In The Know: Oklahoma Senate overrides governor’s vetoes on tribal compacts | Virtual Charter School Board hires conservative Christian law firm | Declining oil and gas production affecting state revenue | 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

A closer look at emergency rules for Oklahoma’s health information exchange (Capitol Update): It appears that, with the passage of emergency rules by the Oklahoma Health Care Authority (OHCA) board on July 17, the battle over the health information exchange (HIE) in Oklahoma is, at least temporarily, on pause. Those wanting a more expansive opportunity to opt out of the exchange appear to have won the day. [Steve Lewis / Capitol Update]

Oklahoma News

Second time a charm: Senate overrides Stitt to extend two sets of tribal compacts: Beneath a gallery half-full of tribal leaders, the Oklahoma State Senate took a second swing at overriding Gov. Kevin Stitt’s veto of state-tribal compact extensions and connected Monday, nearly one month after senators fell one vote short of extending dozens of tobacco and motor vehicle compacts through Dec. 31, 2024. [NonDoc]

  • ‘He does not believe that we have sovereignty’: Cherokee, Choctaw chiefs react to tribal compact veto overrides, fault governor’s posture [Fox 25]
  • ‘So much uncertainty on taxation’: Senate overturns vetoes on two tribal compact extensions [KFOR]
  • Oklahoma Senate overrides governor’s vetoes on tribal compacts [Journal Record]
  • Oklahoma Senate votes to override tribal tobacco tax compact veto [The Oklahoman]
  • Senate overrides Stitt’s vetoes on tribal compact extension bills [Tulsa World]
  • Oklahoma Senate overrides Stitt’s vetoes of tribal compact bills [KGOU]
  • Oklahoma lawmakers override governor in fight over tribal compacts [KOCO]

State Government News

Christian law firm that helped overturn Roe v Wade to represent Oklahoma religious charter school: The Oklahoma Statewide Virtual Charter School Board voted 3-1 on Monday to hire Alliance Defending Freedom, an Arizona-based firm known for its advocacy for religious liberty and public funding of religious schools. The firm was involved in the Mississippi case that ultimately overturned Roe v. Wade. [The Oklahoman]

  • Anticipating Catholic charter litigation, SVCSB to retain conservative Christian law firm [NonDoc]
  • Catholic charter school: State governing board hires conservative Christian legal advocacy firm to defend against possible litigation [Tulsa World]

After whistleblower alleged DOC covered up rapes, Oklahoma House committee hearing begins: Accusations of a cover-up emerged during a hearing at the state Capitol on Monday as former employees with the Oklahoma Department of Corrections raised alarms about how the agency was handling complaints of prison guards having sex with inmates. [The Oklahoman]

Oklahoma State Senator preparing kidnapping, trafficking education bill: An Oklahoma state senator is planning to file a bill to educate children about the dangers of kidnapping and potential human trafficking. Sen. Micheal Bergstrom said children in the state need to know how to avoid dangerous situations to protect themselves. [News 9]

New bill aims to fight Oklahoma’s eastern red cedar invasion: In an effort to combat the growing problem of invasive eastern red cedar trees, new legislation has been introduced to eradicate the species along Oklahoma’s North Canadian Watershed. [The Oklahoman]

The Brave, Often Lonely Fight of Trans Lawmakers in State Legislatures: Mauree Turner grew up in Ardmore, a little strip of a town along Interstate 35, down in the southern belly of Oklahoma. By the second grade, Turner understood, without having the terminology to explain it, that they were different. In their late 20s, they became the first Muslim lawmaker in Oklahoma and the first nonbinary person ever elected to state office in the United States. [The Nation]

Tribal Nations News

Quapaw Nation elects new vice chairman, retains 2 of 3 Business Committee members: Quapaw Nation citizens elected a new vice chairman and voted to retain two of three Business Committee incumbents in Saturday’s annual election, according to unofficial results. Vice Chairwoman Callie Bowden chose not to run for reelection after she was nearly removed from office in a special General Council meeting in March. [NonDoc]

Criminal Justice News

How four states – including Oklahoma – use fetal personhood to punish pregnant women: Hundreds of women who used drugs while pregnant have faced criminal charges — even when they deliver healthy babies. [The Frontier]

Appeals court rules against Tulsa crossbow killer over last-minute parole denial: Jimmie Dean Stohler, 70, went to court last year after Gov. Kevin Stitt changed his mind and denied him parole one day before a scheduled release. The Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals ruled Monday the governor’s denial will stand. [The Oklahoman]

Economy & Business News

Declining oil, gas production tax collections affect state: While an easing of wallet-zapping inflation from a year ago has helped consumers in Oklahoma and across the country, it has affected the bottom line financially for the state. [Journal Record]

Education News

Oklahoma’s public school system ranks second worst in the nation, study research shows: According to a Wallet Hub research study, Oklahoma has the second worst public school system in the country. This is factoring in performance, funding, class size, instructor credentials, and quality. Oklahoma is also reportedly the worst state in the country when it comes to students dropping out of school. [KTUL]

Scholarships have helped displaced Afghan students find homes in Tulsa, across US: As the Taliban swept back into power in Afghanistan in the summer of 2021, Fahima Sultani and her fellow university students tried for days to get into the Kabul airport, only to be turned away by gun-wielding extremists. Seeing students like Sultani rush to leave in August 2021 as the U.S. withdrew from Afghanistan after 20 years, colleges, universities and other groups across the U.S. started piecing together the funding for hundreds of scholarships so they could continue their education outside of their home country. [The Oklahoman]

General News

State partnerships may improve earthquake early warning: A company based in Israel has partnered with the Petroleum Alliance of Oklahoma and Oklahoma Geological Survey in an effort to better understand and prepare for earthquakes that strike the state. [Journal Record]

Southwestern Oklahoma dams receive funding for rehabilitation: The Oklahoma Water Resources Board approved federal pandemic relief funding for two dam rehabilitation projects in Southwestern Oklahoma last week. [KOSU]

A Small-Town Paper Lands a Very Big Story: In Southeast Oklahoma, a father-son reporting duo’s series on the county sheriff led to an explosive revelation. [The New Yorker]

Column: How will young Oklahomans with disabilities transition into employment?: Oklahomans with disabilities participate in the workforce at a lower rate than their peers without disabilities. According to 2019 Census Bureau data, 40% of working-age Oklahomans with disabilities were employed, compared to 79.2% of people without disabilities. But we do not have sufficient data or systems to address this gap. That’s why we are focused on how young Oklahoma people transition services from our K-12 and other education systems into employment. [Sen. Julia Kirt and Ellyn Hefner Guest Column / The Oklahoman]

Oklahoma Local News

  • Historic Greenwood group makes B.S. Roberts Park Black-owned [The Black Wall Street Times]
  • Cashion is becoming Oklahoma City’s next exurb, straining the main attraction: the schools [The Oklahoman]
  • Oklahoma town desperate for clean drinking water as promise for fix is on the way [KOCO]

Quote of the Day

“That’s money that will be lost for the state of Oklahoma and for the tribes because we’re competing against Arkansas and we’re competing against Texas, so why would we not want to continue providing revenue to the state of Oklahoma through these compacts like we have done in the past?… We believe that’s a win-win whenever we can benefit and the state of Oklahoma can benefit.”

– Choctaw Nation Chief Gary Batton explaining why he thinks tribal-state gaming compacts are beneficial to all Oklahomans after the Senate voted yesterday to override the governor’s veto of the agreements. [NonDoc]

Number of the Day


Oklahoma was one of 16 states that passed tax cuts in each of the last three fiscal years. [Tax Policy Center]

Policy Note

Reviewing Three Years of State Tax Cuts: From the start of calendar year 2021 to today, 48 states and the District of Columbia have cut taxes. This run of state tax cuts resulted from a mix of federal pandemic-related spending, a (previously) booming stock market, a lot of consumer spending, and other aspects of the post-COVID economy. The combination spiked economic growth, turbocharged state tax collections, and gave state policymakers large surpluses to spend on tax cuts.  [Tax Policy Center]

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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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