In The Know: Oklahoma ranks highest in nation for domestic violence | Another resignation at OSDE | Rethinking minimum wage | 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

Policy Matters: It’s time to rethink minimum wage: Federal lawmakers last adjusted the minimum wage in 2009, making this the longest time we’ve gone without a rate adjustment. By comparison, inflation has risen 43% during the last 14 years. Right now, 30 states have minimum wages above the federal limit; it’s long past time for Oklahoma lawmakers to consider the same. [Shiloh Kantz / Journal Record]

Oklahoma News

Domestic violence shelter operators call on Oklahoma lawmakers to increase funding: Domestic violence service providers statewide are reporting increased demand is straining their resources. They’re calling on lawmakers to increase funding for shelters and crisis centers as the state continues to grapple with some of the highest rates of domestic violence. [Oklahoma Voice]

  • Oklahoma domestic violence fatality review board strives to reduce deaths and improve prevention systems [KOKH]
  • ‘I don’t know where I would be’: Struggles for children in DHS care [KFOR]

State Government News

Another Walters grant manager resigns, alleges essential functions impossible at State Department of Education: A grant manager who wanted to work to support State Superintendent Ryan Walters’ positions has resigned after only four months on the job at the Oklahoma State Department of Education. [Tulsa World]

Lawmakers reject gaming compacts for two small Oklahoma tribes: Saying there were “significant fatal flaws,” Oklahoma lawmakers on Wednesday unanimously rejected a pair of compacts that would have allowed two tribes to offer gaming outside of their traditional boundaries. Leaders with the United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee Indians and the Kialegee Tribal Town said after the vote that they were disappointed lawmakers did not give them a chance to speak during the hour-long hearing. [Oklahoma Voice]

  • ‘I’m disappointed’: UKB chief reacts after joint committee votes down tribal gaming compacts [KOKH]

Native American education council still short on members despite legislative effort: As an advisory board on Native American education approaches a milestone year, the group is still hamstrung by a lack of members. The 18-person Oklahoma Advisory Council on Indian Education has seven vacancies despite recent legislation intended to improve the member appointment process. [Oklahoma Voice]

Oklahoma sets rules for parents seeking private school tuition tax credits: What to know: If Stitt doesn’t sign the emergency rules within 45 days from Tuesday, then they automatically expire. Legislative leaders also have said they might tweak the rules during next year’s session. [The Oklahoman]

  • Oklahoma Tax Commission advances rules for Parental Choice Tax Credit program [KGOU]

New OMMA rules, regs affecting local cannabis retailers: Updated legislation centered on enforcement of rules and regulations for cannabis growers and distributors is creating financial hardship for many businesses, and failure to follow the new law to the letter is leading to arrests. [Muskogee Daily Phoenix]

AG Drummond signs onto legal action in support of Oklahoma pork producers: Oklahoma Attorney General Gentner Drummond is taking action against a new pig welfare law in Massachusetts. In a court filing, he says it would have negative impacts on the state’s pork producers. The law bans other states from selling or shipping pork to the state if they do not meet Massachusetts hog-housing requirements. [KOSU]

Blue and red states slash taxes despite warnings of hard times ahead: Many lawmakers view tax cuts as a logical response to boom times: returning excess taxpayer dollars to taxpayers. But some experts think states have cut too deep, using short-term revenue trends to justify permanent reductions in state revenue, often through cuts that benefit the wealthiest residents. And they warn that some states already are starting to bring in less money. [Oklahoma Voice]

Federal Government News

Oklahoma reps, others rally around Johnson as House speaker: Republicans unanimously elected Rep. Mike Johnson as U.S. House speaker on Wednesday, eagerly elevating a deeply conservative but lesser-known leader to the major seat of U.S. power and ending for now the weeks of political chaos in their majority. [Journal Record]

U.S. House debates expanding school choice programs nationwide amid concerns over potential inequalities: While our state is working out the kinks in Oklahoma’s new school choice program, on a federal level lawmakers are working to pass a similar tax program for funds to go towards private schools. [KOKH]

Voting and Election News

Absentee ballot request deadline for Nov. 14 election is fast approaching: A couple of different elections are being held on that day, Nov. 14, including the runoff election for the Lawton City Council Ward 7 seat. That election is between incumbent Onreka Johnson and challenger Sherene L. Williams. Other elections include school bond elections for Hinton Public Schools and Minco Public Schools in Caddo County. [KWSO]

Criminal Justice News

Pottawatomie Jail Investigator Promoted Amid Cover-Up Allegations: Pottawatomie County jail officials covered up the deaths of detainees in their care. On Wednesday, the jail’s second in command was promoted and given a bonus. [Oklahoma Watch]

In-Depth Report: The plan to resume rodeos inside the walls of the state prison in McAlester: There’s a move on to bring the rodeos back to Big Mac, and it’s being spearheaded by the executive director of the Oklahoma Department of Corrections, Stephen Harpe. He tells KRMG he’s already managed to set aside a million dollars to begin working on repairs and upgrades – but admits he needs the legislature to come through with about another $8.3 million to get the job done. [KRMG]

Oklahoma man who led police on high-speed pursuit gets federal prison term: A Harrah man who led police on a wild vehicle chase in January was sentenced this week to 15 years in federal prison. [The Oklahoman]

‘Don’t want predators going free’: Discussions of legislation to outlaw artificial intelligence-based pornography in OK: The next legislative session doesn’t start until February of next year, but lawmakers are already crafting the makeup for legislation, including modifying the penalty for image-based sexual abuse. The crimes goes by many names, including “revenge porn,” “non-consensual pornography,” and “image-based sexual abuse.” [KFOR]

Housing & Economic Opportunity

Opinion: Reduce homelessness by offering compassion with accountability: Something is broken, and Tulsa knows it. The local advocates for housing-first programs are good people with altruistic motives, but we at John 3:16 Mission remain convinced that its one-size-fits-all approach is creating more chronically homeless people, not fewer. [Ginnie Graham / Tulsa World]

Education News

State regents approve funding for programs in higher ed, focus on recruitment: The Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education approved allocations Thursday to fund Oklahoma Teacher Connection pre-collegiate and collegiate programs and the distribution of ARPA awards for teacher certification acceleration. These programs are designed to certify new teachers in high-demand regions and fields. [Stillwater News Press]

Opinion: What Oklahoma standardized third grade tests can tell us — and what they can’t: As children have settled into a new school year across the more than 90,000 public schools in the U.S., many are sitting in classrooms ill-suited to their true abilities because of our over-reliance on test scores. [Anna Johnson / Tulsa World]

Oklahoma Local News

  • New city scoring system highlights strengths, weaknesses of neighborhoods [Tulsa World]
  • What are the most dangerous roads and intersections in OKC? The worst might surprise you. [The Oklahoman]

Quote of the Day

“Superintendent Walters, your absence, and the refusal to meet with your staff sends a concerning message that we may not hold value in your eyes… If your physical presence is not required for leadership, then the question arises as to why the position exists with a salary attached to it.”

– Pamela Smith-Gordon, former grant manager for the Oklahoma State Department of Education, in a resignation letter sent to the department this week. [Tulsa World]

Number of the Day


Number of youth referrals (cases not people or arrest charges) made to the Oklahoma Office of Juvenile Affairs in 2022 [OK Policy analysis of provided OJA data]

Policy Note

Youth Justice by the Numbers: Youth arrests and incarceration increased in the closing decades of the 20th century but have fallen sharply since that time. Public opinion often lags behind these realities, wrongly assuming both that crime is perpetually increasing and that youth offending is routinely violent. In fact, youth offending is predominantly low-level, and the 21st century has seen significant declines in youth arrests and incarceration. [The Sentencing Project]

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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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