In The Know: Mental health access in rural jails | Gov.’s executive order called political stunt targeting transgender rights | 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

Experts: Money Alone Can’t Solve Mental Health Access Issues in Rural Jails: Seven years after voters approved a greater investment in mental health and substance abuse services for Oklahoma counties, the money finally is on the way. But advocates for criminal justice reform warn that wide swaths of the state are at a disadvantage, unable to provide proper mental health and substance abuse treatment. [Oklahoma Watch

Transgender rights targeted in executive order signed by Oklahoma governor: Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt on Tuesday directed state agencies to use narrow definitions of “female” and “male” in the latest attack on transgender rights in a state that already has laws targeting bathroom use, health care and sports teams for transgender people. [AP via Tulsa World

  • Oklahoma Executive Order enacts ‘Women’s Bill of Rights,’ critics call it ‘transmisogyny’ [KGOU
  • Gov. Kevin Stitt’s order on women’s rights called political stunt [The Oklahoman

State Government News

Supreme Court validates Turnpike Authority bonds for expansion project: The Oklahoma Turnpike Authority has received approval to take out loans to finance new toll roads that were challenged by the City of Norman and area residents who stand to lose their homes to the expansion. [NonDoc

  • ACCESS Oklahoma toll road plan given a green light by Oklahoma Supreme Court [The Oklahoman
  • Court ruling allows $5B turnpike expansion plan to move forward [Journal Record

PlatePay is a money-loser for Oklahoma Turnpike Authority, agency told: The Oklahoma Turnpike Authority’s PlatePay program is on schedule to lose millions of dollars in revenue annually, the agency was told Tuesday. Transportation Secretary Tim Gatz attributed the projected loss to a variety of reasons. [Tulsa World]

State high court hears arguments in case challenging medical marijuana licensing fees: Oklahoma Supreme Court Chief Justice John Kane heard arguments Tuesday in a case seeking to challenge a new law that increases some medical marijuana licensing fees for businesses. [Tulsa World]  

From 2022: Country ‘in an identity crisis,’ AG John O’Connor tells Rotary Club of Sand Springs: Oklahoma Attorney General John O’Connor said America “is in an identity crisis right now” in which individual rights, a faith foundation, and capitalism and the free enterprise system are under attack. [Sand Springs Leader via Tulsa World]

Federal Government News

Biden border critic Lankford says military is not the answer: Few members of Congress have been more critical of the Biden administration’s handling of immigration or more vocal about about the number of people entering the country with little to no vetting than U.S. Sen. James Lankford. But literally sending in the Marines is not the answer, he said Tuesday. [Tulsa World

Tribal Nations News

Supreme Court ruling won’t affect tribal colleges, universities: Tribal colleges and universities will remain open-door institutions despite court’s decision to strike down affirmative action in higher education. [ICT]

Criminal Justice News

After heated discussion, OKC Council votes to replace police oversight board: Oklahoma City Council members have voted to replace the citizen’s oversight board over police with a community-based one. Much of the city council meeting Tuesday morning involved a heated discussion regarding the proposed Community Public Safety Advisory Board, but ultimately, a resolution approving the new board passed 6-2. [The Oklahoman

LiveFree OKC, led by Jabee, aims to address root causes of the cycle of gun violence: Community organizers in northeast Oklahoma City are launching the state’s first community violence intervention program Thursday aimed at addressing the root causes of trauma and the cycle of gun violence. [The Oklahoman

Health News

Juno, 1st Black-owned medical clinic on Black Wall St. in 50 years: Juno Medical Clinic has officially opened its doors on Black Wall Street, beginning an effort to expand access to health care for one of the most underserved communities in the nation. Tuesday’s grand opening, a celebration that included free food and music, comes 102 years after the city-sanctioned Tulsa Race Massacre set fire to Greenwood and over 50 years after the city’s urban renewal project bulldozed through the community a second time. [Black Wall Street Times]

Economic Opportunity

Housing for seniors in need: Tulsa agency takes next step in $53M redevelopment of Pioneer Plaza: A $53 million renovation set to begin at a historic Tulsa apartment tower will ensure its ability to serve its low-income tenants for many decades to come, likely saving many of them from homelessness, officials said. [Tulsa World

General News

Interview with reporter Chris Willingham on McCurtain County corruption: The journalist exposed a litany of abuses of power and cover-ups leading up to the explosive recordings that put the country’s eyes on southeast Oklahoma. [Public Radio Tulsa]

Local News

  • Despite storm’s impact, Tulsa Honor Academy starting school as scheduled [Tulsa World]
  • Tulsa facing another lawsuit related to 2020 Trump campaign rally at BOK Center [Tulsa World]

Quote of the Day

“(The) so-called ‘Women’s Bill of Rights’ Executive Order is nothing more than a distraction to the real work that needs to happen to make Oklahoma a safer and healthier place for women. If we want to be better than dead last in almost every statistic when it comes to the health, safety and well-being of women we can start by calling today’s executive order exactly what it is — a political stunt. Oklahoma women deserve better.”

-Liz McLaughlin, Founding Board Member of We Are Rising, in a statement about the governor’s executive order. [The Oklahoman] | [We Are Rising]

Number of the Day


Number of Medicaid enrollees in Oklahoma who have been disenrolled, based on publicly available unwinding data, as of July 31, 2023. [KFF

– – –

Clarification: Tuesday’s Number of the Day said Oklahoma court fees for filing an eviction were $108, but that cost included an optional $50 fee for service by the sheriff in a civil case. That fee can be waived if the filer arranges service on its own. The base cost for eviction filing is $58, which entails $45 for a forcible entry and detainer for small claims ($5,000 or less), $6 law library fee, and $7 for alternative dispute resolution fee. [Uniform Oklahoma Fee Schedule / OSCN]

Policy Note

Nearly 4 million in U.S. cut from Medicaid, most for paperwork reasons: Most of those people have been dropped from Medicaid for reasons unrelated to whether they actually are eligible for the coverage, according to KFF, a health-policy organization, which has been compiling this data. Three-fourths have been removed because of bureaucratic factors. Such “procedural” cutoffs — prompted by renewal notices not arriving at the right addresses, beneficiaries not understanding the notices, or an assortment of state agencies’ mistakes and logjams — were a peril against which federal health officials had cautioned for many months as they coached states in advance on how best to carry out the unwinding. [Washington Post]

You can sign up here to receive In The Know by e-mail.


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.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.