In The Know: Okla. National Guard at Mexico border | Canoo approved for up to $100M of state incentives | Supreme Court and the separation of church and state | 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.

State Government News

Mission-focused: Oklahoma National Guard troops assisting at Texas-Mexico border: Oklahoma National Guard troops walk a fine line every day in blistering heat while patrolling the nation’s southern border in support of Operation Lone Star, an effort aimed at cracking down on illegal immigration and the more nefarious crimes that some state and federal officials say often accompany migrants. [Tulsa World]

Canoo approved for state incentives of up to $100 million: Electric vehicle maker Canoo and the state of Oklahoma have agreed to incentives of more than $100 million over the next decade, providing the embattled startup is able to meet employment and capital investment requirements over the next few years. [Tulsa World]

Capitol Insider: Lawmakers begin work for 2024 legislative session: With the special session over, Oklahoma lawmakers are now turning their attention to matters that may make it into bills introduced during the 2024 legislative session. [KGOU]

State tax revenue slides but still strong as Rainy Day Fund hits record high: Oklahoma tax collections slid again in July compared to the year before, but sales tax revenue reflected continued consumer strength in an economy with less than 3% unemployment. [The Oklahoman]

Political notebook: Poll says Oklahomans still solid for capital punishment: Oklahomans still like their death penalty, recent polling by Oklahoma City-based Cole Hargrave Snodgrass and Associates indicates. [Tulsa World]

Sen. Newhouse won’t seek another state Senate term: Sen. Joe Newhouse, R-Tulsa, said Friday that he is not seeking a third term in 2024. Newhouse, whose district covers Bixby, south Tulsa, and parts of Jenks and Glenpool, was first elected in 2016 and then ran unopposed in 2020. [Tulsa World]

Federal Government News

The Supreme Court is taking a wrecking ball to the wall between church and state: Last June, a previously obscure Oklahoma state board voted to allow two Roman Catholic dioceses to operate a charter school in that state. Lawyers from several civil rights organizations, including the ACLU, responded just over a month later with a lawsuit alleging that this state-funded religious school violates the state constitution. [Vox]

D.C. Digest: Oklahomans in middle of Farm Bill tussle: Several members of Oklahoma’s congressional delegation figure into this year’s Farm Bill negotiations, and not always on the same side. [Tulsa World]

Tribal Nations News

Cherokee Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr. to be sworn for second term Monday: Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr. and Deputy Chief Bryan Warner begin their second terms leading the Cherokee Nation on Monday with an inauguration ceremony in Tahlequah. [Tulsa World]

Tribal Council hears from Hoskin on vetoes, court cases: During its regular monthly meeting on Aug. 8, the Cherokee Nation Tribal Council offered farewells to its departing members and welcomed new councilors waiting to be sworn in at the inauguration on Aug. 14. [Cherokee Nation]

Cherokee Nation says it’s cooperating with Oklahoma Turnpike Authority: The Cherokee Nation is working with the state to solve issues involving the Oklahoma Turnpike Authority’s new PlatePay system and sees no reason to accept Gov. Kevin Stitt’s vehicle registration compact extension offer, Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr. said Friday. [Tulsa World]

‘A forever industry’: Cherokee Nation is investing in movie studios and film opportunities: Launched in 2019, the Cherokee Nation Film Office is billed as the first certified Native American film office in the country. Its mission is to boost the presence of Native Americans in every level of the film and television industries, as well as create opportunities for economic development and jobs in the Cherokee Nation. [Tulsa World]

Health News

In Oklahoma, Native American women struggle to access emergency contraception: The federal government promises free health care for Native Americans, which it provides through both federally-operated clinics and funding for Native American tribes and private organizations to run their own clinics. The federal government requires its own clinics to provide emergency contraception, but many tribally-run clinics do not. [USA Today]

“Zero Suicide” initiative looks to reduce numbers: Cherokee Nation Behavioral Health hosted its third community event to promote their “Zero Suicide” initiative, providing resources and information to the general public, on Aug. 3. “Zero Suicide” is a five-year, $2 million grant used to train professionals on intervention tactics using the most current research on suicide preventions. [Cherokee Phoenix]

Cancer patients in rural Oklahoma are more likely to die, partially due to travel barriers: Statistics from the OU Stephenson Cancer Center, Oklahoma’s largest cancer center and the state’s only National Cancer Insitute-Designated Cancer Center, show that more than 35% of new patients seen at Stephenson reside in a federally designated rural area. Additionally, about 40% of the patients who receive recurring care reside 50 miles or more from Stephenson’s main Oklahoma City site. [The Oklahoman]

Criminal Justice News

Former Oklahoma County district judge faces discipline over sex scandal: The Oklahoma Supreme Court is being asked to discipline former Oklahoma County District Judge Tim Henderson over his secretive sexual relationships with two prosecutors. [The Oklahoman]

Anti-death penalty groups part ways over tactics: The Oklahoma Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty has cut ties with a national organization and its partner, saying they are driving a wedge between death-row inmates and their attorneys. [Tulsa World]

Tulsa police officer shoots man following struggle after attempted traffic stop: A Tulsa police officer reportedly shot a man in south Tulsa Sunday morning after another officer was reportedly shot during a struggle with the man after they tried to pull him over. [Public Radio Tulsa]

Economic Opportunity

Editorial: Tulsans deserve a place to stay, and these nine steps get us closer to that goal: While citizens might scoff at the creation of a task force on an important issue, they should be happy to hear about one with already funded recommendations that begin being implemented next month. [Editorial / Tulsa World

Economy & Business News

Grand River Dam Authority looks to replace its last coal-fired generator with a new $410 million project: The Grand River Dam Authority is planning to purchase an estimated $410-million natural gas-fired combustion turbine and generator project to replace the last coal-fired generation unit at the Grand River Energy Center in Choteau. [The Frontier]

Education News

Want to make sure your child’s school is safe? These are the questions parents should ask: With gunfire in schools at an all-time high, though still rare,back-to-school season begins this year with many parents more concerned than ever about school safety. While many schools and states have turned to physical safety measures such as extra police presence and metal detectors, others rely on social-emotional learning to improve school climate. [USA Today via The Oklahoman]

General News

Staffing Oklahoma’s fire departments is particularly challenging in rural area: In Oklahoma, 80% of the state’s fire departments are entirely volunteer, including Cedar Country. A lot is expected of volunteers, beyond the typically physical requirement. You’ll have your day job obligations, family responsibilities and training requirements on top of simply being a firefighter. [KOSU]

Researchers map urban heat islands in Tulsa: A group of climate researchers is showing how city environments are especially vulnerable to heat waves thanks to an effect called urban heat islands. [Public Radio Tulsa]

Column: Responding to the attorney general’s investigation into McCurtain County sheriff: In reference to the audio recording released by the McCurtain Gazette-News of the shocking statements made by several McCurtain County officials, it is reasonable that we as individuals might ask in total disbelief, “What has our nation come to?” The answer is a striking question, “When has our response to racism and injustice been any different?” [Elder Markus Tovstiga Guest Column / The Oklahoman]

Column: We have set ourselves up to be uncivil. It is up to us to reverse that trend: The social structures that taught courtesy in the past have broken down, and have not been replaced [Nancy Snow Guest Column/ The Oklahoman]

Column: Why the names of 13 Black kids, instead of Ten Commandments would be better in classrooms: On the inside of my mom’s forearm was the letter A followed by the number 27327. Being the inquisitive people we are at that age, I asked them to explain. Using the least horrifying and simplest of words, they told me they were both survivors of the Holocaust and that almost everybody in their immediate and extended families were murdered because they, like us, were Jewish. That was my first encounter with antisemitism. Unfortunately, it would not be my last. [Michael Korenblit Guest Column / The Oklahoman]

Oklahoma Local News

  • Karen Keith announces candidacy for Tulsa mayor [Tulsa World]
  • With nebulous nonprofit proposed to provide services, Bricktown apartments’ TIF vote looms [NonDoc]

Quote of the Day

“What should be placed in schools is a list of the 13 original, courageous Black Oklahoma City students who said, ‘Enough.’ Those 13 kids believed in diversity, equity and inclusion. And thus, they helped change Oklahoma and American history for the better.”

-Michael Korenblit, President of the Respect Diversity Foundation, writing about the need to teach how Clara Luper and 13 Black children staged a lunch counter sit-in that started a national civil rights movement. [The Oklahoman

Number of the Day


The percentage of people making an interstate move who cited job- and family-related reasons as the primary driver of the decision. Only 9 percent cited one of the three other categories that might encompass a desire to pay lower state and local taxes. [Center on Budget and Policy Priorities]

Policy Note

State Taxes Have a Minimal Impact on People’s Interstate Moves: State tax levels have little effect on whether and where people move — certainly not to a degree that should lead state policymakers to enact unaffordable tax cuts to attract people or avoid enacting productive increases focused on the wealthy. U.S. residents have been moving away from the Northeast, the industrial Midwest, and the Great Plains to the Sun Belt and West for decades, and this pattern is substantially independent of state tax levels or the presence of an income tax. [Center on Budget and Policy Priorities]

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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.

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