In The Know: Oklahoma businesses receive PPP loans | Numbers climbing for virus cases, testing | Medical protective gear running low

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 businesses and organizations receive billions in federal coronavirus aid, new federal data shows: Tens of thousands of Oklahoma businesses and nonprofit organizations received billions of dollars in federal business aid funds in response to the coronavirus epidemic, according to data released Sunday by the U.S. Small Business Administration. [The Frontier] Note: OK Policy applied for and received a PPP loan in spring 2020.

  • Businesses tied to Oklahoma congressmen enjoy federal loans: Family businesses of two Oklahoma congressmen received at least $1.8 million from a federal rescue program meant to keep small businesses afloat during the coronavirus pandemic, according to data released Monday by the U.S. Treasury Department. [AP News] The loans are legal, did not prevent anyone else from receiving assistance, and were among nearly 64,000 such disbursements to Oklahoma businesses, schools, religious congregations and nonprofits through the PPP. [Tulsa World] As of June 27, Oklahoma businesses received 63,653 loans totaling $5.4 billion. If the money is spent according to the program rules, the loans are forgiven. [The Oklahoman]

Hospitalizations, active cases of COVID-19 continue surge: Hospitalizations related to COVID-19 jumped to 426 on Monday in Oklahoma, as the metric most watched by Gov. Kevin Stitt and his public health team continued to surge along with active cases of the disease. [The Oklahoman] On Monday, the Oklahoma State Department of Health reported 434 new confirmed cases after reporting 526 new cases Friday, 580 on Saturday and 283 on Sunday. [The Journal Record] The demand to get a COVID-19 test has skyrocketed in the Oklahoma City metro area. [News9] Latino, Black neighborhoods struggle with COVID-19 test disparities [PBS] Visit for the latest COVID-19 numbers in Oklahoma.

  • Protective gear for medical workers begins to run low again: The personal protective gear that was in dangerously short supply during the early weeks of the coronavirus crisis in the U.S. is running low again as the virus resumes its rapid spread and the number of hospitalized patients climbs. [AP News] OU College of Public Health study finds safe sterilization technique to increase PPE life [OU Daily] 

Health News

Experts: Medicaid expansion means healthier kids: Children in the Sooner State will be healthier in the future as a result of passage of State Question 802, the president of the Oklahoma Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics predicted Monday. [The Journal Record] Oklahoma Institute for Child Advocacy to host zoom meeting about Medicaid expansion [FOX25]

Oklahoma mental health workers say Medicaid expansion is good news: Oklahoma has one of the highest rates of mental illness in the country. So, when Oklahomans narrowly voted to expand Medicaid last week, newly named Mental Health Association Oklahoma CEO Terri White said it’s good news for the some 97,000 uninsured Oklahomans currently struggling with a mental health diagnosis. [KOSU]

Capitol Insider: Medicaid Expansion passes – what’s next? (audio): On June 30th, Oklahoma voters narrowly passed State Question 802 to expand Medicaid in the state. The vote not only placed the issue in the state Constitution, but gave an indication of the Oklahoma political landscape in the 2020 election year. [KGOU]

Nurses who battled virus in New York confront friends back home who say it’s a hoax: Courtney Sudduth, a nurse from Oklahoma City, said that when she arrived in New York people from back home wanted to know: Was it really as bad as the news media made it sound? Yes, she would tell them, describing the 18-wheel refrigerated truck that was parked outside Mount Sinai Beth Israel hospital in Manhattan and used to store bodies. [New York Times]

Black Women Voices to host second panel on health care: The group Black Women Voices will hold its second virtual panel at 6 p.m. Wednesday to examine health care in the Black community. [The Oklahoman]

Editorial: Mitch McConnell says wearing a mask in public is the conservative, commonsense, patriotic thing to do: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell took to the Senate floor recently and said something that needs to be said: Responsible, freedom-loving Americans should do the right thing and wear masks anytime they go into public places. [Editorial / Tulsa World]

State Government News

Electric cars, police reform among 88 interim studies requested by House members in Oklahoma: House members have asked for 88 interim studies on topics ranging from COVID-19 to electric cars and conversion therapy. The deadline to file requests was June 26. House Speaker Charles McCall, R-Atoka, has until July 24 to determine which studies will move forward. [Tulsa World]

For those stuck in unemployment limbo, OESC continues in-person events: More than a thousand Oklahomans got the help they needed last week to resolve unemployment claims, and the state agency tasked with doling out unemployment insurance money continues its work to alleviate the backlog. [The Oklahoman] Hundreds of Oklahomans once again wait in line for help with unemployment claims [KFOR]

Federal Government News

Lankford explains abandoned Juneteenth amendment: Responding to an onslaught of criticism, Oklahoma Sen. James Lankford said he had proposed to replace Columbus Day with Juneteenth as an act of fiscal responsibility and that he was not trying to “rewrite history or join the mob.” [The Oklahoman]

Inhofe expects Senate vote on $731B military spending bill later this month: Oklahoma U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe expects a vote on their annual military spending bill soon after the Senate returns from recess in two weeks. [Public Radio Tulsa]

Criminal Justice News

AG Mike Hunter: ‘Julius Jones murdered Paul Howell’: Days after meeting with the family of 1999 murder victim Paul Howell, Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter gathered media to reiterate “overwhelming evidence of guilt” against death-row inmate Julius Jones. [NonDoc] Jones has said he did not kill the 45-year-old insurance executive and was wrongly convicted in 2002. [CNHI via The Ada News] Jones received widespread support for his innocence claim after ABC in 2018 aired the documentary series, “The Last Defense,” about his case. He is now seeking commutation of his death sentence. [The Oklahoman]

Attorneys file new complaint on behalf of Oklahoma death row inmates hoping to stop resumption of lethal injection: Attorneys for a number of inmates held on Oklahoma’s death row filed an updated complaint in federal court on Monday, the latest step in the saga of the return of the death penalty in the state. [The Frontier]

Delaware County inmates file complaint against Sheriff, Commissioners, former officers, Subjects of unwarranted tasing seek $75,000 in damages: A complaint lawsuit has been filed by seven Delaware County inmates. In the complaint, the inmates, who were all housed at the Delaware County jail awaiting trial, recounted seven incidents where Hayes, Mayberry, Sheriff Moore and the County Commissioners “reflect a deliberate indifference to the rights of the [inmates] and a callous disregard for their safety and wellbeing and a reckless disregard for their rights.” [Grand Lake News]

‘It’s tough’: Black cops in Oklahoma work for change from inside: Almost 11 years later, the Black Lives Matter movement has brought renewed attention to issues of police brutality and institutional racism throughout the country. [The Oklahoman]

Economy & Business News

Phase 2 of Oklahoma Business Relief Program starts July 14: Phase 2 of the Oklahoma Business Relief Program will begin at 8 a.m. on July 14. Many participating financial institutions are continuing to work with businesses interested in applying to gather the required information in advance. [The Journal Record]

Federal Reserve bank to focus on Oklahoma’s oil crisis: The Oklahoma City Branch of the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City is planning an economic forum this month to discuss the continuing impact of the COVID-19 pandemic along with the oil and gas crisis. [OK Energy Today]

Good news still to be found amidst bleak economy and pandemic: In the year of 2020, perhaps the craziest we’ve seen since the “Dancing Plague of 1518,” not only are we dealing with a pandemic, nationwide protests and an economic crash, but in Oklahoma City it appears we are living in two starkly different realities. [The Oklahoman]

Op-Ed: Three keys to transforming Tulsa into a tech hub: Based on impact, feasibility and inclusivity, five areas rose to the surface: virtual health, energy tech, drones, cyber and analytics. The study provided us with a playbook for action, and we are now developing a suite of new initiatives that will diversify Tulsa’s economy. [Op-Ed / Tulsa World]

Education News

Oklahoma’s Indigenous students testing better than peers nationwide: When it comes to standardized testing, Oklahoma’s Indigenous students are doing better than their counterparts in other states, education data reveals. [Southwest Ledger]

Disagreements arise as Tulsa school board chooses new president, vice president: The Tulsa school board welcomed two new members before replacing its president and vice president during a somewhat contentious virtual meeting Monday evening. [Tulsa World]

‘It’s never too late to do the right thing’: Union Public Schools to again consider changing Redskins mascot: The Union school board could soon reevaluate the district’s mascot, the Redskins, the school district’s administration announced Monday. [Tulsa World]

Stillwater Public Schools leadership leaning toward face covering requirements: The re-opening plans for Stillwater Public Schools is a work in progress, but for now, its leadership is on board with requiring face coverings. [Stillwater News Press]

Edmond releases return-to-school plan: Edmond Public Schools expects to resume face-to-face instruction this fall with plans to go from “brick to click” if COVID-19 forces at-home learning. [The Oklahoman]

General News

Legislature is disproportionately white. These candidates are trying to change that: Every seat in the Oklahoma House of Representatives and half of the state Senate is up for election in November. Of the 187 remaining candidates, just eight are Black and three are Hispanic, according to an Oklahoma Watch review of June 30 primary results. [Oklahoma Watch]

1921 graves test excavation to begin July 13: The City of Tulsa will resume the test excavation for the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre Graves Investigation with the University of Oklahoma – Oklahoma Archaeological Survey (OAS) on July 13 at Oaklawn Cemetery, 1133 E. 11th St. [The Oklahoma Eagle] The test excavation of potential unmarked graves from the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre that was put on hold in late March will resume next Monday, city officials announced. [Tulsa World]

Op-Ed: Radical reconstruction in America’s racial thinking is needed to save the nation: What we see happening in our country today is the facing of a disease that has had its severity downplayed, its symptoms masked, and, in many cases, its existence outright denied for the sake of maintaining the mythos of American society. Racism and white supremacy were built into the very foundation of our nation’s culture. [Op-Ed / Black Wall Street Times]

Oklahoma Local News

  • Tulsa County District Court resuming jury duty summonses [Public Radio Tulsa]
  • Q&A with Jabee Williams at BLM protest against DA David Prater [Free Press OKC]
  • OU players among millennials calling for solutions to injustice [Southwest Ledger]
  • Early adopter: Stillwater City Council advances mask ordinance for residents [Stillwater News Press]
  • Edmond officials say they have no plan to shut down local businesses [The Oklahoman]
  • Edmond officials leave current COVID-19 policies in place [The Oklahoman]
  • Choctaw Nation COVID-19 relief applications now available [Choctaw Nation]
  • All Comanche County courthouse employees will be tested after employee test positive for COVID-19 [Lawton Constitution]
  • City of Lawton to conduct COVID-19 virtual town hall Thursday [Lawton Constitution]
  • Confederate monument at Ardmore cemetery damaged, graffitied [The Ardmoreite]
  • Wilson police officers facing murder charges put on administrative leave, house arrest [The Ardmoreite]
  • Fort Gibson approves $3.59 million budget [Enid News & Eagle]
  • Enid city commission vote set on starting officer salary raises, skate park design [Enid News & Eagle]
  • Woodward County Commissioners work through number of items [Woodward News]

Quote of the Day

 “But what we do now is what’s important, and it’s never too late to do the right thing.”

-Muscogee (Creek) Nation Principal Chief David Hill speaking about Union Public School’s announcement that it would reevaluate its mascot. [Tulsa World]

Number of the Day


Latino and African-American residents of the United States have been three times as likely to become infected as their white neighbors. And Black and Latino people have been nearly twice as likely to die from the virus as white people, the data shows.

[Source: New York Times]

See previous Numbers of the Day here.

Policy Note

The Fullest Look Yet at the Racial Inequity of Coronavirus: Early numbers had shown that Black and Latino people were being harmed by the virus at higher rates. But the new federal data — made available after The New York Times sued the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention — reveals a clearer and more complete picture: Black and Latino people have been disproportionately affected by the coronavirus in a widespread manner that spans the country, throughout hundreds of counties in urban, suburban and rural areas, and across all age groups. [New York Times]

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Jessica joined OK Policy as a Communications Associate in January 2018. A Mexican immigrant, she was a Clara Luper Scholar at Oklahoma City University where she obtained a B.A. in Political Science and Philosophy. Prior to joining OK Policy, Jessica worked at a digital marketing agency in Oklahoma City. She is an alumna of both the National Education for Women (N.E.W.) Leadership Institute (2013) and OK Policy's Summer Policy Institute (2015). In addition to her role at OK Policy, Jessica serves as a board member for Dream Action Oklahoma in OKC and communications director for Dream Alliance Oklahoma in Tulsa.

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