In The Know: Mental health crisis response | Longterm solutions to fighting homelessness | Together OK meeting tonight discussing rural issues

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

Together Oklahoma to host meeting Monday night for Stephens, Grady, and Jefferson counties, will discuss rural issues: OK Policy’s grassroots advocacy program — has announced it will hold a community meeting for Stephens, Grady, and Jefferson counties (both in-person and online) on Nov. 28, at the Duncan Public Library. The meeting will feature a community discussion on rural issues and advocacy in the tri-county area. [Together OK]

Oklahoma News

‘We can figure this out’: Police, public and policymakers focus on mental health crisis response: A 2020 analysis by the Center for American Progress that looked at 911 calls from eight cities found that between 21 to 38 percent involved homelessness, behavioral health crises, substance use, quality-of-life concerns and other community conflicts. [NonDoc]

Housing Stability takes long-term approach to fighting homelessness in Tulsa: As federal COVID-19 relief funding dwindled, Housing Stability grants were partly meant to offset the loss of the Emergency Rental Assistance Program, or ERAP, officials said. Restore Hope distributed more than $58 million between May 2020 and this November, when the final ERAP applications were processed. [Tulsa World]

Facing opposition, controversial homeless ordinance pulled from OKC City Council: After hours of discussion and public comments today, a proposed Oklahoma City ordinance that would have allowed police to cite and arrest homeless people in camps around the city was withdrawn by its lead author. [NonDoc]

State Government News

Oklahoma lawmakers turn focus to medication abortions: After passing one of the nation’s strictest abortion bans, which essentially ended the procedure at clinics, some lawmakers are turning their focus to medication-induced abortions, often the only option for women seeking to end a pregnancy in Oklahoma. [The Oklahoman]

Public comment open on Oklahoma’s marijuana rules with state oversight agency now independent: A one-month comment period for permanent rules affecting Oklahoma’s medical marijuana industry closes at 5 p.m. Dec. 15. The rules are largely unchanged, Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Authority officials say. [Tulsa World]

Column: Where did the inclusiveness of the Henry Bellmon-style of Republican governing go?: Former Oklahoma Gov. Henry Bellmon believed that all Oklahomans were worthy of representation. Not just those who voted for him, and not just those who agreed with him. Today, at a time when our governor offers public prayers that speak only to a specific segment of our population, Bellmon’s inclusive approach seems almost revolutionary. [Russ Florence Guest Column / The Oklahoman]

Column: In rural Oklahoma, neighbors are always looking for ways to help one another: As I’ve traveled across Oklahoma, I’ve seen firsthand the unique challenges people in rural communities and remote parts of the state have in accessing the health resources they need and deserve. These challenges are especially true for people living in our nation’s tribal communities who have been underserved for far too long. [Kenneth Corn Guest Column / The Oklahoman]

Voting and Election News

Oklahoma voters could decide on abortion access under proposed ballot initiative: Oklahomans could get the opportunity to vote for abortion access in the state. A ballot initiative is in the works, and it crossed an important threshold this week. [Public Radio Tulsa]

Oklahoma’s next big election will ask voters to legalize recreational marijuana: As the decades-long push to legalize marijuana state-by-state nears the halfway point, Oklahoma could provide an interesting case study when voters decide whether to legalize adult cannabis use in March. [The Oklahoman]

Criminal Justice News

Oklahoma County jail fails another health inspection with 24 repeat deficiencies cited: A fifth “unannounced follow-up” health inspection of the Oklahoma County jail, conducted by the Oklahoma State Health Department on Oct. 12 found 24 repeat deficiencies cited in previous inspection reports. [The Oklahoman]

114 Executions and Counting: An Oklahoma Priest’s Quest to Uphold the ‘Dignity of Life’: Bryan Brooks, the pastor at the Church of Saint of Benedict in Broken Arrow, has returned to the state penitentiary to recite that prayer 113 times — each representing a man or woman executed by the state of Oklahoma. [Oklahoma Watch]

Armed guards a fixture outside Oklahoma pot farm before 4 were executed: Armed guards were a fixture outside the marijuana growing operation in rural Oklahoma where four people were slain execution-style. The Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation announced Tuesday that the suspect in the weekend killings, Wu Chen, was taken into custody by Miami Beach police and brought to the Miami-Dade County Detention Center. [Associated Press via The Oklahoman]

Oklahoma deputy wounded, man killed in Thanksgiving shooting: A 30-year-old man was killed and an Oklahoma sheriff’s deputy was wounded during a Thanksgiving morning shooting in the northwest of the state, authorities said. [Associated Press]

Economic Opportunity

Column: Well-being of Oklahoma children remains among worst in US. That is unacceptable: As nonprofits continue to navigate their way out of a pandemic and reimagine new ways to create impact, one thing hasn’t changed. Many of our families and children are struggling. Our nonprofit sector, along with community partners, are tasked with providing services to fill the gaps. [Mary Mélon-Tully Guest Column / The Oklahoman]

Economy & Business News

Oklahoma City Council to hear $1 million Canoo economic incentive request: Oklahoma City’s Economic Development Trust voted Tuesday to send a request to provide $1 million in incentives for electric vehicle start-up Canoo to the city council. [The Oklahoman]

Education News

Oklahoma Christian University announces new president, effective 2023: Ken Jones, the school’s current chancellor, will become the new president of Oklahoma Christian University, effective May 2023, Mark Brewer, chairman of the school’s board of trustees, said Wednesday in a letter on behalf of the board. [The Oklahoman]

Quote of the Day

“We have to be willing to creatively think about the community care we are able to provide, and criminalizing homelessness is not the solution to care for our people.”

-Rep. Mauree Turner, D-OKC, reflecting on their own experience with housing insecurity growing up in a single-parent home with three siblings and a roof that was caving in. [NonDoc]

Number of the Day


Number of Oklahoma workers in domestic occupations, including home health care, child care, and house cleaning. [Economic Policy Institute]

Policy Note

Domestic workers chartbook 2022: The COVID-19 crisis has laid bare the ways in which care work is undervalued—and that this workforce is underprotected. As a front-facing industry that requires high levels of personal contact, this industry was one of the hardest hit by the pandemic in 2020. Despite the impact of the pandemic on this workforce, many domestic workers were excluded from federal COVID-19 relief. At the same time, many domestic workers who were on the front lines of the pandemic, caring for the sick and keeping homes clean, lacked the protective equipment they needed. [Economic Policy Institute]

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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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