In The Know: One-year anniversary of Capitol riot | State has enough COVID tests, but not treatment options | ‘Seeing the Full Picture’

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

Policy Matters: Seeing the Full Picture: When folks are challenged with information that comes from outside their own day-to-day lives, it can sometimes be difficult to accept. It’s only human that our individual experiences dominate how we view the world, which in turn influences our perceptions of other people. But to truly understand what is going on in our state, we must remain open to learn from our fellow Oklahomans. [Ahniwake Rose / Journal Record]

Oklahoma News

One year later, Oklahoma delegation largely silent about Capitol attack: Oklahoma’s all-Republican congressional delegation has been pretty quiet about the first anniversary of the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol. All were present that afternoon. U.S. Sen. James Lankford had to break off a speech to flee the Senate chamber. Second District Congressman Markwayne Mullin was famously photographed crouching behind some seats, trying to talk rioters out of breaking into the U.S. House of Representatives. [Tulsa World]

State has adequate tests for COVID-19 but not enough treatment options, interim health commissioner says: The state has adequate COVID-19 testing supplies, but at-home tests are flying off the shelves and out of stores as the number of cases rises, interim Health Commissioner Keith Reed said Wednesday. But while the state has adequate supplies to support testing sites, the state’s ration of monoclonal antibody treatments for patients with COVID-19 is insufficient, he said during a virtual news conference. [Tulsa World]

  • Expert expects less death from omicron but says illness won’t be milder for some [Public Radio Tulsa]
  • Oklahoma hits its highest COVID-19 case count, positivity rate of the pandemic [KOSU]
  • In two months since vaccine has been available, fewer than 10% of Oklahoma kids ages 5-11 are vaccinated [KGOU]
  • Oklahoma health officials explain their hope to slow COVID-19 spread [KOCO]
  • As COVID cases rise, Cole urges vaccinations, booster shots [The Norman Transcript]
  • Who needs a COVID-19 booster dose? Here’s where you can get one in Oklahoma City. [The Oklahoman]

Unintended consequence of SQ 780 may impact access to drug treatment courts: In 2003, now-Cleveland County District Judge Michael Tupper began his career as a prosecutor. As a “young, fired-up crime-fighter,” Tupper said the perception of drug and alcohol treatment courts had a connotation of being “soft on crime.” But during his time as a prosecutor, his understanding of treatment court began to shift dramatically. [StateImpact Oklahoma]

Health News

GOP lawmaker proposes bill to ensure doctors serve on Oklahoma Health Care Authority board: A Republican state legislator wants to ensure doctors have a seat on the Oklahoma Health Care Authority board. Sen. Jessica Garvin, R-Duncan, pre-filed a bill for the upcoming legislative session that would ensure a medical doctor and an osteopathic doctor sit on the board for the agency that oversees the state’s Medicaid program. [The Oklahoman]

Tribal Nations News

Tribes’ hunting and fishing rules mostly mirror Oklahoma’s regulations, but there are differences: Season dates, bag limits and daily fish possession limits for tribal citizens who hunt and fish on the reservations mostly mirror those already established by the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation. [The Oklahoman]

Criminal Justice News

(Audio) Long Story Short: Criminal Justice, Mental Health and Political Issues of 2022: Oklahoma’s ability to carry out executions using its current lethal injection procedures is at stake next month in federal court. Keaton Ross shares shares his reporting from a recent story on the looming criminal justice issues in 2022, including details on that case, the future of the Oklahoma County Detention Center and a possible overhaul of the state criminal code. [Oklahoma Watch]

Economic Opportunity

With nowhere else to go, he slept in the emergency room: Oklahoma City has limited resources for people experiencing homelessness after they’ve been discharged from a hospital. Hospital social workers often have few options but to discharge people to the street, typically armed with a bus pass, or to send them to local shelters. [The Frontier]

Aid groups facing ‘price-gouging,’ above average rents while helping Oklahomans: Over $100 million in rental and utility assistance was disbursed to Oklahomans in need in 2021 and there are still funds available in the new year. More than 26,000 households were helped in 2021, according to Shannon Carr, director of communications for Community Cares Partners (CCP). Applicants can apply for assistance via an online portal, but should know processing is expected to take more than a month. [The Oklahoman]

Oklahoma town’s housing authority pays to resolve racial discrimination complaint: A small Oklahoma town’s housing authority has settled a federal lawsuit that accused it of discriminating against applicants on the basis of race. The Lone Wolf Housing Authority agreed to implement nondiscriminatory practices, get training and pay a Black applicant who was turned away in 2015. [The Oklahoman]

Economy & Business News

Survey reflects rising business confidence in Oklahoma, region: Though omicron worries linger, and supply chain issues continue to concern, business leaders in Oklahoma and eight other states in America’s heartland who took part in a recent survey expressed rising expectations for the regional economy. [The Journal Record]

The feds are pledging $1 billion to put small meatpackers on better footing against the big guys: Months after the Biden administration announced a plan to promote competition in the economy, the U.S. Department of Agriculture promises new regulations to prop up smaller meatpacking operations. [KOSU]

General News

Oklahoma ends 2021 with warmest December on record: Oklahoma just experienced its warmest December since state records began in 1895. According to the Oklahoma Mesonet, temperatures averaged more than 10 degrees above normal for the month. State Climatologist Gary McManus says that’s unusual. [KGOU]

Oklahoma Local News

  • OKC mayoral candidate drops lockdown-era lawsuit against city [The Oklahoman]

Quote of the Day

“There’s just huge voids in Oklahoma. It’s no man’s land.”

-Former Oklahoma lawmaker Cal Hobson, D-Lexington, speaking about disparities in the availability of drug treatment courts. Currently, 59 treatment courts serve 74 of Oklahoma’s 77 counties. There are no treatment courts in the three panhandle counties: Cimarron, Texas and Beaver. [StateImpact Oklahoma]

Number of the Day


Percentage of Oklahoma children aged 5-11 who have been fully immunized with the COVID-19 vaccine, or fewer than 30,000 of the state’s 376,215 children in that age range. [StateImpact Oklahoma/KGOU

Policy Note

Addressing Insider Threats in Elections: Election officials were some of the biggest heroes of the 2020 election. After a grueling year that saw a pandemic, unprecedented disinformation efforts, and the highest turnout in over a century, they stood up to pressure from political actors seeking to overturn or cast doubt on the election results in key states. This collective, bipartisan effort helped avoid a constitutional crisis last year. But the effort to sabotage our elections has only intensified, which is why Congress and state and local governments must take critical steps to protect against insider threats. [Brennan Center for Justice]

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Jessica joined OK Policy as a Communications Associate in January 2018. A Mexican immigrant, she was a Clara Luper Scholar at Oklahoma City University where she obtained a B.A. in Political Science and Philosophy. Prior to joining OK Policy, Jessica worked at a digital marketing agency in Oklahoma City. She is an alumna of both the National Education for Women (N.E.W.) Leadership Institute (2013) and OK Policy's Summer Policy Institute (2015). In addition to her role at OK Policy, Jessica serves as a board member for Dream Action Oklahoma in OKC and communications director for Dream Alliance Oklahoma in Tulsa.

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