In The Know: Oklahoma lawmakers request 209 interim studies | Attorney General selection near | Plan to reduce homelessness in OKC | 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.

Oklahoma News

Oklahoma lawmakers request 209 interim studies: Friday was the deadline for state legislators to submit requests for interim studies on specific issues, and they have requested 209. House members are seeking 135 studies, while senators want 72. The topics range from oversight of district attorney’s offices to laws governing landlords and tenants to the criteria for impeaching the state superintendent. [Tulsa World]

Oklahoma ranks among bottom 10 states in 2021 child well-being report: Oklahoma ranks among the bottom 10 states in the nation for child well-being, according to a new annual report released last week. The state rose three places from the previous year’s rankings, from 45th to 42nd, according to the new Kids Count report, which is produced by the Annie E. Casey Foundation and evaluates states in four categories: economic well-being, education, health, and family and community. The report shows some improvements in Oklahoma’s child well-being measures, said Gabrielle Jacobi, child well-being analyst at the Oklahoma Policy Institute. But other states are improving too, at faster rates. [The Oklahoman] OK Policy: Smart policy decisions can help improve Oklahoma’s dismal child well-being outcomes.

‘Brief, rare and nonrecurring’: Oklahoma City’s plan to reduce homelessness: A 118-page plan to help end homelessness released by the Oklahoma City Mayor’s Task Force on Homelessness looks to tackle problems service providers admit are complex. Dan Straughan, executive director of the Homeless Alliance, said one way the plan does this is looking at root causes. “Until you address the issues that contribute to poverty, you’re not going to be able to effectively address the issues that contribute to homelessness,” Straughan said. The plan, filled with multiple strategies and potential solutions, comes after a two-year evaluation of city resources and needs. The goal was “to develop the strategy to make homelessness in the community brief, rare and nonrecurring,” according to the document. [The Oklahoman]

State Government News

Capitol Insider: Attorney General Selection Near: Normally, summer is a slow time at the state Capitol, but there was a lot of activity this week, including movement toward the appointment of a new State Attorney General. KGOU’s Dick Pryor and eCapitol’s Shawn Ashley discuss in the latest Capitol Insider. [KGOU]

State now accepting applications for $1,200 job-acceptance incentive: State officials began accepting applications Monday for a $1,200 incentive offered to those finding jobs recently or in the near future. Gov. Kevin Stitt’s Back-to-Work Initiative will be available to the first 20,000 qualified applicants. Stitt announced May 17 that he was canceling the state’s participation in temporary federal pandemic-related unemployment benefit programs, including a $300 weekly payment, effective this past Sunday. [Tulsa World]

  • Thousands of Oklahoma have applied for $1,200 back-to-work incentive [KOCO]

Oklahoma Hopes to Be Newest Hub for Electric Vehicles: The recent announcement about Oklahoma landing a new electric vehicle (EV) manufacturing plant is confirmation that the state is poised to be a potential big player in the EV market space, Oklahoma Commerce Director Brent Kisling believes. [Governing]

Sen. Nathan Dahm wants 18- to 20-year-olds included in Oklahoma’s constitutional carry provisions: A Tulsa-area state senator filed legislation Monday to lower the age for those carrying weapons under Oklahoma’s 2019 “constitutional carry” law to match the minimum voting age. [Tulsa World]

Democratic leaders weigh successes, challenges of 2021 session: A panel of prominent state Democratic legislators say they can point to their achievements in their recent legislative session and that, going forward, their voices will be heard, despite being outnumbered. [The Journal Record]

Safety Analysis: Alcohol, Driver Age More Likely To Be Factors In Serious Crashes Locally: Federal traffic consultants have been working with INCOG on a local road safety plan, and their review of crash data has revealed some areas of focus for the region. When the City of Tulsa is excluded, alcohol was involved in nearly 20% of crashes in Creek, Osage, Rogers, Tulsa and Wagoner counties where someone was seriously injured or killed. Statewide, that proportion is 13%. [Public Radio Tulsa]

Federal Government News

House transportation bill includes millions for Oklahoma highway projects: Oklahoma’s congressional delegation requested earmarks for highway projects totaling $55 million, which will be part of a massive transportation bill headed to the House floor for an anticipated vote today. Three of Oklahoma’s U.S. representatives, Tom Cole, Stephanie Bice and Frank Lucas, originally had been seeking nearly $190 million to fund 13 highway projects in their districts. [Gaylord News / NonDoc]

Health News

State Health Department Sends Alert To Health Providers Asking For Immediate Action On Variants: On June 22nd the Oklahoma State Department of Health sent out an alert via its emergency health network asking labs and providers across the state for positive tests of COVID-19 to use for variant identification. According to the emergency network’s website, an alert is classified as the “highest level of notification. This usually refers to an immediate threat to the OSDH community and requires immediate action.” [Public Radio Tulsa]

  • Oklahoma Guard troops to transition out of COVID-19 response [AP News]
  • Oklahoma is reporting an average to jump to 226 infections per day in the past week. [KOSU]
  • From the ventilator to vaccinated: How an Oklahoma COVID-19 survivor beat vaccine hesitancy [The Oklahoman]

Criminal Justice News

Research Firm Says Report On TPD Community Policing Coming Around October: The Tulsa Police Department expects a review of its community policing efforts will be done in mid-fall. Nonprofit research firm CNA was chosen for the evaluation last year, and it is currently nearing release of an online survey and coordinating meetings with community stakeholders. Capt. Shellie Seibert is TPD’s liaison to CNA. She told city councilors last week they are looking forward to receiving the report, but that won’t be the end of the process. [Public Radio Tulsa]

Economic Opportunity

Local organization addresses period poverty through free menstrual products: A local organization fighting period poverty has donated more than 10,000 menstrual products since March, a need experts say is often overlooked but widely felt. Period poverty is a lack of access to menstrual products, which Period OKC advocate Jen Green said can lead to missed days of school or work, and contributes to anxiety and depression. [The Oklahoman]

Economy & Business News

KC Fed: Employee shortages slowing growth: In June, employee shortages slowed growth in the services sector and drove increased automation in the manufacturing sector for the U.S. Federal Reserve’s 10th District, which includes Oklahoma. Based on data and responses collected June 16-21, 2021, the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City issued reports that reveal that June 2021 saw record-high input and selling prices, driven by increased demand, limited workers, high materials costs and supply chain disruptions. [The Journal Record]

The long road to recovery for OKC’s live music industry: Last year, in the thick of the pandemic, bars and venues across the country struggled with questions of when and how to reopen. Some, like the Tower Theatre, attempted the occasional, strictly regulated event. [NonDoc]

Livesay Orchards in Porter experiencing unprecedented peach shortage: Typically around late June, Livesay Orchards in Porter could have 40 varieties of peaches ready to be sold at its farm market and retail stores. Right now, they have about six. Livesay Orchards co-owner Kent Livesay can only blame one thing: low temperatures. In particular, the abnormal frost of April 21. [Tulsa World]

Fireworks shortage: Early birds get the boom as supply chains struggle to match demand: Tulsans looking to fire their own patriotic pyrotechnics will need to work fast this year. Several local suppliers said supply issues have led to a fireworks shortage ahead of Independence Day. [Tulsa World]

Education News

‘A waste of time’: Western Heights community frustrated by lack of board action: The Western Heights Public Schools Board of Education was expected to enter executive session during today’s special meeting and hold confidential communications with attorney Jerry Colclazier, who is representing the district in a lawsuit against the State Board of Education. However, Colclazier did not attend the meeting, prompting board members to skip the agenda item and leaving some community members frustrated. [NonDoc

General News

Bullet Found In Remains In Search For Tulsa Massacre Victims: A bullet has been found in a set of human remains that were exhumed during a search for victims of the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre, a search team member said Friday. Nine sets of remains have been examined and the bullet was found in the shoulder of a man, forensic anthropologist Phoebe Stubblefield said. Other parts of the man’s remains showed similar signs of trauma, including to the head. [The Oklahoma Eagle / AP News]

Oklahoma Local News

Quote of the Day

“Until you address the issues that contribute to poverty, you’re not going to be able to effectively address the issues that contribute to homelessness”

–Dan Straughan, executive director of the Homeless Alliance, speaking about Oklahoma City’s plan to help end homelessness. [The Oklahoman]

Number of the Day

$292.1 million

Dollars lost to Oklahoma’s economy by prematurely ending federal pandemic unemployment benefits

[Source: United States Congressional Joint Economic Committee]

Policy Note

Acts of Congress and COVID-19: A Literature Review on the Impact of Increased Unemployment Insurance Benefits and Stimulus Checks: The COVID-19 pandemic has kept economists busy analyzing many aspects of economic side of the coronavirus impact. This note is meant to present an overview of what economists have analyzed regarding the implications of two of the main components of the CARES Act that affect individuals: the increased UI benefits and the stimulus checks. Taken together, these two components have been effective at providing stimulus and lowering poverty. [Federal Reserve System]

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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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