In The Know: New report examines Oklahoma’s child abuse laws | Moving forward with post-election tribal-state relations | Unpaid caregivers

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

Oklahoma’s “Child Abuse” Law Doesn’t Protect Children — It Criminalizes Mothers: Karina had been looking forward to Christmas. In November, she had reunited with her 6-year-old daughter, who had been staying with Karina’s sister after Karina was evicted. That month, the family celebrated Karina’s younger daughter’s first birthday — complete with her first teetering steps. [Truthout]

  • Report: Failing to Protect: Oklahoma’s Child Abuse and Neglect Statute Unfairly Punishes Mothers and Endangers Children []

Tribal leaders wanted to elect a new Oklahoma governor. Now they have a backup plan: After years of tension with Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt and a historic effort to oust him, tribal leaders now find themselves searching for a Plan B after the governor’s resounding reelection victory on Nov. 8. [The Oklahoman]

Demand Is High, But Financial Support For Oklahoma’s Unpaid Caregivers Is Scarce: Francis Johnson spent 25 years in estate planning, helping clients prepare for an uncertain future while doing the same for herself. [Oklahoma Watch]

State Government News

Emails show Oklahoma Turnpike Authority bought domain names opposing $5 billion expansion plan: The Oklahoma Turnpike Authority, which pledged to be transparent in its implementation of a proposed $5 billion expansion plan, quietly bought 23 internet domains two weeks before presenting the plan to the public. [The Oklahoman]

Gov. Kevin Stitt’s firearm was found with his intoxicated underage son. No charges filed: Authorities found the underage son of Gov. Kevin Stitt intoxicated and in possession of multiple firearms outside a Guthrie business last month, but he was not arrested or cited, according to a Logan County Sheriff’s incident report. [The Oklahoman]

Political notebook: GOP hardliners oppose abortion exceptions: Two of the Oklahoma legislature’s strictest hardliners on abortion, State Sen. Nathan Dahm, R-Broken Arrow, and Rep. Jim Olsen, R-Roland, said they will oppose any attempt to create exemptions to the state’s near-total ban on the procedure. [Tulsa World]

Oklahoma Health Care Authority board member resigns: A member of the Oklahoma Health Care Authority board is stepping down from the role, citing potential conflicts of interest. [The Oklahoman]

Federal Government News

Catoosa woman sentenced for fraudulently applying for $1 million in loans: A Catoosa woman who defrauded banks and credit unions through a complex scheme involving falsified loan applications and lien releases was sentenced Friday in federal court. [KTUL]

D.C. Digest: Lankford says GOP must decide to ‘win converts or burn heretics’: U.S. Sen. James Lankford, a Baptist minister, said during a Fox radio interview last week that Republicans must decide “whether we’re trying to win converts or burn heretics.” [Tulsa World]

Voting and Election News

Why Other States Have Eliminated Straight Party Voting: Is it a time-saving option that shortens polling place lines and generates more votes for down-ballot races? Or a lazy practice that bolsters partisanship and discourages voters from researching candidates and their policy positions? [Oklahoma Watch]

Health News

‘Better than minimum’: Oklahoma Baptists unveil sex abuse hotline, abuse response team: Sex abuse victims began contacting a Tulsa pastor soon after he was appointed leader of Oklahoma Baptists’ Abuse Prevention & Response Task Force. [The Oklahoman]

Why Oklahoma is bringing suicide prevention strategies into the workplace: Oklahoma’s mental health leaders are working to prevent suicides by bringing suicide prevention strategies to the workplace. [The Oklahoman]

Criminal Justice News

Death toll rises at troubled Oklahoma County jail: A detainee of the Oklahoma County jail died Saturday morning at an area hospital following what officials referred to as a medical emergency. [The Oklahoman]

Economy & Business News

Canoo asking OKC for $1 million in job incentives for new electric vehicle plant: Canoo, the electric vehicle start-up wanting to start production in Oklahoma City, is asking the city for $1 million in exchange for creating 550 jobs over the next three years. [The Oklahoman]

Pump prices decline in Tulsa: For the first time, since early in the year, gasoline prices in Tulsa are trending below $3.00 per gallon. The price of oil on Friday closed at just over $80 per barrel. [Public Radio Tulsa]

Tornado-damaged businesses eligible for federal aid: Southeastern Oklahoma businesses damaged or destroyed by the Nov. 4 tornado are eligible for assistance from the Small Business Administration. [Journal Record]

Editorial: Oklahoma is ready for its close-up: State, municipal and tribal incentives have lured filmmakers to the state and given Oklahoma storytellers a reason to stay to create productions. These have produced jobs and pumped millions into the local economy. [Tulsa World]

Education News

Visually impaired students show off mobility skills in Oklahoma: The Oklahoma School for the Blind is helping to boost education excitement and skill building through a challenging orientation and mobility program called “Cane Quest.” [msnNOW]

UCO facing three Title IX lawsuits, two others dismissed: In the last 18 months, five lawsuits have been filed in federal court alleging Title IX violations by the University of Central Oklahoma. Three are still ongoing, while two others have been dismissed. [NonDoc]

Andrew Benton named University of Central Oklahoma interim president: The Regional University System of Oklahoma Board of Regents approved Andrew Benton as the interim president of the University of Central Oklahoma at their regularly scheduled meeting Friday. [NonDoc]

General News

Latest search for Tulsa Race Massacre victims comes to end: The latest search for remains of victims of the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre has ended with 32 additional caskets discovered and eight sets of remains exhumed, according to the city. [Public Radio Tulsa]

Oklahoma Local News

Tulsa’s $15,000 police signing bonus ‘welcome surprise’ for agency still short on staff”: The mayor’s announcement Tuesday of a $15,000 signing bonus for new police academy graduates had Tulsa police officials busy answering questions all week, recruiters were happy to report. [Tulsa World]

Oklahoma City councilman proposes new rule to ban homeless camps: An Oklahoma City council member is proposing a new ordinance that would allow police officers to arrest people in homeless camps for trespassing if they refuse to leave after a warning and citation. [The Oklahoman]

Tulsa Housing Authority completes sale of ‘scattered houses’: The Tulsa Housing Authority recently sold its last batch of single-family rental homes, a move that will let the agency avoid the rising costs of maintenance at the scattered properties, officials said. [Tulsa World]

Abandoned dam in Oklahoma City a threat to life and property for more than 20 years: More than 20 years have passed since the Knight Lake dam was declared a “high hazard” that needed immediate repairs to avoid a potential flood that would damage nearby apartments and pose a threat to public safety. [The Oklahoman]

Quote of the Day

“There are so many stories about mothers who did not cause the abuse. [But prosecutors proffer the theory that moms should be all-knowing] and that they should have done any and everything to shield their children from potential abuse and neglect. This idea that moms are somehow responsible, even more so when their children is harmed, is why moms ultimately end up getting lengthier prison terms.”

– jasmine Sankofa, policy and research manager for, about its latest report on Oklahoma’s child abuse and neglect laws. [Truthout]

Number of the Day


The year the Indian Citizenship Act formally made Native Americans U.S.citizens, but states continued to prevent them from voting for much longer, arguing that they: (1) did not pay taxes, (2) were under guardianship of the U.S. and therefore were incompetent to vote, (3) were not literate in English, and (4) were more citizens of the tribes and too closely tied to tribal culture to be citizens of the states in which they lived. [Native American Rights Fund]

Policy Note

A Guide to Indigenous Land Acknowledgement: Start with self-reflection. Before starting work on your land acknowledgment statement, reflect on the process: Why am I doing this land acknowledgment? (If you’re hoping to inspire others to take action to support Indigenous communities, you’re on the right track. If you’re delivering a land acknowledgment out of guilt or because everyone else is doing it, more self-reflection is in order.) What is my end goal? (What do you hope listeners will do after hearing the acknowledgment?) [Native Governance Center]

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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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