In The Know: OK Supreme Court weighs in on McGirt decision | More secret governor’s mansion revelations | State lawmakers get earful about missing mental health funds

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

Policy Matters: Get your voting plan together for Nov. 8: We are just days away from Oklahoma’s general election on Nov. 8. I’m sure many Oklahomans have the noblest of intentions to cast their votes. But past years show us that far too many eligible voters don’t follow through on their intentions. [Shiloh Kantz / Journal Record]

Oklahoma’s 2022 General Elections: Find information about candidates, elections, and more. [Cole Allen / OK Policy]

Oklahoma News

Oklahoma Supreme Court backs state in narrow test of post-McGirt civil jurisdiction: In a narrow test of how the McGirt decision may apply in civil matters, the Oklahoma Supreme Court ruled Tuesday that a state court judge had the authority to issue a protective order within the boundaries of the Muscogee (Creek) reservation in a domestic abuse case involving two Native Americans. [The Oklahoman]

Remember Oklahoma’s violent history, or be condemned to repeat it: During the recent gubernatorial debate, one candidate noted that Oklahoma has a higher violent crime rate than California. The other candidate responded with a snort, a folksy grin and a general expression of disbelief. [Commentary / NonDoc]

State Government News

KFOR EXCLUSIVE: Construction timeline reveals more about Gov. Stitt’s secret mansion plans: News 4 continues to report on an exclusive story we first broke earlier this month; Governor Kevin Stitt’s secret plan to raise private dollars to build a new governor’s mansion. [KFOR News 4]

Education Watch: On Misspent Digital Wallet Funds, Stitt Makes a Surprising Suggestion: Stitt allotted $8 million in federal funds to the program, dispersing $1,500 grants to low-income families to buy school supplies in 2020. [Oklahoma Watch]

Federal Government News

Inhofe to take part in chamber’s DC Spotlight: U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe will be in Oklahoma City for the Greater Oklahoma City Chamber’s DC Spotlight on Thursday. It will be Inhofe’s farewell visit with the chamber before he officially retires from the U.S. Senate in January. He’ll sit down with Chamber Chairman Sean Trauschke for a conversation about his public service career. [Journal Record]

Tribal Nations News

Cherokees open meat processing plant in Tahlequah: Cherokee Nation officials opened the doors on the tribe’s new meat processing facility on Tuesday. [Journal Record]

Voting and Election News

In the race for governor, Kevin Stitt, Joy Hofmeister are trying to win favor with Oklahoma’s growing Latino population: In an election year where Republicans nationally hope to make big waves among Latino voters and Democrats are trying to hold on to what has historically been a safe vote, both Gov. Kevin Stitt and challenger Joy Hofmeister are working hard to appeal to the community. [The Frontier]

Editorial: Crime doesn’t seem a priority issue in Oklahoma for 2022: Oklahoma’s crime rate became a recent political story during a debate last week between Gov. Kevin Stitt and challenger Joy Hofmeister, who is running as a Democrat. A CNHI report shows that Oklahoma’s violent crime rate has dropped more than 5% in the past year, but still remains higher than the national average. [Enid News & Eagle]

Making the Grade: Has Stitt Fulfilled His Education Promises?: When Kevin Stitt hit the campaign trail in 2018, education was very much on the minds of voters. Thousands of Oklahoma teachers had descended on the state Capitol to strike, closing many schools for 10 days to draw attention to school funding needs. And in its wake, Stitt, as a candidate for governor, promised to improve education and make Oklahoma “a top 10 state.” [Oklahoma Watch]

Judge notes Oklahoma County DA candidate is not accused by prosecutors of illegal activity: A federal judge spoke out Wednesday in a criminal case that has become an issue in the Oklahoma County district attorney race. U.S. District Judge Stephen Friot pointed out that prosecutors have not accused the Democrat candidate, Vicki Behenna, and four other defense attorneys of any involvement in their client’s illegal activity. [The Oklahoman]

Health News

‘A lot of misinformation’ spreading on COVID shots for children, Oklahoma pediatrician says: As state leaders are calling on federal health officials to reconsider a recent decision about COVID vaccines for children, an Oklahoma pediatrician worries about the effect that “misinformation” could have on kids’ health. [Tulsa World]

Criminal Justice News

Millions of dollars to keep people out of prison, jail in Oklahoma is nowhere to be found: Tens of millions of dollars that were supposed to keep people out of prison or jail in Oklahoma are nowhere to be found. Back in 2016, a state question, approved by voters, required money that would have been spent on housing inmates with low-level drug offenses to be redirected toward drug rehab and other care. [KOCO]

Supervisor’s comments ‘not acceptable’ at citizens academy, Tulsa Police chief says; sergeant placed on restricted duty: A Tulsa police supervisor is on restricted duty after a recording of his sentiments expressed during a Citizens Police Academy session last week began circulating on social media. [Tulsa World]

Economic Opportunity

Child care staff may apply for $1,000 employment incentive through human services grants: Oklahoma licensed child-care professionals may receive a $1,000 bonus after accepting a position or continuing to work at a licensed child-care program if they apply for a state grant, officials said. [Tulsa World]

Santa Fe Square office complex filling up quickly: Developers of Santa Fe Square wanted to create a work-play environment that is unprecedented in downtown Tulsa. By all accounts, they are well on their way. [Tulsa World]

Education News

Applications open for Oklahoma environmental education grants: Teachers in public or private schools and group leaders from youth organizations are encouraged to apply for the grants, which range from $100 to $1000. Proposed projects must be focused on environmental education, directly involve students, tie in classroom learning objectives and be completed by the end of the next school year. [KGOU and StateImpact Oklahoma]

Oklahoma lawmakers tried to limit four day school weeks, but they’re hanging on in rural communities: The vast majority of Oklahoma schools and students are on a five day schedule. But for just shy of 100 rural school districts across the state, four day weeks have become a staple in the community. [StateImpact Oklahoma]

General News

City goes back to Oaklawn Cemetery in search of 1921 Race Massacre victims’ graves: The search for victims of the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre resumed Wednesday with the start of a second excavation of Oaklawn Cemetery. [Tulsa World]

Oklahoma Local News

Council committee to discuss $45 million bond proposal: City staff will present a plan to seek a $45 million bond program to repair and replace dozens of crumbling bridges in Norman, the Community Planning and Transportation Committee agenda indicates. [The Norman Transcript]

Court backs developer in Deer Creek water fight: A federal appeals court on Friday ruled in favor of a developer that claimed Deer Creek Water Corp. made unreasonable demands as a requirement for supplying water to a proposed housing development. [Journal Record]

Quote of the Day

“This is a crisis. And it’s not just a crisis for the defendants. It’s a crisis for all of our county jails. … It’s difficult right now for them to find folks to work in the county jail, but it’s compounded when they have to deal with mentally ill people … when their behaviors escalate. (Jail employees) are not trained, they don’t have the knowledge to deal with the types of behaviors they’re seeing.”

-Custer County Special District Judge Donna Dirickson, speaking at an interim study to find solutions to increase mental health and substance abuse treatment access, whether through implementation of State Question 781 or otherwise. [Tulsa World]

Number of the Day


Number of days early voting is available for Oklahoma’s Nov. 8 general election. Early voting will be available 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., Wednesday, Nov. 2 through Friday, Nov. 4, and 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 5. House Bill 2663, passed in 2021, added early voting on the Wednesday before general elections. [Oklahoma Election Board]

Policy Note

Democracy on the ballot—What do election deniers want?: There are many candidates on the November ballot who think the 2020 election was fraudulent (so-called, “election deniers”). A substantial portion of them seem poised to win. So, what will their victories mean for elections in 2024 and beyond? To better understand this question, we have looked at as many campaign proposals as we could find, beginning with candidates for secretary of state, governor and attorney general because these offices hold the most power and responsibility over elections. This piece will attempt to describe the agenda(s) of those who are running as election deniers with respect to how elections are run in the United States and to assess the impact on democratic elections should they succeed. [Brookings]

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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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