In The Know: More tribes call for HB 1775 repeal | Honoring Indigenous Peoples Day | Election Boards looking for poll workers

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

Leaders of Oklahoma’s largest tribes tell state: Let schools teach about race: Leaders of Oklahoma’s largest tribes urged state lawmakers Friday to repeal the controversial new law that blocks public schools from teaching students some concepts about race and gender. The Cherokee, Chickasaw, Choctaw, Muscogee and Seminole nations also called on the Oklahoma State Board of Education to stop enforcing the law, known as House Bill 1775. [The Oklahoman]

  • Five more tribes call for repeal of House Bill 1775 [Tulsa World]
  • Five tribes call on legislature to repeal HB 1775 [NewsOn9]
  • Inter-Tribal Council of the Five Tribes calls on Oklahoma Legislature to repeal HB 1775 [Public Radio Tulsa]

5 things to know about Indigenous People’s Day in the US: For many Native Americans, the second Monday of October has never been about the man credited with discovering their homelands. But in recent years, more states, cities, counties and schools have signed on to celebrate and honor Indigenous cultures instead of Christopher Columbus. [The Oklahoman]

  • 22 Oklahoma events to celebrate Indigenous Peoples Day and Native American Heritage Month [The Oklahoman]
  • Indigenous Peoples’ Day is October 10. Here’s how you can celebrate [KOSU]
  • Sixth Annual Tulsa Native American Day To Be Held Oct. 10 at Dream Keepers Park [City of Tulsa]

As November Nears, Many County Election Boards Look to Add Poll Workers: With five weeks remaining until the Nov. 8 general election, the clock is ticking for county election officials to recruit and train an adequate number of poll workers. Oklahoma Watch spoke with election officials in seven urban and rural counties. Most said they plan to recruit and train poll workers in the days and weeks leading up to election day. [Oklahoma Watch]

State Government News

Abortion rights supporters gather at Capitol as part of ‘Women’s Wave’: With a month until Election Day, several dozen Oklahomans gathered outside the state Capitol building Saturday afternoon in support of abortion rights and to encourage voting out anti-abortion lawmakers in November. [The Oklahoman]

Oklahoma AG’s office unleashes searing argument against doctors in abortion case: The Oklahoma attorney general’s office unleashed a searing attack last week on physicians opposed to the state’s strict anti-abortion laws, saying they claimed a fundamental right “to dismember a living human and let him or her bleed to death.” [The Oklahoman]

Political notebook: Legislature mulls override attempt: Legislators have not decided whether to return this week for override votes on three American Rescue Plan Act bills vetoed by Gov. Kevin Stitt last week, State Senate President Pro Tem Greg Treat said Friday. [Tulsa World]

Column: There aren’t enough resources to save victims of abuse in Oklahoma: October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month, and so I ask you to pause to consider why our state is such a violent one for people of all ages — and what we can all do to change that. Some estimates suggest as much as 80% of our societal problems, including homelessness, poverty, lack of education, violence and women’s incarceration, stem from untreated childhood trauma, so this dark battle deserves our attention. [Stacy McNeiland Guest Column / The Oklahoman]

Federal Government News

Mullin’s and Hern’s net worth jump with sale of businesses: Oklahoma’s two wealthiest members of Congress became a lot wealthier last year, and all seven current members appear to be better fixed financially than their Nov. 8 opponents, according to their most recent federal financial disclosure reports. In all cases, Oklahoma incumbents’ personal wealth greatly exceeds that of their challengers, or at least appears to: 10 candidates on next month’s congressional ballot, including three Democrats, have not filed financial disclosures. [Tulsa World]

Tribal Nations News

In wake of Castro-Huerta ruling, tribes propose varied paths forward for criminal justice system: The U.S. House of Representatives Natural Resources Subcommittee for Indigenous People of the United States says they want to better understand the relationship between tribal governments and state governments around criminal justice matters. It’s a response to the 5-4 majority opinion in Oklahoma v. Castro-Huerta, in which the Court determined state governments have concurrent criminal jurisdiction with tribal governments in Indian Country. [KOSU]

Voting and Election News

Oklahoma has record number of female candidates for statewide elections: When Oklahoma voters cast their ballots for the Nov. 8 general election, they’ll notice something unprecedented at the top of the ticket. [The Oklahoman]

Polls offer different picture of Oklahoma’s race for Governor: With Oklahoma’s election for governor a month away, polls are showing varying pictures of what the results could be. [KGOU]

Previewing Oklahoma’s Attorney General Race: Oklahoma voters will elect one of two political newcomers attorney general in the Nov. 8 general election. The attorney general acts as the state’s chief law enforcement officer and legal advisor. They represent the state in civil and criminal proceedings, issue legal opinions and oversee how state funds are allocated. [Oklahoma Watch

Gubernatorial candidate Natalie Bruno ordered to pay $27,000 on tanning salon: In December 2021, exactly six months after she had registered a campaign committee to run for governor of Oklahoma as a Libertarian, Natalie Bruno bought a Pure Tan 24/7 salon in Yukon by signing an owner-finance agreement that committed her to pay $40,000 for the business and its assets over the next year. [NonDoc]

Guest columnists present economic arguments for governor candidates Stitt, Hofmeister: Tulsa World Opinion features guest columns from Sean Kouplen and Erika Lucas that make arguments, based on specific issues, for the Republican and Democratic candidates running for Oklahoma governor. Note: Erika Lucas is an OK Policy board member [Tulsa World Opinion]

Health News

Column: What CEO would set a public health lab up for failure? Stitt did it: On Oct. 7, 2020, Gov. Kevin Stitt announced the establishment of the Oklahoma Pandemic Center for Innovation and Excellence and the relocation of the Oklahoma Public Health Lab to Stillwater. Now, almost two years later, there is no physical structure for the innovation center or any evidence of research or other activity (except for CEO salaries). [Janis Blevins Guest Column / The Oklahoman]

Editorial: Tulsa DA Steve Kunzweiler’s candor about mental health ought to motivate lawmakers: Tulsa District Attorney Steve Kunzweiler gave a brave statement the day after he was stabbed by his daughter on Sept. 27 at his home. Jennifer Kunzweiler faces domestic assault charges. [Tulsa World]

Criminal Justice News

Rise in child abuse and neglect cases across Oklahoma: The Oklahoma Institute for Child Advocacy is seeing an uptick in child abuse and neglect cases across the state. [KFOR]

Column: Jesus & Johnny Cash: Our salvation is in solidarity: For those who are unfamiliar, Johnny Cash sang a lot of prison songs, mostly about solidarity and the problems with the carceral system. San Quentin, for instance, is a harsh indictment of the inhumane and ineffective prison-industrial complex. Unfortunately, the song has aged well, given the living hell we know the Oklahoma County jail to be, where there have been 14 deaths this year, along with credible accusations of torture. [Rev. Lori Allen Walke Guest Column / The Oklahoman]

Economic Opportunity

City to become more engaged in helping address homelessness, Bynum says: Mayor G.T. Bynum thinks the time has come for Tulsa’s city government to take a more active role in addressing homelessness in the city. [Tulsa World]

Economy & Business News

Developments looming large in and near north Tulsa: A Costco warehouse is going up at the northeast corner of 46th Street North and U.S. 169, and Tulasi Commerce Park is being built at the northeast of Whirlpool Drive and East 76th Street North. [Tulsa World]

Gen Xers rise up as next wave of civic leaders guiding Oklahoma City’s future aspirations: Millennials and young Gen Xers are finding ways to use their business backgrounds and expertise to shape Oklahoma City as a community with diverse educational, cultural and work opportunities. [The Oklahoman]

Column: Let’s recognize the resilience of minority businesses in Oklahoma City: In Oklahoma City, we have been honoring the resilience and grit of minority entrepreneurs since 2019 through Minority Enterprise Development Week. Themed as “Open for Business: The Economy Starts with Us,” the fourth annual event will observe a full week of celebrating and spotlighting these minority businesses. [The Oklahoman]

Education News

Surreptitiously obtained video targets TPS’ Rogers Middle School teacher on HB 1775: A national conservative organization has released a video of a Tulsa Public Schools teacher describing himself as an anarchist and expressing frustration with a state law meant to limit instruction on race and gender. [Tulsa World]

OCCC grant to advance adult education: The U.S. Department of Education recently awarded Oklahoma City Community College a five-year, $1.16 million TRIO Program Educational Opportunity Centers grant. [The Journal Record]

General News

Feds look into complaint that two Tulsa hospitals turned away man experiencing paralysis: The federal government has authorized an investigation into two Tulsa hospitals after a man experiencing paralysis apparently was dumped outside one of the hospitals from a wheelchair onto a sidewalk, where he languished for several hours. [Tulsa World]

As fatal crashes rise, OHP says most are preventable: ‘People are driving too fast for those roadways’: State authorities are taking time out amid a spate of near-daily fatal crash reports to talk about how simple measures can prevent many of these deaths. [Tulsa World]

Column: The Freedom Center of Oklahoma City’s much more than just a restoration or museum: The Freedom Center of Oklahoma City will preserve history, but will “develop facilities and programs to preserve our history and work towards a world without racism and bigotry.” The emphasis is on educational programming, especially for young people, in keeping with the historic impact of activist-educator Clara Luper and the NAACP Youth Council in the late 1950s and 1960s. [Richard Mize Column / The Oklahoman

Column: Public libraries should not have to operate in outdated facilities: The Senate has included $20 million in federal funding for library buildings in its 2023 appropriations bill. If approved by the House, it would be the first federal funding to modernize libraries in more than a quarter-century. [The Oklahoman]

Quote of the Day

“Education that lacks an accurate and thorough portrayal of history, no matter how uncomfortable it can be at times, is an incomplete education. We owe our students more than that.”

-Muscogee Nation Principal Chief David Hill, speaking about tribes in Oklahoma calling for a repeal of HB 1775, which limits teaching about race and gender [The Oklahoman]

Number of the Day


The number of states — including Oklahoma — that recognize Indigenous People’s Day [The Oklahoman]

Policy Note

For Our Future: An Advocate’s Guide to Supporting Indigenous People’s Day (2020): It’s important that we acknowledge that Americans have been fed a false history. The story told of Native peoples in history books erases the trauma and persecution carried out upon Native communities and ignores the truth of our resiliency and strength. Celebrating Indigenous Peoples’ Day is an important part of our movement— it is an opportunity to recognize and celebrate Native peoples, our resiliency and our future, in the present. [IllumiNative] | [Additional Resources from IllumiNative]

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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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