In The Know: New poverty data show Oklahoma ranked 10th highest in nation | Unemployment benefit numbers | 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.

New from OK Policy

Latest poverty, health insurance data show that Oklahoma still has work to do: New data from the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey released Sept. 15 show that Oklahoma’s poverty rate (15.6 percent) was the nation’s 10th highest, increasing slightly in 2021 when compared to 2019’s pre-pandemic levels (15.2 percent). A closer look at the data reveals significant differences in poverty rates when comparing the categories of race, gender, and disability status. It also shows that more than 1 in 5 Oklahoma children live in poverty. [Carly Putnam / OK Policy]

State Government News

Oklahoma reports jump in initial claims for unemployment benefits: Initial claims for unemployment benefits in Oklahoma jumped by more than 1,900 over the past week, the Oklahoma Employment Security Commission said Thursday. [The Journal Record]

OKC’s Mayor David Holt speaks out against hate-based violence at White House summit: Oklahoma City Mayor David Holt spoke at a summit Thursday at the nation’s capital centered on fighting hate-based violence and extremism. [The Oklahoman]

Podcast: This Week in Oklahoma Politics: Panelists discuss women’s health care expansion, new polling, Norman teacher and more. [KOSU]

Editorial: State could stand to solidify, capitalize on red-hot gaming market: Whatever economic headwinds might be battering the economy these days, they’re having little effect on Oklahomans’ appetite for gaming. As reported in The Oklahoman, the state received $17.9 million in exclusivity fees from tribal casinos in August, a monthly record. So far this year, the state has collected $193 million, an increase of 13% over the same time period in 2021. [Editorial / Tulsa World]

Voting and Election News

Guest Column: Voices of Gen Z have a lot to ask of candidates: Chiefly, this generation wants to be heard. They feel overlooked by current leaders and shut out of the political system. [Ginnie Graham / Tulsa World]

Criminal Justice News

On same day as grisly rape filing, group asks cities to cut ties with troubled county jail: Members of the People’s Council for Justice Reform held a press conference today calling for the municipalities of Midwest City, Edmond and Oklahoma City to sever their interlocal agreements with the Oklahoma County Criminal Justice Advisory Council and stop sending detainees to the beleaguered Oklahoma County Jail. [NonDoc]

  • Groups call on OKC, Edmond, Midwest City to sever ties with Oklahoma County jail, CJAC [KTUL]

Unsupervised Oklahoma County jail inmate raped handcuffed woman during booking, DA says: After having his mugshot taken and being fingerprinted last July, a new inmate at the Oklahoma County jail simply walked away from the booking area and raped another inmate awaiting her release, prosecutors allege. [The Oklahoman]

Economy & Business News

CareerTech director: State must prepare for broadband investment: President Joe Biden’s Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act passed last year with more than $42 billion to build broadband network facilities in places lacking in internet nationwide. [The Journal Record]

Rail strike averted; travel, supply chain issues minimal: The Heartland Flyer departed Thursday morning as a one-way trip to Fort Worth but a tentative agreement to avert a nationwide rail strike put the evening return trip to Oklahoma City back online. [The Journal Record]

Oasis Fresh Market could get $30 million for expansion across state: North Tulsa’s Oasis Fresh Market is poised to expand across the Arkansas River and elsewhere in Oklahoma after a legislative panel on Thursday recommended approving a $30 million grant from the state’s American Rescue Plan Act allocation. [Tulsa World]

Analysis: Why slowing growth in e-commerce is no threat to OKC’s warehouse building boom: Online shopping helped fuel the national boom in warehouse construction — for places to keep all that stuff as it wends its way from manufacturers and distributors to your home — but with COVID-19 having become a part of life, growth in e-commerce has slowed as more people venture back out to actual stores. [The Oklahoman]

Education News

After rushed audit process, Epic Board of Education approves final report: Epic Charter School board members unanimously approved the results of financial audits for its One-on-One and Blended Learning districts at a meeting Wednesday night, but the results are not yet available to the public. The two audits were completed in a matter of weeks in preparation for a planned consolidation of the districts. [NonDoc]

OU regents approve merger of Tulsa, Norman graduate college offices: After more than 25 years at OU-Tulsa, the University of Oklahoma’s graduate college office on the campus likely will be merged with the one in Norman. The OU Board of Regents approved the proposal during its regularly scheduled annual meeting at OU-Tulsa on Thursday. [Tulsa World]

General News

Amid COVID-era surge in abuse, new domestic violence center details announced in OKC: The state historically has one of the highest rates of domestic abuse in the nation, and in 2020 Oklahoma saw one of the deadliest years on record for victims of domestic violence. [The Oklahoman]

Quote of the Day

“The new Census data show what Oklahoma households know to be true: too many of us don’t have what we need to get by, let alone thrive. Facing the fact that Oklahoma has the nation’s 10th highest poverty rate should empower Oklahoma lawmakers to reduce the number of Oklahomans who live in poverty, especially our children. Now is the time to take bold action to ensure that every Oklahoman can have healthier lives, live in safe communities, and raise thriving families.”

– Shiloh Kantz, OK Policy’s Interim Executive Director [OK Policy]

Number of the Day


At 15.6%, Oklahoma had the nation’s 10th highest overall poverty rate in 2021 out of all 50 states, Washington, DC, and Puerto Rico. [2021 American Community Survey Data via OK Policy]

Policy Note

Making CTC and EITC Expansions Permanent Would Reduce Poverty and Grow the Economy: After almost two years of a global pandemic and recession eviscerating the financial stability of millions of Americans, one thing has become clear: Government programs do help prevent poverty and can reduce racial disparities. U.S. Census Bureau data provide some clear evidence that historic levels of federal aid—including the expanded child tax credit (CTC) and earned income tax credit (EITC)—have worked to reduce poverty for millions during a time of significant economic precarity. [Center for American Progress]

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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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