In The Know: Near-capacity shelters brace for extreme weather | Federal spending bill includes more funding for criminal justice needs on tribal lands | School board members arrested for open meetings violation | 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

Already near capacity, Tulsa homeless shelters brace for life-threatening cold snap: Temperatures are expected to begin dropping late Wednesday afternoon, about the time a candlelight vigil begins at the Tulsa Day Center to honor members of the homeless community who died this year. Starting in the mid-40s around 5 p.m., temperatures will drop into the 30s by midnight and slip below freezing before sunrise Thursday, according to forecasters. They’ll reach single digits Thursday afternoon but won’t bottom out until Friday morning, near zero. [Tulsa World]

  • Where to find overnight shelter in OKC for the unhoused during extreme winter weather [The Oklahoman]

Oklahoma County officials vote to increase their pay, but not everyone gets the same amount: Elected Oklahoma County officials have authorized giving themselves pay raises ranging from about 6% to 10% starting in January. But some are asking whether the 2023 pay increases are fair. Oklahoma County Commissioner Brian Maughan, whose budget board representative cast the lone vote against approving the increases, is among those asking questions. [The Oklahoman]

State Government News

Lawmaker wants to declare Oklahoma a sovereign state: An Oklahoma lawmaker has filed a joint resolution to declare the Sooner State a sovereign state. Sen. Nathan Dahm, R-Broken Arrow, has filed Senate Joint Resolution 2, which proposes an amendment to the Oklahoma Constitution. The proposed amendment would declare Oklahoma as a sovereign state. [KFOR Oklahoma City]

Federal Government News

Congress: Big spending bill includes ample McGirt funds ‘to protect all victims’: A massive spending bill that could clear Congress this week includes more funding for criminal justice needs on tribal reservations in eastern Oklahoma and pledges that the money will allow federal prosecutors to bring “all those who commit a crime to justice.” [The Oklahoman]

Voting and Election News

How Oklahoma is making it harder for citizen-led measures to get on the ballot: A special election in March 2023 on recreational pot will cost the state $1.2 million to $1.3 million and will also make it more difficult for proponents to get voters to show up at the polls. [The Frontier]

Tribal Nations News

Comanche housing programs reach record number in 2022: The Comanche Nation Housing Authority reached more than 2,430 tribal members in 2022 through its Elder Rehabilitation Program, Elder Outreach Program and Home Improvement Emergency Repair Program. CNHA is a Comanche Nation-affiliated organization that promotes self-sufficiency and provides affordable, safe and decent housing to low-income tribal members. [Journal Record]

Health News

Planned Parenthood starts telemedicine abortions in Kansas: A Planned Parenthood affiliate announced Tuesday that it has started teleconferences with off-site doctors for patients seeking medication abortions at one of its Kansas clinics, a small step toward potentially much broader access in a state that has become a destination for the procedure after an August vote affirming abortion rights. [Associated Press]

Criminal Justice News

Appeals court upholds ruling that OKC, former police chief not liable for suicidal man’s death: A federal appeals court has upheld a judge’s ruling that Oklahoma City and one of its former police chiefs cannot be held liable for a police officer who shot and killed an unarmed suicidal man and was later sentenced to prison. [The Oklahoman]

Economic Opportunity

Kirkpatrick Family Fund awards $7 million in grants: The Kirkpatrick Family Fund announced Monday the distribution of $7,345,500 in grants to 119 organizations over the past six months in the areas of animal well-being; arts and humanities; children, youth and families; community development; education; environment; health; human services; and endowment matching grants. Included in the disbursement is a $1 million endowment grant to establish the Dr. E.E. Kirkpatrick Dental Care Fund at the University of Oklahoma’s College of Dentistry to ensure the most vulnerable and underserved Oklahomans receive comprehensive dental care. [Journal Record]

Economy & Business News

Forbes said Oklahoma was a bottom 10 state to start a business. Is it really?: Forbes isn’t a big fan of starting a business in Oklahoma. In a list destined to trigger groans in some parts of the country, ego boosts in others, and a whole lot of misunderstanding of data — Oklahoma is 42nd in “Best States to Start a Business in 2023.” [The Oklahoman]

Report lists remote working locations that offer the most: With remote work migration on the rise, RentCafe researched the most desirable cities to move to across the nation if you work remotely. Tulsa ranked 38th on the list of 50 best cities for a remote worker, based on a “great cost of living, short-term rental opportunities and lots of apartments with sports amenities.” [Journal Record]

Eastgate Metroplex gets new tenant, up to 190 new jobs: A Michigan-based financial services company is expanding to Tulsa and bringing up to 190 jobs with it. Compu-Link Corp. will occupy 29,000 square feet at Eastgate Metroplex, a former shopping mall that now is an office center at 14002 E. 21st St. [Tulsa World]

Despite giant oil spill, push continues for more pipelines: TC Energy provides nearly daily updates on its efforts to clean up its recent oil spill in Kansas, but the incident continues to pour fuel on the political debate surrounding the company’s Keystone pipeline system. The company’s record regarding pipeline leaks provides ready talking points for environmentalists who opposed TC’s plans for its Keystone XL pipeline expansion project. Still, Oklahoma’s congressional delegation, state leaders and industry heads continue to push for approval of the company’s pipeline permits. [Journal Record]

Education News

Open Meeting Violations Led to Arrests of Four Billings School Board Members: Authorities in Noble County have taken the unusual step of arresting and charging four school board members accused of violating the Open Meeting Act. The board members met multiple times outside of public meetings, including in June to hire a new superintendent, according to a court affidavit. They didn’t notify the public of the meeting or create an agenda, the records state, and were subsequently warned by an attorney that convening outside a public meeting would violate state law. [Oklahoma Watch]

OU bans TikTok app on campus networks: The University of Oklahoma will be banning the use of the social media app TikTok for students and staff, according to a FOX News report. In an email sent to students and faculty on Tuesday, the university said it would be limiting access from the app as a result of Governor Kevin Stitt’s executive order banning TikTok on state devices. [Fox 23 News]

Quote of the Day

There is a growing consensus nationwide that just because you’re conservative doesn’t mean that you can’t also be a reformer in criminal justice… When we can find common ground on issues, that’s where the most work can get done. And that’s really true for Oklahoma.”

– David Gateley, OK Policy Criminal Justice Policy Analyst, speaking about the bipartisan justice reforms Oklahoma enacted in recent years which reclassified drug offenses, removed barriers to reintegration, and reappropriated funding to social services. [Arnold Ventures]

Number of the Day


The average person in an Oklahoma prison has been sentenced to 19.5 years, and the number of people in prison with a prison sentence that is 20 years or longer (8,027) is more than Oklahoma’s entire prison population in 1984. []

Policy Note

22 Stories of Change from 2022: Meaningful criminal justice reforms that improve public safety. Historic drug pricing reforms. Protections for defrauded students. Expanded access to contraception. We’ve rounded up the stories that maximized opportunity and minimized injustice in 2022. [Arnold Ventures]

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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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