In The Know: Oklahoma’s first Black History Day at the capitol | Bills aimed at recruiting and retaining teachers advance | OKC election results | 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

Black history at the Oklahoma Capitol and a ‘chilling effect’: Oklahoma’s first Black History Day at the state Capitol hosted more than 800 students, providing a history lesson for lawmakers as well as young people whose teachers might fear teaching the unvarnished truth. Though Gov. Kevin Stitt signed into law House Bill 1775, a measure that prohibits teaching history regarding race and gender that could make any student or teacher feel uncomfortable, he proudly participated in Monday’s event, acknowledging the contributions made by Black Oklahomans opposing racial segregation in the state. [Journal Record]

Bills to bolster Oklahoma teacher numbers advance in House: Two bills aimed at retaining and recruiting Oklahoma teachers passed the first step of the legislative process on Monday. Rep. Mark McBride (R-Moore) and Rep. Rhonda Baker (R-Yukon) authored both bills, which would expand a scholarship for future Oklahoma teachers and provide bonuses to teachers with National Board Certifications. [KOSU]

  • Oklahoma Senate panel OKs teacher pay raises [Tulsa World]

State Government News

Bill to lessen governor’s hold on State Board of Education clears House committee: Two prominent House members targeted by big school-choice money in last year’s Republican primaries played an interesting card Tuesday in the high-stakes fight for control of the state’s public education system and the $7 billion that passes through it each year. [Tulsa World]

Oklahoma Senate leader calls on state veterans director to resign: Senate President Pro Tem Greg Treat, R-Oklahoma City, said ODVA Executive Director Joel Kintsel’s dispute with the agency’s governing board has become a hindrance to serving Oklahoma’s veterans. [Tulsa World]

  • ‘Petty childish bullshit’: Veterans, staff exhausted by ODVA drama [NonDoc] | [The Frontier]

Could Norman’s Griffin Memorial move to OKC? City, county reserve ARPA funds to find out: Oklahoma County and Oklahoma City are joining the state’s effort to spend nearly $210 million between now and early 2026 to bolster its ability to take care of those suffering from acute mental illnesses in Tulsa and in central Oklahoma. [The Oklahoman]

Tourism promises transparency in state park restaurant bid process in wake of Swadley’s: The Oklahoma Department of Tourism and Recreation soon will issue a request for proposals (RFP) seeking bids from anyone interested in running restaurants at six of its state parks. [The Oklahoman]

Voting and Election News

OKC Election Results: Who won in city council races, and what are their priorities?: Nearly half of Oklahoma City’s residents had a city council race on their ballot Tuesday, with representatives for Wards 2, 5, 6 and 8 up for election. Nearly 16,000 voters cast ballots between the four wards, in what are historically low turn-out elections. Councilmembers serve for four years, and are paid $12,000 per year. [The Oklahoman]

  • Oklahoma Election Results: Cooper, Hamon and Stonecipher reelected to OKC Council, dozens of school bonds approved [KOSU]
  • Norman elections: Bree Montoya ousts Kelly Lynn, school bond proposals pass [NonDoc]
  • Matt Hinkle, Thuan Nguyen head to OKC Ward 5 runoff [NonDoc]
  • OKC Ward 6: JoBeth Hamon holds off Marek Cornett for reelection [NonDoc]

OK County Election: Scobey, Treat to face off for clerk’s seat after primary victories: Democrat Derrick Scobey and Republican Maressa Treat will square off in April to become the next Oklahoma County Clerk. [The Oklahoman]

  • Derrick Scobey, Maressa Treat head to Oklahoma County clerk general election [NonDoc]

Health News

Oklahoma soon could force insurance companies to cover ‘biomarker’ testing: Despite its value as a diagnostic tool, biomarker testing is not always covered by insurance. A proposed law this year at the Oklahoma Capitol would require Medicaid and private insurance groups to cover biomarker testing. Senate Bill 513 has been introduced, but has not yet been scheduled for a committee hearing, which is a necessary step in the legislative process. [The Oklahoman]

Economic Opportunity News

State aids COVID-affected homeowners with mortgages, but 3 Oklahoma lenders aren’t helping: With $86 million in federal money to spend, the state of Oklahoma, working with willing lenders, is helping a lot of people keep their homes rather than lose them to the COVID-19 pandemic. Three Oklahoma lenders that could participate are not, leaving 10 borrowers without federal assistance they otherwise could use and in danger of losing their homes, the agency said in response to a Freedom of Information Act request. [The Oklahoman]

Economy & Business News

Oklahoma tallies record revenue, but treasurer advises caution: In his first report on state tax revenues, new Oklahoma Treasurer Todd Russ issued a note of caution this week, despite collections over the past year totaling nearly $2 billion more than those collected during the previous 12-month period. [Journal Record]

Education News

Archdiocese of Oklahoma City asks to open nation’s first Catholic charter school: The first step toward a landmark decision on taxpayer-funded religious schools advanced Tuesday, as the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City asked state officials for permission to open an online Catholic charter school. [The Oklahoman]

  • State board hears from proponents, critics of Catholic online charter school proposal [Tulsa World]

Quote of the Day

“It is important that all communities can come to a place of power and express their values and visions for their communities. This historical day is yet another step towards honoring the diversity and rich history of our great state. Diversity is something that should be embraced, not opposed.”

– House Democratic Minority Leader Cyndi Munson, D-Oklahoma City, speaking on the importance of acknowledging Oklahoma’s history and embracing diversity during the Oklahoma’s first Black History Day at the state Capitol. [Journal Record]

Number of the Day


The rate of Oklahomans without health insurance in 2021, down from 14.3% in 2019. Even with this decrease, Oklahoma continues to have the nation’s second highest rate of uninsured residents behind Texas. [U.S. Census]

Policy Note

Millions of people are about to get kicked off Medicaid: Perhaps the greatest success of the American health care system these last few benighted years is this surprising fact: The uninsured rate has reached a historic low of about 8 percent. That’s thanks in part to the pandemic — or, more precisely, the slew of emergency provisions that the government enacted in response to the Covid crisis. But in April, that will end — states will be re-checking every Medicaid enrollee’s eligibility, an enormous administrative undertaking that will put health insurance coverage for millions of Americans at risk. [Vox]

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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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