In The Know: Oklahoma ranks 45th for child well-being; voting resource for June 30 election; continuing rally coverage; and 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.

New from OK Policy

KIDS COUNT 2020: Oklahoma ranks 45th for child well-being: Oklahoma children continue to lag behind most states when it comes to major health and well-being indicators, according to the 2020 edition of the KIDS COUNT® Data Book published annually by the Annie E. Casey Foundation. Oklahoma ranks 45th overall for child well-being, just ahead of Nevada, Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi and New Mexico. Oklahoma’s individual rankings on major categories and change from last year are: 33rd in economic well-being, an improvement from 35th in 2019; 40th in family and community context, same as the previous report; 48th in education, down three spots from the 2019 report; and 49th in health, which cannot be accurately compared to the previous year due to changes in one of the indicator categories. [OK Policy]

Voting in Oklahoma: Everything you need to know about voting in the June 30 statewide election: Today — Tuesday, June 23 — is the final day to request an absentee ballot for the June 30 election. Learn about absentee ballots and more using this handy resource from Together Oklahoma. [Emma Morris / Together Oklahoma]

Oklahoma News

The rally is over. Any lasting effect will take weeks and months to materialize: In Tulsa, the site of what was essentially a political and public health experiment, the true effect of Donald Trump’s rally last week will only be revealed in the weeks and months to come. [The Frontier]

  • Two more Trump staff members test positive for coronavirus after Tulsa rally [The New York Times]
  • Trump rally size raises question about risk in age of virus [AP News]
  • COVID-19 fears may have limited Trump rally crowd [NonDoc]
  • BOK Center, Tulsa Police reject claims they contributed to Trump rally’s lower-than-expected attendance [Tulsa World]
  • Tulsa mayor says he told BOK Center officials he would back decision to not hold Trump’s rally [Tulsa World]
  • COVID-19: Tulsa County sees first drop in 6 days; next 10-14 days to reveal public-health fallout of Trump rally [Tulsa World]
  • Stitt mum on rally attendance, while White House says Trump pleased with event [The Oklahoman]
  • Norman councilwoman defends Tulsa arrest [The Oklahoman]
  • Police: Norman councilwoman arrested climbing flag pole [The Norman Transcript]
  • ‘No noticeable spike’ in air travel at Tulsa airport for Trump’s rally [Tulsa World]
  • Tulsa businesses proud of city during Trump rally [Tulsa World]
  • Greenwood glory: Tulsa neighborhood fights to regain former prosperity [The Journal Record]

Coronavirus in Oklahoma update: 218 new cases; no new deaths: The Oklahoma State Department of Health reported 218 new cases of COVID-19 in the state on Monday, bringing the total since the pandemic began to 10,733. The Health Department also reported there were no new coronavirus-related death on Monday. [The Oklahoman] Visit for the latest COVID-19 numbers in Oklahoma. 

Health News

Oklahoma health department urges virus testing after events: A day after President Donald Trump held a campaign rally at an indoor arena in the city of Tulsa, the Oklahoma State Department of Health urged anyone who has recently attended a large-scale event to be tested for the coronavirus. [AP News]

Point of View: SQ 802 is pro-business, pro-Oklahoma: There are two things we often hear and say about Oklahoma, and we are proud that they are true. Across the state, in urban and rural communities, we say we are “pro-business.” The other truth we impart is that the “Oklahoma Standard” is part of our history illustrating that we pull together and help each other. State Question 802 gives Oklahomans the opportunity to access two of our state’s best qualities: being pro-business and helping one another. [Op-Ed / The Oklahoman]

Terence Farrell, President of Mercy Hospital Ada: SQ802 expected to make near $32 million economic impact in Ada: For Pontotoc County, passage of SQ802 is expected to result in job creation and an economic impact of close to $32 million annually. The health care this provides for our most vulnerable citizens will also provide much needed reimbursement for services provided by our local hospital. Annually, Mercy Hospital Ada delivers over $27.8 Million Dollars in care via charity and bad debt, representing approximately 31% of our total operating expenses. This rate of uncompensated care is unsustainable, especially during times when our rates of compensation from Medicare and other insurers continue to shrink. [Op-Ed / The Ada News]

Oklahoma City Chamber of Commerce urges support of SQ802: The Board of Directors of the Greater Oklahoma City Chamber recently voted to support SQ 802, which would expand Medicaid in Oklahoma for low income adults and increase access to health care in the state. The Chamber joined the SQ 802 coalition to encourage voters to approve the state question on June 30, the primary election date. “The Chamber supports Oklahoma’s pursuit of all available funds to extend health insurance coverage to more Oklahomans and stabilize costs for employers and providers,” said Roy Williams, president and CEO of the Greater OKC Chamber. “SQ 802 would allow Medicaid expansion that will strengthen the state’s health care system and boost our economy.” [Oklahoma City Chamber of Commerce]

State Government News

Voting safety during pandemic concerns election board officials: The reopening of Oklahoma’s economy has brought thousands of people back into stores and workplaces, many of whom are choosing not to wear face masks or bother with social distancing. [The Journal Record]

Oklahoma Insurance Department to host online fraud conference: Oklahoma Insurance Department has partnered with Oklahoma Department of Securities, Oklahoma Attorney General’s Office, Oklahoma Banker’s Association and AARP Oklahoma to host the Hoodwinked Fraud Conference virtually, beginning July 8. [Enid News & Eagle]

Federal Government News

United Keetoowah Band wins high court victory: The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday let stand a ruling allowing the United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee Indians to establish tribal services on a parcel of land in the Cherokee Nation’s historical territory. [The Oklahoman]

Real ID cards ready in OKC July 1: Oklahomans will be able to get federally compliant Real ID cards beginning July 1 in Oklahoma City and by the fall in Department of Public Safety and tag agent offices across the state. [The Journal Record]

Special court asked to discipline Oklahoma County judge: Embattled Oklahoma County District Judge Kendra Coleman faces possible removal from office after being accused of further misconduct that includes humiliating victims of domestic violence. [The Oklahoman]

Criminal Justice News

Inmates may be returning to Comanche County jail soon: The Comanche County Detention Center may be getting its inmates back from Department of Corrections facilities soon. Jail Administrator Bill Hobbs told the commissioners on Monday that state epidemiologist Dr. Aaron Wendelboe had authorized the jail to begin bringing back inmates from DOC facilities after 30 days with no infectious cases. [The Lawton Constitution]

Tulsa County cancels Immigration and Customs Enforcement jail contract: The Tulsa County Board of Commissioners voted unanimously on Monday to end the Tulsa County Jail’s contract with the U.S. Immigraiton and Customs Enforcement to provide jail beds and transportation services for immigrant prisoners held by the federal agency. [The Frontier] Tulsa CoThe Tulsa County Sheriff’s Office (TCSO) said that the contract, under which they receive $69 per day for each federal inmate detained, was not making fiscal sense recently, due to a steady decline in inmates that the county says ICE has never explained.unty Commissioners Vote To End ICE Detention Contract; Detainees Will Still Be Handed Over [Public Radio Tulsa]

Oklahoma County Jail Trust debates city contract, approves jail lease, hears COVID report: In a short and formal meeting of the Oklahoma County Criminal Justice Authority, the Jail Trust approved a slate of contracts and agreed to an historic lease of the Oklahoma County Detention Center (Jail). [Free Press OKC]

Economy & Business News

National, statewide organizations seek stimulus to aid the energy industry: Congress is being lobbied to consider economic stimulus packages for energy-industry states, including Oklahoma. The Center for American Progress, an independent nonpartisan policy institute, recently urged Congress to include a disbursement to specifically help energy producing states. [The Oklahoman]

Chesapeake, struggling to survive, skips $13.5M in payments: Chesapeake Energy, which has warned that it’s unsure if it can survive much longer, failed to make $13.5 million in interest payments that came due this week, according to a federal filing. [AP News / Public Radio Tulsa]

Education News

Tulsa Public Schools presents three calendar options for 2020-21 school year: District leaders hosted the second of three special board meetings this month centered on designing a plan to safely return to school while also preparing for the potential need for more distance learning in the fall. [Tulsa World]

General News

Black Lives Matter Children’s March for Justice points to next generation: By the time to step off, the crowd of people in age groups from grandparents all the way to babies in strollers massed to march to Moses F. Miller stadium at Douglass High School Sunday. [Free Press OKC]

Point of View: Racism is a disease, and Oklahoma isn’t immune: In medical school, I have learned that diseases most often have an underlying root cause. If the cause of a disease is left unaddressed, the worsening symptoms create complications. We can apply this to one of our society’s deadliest diseases: systemic racism. If we understand systemic racism as a disease, then police bias and brutality is a potentially fatal complication. [Op-Ed / The Oklahoman]

Op-Ed: Census responses especially important in rural Oklahoma: In the midst of the craziness of the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, the launch of the 2020 census efforts have been extra challenging. The U.S. census launches every 10 years and the population count in each city, county and state is used as a base for federal funding and political districts for the next decade. [Rep. Brad Boles / Duncan Banner]

Bice says ad linking her to Harvey Weinstein an insult to Oklahoma women: State Sen. Stephanie Bice, a Republican candidate for Congress, said Monday she was offended by an attack ad from a national group linking her to former movie producer and convicted rapist Harvey Weinstein. [The Oklahoman]

Trump offers endorsements for Oklahoma Republican congressional members on Twitter: President Donald Trump on Monday afternoon tweeted praises for Oklahoma’s Republican congressional members who are up for election. [Tulsa World]

Editorial: Supreme Courts protects immigrant children when Congress fails to act: The Supreme Court’s decision regarding the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals did not judge its merits as a policy, only that the Trump administration did not provide enough legal justification for dismantling the program. In 2001, the Dream Act was introduced in Congress. It would have provided a path to residency and citizenship for young adults brought into the country illegally as children and who met specific criteria including background checks and work or school requirements. It remains pending, and that is an embarrassment. [Editorial / Tulsa World]

Oklahoma Local News

  • Norman tops Stillwater in Census challenge, Joyce pays up [OU Insider]
  • Stillwater City leaders ask for community buy-in on wearing masks [Stillwater News Press]
  • Norman City Council to halt in-person meetings [The Norman Transcript]
  • Speed limit being reduced to 20 mph in downtown Edmond [The Oklahoman]
  • Meeting — Muskogee County Board of Commissioners [Muskogee Phoenix]
  • Woodward Commissioners approve bids, temporary appropriations for fiscal year 2020-2021 [Woodward News]

Quote of the Day

“In digging into the numbers, we can see that Oklahoma is making some progress (in child well-being), but we lag other states who have made — or are making — meaningful investments in health and education. As a result, we see far too many of our children who are living in poverty, unhealthy, and lack the educational opportunities as children in other parts of the country.”

-Rebecca Fine, OK Policy’s Education Policy Analyst and KIDS COUNT Coordinator [OK Policy]

Number of the Day


Percentage of LGBTQ youth who say the community in which they live is not accepting of LGBTQ people

[Source: Human Rights Campaign]

See previous Numbers of the Day here.

Policy Note

Two Spirits, One Heart, Five Genders: Those who arrived in the Native American Garden of Eden had never seen a land so uncorrupted. The Europeans saw new geography, new plants, new animals, but the most perplexing curiosity to these people were the Original Peoples and our ways of life. Of all of the foreign life ways Indians held, one of the first the Europeans targeted for elimination was the Two Spirit tradition among Native American cultures. At the point of contact, all Native American societies acknowledged three to five gender roles: Female, male, Two Spirit female, Two Spirit male and transgendered. LGBT Native Americans wanting to be identified within their respective tribes and not grouped with other races officially adopted the term “Two Spirit” from the Ojibwe language. [Indian Country Today

Note: June is Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer (LGBTQ) Pride Month, which is celebrated each June to honor the 1969 Stonewall Uprising

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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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