In The Know: Oklahoma surpasses 4 million residents | Lawmaker wants to ban gender transition procedures for some trans adults | 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 eclipses 4 million residents, latest U.S. Census Bureau data shows: That information, along with other facts recently highlighted by the Wall Street Journal, caught the attention of Oklahoma City Mayor David Holt, who attributes Oklahoma’s growth primarily to trends that have been unfolding in Oklahoma City over the past 20 years. [The Oklahoman]

State Government News

Oklahoma lawmaker wants to ban surgery for some trans adults: A top Republican in the Oklahoma Senate wants to ban all gender reassignment surgeries for people under 26 years old. Calling it “a permanent solution to a temporary problem,” state Sen. David Bullard, R-Durant, claimed that most medical intervention for transgender people violates the Hippocratic Oath, which requires doctors to do no harm. [The Oklahoman]

  • Oklahoma bill aims to ban gender transition procedures under age of 26 [KOKH]

State Agencies Encounter Problems With Licensing Software Platform: A push to modernize the licensing and credentialing process with a new software vendor has encountered several problems, including an outage causing licensing delays at the Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Authority and problems tracking continuing education credits at the Council on Law Enforcement Education and Training. [Oklahoma Watch]

Key details, questions as Gentner Drummond becomes attorney general: As the Oklahoma Attorney General’s Office prepares for its third leadership change in the last six years, political observers are eager to see how incoming Attorney General Gentner Drummond will focus his energy as the state’s chief law officer. [NonDoc]

Oklahoma Democrat pushes to repeal law that limits race, gender instruction: A Democratic state lawmaker is making a longshot attempt to repeal a controversial law that limits classroom instruction on race and gender. Rep. Jacob Rosecrants, a Norman Democrat and former teacher, filed legislation Wednesday to repeal House Bill 1775 — a 2021 law that proponents say bans the teaching of critical race theory. [Tulsa World]

State lawmaker requests audit of OTA over ‘possible’ misconduct’: A state lawmaker has asked Gov. Kevin Stitt and the Legislature to authorize the State Auditor and Inspector to investigate the Oklahoma Turnpike Authority. Rep. J.J. Humphrey (R-Choctaw) told The Transcript on Thursday too many complaints about the agency have accumulated to ignore ongoing concerns about how much money is being spent on turnpike projects. [Norman Transcript]

Editorial: Make sure state operations are responsibly funded: Anyone want to pay less in state taxes? Well, that’s an easy “yes.” Who is willing to live with less in state services? Accept reduced highway maintenance? Provide less health and mental health care for people in need? Live with fewer state parks or reduced hours and services? Release more state prisoners earlier? [Enid News & Eagle]

Federal Government News

Glenpool awarded $44 million ARPA funding for new wastewater treatment facility: The City of Glenpool is getting $44 million federal dollars for a new wastewater treatment plant. Leaders and neighbors in the community said this is a major win that comes in just in time. Garret James and his family have been in this neighborhood three years. [KJRH News 2]

  • Glenpool begins planning new wastewater treatment plant [Tulsa World]

Tulsa was big-city beneficiary of federal PPP funds: Tulsa received more federal payroll assistance during the pandemic than almost any other large city in America – and almost all of those loans were forgiven, according to a new study. Tulsa ranked 15th in the list of cities that received the most Paycheck Protection Plan funds from the Small Business Administration, according to SBA information compiled by California-based research firm Smartest Dollar. [Journal Record]

Hern gets votes for House speaker as Republicans remain fractured: Hern, R-Tulsa, received seven votes out of 432 cast on the 10th and 11th ballots in the election, which has failed to produce a new speaker after three days. He received three votes on the ninth ballot and two on the eighth. He was nominated first by Colorado Republican Lauren Boebert and then by Virginia Republican Bob Good. Rep.-elect Josh Brecheen was the only member of the Oklahoma delegation to back Hern on any of the votes. [The Oklahoman]

  • Kevin Hern gets votes for House speaker on third day of fight in D.C. [Tulsa World]

Tribal Nations News

Podcast: Who’s the boss? One case highlights the issues with jurisdiction post-McGirt: The landmark McGirt vs. Oklahoma decision at the U.S. Supreme Court in 2020 was a big win for tribal sovereignty that gave tribal nations jurisdiction over many crimes committed in their territory and by their citizens. Working out the state’s role in such matters has proven extremely contentious. StateImpact’s Logan Layden talked with Indigenous Affairs reporter Allison Herrera about one case that highlights the complications involved. [StateImpact Oklahoma via KGOU]

Criminal Justice News

Miller appointed to the Pardon and Parole Board: The Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals has appointed Richard Miller of Madill to the Oklahoma Pardon and Parole Board. Miller retired as a judge in 2017 and is a former assistant district attorney. [Tulsa World]

Suspect in custody after wild vehicle pursuit in Oklahoma County: An hour-long police pursuit through parts of Oklahoma County ended with a stolen vehicle suspect in custody. Part of the pursuit went from south of Jones into the northeast side of Oklahoma City, with the driver of a stolen SUV at one point reportedly shooting at pursuing officers. [The Oklahoman]

Economy & Business News

Oklahoma first-time unemployment claims at low point in at least 35 years: The U.S. Department of Labor reported Thursday that 1,162 initial unemployment claims were filed in the state during the week ending Saturday. That’s a 20% decline from the revised, but not seasonally adjusted, total of 1,445 that were filed the week ending Dec. 24. [Tulsa World]

Education News

Proposal would lift two-year cap for lawmakers to return to teaching: When J.J. Dossett lost his November bid for reelection to the Senate, he wanted to return to teaching. But a state law put a two-year waiting period in place before Dossett, a Democrat from Owasso, could go back to the classroom. Oklahoma law prohibits a member of the Legislature from having a contract with the state before two years after leaving office. [Tulsa World]

State board should ‘stay the course,’ prohibit religious charter schools, says advocacy group: As a church in Oklahoma City plans to apply to open a charter school, an organization advocating for the separation of church and state says Oklahoma should continue to disallow publicly funded religious schools. [Public Radio Tulsa]

Future educator scholarship opens as Oklahoma teacher graduate numbers plummet: High school students looking to become Oklahoma public school teachers have an opportunity to apply for a scholarship through the Oklahoma State School Boards Association. [KOSU]

Former Oklahoma Christian University professor sues school for breach of contract, libel: A fired Oklahoma Christian University professor and a former adjunct professor have filed a lawsuit against the private Christian school and its chief legal counsel for a series of alleged “homophobic” actions stemming from a 2022 class presentation. [The Oklahoman]

Quote of the Day

“This never needed to be a bill. It never needed to pass. Now that it has, it’s a pox on our state.”

-Rep. Jacob Rosecrants, D-Norman, who has authored a bill that would reverse HB 1775 that has a chilling effect on teaching about race. [Tulsa World]

Number of the Day


Estimated number of uninsured children in Oklahoma (2021). [Georgetown Center for Children and Families]

Policy Note

Medicaid Unwinding Will Begin in April but There’s Good News in Congressional Funding Agreement: Congress has just reached an end of the year funding agreement, and it has very significant implications for the more than 90 million people who rely on Medicaid and CHIP (mostly Medicaid) for their coverage. Approximately 41 million of these people are children – at least half of children in the United States are now covered through Medicaid. [Georgetown Center for Children and Families]

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Hana Saad joined OK Policy in August 2022 as the Communications and Operations Fellow. She graduated from the University of Tulsa with degrees in Media Studies and English and is part of Phi Beta Kappa, an academic honor society. At TU, Hana regularly wrote for The Collegian and was the Co-Editor of the Stylus Journal of Art and Writing. She also serves on the team at Puppy Haven Rescue to help in their mission of saving rescue dogs across Oklahoma. Hana is eager to learn more about public policy in Oklahoma and use her skills to support the OKP work to build a more equitable state. In her free time, she loves to read fiction and poetry, walk her dog, and make copious cups of tea.

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