In The Know: Oklahoma’s maternal health crisis | Election is ‘battle’ for public education | Stabbings increase at Holdenville private prison

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

With abortion banned, Oklahoma’s ‘maternal health crisis’ grows: Federal protections on abortion ended this year when the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, opening the door for Oklahoma’s Republican majority to outlaw abortion procedures. both abortion rights advocates and those who support a ban say the coming months will be a critical time for lawmakers to take steps to expand pre- and postnatal health care services, especially if the number of unplanned pregnancies increases. [The Oklahoman]

Superintendent election a ‘battle’ for future of Oklahoma public education: One of the most closely watched races of the 2022 election cycle, the campaign for state schools superintendent, has bucked its usual down-ballot status and seized widespread public interest, with many billing it a high-stakes contest for the future of Oklahoma public education. [The Oklahoman]

Oklahoma Watch: Stabbings soar at private prison in Holdenville: At least 18 people have been stabbed — three fatally — in one private prison in southeastern Oklahoma this year, emergency records show. [Tulsa World]

State Government News

State studies solutions to address nursing shortage: Rep. Marilyn Stark on Tuesday held an interim study before the House Public Health Committee to discuss the root causes of Oklahoma’s nursing shortage and to identify potential solutions toward what many are calling a public health-care crisis. [The Admoreite]

Plans for new turnpike to pass cemeteries prompts concern over noise and resting spots: Local residents worry that the construction of new toll roads in the rural north and east sides of Norman will encroach on four nearby cemeteries. The proposed roads are part of the Oklahoma Turnpike Authority’s $5 billion ACCESS Oklahoma plan. [The Oklahoman]

Voting and Election News

Oklahoma Democratic gubernatorial candidate Joy Hofmeister wants a $5K teachers pay raise: Democratic gubernatorial candidate Joy Hofmeister wants to raise teacher pay by $5,000 a year, a policy proposal she will likely make a central part of her campaign in the final weeks of her race against Gov. Kevin Stitt. [The Oklahoman]

Democracy Watch: Previewing Oklahoma’s Oklahoma Corporation Commission Race: A term-limited state senator and law professor are seeking to fill a vacancy on the Oklahoma Corporation Commission. [Oklahoma Watch]

Natalie Bruno tops the ballot for Libertarians, who see a chance for continued growth: Her name will appear on the November gubernatorial ballot as the Libertarian candidate, and while polls show her significantly behind the incumbent and his top challenger, Bruno appears poised to capture a solid chunk of voters that Libertarians hope signifies a growing base of support across the state. [The Oklahoman]

Behenna, Calvey agree to Oklahoma County DA debate: Ahead of the Nov. 8 general election, Oklahoma County district attorney candidates Kevin Calvey and Vicki Behenna have agreed to participate in a debate co-hosted by NonDoc and News 9. The one-hour debate — titled Discretion Discussion — is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 11, at The Auditorium at The Douglass, 600 N. High Ave. in Oklahoma City. The debate is free and open to the public. [NonDoc]

Health News

Oklahoma families fight cuts to private-duty nursing for medically fragile kids: About 100 Oklahomans are appealing recent cuts or outright denials to private duty nursing care for their medically fragile children and loved ones. About 450 SoonerCare members receive private-duty nursing — just a fraction of the more than 1 million Oklahomans on SoonerCare. Since April, about 150 private-duty nursing recipients have gotten notifications that their hours would be scaled back or cut completely. [The Oklahoman]

Criminal Justice News

‘The gun violence is unreal’: Teen shootings a headache for Tulsa investigators, heartache for families: In the first eight months of this year, CGU and TPD’s Strategic Enforcement Unit have been hit with more than 200 cases of shooting with intent to kill — when a person or occupied car was struck — as well as nearly 400 cases of shootings into dwellings and about 160 cases of pointing a deadly weapon. [Tulsa World]

Appeals court rules for police officer in fatal shooting of Black Edmond teenager: The fatal police shooting of a naked Black teenager in Edmond in 2019 led to protests, accusations of racism, an investigation and a civil rights lawsuit. [The Oklahoman]

  • Court rules for officer in Oklahoma teen’s death lawsuit [AP News]

What we know about the two new prospective Oklahoma County jail trust members: Monday’s regular meeting of the Oklahoma County commissioners is set to decide two jail trust positions as the board votes on whether to fill a monthslong vacancy created by former trustee Joe Allbaugh’s resignation and to replace current trustee Loretta Radford, who is also set to resign. [The Oklahoman]

Economy & Business News

Oklahoma economy still sailing strong despite headwinds: The Oklahoma economy has been running strong throughout 2022 as consumer spending and employment have shown resilience despite inflation and higher interest rates. [The Oklahoman]

Education News

Banned Books Week highlights current, historical attempts to censor books in schools and libraries: With an increase in book challenges nationwide, Banned Books Week is hitting some people a little differently this year. [Tulsa World]

TPS launches community redistricting survey with two extra maps: It took longer than initially announced, but Tulsa Public Schools is now soliciting community feedback on its school board redistricting options. [Tulsa World]

Column: There are 34,000 reasons to support Oklahoma City Public Schools’ bond: On Nov. 8, the voters residing within the Oklahoma City school district boundaries will be asked to invest in the state’s second-largest traditional school district by casting their ballots in the first bond election since 2016. Success in the OKC district creates economic development and impact for the entire metro area. [Mary Mélon-Tully Guest Column / The Oklahoman]

Column: Driving a school bus is a thankless job, but we love your kids: Every single bus driver, cafeteria worker, secretary and teacher plays an important role for many Oklahoma children every day. [Randy Johnson / The Oklahoman]

General News

Column: This month, Latinx in Oklahoma celebrate growth, visibility: Latinx Heritage Month is a time to celebrate our accomplishments and contributions to society and to celebrate the beauty of Latinx cultures. My hope for these events is that our community continues to connect and grow together.There is power in community and there is room for all of us at the metaphorical table. [Juliana Lopez Guest Column / The Oklahoman]

  • Oklahoma Historical Society to Host “Presente in Oklahoma!” Hispanic American Heritage Month Panel [Visit OKC]

Column: Deaf people deserve to enjoy things, feel included: Deaf Awareness Week, Sept. 18-24, is annually celebrated the last full week in September to increase public awareness of deaf culture, heritage and American Sign Language. [David Hankinson Guest Column / The Oklahoman]

Quote of the Day

“Many of our elected officials, who have the power and the ability to change the way our public looks at our most valuable resource, choose to divide through the use of fear-laced tales cited without evidence to support their claims. Once this seed is planted, they use the guise of ‘choice’ to divert much-needed funds and communal talent away from their school.”

– Felix Linden, an eighth-grade English Language Arts teacher at FD Moon Middle School in Oklahoma City [Column / The Oklahoman]

Number of the Day


Census numbers for 2021 show that Hispanic or Latino residents represent 11.7% of Oklahoma residents, or more than 1 in 9 of all Oklahomans. [U.S. Census Bureau, 2021, Excel]

Policy Note

About National Hispanic Heritage Month: Hispanic Heritage Month is an annual celebration of the history and culture of the U.S. Latinx and Hispanic communities. The event, which spans from Sept. 15 to Oct. 15, coincides with the Independence Day celebrations of Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua. Those five nations declared their independence from Spain on Sept. 15, 1821. Mexico and Chile celebrate their independence days on September 16 and September 18, respectively. Also, Día de la Raza on Oct. 12, denotes the day Columbus arrived in the Americas in 1492. is a collaborative project of the Library of Congress and the National Endowment for the Humanities, National Gallery of Art, National Park Service, Smithsonian Institution, United States Holocaust Memorial Museum and U.S. National Archives and Records Administration. []

NOTE: National Hispanic Heritage Month is Sept. 15 through Oct. 15. Each week, OK Policy will share policy notes and numbers to recognize this commemoration.

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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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