In The Know: Oklahoma again ranks poorly for child well-being | State completes first post-election audit | Medicaid expansion and reentry

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

Medicaid expansion is a vital piece of reentry for Oklahomans leaving incarceration: Oklahoma prisons are constitutionally required to provide medical services to the more than 21,000 people in their custody. As those individuals are released back to their communities, they are at risk of losing health care coverage unless insurance is available, leaving them with potentially untreated chronic illness or mental health needs. Most people leaving incarceration have little to no income, making them eligible for Medicaid upon release. Therefore, Medicaid expansion in Oklahoma plays a key role in ensuring continuity of care leaving prison and jail, contributing to healthier communities and reduced recidivism. [David Gateley / OK Policy]

Oklahoma News

Oklahoma again ranks poorly for child well-being, annual report says: Oklahoma children continue to fare more poorly overall than their peers in other states, according to an annual report released Monday. “The net result is that far too many children in our communities live in poverty, have unhealthy lives, and are behind the educational outcomes of their peers in other parts of the country,” said Gabrielle Jacobi of the Oklahoma Policy Institute, the state’s host agency for KIDS COUNT. [Tulsa World]

  • While it did improve some, Oklahoma still ranks low for child well-being in new report [The Oklahoman]
  • The kids are not all right: Oklahoma ranks near the bottom in terms of child well-being [Fox 25]
  • Survey: Oklahoma ranks 40th in child well-being and 45th in education [KFOR]
  • 2022 KIDS COUNT Report Shows Oklahoma Ranks 40th for Child Well-Being, Still Lags Nation [OK Policy]

State’s first post-election audit completed: Oklahomans can be confident their vote in the June 28 primary election was counted correctly. The Oklahoma State Election Board completed its first post-election audit on July 28. There was no discrepancy between the manual audit totals and the certified election results, the election board reported early last week. There was no discrepancy between the manual audit totals and the certified election results, the election board reported early last week. [Oklahoma Watch]

State Government News

Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt, Joy Hofmeister differ on turnpike expansion plan: While Stitt has praised the long-range ACCESS Oklahoma plan launched under his administration, state schools Superintendent Joy Hofmeister is calling for an audit of the Oklahoma Turnpike Authority and says more toll roads are not the answer to the state’s infrastructure needs. [The Oklahoman]

State sues vendor over handling of education funds: The Stitt administration has made good on its threat to sue a Florida company it hired to administer a federal education program that the U.S. Department of Education says was mismanaged. [Tulsa World]

Voting and Election News

Citing old abuse claims, Okla. GOP women call on Sean Roberts to end labor commissioner bid: Five female legislators are calling on a candidate for state labor commissioner to drop out of the race after allegations that he abused and mistreated his ex-wife resurfaced. Roberts, R-Hominy, is challenging incumbent Labor Commissioner Leslie Osborn. The two candidates will face off in the Aug. 23 GOP runoff primary. [The Oklahoman]

New Change Research poll finds Oklahoma voters are souring on Gov. Kevin Stitt: A Change Research poll of 2,079 likely voters in Oklahoma shows voters are souring on Stitt. The poll finds his approval rating has fallen 12 points this year. [Fox 25]

Red River runoff: Reid faces Maynard in House District 21: The two Republicans running to become the next representative from House District 21 in the Durant area grew up on opposite sides of the Red River. Cody Maynard is a church accountant who originally hails from Texas, and Dustin Reid is a Choctaw Nation employee who has never lived outside Oklahoma, a factor Reid says “carries a lot of weight” in his mind. [NonDoc]

Criminal Justice News

61 Oklahoma lawmakers call for hearing in Glossip case: Dozens of Oklahoma lawmakers say they support an evidentiary hearing in the case of an Oklahoma death row inmate, who has proclaimed his innocence for decades. Earlier this year, Texas-based law firm, Reed Smith, agreed to independently investigate the case for free. After 3,000 hours of work and a nearly 350-page report, they determined “no reasonable jury would have convicted Richard Glossip.” Investigators pointed to flawed interrogations, lack of crime scene logs, and something more disturbing. [KFOR] More than one-third of Oklahoma’s lawmakers are asking the state’s attorney general to support a request for a new hearing to review the case of a death row inmate who claims he is innocent. [The Oklahoman]

Oklahoma prisons director Scott Crow to retire in October: Scott Crow, the director of the Oklahoma Department of Corrections, announced Monday he is stepping down. Crow will retire Oct. 31. His departure was announced as the state prepares for 25 scheduled executions, expected to last through the end of 2024. [The Oklahoman] In his 26 years with the Oklahoma Department of Corrections, Crow has served in several capacities, including inspector general, administrator of field operations and chief of operations. [Tulsa World]

Oklahoma group awarded grant for ‘fair chance’ hiring efforts:  The Just Trust has awarded grant money to several organizations in Oklahoma as a part of criminal justice reform efforts. One such group in the state, the Oklahoma County Criminal Justice Advisory Council, is using the grant to connect job seekers with criminal records to careers. [Fox 25] Note: OK Policy also was awarded a grant from The Just Trust to support its Open Justice Oklahoma program.

Economy & Business News

OKC shows strength in tech sector job creation: Oklahoma City posted 1,764 new tech jobs in July, showing strength as an “under the radar” market in an industry still flexing muscle nationwide, according to a new report on tech sector job creation. [The Journal Record]

Canoo reports loss of $164 million in second quarter: Second-quarter losses for electric vehicle start-up Canoo, which has production plans for Oklahoma, increased 46% percent on Monday. The company reported a loss of $164.3 million, or 68 cents per diluted share, compared to a loss of $112.5 million, or 50 cents per diluted share, over the same period a year ago. [Tulsa World]

Education News

‘The turnover has been huge’: Oklahoma schools dealing with mass exodus of teachers: As schools open their doors to kids, there is a mass exodus of teachers fleeing Oklahoma classrooms for good. FOX 25 put a call out to educators leaving the profession to learn what is driving them to the breaking point. [Fox 25]

Western Heights school board recognizes, decries searing district audit: After months of delays and legal action from the state, the Western Heights Board of Education acknowledged an annual audit that uncovered deep financial issues in the southwest Oklahoma City school district, but a presentation of the report turned combative. [The Oklahoman]

Oklahoma voters to choose which Republican will move ahead in race for state superintendent: Two weeks from Tuesday, voters will choose which Republican should move ahead in the race for state superintendent. One of the issues dominating the primary race is how to disburse state education funding. [KOCO]

General News

After film session incident, Cale Gundy ‘accepts accountability’ and resigns from OU: Longtime University of Oklahoma assistant football coach Cale Gundy has resigned owing to a film-session incident when he read aloud from a player’s tablet and uttered a racial slur. [NonDoc] “In that circumstance, a man of character accepts accountability. I take responsibility for this mistake. I apologize.” [ESPN]

Oklahoma Local News

  • Tulsa Mayor G.T. Bynum selects familiar name to be his new chief of staff [Tulsa World]
  • Peace Walk strolls through OKC Asian District [The Oklahoman]

Quote of the Day

“Oklahoma has one of the most accurate and secure voting systems in the entire world. These post-election audits and the three recounts that followed the June 28 primary elections are the latest in a long line of evidence of that.”

-Election Board Secretary Paul Ziriax speaking about the state’s first post-election audit [Oklahoma Watch

Number of the Day


The child and teen death rate in Oklahoma per 100,000 children. The national average is 28 child and teen deaths per 100,000 children. [KIDS COUNT

Policy Note

Addressing Youth Substance Use through School Services and Supports: Although the pandemic’s impact on youth mental health is garnering significant attention, youth substance use problems are often overlooked or treated as a disciplinary issue within schools. This brief examines school-based approaches to address youth substance use. We find that schools can become an effective place for substance use interventions by explicitly integrating substance use services in behavioral health initiatives, cultivating a positive school environment, reframing youth substance use as a health condition, and partnering with culturally effective adolescent substance use care providers and youth-serving organizations in the community. [Urban Institute]

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Annie Taylor joined OK Policy as a Digital Communications Associate/Storybanker in April 2022. She studied journalism and mass communication at the University of Oklahoma, and was a member of the Native American Journalists Association. She earned her bachelor’s degree in Strategic Communications from the University of Central Oklahoma. While pursuing her degree, she worked in restaurant and retail management, as well as freelance copywriting and digital content production. Annie is an enrolled member of the Choctaw Nation, and holds a deep reverence for storytelling in the digital age. She was born and raised in southeast Oklahoma, and now lives in Oklahoma City with her dog, Melvin.

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