In The Know: Next step for the proposed state budget | Medicaid managed care legislation | Some school meal waivers ending

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

OK Policy statement on legislature’s FY23 appropriations bills: The budget bills approved Friday by lawmakers — and now forwarded to the governor for consideration — reflect some good investments in Oklahoma, especially for youth and their families involved in the justice system and the hundreds of Oklahomans with intellectual and developmental disabilities who currently face a 13-year wait for services. However, lawmakers again have missed the chance to make strategic and targeted investments to help more Oklahomans live healthy lives, raise thriving families, and create safer communities. [OK Policy

Join the team: OK Policy is currently hiring for three positions: Youth Justice Policy Analyst and Regional Organizer for Together Oklahoma (two positions, one each for Central Region and Northeast Region).  The application deadline for these positions in July 7, 2022 at 5 p.m. Visit for the full job description and compensation. 

Oklahoma News

Democracy Watch: Lawmakers Pass Budget, But Will Stitt Sign It?: With a 74-15 vote on Friday, the Oklahoma House of Representatives gave final approval to Oklahoma’s nearly $9.7 billion budget plan. The bill provides significant budget increases for many state agencies But some of the larger agencies, including the Department of Education, will be held relatively flat. [Oklahoma Watch

School districts bracing for end of COVID-19 meal waivers: Barring congressional action in the next six weeks, school districts across northeastern Oklahoma are bracing for changes to their child nutrition programs as several waivers are set to lapse on June 30. [Tulsa World

The widening justice gap and how it’s hurting low-income Americans: The wage gap in the U.S. is leading to an even wider justice gap, where people who need legal help for civil issues such as bankruptcy and eviction are not able to afford it. The organizations keen on providing legal resources are struggling to meet the demand. [2 News Oklahoma

State Government News

Oklahoma Legislature signs off on Medicaid managed care legislation: Oklahoma legislators on Friday approved plans to revamp the state’s Medicaid program into a value-based health care model that incentivizes providers to improve patient health. [The Oklahoman] Senate Bill 1337 has passed Oklahoma’s House and Senate – if signed by Gov. Stitt, private healthcare providers will be awarded contracts to manage Medicaid for patients in the Sooner State. [KFOR

Bob Doucette: Fox interview with Gov. Stitt exposes holes in pro-life policies: One of the longstanding criticisms of pro-life policymakers and the movement in general is that they are so singularly focused on the unborn that they don’t have anything left for children after they’re born. The leak of a draft opinion from the U.S. Supreme Court told us that a majority of the court will reverse Roe. Now the theoretical has become a probability that pro-life politicians have sought for years. [Column / Tulsa World

  • Poll shows most Oklahoma voters don’t want total abortion ban Gov. Kevin Stitt may soon sign [The Oklahoman
  • Days before Oklahoma bans abortion, details still uncertain [AP
  • Political notebook: Abortion bill aftershocks reverberate [Tulsa World
  • The Legal and Policy Issues of Covering Out of State Travel for Abortion [Inc.

Anti-trans school bathroom bill now sits on Governor Stitt’s desk: A bill targeting trans youth that passed the Oklahoma Legislature on Thursday, May 19 now sits on Governor Stitt’s desk.  Despite claims from the bill’s proponents that this will “protect” students, data tells a starkly different story. According to Oklahoma Policy Institute, two-in-five transgender adults and one-in-five transgender youth have attempted suicide in the last year. [The Black Wall Street Times

  • Oklahoma legislature approves ban on trans school bathrooms [AP

Effort to grant Oklahoma governor more power over state Supreme Court nominations ends: Oklahoma voters won’t be asked to change the state Supreme Court nominating process this year as the leader of the state Senate said his proposal was unable to get enough support in the House as the legislative session comes to an end. [The Oklahoman

Tribal Nations News

The surprising heart of drone technology is on the Choctaw reservation in Oklahoma: It’s just before 6:51 a.m. and the sun is just about to climb above the rolling hills where James Grimsley and I step out of an ATV onto the Choctaw reservation, coffee and drones in tow. [Fortune

Voting and Election News

GOP state superintendent debate set for June 22 in OKC: The four GOP candidates — Peggs Public Schools Superintendent John Cox, 2006 state superintendent candidate William Crozier, Shawnee Public Schools Superintendent April Grace and State Secretary of Education Ryan Walters — have agreed to face off at 5:30 p.m., Wednesday, June 22. [NonDoc

Oklahoma GOP votes for new leadership, hears from Gov. Kevin Stitt, AG John O’Connor: The Oklahoma Republican Party elected new leadership on Saturday during a meeting in Oklahoma City highlighted by appearances from Gov. Kevin Stitt and Attorney General John O’Connor. [The Oklahoman

Attack ad from dark money group paints Attorney General John O’Connor as tough on oil and gas: A dark money group billing itself as a social welfare organization is running an attack website and advertisements comparing U.S. President Joe Biden to Oklahoma Attorney General John O’Connor. [Public Radio Tulsa

Health News

Oklahoma parents of medically fragile children concerned with state cuts to nursing coverage: Parents of the most vulnerable Oklahomans are concerned as they face cuts to life-saving medical care provided by the state. Before the pandemic, Denise Burns says SoonerCare helped cover the assistance of a private duty nurse 16 hours a day, five days a week. During the public health emergency, many families were able to get the help every single day. But now, those hours are being cut. [KFOR

Despite Scathing Audit, Federal Agencies Award $1.7 Million to Oklahoma Nonprofit: It has been nearly a year since federal auditors revealed a pattern of improper spending at the Oklahoma Coalition Against Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault, jeopardizing critical aid for the state’s abused women and children.  But those findings have not hindered the flow of public funds to the nonprofit, which supports domestic and sexual abuse victims and victim advocates with training, policy updates and financial aid. [Oklahoma Watch

Criminal Justice News

Kim Kardashian Hulu series has reignited interest in the Julius Jones case. Here’s why: A recent episode of “The Kardashians” on the Hulu streaming platform has brought renewed attention to the case of Julius Jones, an Oklahoma inmate formerly on death row. [The Oklahoman

Economic Opportunity

Mick Cornett: Immigration reform should include STEM opportunities for non-citizens: To secure our country and support the economy, we need to pass immigration reform that increases opportunities for non-citizen STEM-advanced degree holders and immigrant entrepreneurs, allowing them to contribute to and build careers in the U.S. [Opinion / The Oklahoman

Quote of the Day

“The waivers were designed to respond to COVID-19, and it’s this mindset of acting like ‘COVID-19 is over, so we’re not dealing with it. Regardless of your opinion on the public health side of it, the impacts aren’t over.”

– Hunger Free Oklahoma Executive Director Chris Barnard speaking about several pandemic-related waivers, including child nutrition waivers, that are set to lapse on June 30. [Tulsa World]

Number of the Day


Percentage of Oklahoma parents with children under age 3 who earn less than $10 per hour.  [Prenatal-to-3 Policy Impact Center]

Policy Note

Child care and elder care investments are a tool for reducing inflationary expectations without pain: Policymakers should look for any tool that can help restrain inflationary pressures without causing significant collateral damage. One such tool could be investments in child care and elder care. By subsidizing families’ use of child care and elder care and providing direct investments to providers, such investments could boost future labor supply by allowing working-age parents and children who want to look for paid employment to do so while remaining confident their family members are receiving care. [Economic Policy Institute]

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Kristin Wells served as the Communications and Operations Fellow for OK Policy from October 2021 to July 2022. She previously worked as a digital content producer for News On 6. A native Kansas Citian, Kristin graduated with a B.A. in Media Studies and a B.A. in Spanish from the University of Tulsa in 2020. While there, she was accepted into the Global Scholars program, spurring her interests in policy, social movements, global identities, and the importance of education and advocacy. She hopes to use her skills to continue to learn and create a more equitable future for Oklahomans. An avid sports fan, Kristin lives in Tulsa with her rescue dog and is passionate about college basketball, documentaries, and coffee.

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