In The Know: OHP ticket to tribal citizen sparks outrage from tribal leaders | Thousands of documents turned over in AG’s subpoena on 2021 winter storm | Hybrid, electric vehicles could impact state revenue

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 trooper tickets Native American citizen, sparking outrage from tribal leaders: An Oklahoma Highway Patrol trooper ticketed a tribal citizen with a current Otoe-Missouria Tribe license plate for failing to pay state taxes, prompting an outcry from tribal leaders who blamed Gov. Kevin Stitt’s increasing hostility toward Native Americans. [AP via ABC News]

  • Oklahoma lawmakers told state police to work out tag agreement with tribes — 12 years ago [The Oklahoman]
  • Why was a driver issued a ticket for a tribal tag? What we know about the ticket, Oklahoma law, and what’s changed [The Oklahoman]
  • Oklahoma driver fined $249 over tribal tag says she was ‘blindsided’ by ticket [The Oklahoman]
  • Oklahoma Highway Patrol gives ticket over tribal plate, potentially changing decades of policing precedent [KGOU]
  • Tribal leaders, experts respond to Oklahoma’s new policy on ticketing tribal tags [KOSU]
  • ‘Why is this happening to us?’ OK driver fined for tribal tags because she doesn’t live within her nation’s boundaries [KFOR]
  • ‘I kind of thought he made it up’: Otoe-Missouria member asking for answers after getting ticket over tribal vehicle tags [Fox 25]
  • Tribal citizens express concern after driver was ticketed for having tribal plate while living outside tribe’s boundaries [KOCO]
  • Seminole Nation leaders react to new enforcement of tag law [KFOR]
  • Governor responds to concerns over tribal tags [News 9]

State Government News

Thousands of documents related to 2021 winter storm turned over in subpoena: Oklahoma Corporation Commissioner Bob Anthony said he has turned over 4,000 emails to Attorney General Gentner Drummond’s office in response to the AG’s subpoena of the entire agency. Drummond’s office subpoenaed the corporation commission on Nov. 7, seeking records about how the agency and its staff addressed the February 2021 winter storm known as Uri. [The Oklahoman]

New Oklahoma law extends marijuana business license moratorium until 2026: Lawmakers extended a moratorium on new medical marijuana business licenses for two more years as the state tries to get a handle on the exploding industry. A new state law extends a two-year pause on granting new cannabis licenses for dispensaries, growers and processors into a four-year moratorium. [Oklahoma Voice]

  • Oklahoma begins process of shutting down 165 medical marijuana grow facilities [KOSU]

Hybrid, electric vehicles will cut significantly into state’s transportation revenue: With a rise in the use of electric and hybrid vehicles, Oklahoma officials are expecting significant losses in motor fuel tax revenue, which is used to fund state transportation infrastructure. [Tulsa World]

State Wildlife Department welcomes public comment to proposed rules: The State Department of Wildlife Conservation is taking public comment on dozens of new proposed rules. [KFOR]

Capitol Insider: Legislators study state-tribal compacts: Lawmakers heard from tribal leaders during a two-day interim study looking at compacts between the State of Oklahoma and sovereign Native American nations. [KGOU]

This Week in Oklahoma Politics: Sports betting, Education Secretary’s resignation, new Oklahoma laws and more: Panelists discuss Gov. Stitt’s plan to have sports betting in the State of Oklahoma, Stitt’s former Secretary of Education who says she left after concerns over financial issues with the Department of Education, and Superintendent Ryan Walters pushing for a national media manager. [KOSU]

Voting and Election News

Oklahoma election 2023: Counties voting on special questions, unexpired terms Nov. 14: Oklahomans will be voting in November, but this year it will be a week after a traditional election would be held. Oklahoma’s special election will be held on Tuesday Nov. 14 and will include city and school district propositions, as well as elections for unexpired terms of leadership positions in 24 counties. Polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. [The Oklahoman]

Health News

New technology helps Oklahoma officers, clinicians provide mental health care: Law enforcement and clinicians say the iPads distributed by the Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services have been a game changer in delivering services across the state. [Oklahoma Voice]

Oklahoma families appeal to protect medical care for trans youth: Lawyers representing Oklahoma families of trans youth filed a brief with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit, seeking protection from a state law that criminalizes medical care for trans youth. [The Black Wall Street Times]

Oklahoma representative joins health caucus across six states to improve access, affordability: Rep. Ellyn Hefner (D-Oklahoma City) became the co-chair for a nonpartisan health caucus spanning six states, which will draft policy related to affordability, access and the health care workforce. [KGOU]

Criminal Justice News

Governor Stitt weighs self-defense claims of man on death row: Gov. Kevin Stitt has three weeks to decide whether to grant mercy to a death row prisoner who claims he acted in self-defense. The Oklahoma Pardon and Parole Board recommended clemency for Phillip Dean Hancock in a 3-2 vote on Wednesday. [The Frontier]

Oklahoma County sheriff to step in to help jail ‘fast track’ some bookings: Some people charged during an Oklahoma County court hearing are able to secure a bond without being detained. In the past, those defendants were able to complete “fast-track” booking processes at the jail’s location in under an hour, without actually having to be taken into the facility as a new detainee. But Oklahoma County’s jail, which continues to deal with low staffing levels, hasn’t reliably been able to provide that service of late. [The Oklahoman]

Housing & Economic Opportunity

An Oklahoma city now requires a permit to feed homeless. Advocates say they’re being ‘punished’: Shawnee recently passed a law that regulates feeding the homeless downtown — a move that advocates say is the latest brick in the wall preventing progress toward ending homelessness in Shawnee. [The Oklahoman]

Thousands of veterans face foreclosure and it’s not their fault. The VA could help: An NPR investigation has found that thousands of veterans who took a forbearance during the COVID-19 pandemic are now at risk of losing their homes through no fault of their own. And while the VA is working on a way to fix the problem, for many it could be too late. [NPR via KOSU]

Bypassing mortgage rates: Share of US homes bought with cash hits highest level in nearly a decade: Homebuyers who can afford to bypass the highest mortgage rates in two decades are increasingly forgoing financing and paying all cash. Meanwhile Oklahoma has the 7th largest rate of mortgage delinquencies and Tulsa has the 6th highest rate for large metros, with both rates being 2.5%. [AP via Tulsa World]

Opinion: Lot Lines: Affordability at home: One reason I ran for city council was my growing concern for affordable/attainable housing in Edmond. Our city’s lack of diversified housing and its strong emphasis on large-lot, single-family homes created a mismatch of housing supply and demand. The end result was the loss of youth and workforce in the city. [J. David Chapman / Journal Record]

Economy & Business News

Welcome to Hochatown, the Town Created by Airbnb: In a rural corner of Oklahoma, rustic cabins have been replaced by $1 million rental homes. But even as Airbnb reports record profits, the boom has softened. What will that mean for hosts? [New York Times]

Opinion: Unions, workers show growing strength: Twenty-two years ago, Oklahomans voted to enshrine “right to work” in the state Constitution. No longer could union membership be a requirement for employment. So, how’s it working out for workaday Sooners? [Arnold Hamilton / Journal Record]

Education News

Oklahoma State Department of Education seeks to be party in lawsuit over St. Isidore contract: State Superintendent Ryan Walters is aiming to get the Department of Education involved in a lawsuit filed by Oklahoma Attorney General Gentner Drummond over what would be the nation’s first publicly funded religious school. [KOSU]

New TPS leader prepares parents, community for blunt discussion of district challenges: When the going got tough at Tulsa Public Schools this year, it was a behind-the-scenes leader named Ebony Johnson who stepped up. Two months later, some school board members — including the only one who did not support her appointment as interim superintendent — have already begun discussing the idea of making her temporary duty assignment a permanent gig. [Tulsa World]

After Ryan Walters alleged Chinese course had Communist ties, state to offer alternative: State schools Superintendent Ryan Walters has signed an agreement allowing Mandarin to be taught in Oklahoma classrooms, but it’s not the same type of instruction he’s criticized in the past. [The Oklahoman]

How OU will use an $86 million grant to help low-income students attend college: The University of Oklahoma has announced an $86 million program — funded by a federal grant and state dollars — that encourages college readiness for students who come from low-income backgrounds. [The Oklahoman]

How an Oklahoma State University American Indian Studies professor finds her ‘home’: Dawna Riding In Hare is a Pawnee citizen who has served her tribe for over two decades. An American Indian Studies professor at Oklahoma State University, she memorializes her ancestors by educating the next generation about the history of Native American peoples. [KOSU]

Colleges, career techs to help workers affected by tire plant closure: Some colleges and career technology centers in southern Oklahoma are planning ahead to help employees of a Michelin tire plant that has been slated for closure in 2025. [Journal Record]

Opinion, Chancellor Allison D. Garrett: Helping adult learners, businesses adapt, advance: Balancing work schedules, finances, and child care needs are just some of the barriers that adult learners face. From online degrees and credentials to scholarship programs and support services, the State Regents are dedicated to serving adult learners. [Oklahoma Chancellor for Higher Education Allison D. Garrett / Journal Record]

Opinion: Proposed rule changes will shut down vital school for alternative ed students: The Oklahoma State Board of Education is considering harmful rule changes that would require all alternative education students and teachers to be physically present, in person and on-site for school. [Jennifer Wilkinson / The Oklahoman]

Opinion: To meet the needs of our most vulnerable kids, learn the lessons of school reform history: Community partners studied the nation’s top cognitive research on lessening summer “learning loss” and addressing an interconnected crisis ― chronic absenteeism. We learned that in high-poverty schools, “There are too many needy kids and not enough adults. Until you change that equation, it doesn’t matter if you give them new strategies.” [John Thompson / The Oklahoman]

Opinion, OKC students: We are not bystanders; teachers fought for us; listen more to teachers: The Rotary Club of Oklahoma City recently hosted a discussion on “Education and Our Future” with Oklahoma City Public Schools Superintendent Sean McDaniel and three Oklahoma City student leaders. Here are excerpts from essays provided by the students who participated in the event.[Opinion / The Oklahoman]

Opinion: A year of Ryan Walters only shows he’s unfit to be state superintendent: A year ago, Oklahomans voted to reform public education. It’s been a year with State Superintendent Ryan Walters, and what has improved? Nothing. Students are no better served. Parents are no better served. The state is no better served. [Ginnie Graham / Tulsa World]

General News

Tulsa Race Massacre survivor turns 109 as high court weighs case: Tulsa Race Massacre survivor “Mother” Lessie Benningfield Randle turned 109 with the taste of barbecue and sweet potato pie on her tongue Friday, but she believes justice would be sweeter. [The Black Wall Street Times

  • Tulsa Race Massacre survivor turns 109 as hopes for reparations continue [Public Radio Tulsa]

Single mother evicted and left to pay for damages after standoff with no one inside: A Stillwater single mother of two is left homeless after the home she was living in was at the center of a standoff Wednesday night that ended with the suspect not inside. [KFOR]

Cotton County commissioner faces removal after being charged with embezzlement: The state multicounty grand jury is calling for the removal of a Cotton County commissioner who was charged in January with embezzlement. The grand jury returned an accusation for removal against Mike Woods on Thursday. His attorney declined comment Friday. [The Oklahoman]

Oklahoma Local News

  • Tulsa’s KTUL, Channel 8, moving news production to Oklahoma City [Tulsa World]
  • Immigration advocacy group certifies Tulsa a ‘Welcoming City’ [Public Radio Tulsa]
  • How do councilors want $1 million spent in their Tulsa districts? [Tulsa World]

Quote of the Day

“After over 20 years of cooperation between the State and Tribes regarding vehicle tag registration, it appears the State has altered its position of understanding concerning tribal tags. This change was made without notice or consultation with all Tribes that operate vehicle tag registration.”

-Otoe-Missouria Chairman John Shotton, writing in a statement after a tribal citizen with an Otoe-Missouria Tribe license plate was ticketed for failing to pay state taxes. [AP via ABC News]

Number of the Day


The average annual cost for an infant in a center-based child care in Oklahoma. The cost is $7,816 per year for infant care in family child care. [Child Care Aware]

Policy Note

Lack of child-care funding destabilizes U.S. families and the economy, Health and Human Services secretary tells Congress: The child-care system in the U.S. needs a long-term funding solution, but if no additional stabilization funding comes through now, not only will families lose out, but the economy will lose employees and businesses. “Tens, if not hundreds, of thousands of kids and parents in each of your states could lose out on coverage unless Congress commits to additional funds,” Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra testified before the Senate Appropriations Committee about the need for additional child-care funding. Some $24 billion in child-care stabilization funds expired on Sep. 30. The funding was part of the American Rescue Plan, which was passed in 2021 to help workers and businesses affected by the pandemic. The pandemic and its ripple effects, including labor shortages, made it more expensive for child-care providers to operate and hire workers. The funding helped providers pay for expenses such as rent and supplies over the past two years, and many were able to hire new workers. [MarketWatch]

You can sign up here to receive In The Know by e-mail.


David Hamby has more than 25 years of experience as an award-winning communicator, including overseeing communication programs for Oklahoma higher education institutions and other organizations. Before joining OK Policy, he was director of public relations for Rogers State University where he managed the school’s external communication programs and served as a member of the president’s leadership team. He served in a similar communications role for five years at the University of Tulsa. He also has worked in communications roles at Oklahoma State University and the Fort Smith Chamber of Commerce in Arkansas. He joined OK Policy in October 2019.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.