs at the Treasury Department. [AP via KFOR]

Tribal Nations News

Feds looking at finances of boarding school: One of only a few boarding schools for Native students still run directly by the federal government in Oregon is undergoing a close look at the school’s finances by the Interior Department’s Office of Inspector General. [Indian Country Today

Voting and Election News

Primary leaves several races undecided: Tuesday’s primary elections left some work undone. The races for U.S. Senate and House seats, four state offices, 11 legislative seats and the Republican nomination for Oklahoma County district attorney are all headed to Aug. 23 runoff elections — which means surviving candidates must find ways to keep voters’ attention for two more months. [Tulsa World

  • In eastern Oklahoma’s congressional district, 72% of voters picked a losing candidate [The Oklahoman
  • Congressman Mullin says he’s ready to go sleepless during runoff campaign [The Oklahoman]
  • Treasurer, labor and corporation commissioner elections head to GOP runoffs [NonDoc

Oklahoma state Auditor Cindy Byrd soars to reelection despite dark-money political attacks: After weathering dark money-fueled opposition believed to be funded by the founders of Epic Charter Schools, who she had slammed in an audit two years ago, Byrd won reelection over challenger Steven McQuillen by a wide margin. [The Oklahoman

Yukon state senator Jake Merrick, 2 other Oklahoma GOP lawmakers lose primary elections: Three Republican state lawmakers lost their reelection bids Tuesday after school choice proponents poured hundreds of thousands of dollars into a handful of legislative races. [The Oklahoman

Criminal Justice News

Oklahoma County commissioners eye citizens oversight committee for new jail: Oklahoma County commissioners plan to create a citizen’s oversight committee after voters on Tuesday passed a $260 million bond package to partially fund the construction of a new county jail. [The Oklahoman

The Right Way to Do Criminal Record Clearance: Automatically: There is a movement for change taking hold across the western United States, one that translates into better access to jobs and economic opportunity for millions of people. In blue and red states alike — California, Colorado, Oklahoma and Utah — governors and legislatures are putting in place reforms that allow criminal records to be cleared automatically and at scale. [Governing

New database shows capital punishment is still racially biased, arbitrary: Marking the 50th anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Furman v. Georgia, which struck down all of the nation’s death penalty statutes as arbitrary and capricious, the Death Penalty Information Center (DPIC) unveiled a first-of-its-kind database documenting more than 9,700 death sentences handed down across the country between the Court’s ruling in Furman and January 1, 2021. [The Black Wall Street Times

Oklahoma gamefowl breeders, lawmaker optimistic about decriminalizing cockfighting: As animal welfare groups push regulators to crack down on overseas gamefowl shipments from Oklahoma, advocates of the sport are hopeful the state will reduce penalties for cockfighting from a felony to a misdemeanor. [The Frontier]

Quote of the Day

“Tribal and federal jurisdiction remain unchanged by this decision, but the need to work together on behalf of Oklahomans has never been more clear.”

– Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr., speaking about this week’s U.S. Supreme Court decision where it found the state holds concurrent jurisdiction with tribal nations and the federal government to prosecute crimes committed by non-Indians against Indians on reservation land. [Anadisgoi / Cherokee Nation]

Number of the Day


Oklahoma’s estimated health care uninsured rate in April 2022 following the July 1, 2021, implementation of Medicaid expansion in the state. This represented about a five-point improvement in health care coverage rates during the first year of Medicaid expansion in Oklahoma [OK Policy

Policy Note

Medicaid Expansion in Oklahoma: Year One: Despite the considerable progress made in the first year of Medicaid expansion in Oklahoma, hundreds of thousands of residents still remain uninsured and without a pathway to coverage. Looking ahead, Oklahoma has the opportunity to build on the momentum of Medicaid expansion. By further expanding coverage and strengthening existing coverage, lawmakers can help ensure every Oklahoman can see a doctor and fill a prescription. [OK Policy]

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Kristin Wells served as the Communications and Operations Fellow for OK Policy from October 2021 to July 2022. She previously worked as a digital content producer for News On 6. A native Kansas Citian, Kristin graduated with a B.A. in Media Studies and a B.A. in Spanish from the University of Tulsa in 2020. While there, she was accepted into the Global Scholars program, spurring her interests in policy, social movements, global identities, and the importance of education and advocacy. She hopes to use her skills to continue to learn and create a more equitable future for Oklahomans. An avid sports fan, Kristin lives in Tulsa with her rescue dog and is passionate about college basketball, documentaries, and coffee.

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