In The Know: Oklahoma unemployment on the rise | Proposed ballot measure would put abortion access to statewide vote | Capitol Update

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 look at first bills filed for 2023 session (Capitol Update): With the desk now open for prefiling bills for the upcoming session, it’s interesting to see what legislators have on their mind. Sometimes the bills are on hot-button issues. Others are filed to get attention that the bill would not get if filed among the rush of filings at deadline, perhaps to gain support. [Steve Lewis / Capitol Update]

Oklahoma News

Unemployment in Oklahoma hits 3.4% – the highest recorded rate this year: This October’s high rate of 3.4% translates to 63,546 unemployed. This compared to last month’s 3.2% rate or 60,403 unemployed people shows an increase of more than 3,000. [KOSU]

State Government News

Former legislative assistant sues state, claims wrongful termination: A former legislative assistant is suing the state of Oklahoma, claiming leaders in the House of Representatives wrongly fired her after she attempted to calm a confrontation between Black Lives Matter protestors and Republican lawmakers. [The Oklahoman]

Oklahoma lawmaker files bill to lock in Daylight Saving Time: Sen. Blake Stephens, (R-Tahlequah), says he has filed Senate Bill 7, which calls for Oklahoma to remain on Daylight Saving Time. [KFOR]

$25M in ARPA funds made available for nonprofits relief program: The Oklahoma Department of Commerce, in partnership with the Oklahoma Center for Nonprofits, has announced the availability of $25 million in grant funding through the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) for Nonprofits Relief program. [Tulsa World]

Tribal Nations News

Chickasaw Nation, partners propose Coney Island casino: The Chickasaw Nation hopes to play a part in opening a new chapter in the storied history of Coney Island in New York, known as the birthplace of amusement parks in the United States. The state of New York has planned to issue three new casino licenses in 2023, and the Chickasaw Nation has joined in a venture that has proposed development of not just a casino but a major entertainment venue that proponents say would be transformative. [Journal Record]

Voting and Election News

Proposed ballot initiative would put abortion access to a vote in Oklahoma: Oklahomans could have the chance to vote on a state question that would protect abortion access in the wake of bans passed this year by the state Legislature. [The Oklahoman]

Health News

Supreme Court Case Could Curtail Rights of Medicaid Patients: Gorgi Talevski did not live long enough to see his case argued before the U.S. Supreme Court this month. But the court’s decision, expected in spring, could have profound effects for tens of millions of beneficiaries of federal safety net programs, including those that provide health care, housing, education services and heating aid. [Stateline / Pew Charitable Trusts]

Audits — Hidden Until Now — Reveal Millions in Medicare Advantage Overcharges: Newly released federal audits reveal widespread overcharges and other errors in payments to Medicare Advantage health plans for seniors, with some plans overbilling the government more than $1,000 per patient a year on average. [Kaiser Health News]

Criminal Justice News

Mother pleads guilty to murdering two children, wounding another in 2018: An Okmulgee County woman pleaded guilty Monday in a deal that calls for her to serve life in prison for murdering two of her children and wounding another in 2018. [Tulsa World]

Man arrested after fatal road rage incident Friday involving ‘hearse-style’ vehicle: While police said they routinely are contacted about road rage incidents, Friday’s is at least the second so far this year that turned deadly. [The Oklahoman]

Prosecutor in Payne and Logan counties arrested, fired after child pornography probe: The first assistant district attorney of Payne and Logan counties was arrested Monday after his home was searched as a result of a child pornography investigation. [The Oklahoman]

  • OSBI arrests Kevin Etherington, first ADA in Payne and Logan counties [NonDoc]

Economy & Business News

Gas prices continue to plummet; Oklahoma now has second-lowest in U.S.: Gasoline prices continue to drop, with Oklahoma now having the second-lowest average in the nation. [Tulsa World]

Education News

School finances: Kingfisher Wind ruling ‘will affect every district in the state’: After the Oklahoma Supreme Court unanimously affirmed a trial court’s ruling in October, federal production tax credits used to finance the construction of wind and solar farms can no longer be included in county assessors’ property valuations that determine the local taxes paid by energy companies. [NonDoc]

Oklahoma School of Science and Mathematics gets $100K grant from Google: Google has issued a $100,000 grant to the Oklahoma School of Science and Mathematics. The funds will help the school expand its virtual program and reach students throughout Oklahoma. [OKC Fox 25]

General News

Column: Victims of poverty pandemic are more vulnerable to the other storms of life: Pandemic-induced states of emergency are meant to be temporary in nature. When we began discussions in 2020 about the short-term setbacks our economy may experience, few of us predicted we might near ‘Year Three’ of instability. While many have settled comfortably into a new normal with more flexibility and freedom as we work together to rebuild and regulate the economy, others have yet to find solid ground after the storm. [David Dennis Guest Column / The Oklahoman]

People in OKC, other cities, work longer hours to cover rent: People in Oklahoma City have had to work longer hours this year to make enough money to pay their rent. That’s according to online real estate company Zillow, where analysts reported this week that people in OKC on average must work 2.5 hours longer now than they had to work five years ago to earn enough to cover their rent. [Journal Record]

Quote of the Day

“We remain hopeful there will be a post-COVID world but understand that the pandemic of generational poverty is much more difficult to eradicate.”

-David Dennis, author and business leader, writing about the need to address underlying causes of long-term poverty in Oklahoma and nationwide. [The Oklahoman, Guest Column]

Number of the Day


Of the 9 million arrests made each year in the United States, 80% are for low-level offenses while only 5% are for serious violent crimes. [Vera Institute of Justice]

Policy Note

The Social Costs of Policing: When measuring the effect that policing has on public safety, we must include the social costs of policing that make communities less healthy and prosperous. These social costs include damage to the health of individuals and communities, suppression of educational achievement, harm to economic security, and reductions in civic participation and community engagement. [Vera Institute of Justice]

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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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