In The Know: Petition to put abortion access on the ballot in Oklahoma withdrawn | Court says Cheyenne-Arapaho reservation no longer exists | Stitt bans use of TikTok on state govt devices | More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

False reports of shootings coming into schools across Oklahoma: Police across Oklahoma reported bogus calls of mass shootings at schools across the state Thursday. The caller would say there was an active shooter at a school and then provide no further updates. It’s unknown where or why these calls are coming about Oklahoma schools. It’s also unclear how or if they are related. [KGOU]

  • Multiple law enforcement agencies tackle ‘swatting’ calls at schools across state Thursday [The Oklahoman]
  • False reports of school shootings made across Oklahoma, FBI says Thursday [Tulsa World]

Podcast: Cabinet financial disclosures, 2023 legislative priorities, lowering the gun age and more: This Week in Oklahoma Politics, KOSU’s Michael Cross talks with Republican Political Consultant Neva Hill and Civil Rights Attorney Ryan Kiesel about the governor’s cabinet releasing financial disclosure records, legislative leaders releasing their priorities for the 2023 session and a Republican lawmaker filing a bill to lower the age for handguns. [This Week in Oklahoma Politics / KOSU]

State Government News

State Chamber: Funding and ‘czar’ needed to improve workforce issues: Oklahoma’s State Chamber wants the governor to appoint a workforce “czar” who can lead an aggressive push to find more skilled workers in nursing, teaching, aerospace and dozens of other career fields. [The Oklahoman]

Oklahoma lawmaker proposes end to time changes: A Republican senator from Tahlequah has filed legislation that could lead to Oklahomans not having to change the time on their clocks twice a year. State Sen. Blake “Cowboy” Stephens said Senate Bill 7 proposes that Oklahoma should remain in Daylight Saving Time year-round. He described the measure as a “trigger law” that would go into effect following passage of the Sunshine Protection Act by Congress, which would give states the option to end the time change. [Journal Record]

Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt bans TikTok on government-issued devices: Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt Thursday banned the usage of a popular social media app on government devices. In a press release from Stitt’s office, the governor has banned TikTok for state government agencies, employees and contractors using government networks and/or government-issued devices. Under the governor’s executive order, that includes state-issued cellphones, computers and other digital devices that can access the internet. [KGOU]

Judge puts brakes on turnpike project: Cleveland County Judge Timothy Olsen ruled that the OTA willfully misled the public with an overly and purposefully vague description of what was to become the Access Oklahoma project on the agendas made available to the public in January 2022 and February 2022. [Journal Record]

Federal Government News

House gives final passage to marriage bill, as Bice cites religious liberty concerns: The House gave final passage on Thursday to legislation protecting same-sex and interracial marriage in federal law and sent the bill to President Joe Biden for his signature. The vote was 258 to 169, with all Democrats and 39 Republicans in favor. All five Oklahomans in the House, all Republicans, voted against. The Senate approved the bill last week after adding protections for religious objections. Both of Oklahoma’s senators voted against it. [The Oklahoman]

Tribal Nations News

Court says Cheyenne-Arapaho reservation no longer exists: The Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals on Thursday rejected a claim that the state has no criminal jurisdiction within the historical boundaries of the Cheyenne and Arapaho reservation, saying Congress and the tribes agreed to disestablish the reservation years before Oklahoma became a state. [The Oklahoman]

Citizen Potawatomi Nation launches college-level language courses: Citizen Potawatomi Nation (CPN) has launched college-level language courses after receiving a federal grant for $82,609. The grant was awarded under the Administration for Native Americans’ Emergency Native Language Funding Opportunity program from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Administration for Children and Families. [KOKH Fox 25]

Voting and Election News

Oklahoma petition to enshrine abortion rights withdrawn: A group of Oklahoma residents has withdrawn a petition that sought to put a state question on the ballot that would protect the right to an abortion. Records show the proponents of the citizen-led initiative petition notified the Secretary of State’s office on Wednesday of their plans to withdraw. [Associated Press]

  • Initiative petition for abortion access state question withdrawn [Tulsa World]
  • Petition to put abortion access on the ballot in Oklahoma withdrawn [KGOU]
  • Organizers withdraw petition for state question on abortion access [The Oklahoman]

Criminal Justice News

Survivor of mass shooting at Oklahoma marijuana farm arrested: The survivor of the mass shooting at an Oklahoma marijuana farm was arrested Wednesday as a result of an investigation into the legality of the operation. Yifei Lin, 44, is accused of conspiring to commit fraud against the state and illegally manufacturing and trafficking marijuana. He is listed in state records as a 25% owner of the farm 15 miles west of Hennessey. [The Oklahoman]

Four Oklahoma City police officers on leave after shooting a man armed with a gun: Oklahoma City police Capt. Valerie Littlejohn said in a media briefing that an officer was flagged down just after 10 a.m. by a citizen, who said a man that had pointed his gun at them was walking down the street near Main and Pennsylvania. Police officers made contact with the man, and Littlejohn said they tried to “de-escalate the situation” but the man did not listen to the officers’ commands. [The Oklahoman]

Economy & Business News

PAC board extends deadline for development after Oasis signs on: The Tulsa Performing Arts Center Trust on Thursday gave a little and got a lot. After a nearly two-hour board meeting, trustees voted to give an Indianapolis-based developer six more months to get a proposed mixed-use development across the street from the PAC off the ground. [Tulsa World]

Education News

Big developments unfolding in years-long saga at Oklahoma school district: Big developments are unfolding in a years-long saga at an Oklahoma school district. The Western Heights School District said their board president and two board members all submitted their resignations on Tuesday. Not only the state superintendent but also a parent of the district, Amy Boone said Tuesday is a victory. [KOCO Oklahoma City]

TPS redistricting proposals presented as deadline looms: With a statutory deadline looming at the end of the month, Tulsa Public Schools’ board of education has another round of proposed redistricting maps to consider. As presented at a special board meeting Thursday evening by TPS’ redistricting contractor, the Indian Nations Council of Governments, Plan N would move four elementary school campuses to new board districts: Emerson from District 1 to District 2, Hoover from District 6 to District 5, Patrick Henry from District 7 to District 5 and Unity from District 3 to District 2. [Tulsa World]

The law governing adjunct teachers in Oklahoma changed, but what exactly is different?: Millwood Public Schools had trouble in its art department. The northeast Oklahoma City district had no candidates to teach art at its middle and high school ahead of this school year. So, for the first time in Superintendent Cecilia Robinson-Woods’ 10 years at Millwood, the district hired an adjunct teacher, who had relevant work experience but no teaching certificate. [The Oklahoman]

Oklahoma Local News

  • Editorial: Group purposely disrupting public meetings needs to stop [Tulsa World]

Quote of the Day

“There is a very specific skillset that educators bring to the table by getting an education degree. I don’t know how concerning this specific bill is as much as it is a concern that we aren’t valuing educators for the professionals that they are.”

– Robyn Havener, mother of two students in Broken Arrow Public Schools, commenting on how the statewide exodus of traditionally trained teachers is worrisome. [The Oklahoman]

Number of the Day


In Oklahoma, approximately 49% of children under the age of 8 (230,000) live in households earning below 200% of the Federal Poverty Level. Additionally, 70% of Black children and 66% of Hispanic, American Indian/Alaska Native children ages 0-8 in Oklahoma live in households below 200% FPL. [Oklahoma Early Childhood Policy Landscape]

Policy Note

50-State Progress and Landscape Report: As we look back on 2022—a year the world did its best to get back to “normal” and put the pandemic’s devastation behind us—some of us aren’t rushing to put the past two-and-a-half years in the rearview mirror. There were numerous COVID-era “silver linings.” The pandemic put a spotlight on some key truths about early childhood policy and advocacy—principles advocates are now working to advance further. [Alliance for Early Success]

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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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