In The Know: Oklahoma at elevated risk of power disruption during extreme weather events | Initiative petition filed to raise minimum wage in Oklahoma | Legislature studies Oklahoma’s housing shortage

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 ranks among highest for power disruption this winter, report says: A new report says a number of states, including Oklahoma, are among those at higher risk for power disruption in the event of a major winter storm. The NERC says there’s enough resources for normal winter peak demand, but if we were to have another major winter storm like in 2021, it’s possible Oklahoma could experience another similar situation. [KGOU]

Oklahoma initiative petition aims to raise state minimum wage to $15 by 2029: The most recent initiative petition filed in Oklahoma aims to raise the state’s minimum wage. If this passes, Oklahoma workers would be making $15 per hour by 2029. [KOKH]

State Government News

Against original negotiations, commission votes to OK even higher energy rates for PSO customers: The initial settlement agreement reduced a proposed PSO rate increase from an average of $14 per month to $3.57 per month — the result of a negotiated 2.5% cap on increase. However, after the agreement was reached, members of the Corporation Commission changed the agreement, “resulting in a final order that significantly increases residential rates compared to the settlement agreement,” a statement from Drummond’s office said. [The Oklahoman]

State Supreme Court rejects Ryan Walters’ request to intervene in lawsuit challenging state-funded religious charter school: The Oklahoma Supreme Court on Tuesday rejected a request from State Superintendent Ryan Walters and the Oklahoma State Department of Education to intervene in a lawsuit against the State Virtual Charter School Board over the creation of the nation’s first state-funded religious charter school. In rejecting Walters’ request, the court invited Walters to instead file a friend of the court brief by Nov. 21. [Tulsa World]

Federal Government News

Oklahoma senator challenges Teamsters president to fight at U.S. Senate hearing: Sen. Markwayne Mullin, an Oklahoma Republican, challenged the head of the Teamsters union to a physical fight at a U.S. Senate hearing Tuesday intended to showcase how labor unions are making families’ lives better. [Oklahoma Voice]

  • Oklahoma senator tries to fight union leader at Senate hearing (again), Bernie Sanders steps in [The Oklahoman]
  • OK Sen. Markwayne Mullin defends Senate fight, tells Sean Hannity it’s ‘Oklahoma values’ [The Oklahoman]
  • During Senate hearing, Mullin challenges Teamsters head to fight [AP via Journal Record]
  • WATCH: Oklahoma senator challenges Teamsters president to a fight during Senate hearing [PBS NewsHour]

Tribal Nations News

Tribes say they provide tag information to the state despite claims from Governor: Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt has claimed concerns with tribal tags is a public safety issue, despite many tribal leaders who have said they have provided the state with tribal tag information. [KFOR]

Newly Developed Tribal Leadership Council Supports Tribal Sovereignty, Education: A new Tribal Leadership Council (TLC) has been developed that is dedicated to enhancing and supporting tribal sovereignty, education, and uplifting tribal communities through comprehensive solutions. [Indian Gaming Magazine]

Criminal Justice News

Oklahoma authorities seize 36 tons of illegally grown marijuana, one of state’s biggest hauls: Authorities said more than 36 tons of the illegally grown crop were captured last week in Wagoner and Lincoln counties, one of the biggest seizures in state history. [The Oklahoman]

Lawsuit alleges negligence in inmate’s death: The mother of a man who died at a private prison in Lawton filed a civil lawsuit on Monday, alleging that the man died in agonizing pain while in plain view of a security camera and that prison employees negligently failed to help him. [Journal Record]

Opinion: We studied jail conditions and jail deaths − here’s what we found: Data on how many people die while incarcerated is notoriously inaccessible and often unreliable. Still, available reports on jail deaths from the Bureau of Justice Statistics offer some perspective. [Jessica L. Adler / Oklahoma Voice]

Housing & Economic Opportunity

Advocates urge lawmakers to ease barriers to affordable housing: During the bipartisan interim study on Tuesday, affordable housing advocates called on lawmakers to lift city-imposed bans on manufactured housing, reign in rising insurance costs, and consider appropriating additional taxpayer funds to help build new homes and rental units. [Oklahoma Voice]

Half those eligible for the food assistance program WIC aren’t using it, new USDA study finds: Only about half of the 12 million people who were eligible for the food assistance program commonly known as WIC took part, according to a new study from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. [KOSU]

Education News

Scholastic book fairs targeted by Moms for Liberty Oklahoma: Scholastic book fairs, a staple in schools throughout the U.S. for decades, are being decried as “a regularly occurring conduit for inappropriate books into schools in Oklahoma” in a social media post made by the Oklahoma chapter of the conservative group Moms for Liberty. [The Oklahoman]

‘Higher than what we reported’: OK school districts say OSDE data on ‘seclusion room’ usage isn’t correct: News 4 requested data from the Oklahoma State Department of Education to find out how many districts actively use seclusion rooms and how many times those rooms have been utilized over the last two years. Several districts who were included in that data say the information doesn’t accurately represent their reporting. [KFOR]

Oklahoma charter schools rank in national top 10 for academic performance: Oklahoma ranked No. 6 among 36 states for the academic success of its charter schools, according to test score data from 2009 to 2019, which Harvard University compiled in a report and released on Tuesday. [Oklahoma Voice]

Janet Grigg waives hearing, attorney says Seeworth board approved financial actions: Former Seeworth Academy Superintendent Janet Grigg waived her right to a preliminary hearing today in Oklahoma County District Court, and her attorney claimed afterward that the shuttered charter school’s prominent board of directors gave approval for all of her questionable financial actions. [NonDoc]

Initiative to advance college, career readiness: The K20 Center for Educational and Community Renewal at the University of Oklahoma has partnered with 28 under-resourced schools across 23 districts in a new initiative to help students prepare for college and career training. [Journal Record]

General News

Less driving but more deaths: Spike in traffic fatalities puzzles lawmakers: People are driving fewer miles than they were in 2019, but more are dying on roadways. Traffic deaths spiked 18% from 2019 to 2022 — though miles traveled fell 3%, according to a Stateline analysis of federal records from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the U.S. Bureau of Transportation Statistics. [Oklahoma Voice]

What the new National Climate Assessment says is in store for Oklahoma: The fifth National Climate Assessment paints a stark picture of imminent, climate-based threats to American lifestyles, livelihoods and even lives. In Oklahoma, those threats come from all directions. The state is seeing an increase of extreme weather events, a decline in air quality and shrinking water resources. [KOSU]

Avian influenza is on the rise. Here’s what Oklahoma State University researchers advise: Deadly avian influenza in backyard flocks is being reported across Oklahoma, and researchers say flock owners should remain on high alert. Migrating waterfowl like ducks typically carry a strain of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) leading to a rise of cases in poultry during the fall. [KOSU]

Oklahoma Local News

  • Bristow hospital to finally reopen after nearly 2 years of delays [KJRH]
  • Broken Arrow voters pass $52 million school bond package, while Minco soundly rejects athletic complex [KOSU]
  • Classen Curve neighbors say owners are betraying promises with expansion plans [The Oklahoman]

Quote of the Day

“I just want to make sure that the state puts its best foot forward when it comes to what we can do to unleash local power and local resources to make housing happen for people.”

– Rep. Forrest Bennett, D-OKC, who organized a recent interim study to explore the development of and access to affordable housing. [Journal Record]

Number of the Day


Number of single-parent households in Oklahoma who have incomes below the federal poverty level. [KIDS COUNT]

Policy Note

Any Year-End Tax Legislation Should Expand Child Tax Credit to Cut Child Poverty: Letting 9 million children in this country live in poverty is a policy choice, as recent Census data underscores. With press reports indicating that congressional tax writers have begun negotiating a possible year-end tax bill, policymakers have an opportunity to make a different — and better — choice in the coming weeks. They should prioritize reducing child poverty — and improving the life prospects of millions of children — through a well-designed expansion of the Child Tax Credit in any tax legislation considered. [Center on Budget and Policy Priorities]

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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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