In The Know: President moves date for Tulsa rally; police oversight, reforms discussed; virus cases reach new daily highs; and 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.

New from OK Policy

Current events demonstrate need for task force reviewing community policing standards (Capitol Update): Rep. Monroe Nichols, D-Tulsa, has announced he will introduce three measures next session dealing with police use of deadly force. As reform proposals go, these seem to be about as moderate as you could imagine. But they will no doubt face opposition. [Steve Lewis / Capitol Update]

OK Policy Board of Directors elects new board officers: The OK Policy Board of Directors elected new board officers during its June 12 board meeting. Incoming officers are: Dr. Joseph Siano of Norman, Chair; Erika Lucas of Oklahoma City, Vice Chair; Jeff Berrong of Weatherford, Secretary; Chuck Garrett of Tulsa, Treasurer; and Don Millican of Tulsa, Immediate Past Chair. The Board also welcomed new member Caroline Guerra Wolf of Tulsa. [OK Policy]

Oklahoma News

Trump heeds calls for sensitivity in changing Tulsa rally date: President Donald Trump heeded calls for sensitivity — including one from U.S. Sen. James Lankford — in changing the date for his Tulsa campaign rally, rather than staging the event on the same day that marks the end of slavery near the site of one of the nation’s worst racial atrocities. [The Oklahoman] Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt praised President Donald Trump after the president backed down in the face of widespread criticism and rescheduled his first campaign rally in months away from the Juneteenth observance of the end of slavery in the U.S. [AP News]

  • Trump rally called ‘dangerous move’ in age of coronavirus [AP News]
  • Tulsa Health Department director ‘wishes’ Trump rally would be postponed as local COVID cases surge [Tulsa World]
  • Trump appearance has groups in Tulsa organizing alternative gatherings [Tulsa World]
  • Black legislators respond to president’s decision to change rally date [The Oklahoman]
  • Juneteenth’s focus should be on important issues, not Trump’s visit, Legislative Black Caucus says [Tulsa World]
  • President Trump tweets that almost 1 million people have requested tickets to Saturday’s Tulsa rally [Tulsa World]
  • Opinion: Timing for presidential visit could not be worse [Arnold Hamilton / The Journal Record]
  • Point of View: Tulsa should be concerned about the seen, unseen costs of Trump rally [Op-Ed / The Oklahoman]
  • Editorial: This is the wrong time and Tulsa is the wrong place for the Trump rally [Editorial / Tulsa World]

Few hearings, fewer votes: Police oversight bills see little attention in Oklahoma’s Legislature: Lawmakers introduced a set of bills at the start of the year that would curb the use of excessive force by police, broaden the use of body cameras, require lawmakers to consider the impact of new laws, create an Oklahoma Commission on Race and Equality and set up a policing standards task force. All bills failed to pass. [Oklahoma Watch]

  • ‘This is just the start’: The push to change policing in Oklahoma City [The Frontier]
  • OKC police reviewing uses of force during protests, some footage might not be released [The Oklahoman]
  • Tulsa Mayor presses ahead with police oversight plan despite long history of setbacks [Tulsa World]
  • There’s a reason why firing police officers can be complicated [Tulsa World]
  • Police union leader explains how organization ‘flipped the vote’ on city council’s oversight proposal [Tulsa World]
  • Three years later, what has law enforcement changed since Joshua Barre was fatally shot? [Tulsa World]
  • Tulsa mayor, city councilors oppose defunding police, support providing more social services [Tulsa World]
  • City councilor explains his responses to ‘Defund the police’ commenters he said he was blocking [Tulsa World]
  • Racial justice proponents, police supporters both protest in Grove on Friday night [Tulsa World]
  • Norman police chief: ‘I think we do a lot of things right’ [The Oklahoman]
  • TPD major criticized for comments about shooting African Americans appears on Tucker Carlson Show [Public Radio Tulsa]
  • Tulsa Police investigate officer after remarks about race and shootings [New York Times]
  • Tulsa police release details about juvenile jaywalking arrest [Tulsa World]
  • All parties approve of peaceful demonstrations [Tahlequah Daily Press]
  • Protesters, politicians speak out in downtown OKC [The Oklahoman]
  • Church group raises voices in song at OKC protest [The Oklahoman]
  • Protest Friday led by college students represents maturing of movement [OKC Free Press]
  • Point of View: We are all Americans [Op-Ed / The Oklahoman]
  • Opinion: OKC councilor’s proposals on police, neighborhoods are worth considering [Op-Ed / The Oklahoman]

60 Minutes: Greenwood, 1921: One of the worst race massacres in American history: The death of George Floyd, in the hands of Minneapolis police, came on Memorial Day. Ninety-nine years before, that same week, black Americans suffered a massacre. In the days after World War I, a neighborhood in Tulsa, Oklahoma, called Greenwood was among the wealthiest black communities. Oil made Greenwood rich, but jealousy made it suffer. In 1921, a white mob, with incendiary rage, burned Greenwood to ash. [CBS] Watch Now: ’60 Minutes’ on the Tulsa Race Massacre and search for mass graves [Tulsa World] Tulsa Race Massacre: Was 1921 the first aerial assault on U.S. soil? [Tulsa World]

COVID-19: No new deaths reported in state Sunday; 158 new cases: State health officials on Sunday reported 158 new cases of COVID-19, but no new deaths for the second day in a row. The total confirmed number of infections in the state is 8,231 since early March, with 6,578 recoveries. [Tulsa World] Record spikes in new coronavirus cases, hospitalizations sweep parts of U.S.: Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Florida, North Carolina, Oklahoma and South Carolina all had record numbers of new cases in the past three days, according to a Reuters tally. [Reuters] Oklahoma hit a new daily high on Friday with 222 new cases of the coronavirus reported. [The Frontier] Officials: Tulsa virus spike linked to recent indoor events [AP News] Visit for the latest COVID-19 numbers in Oklahoma. 

Health News

Nursing home visitation can resume in phases starting Monday, governor says: Gov. Kevin Stitt on Friday said visitation in long-term care facilities can resume Monday. The Oklahoma State Department of Health released guidance to ensure the safety of Oklahomans who may be more vulnerable to COVID-19 exposure. [Tulsa World]

Veterans homes avoid major COVID-19 outbreaks: Although COVID-19 has ravaged some Oklahoma nursing homes, Oklahoma’s seven state veterans centers have so far avoided major COVID-19 outbreaks. So far only five of 1,237 veterans center residents and five staff members have tested positive for the coronavirus. [The Oklahoman]

Oklahoma’s coronavirus cases spike as voters weigh Medicaid expansion and Trump plans rally: Oklahoma voters are weighing whether to expand Medicaid via ballot initiative just as cases of the coronavirus strain Covid-19 are rising and President Trump schedules an arena-sized political rally in Tulsa. [Forbes]

Oklahoma Engaged: The long road to Oklahoma’s Medicaid expansion vote: Campaign signs are appearing along roadways and advertisements are popping up on screens of all kinds as voters prepare to decide on expanding Medicaid coverage in Oklahoma. The June 30th election for state question 802 was a long time coming. [KGOU]

Point of View: SQ 802 would be a step forward for Oklahoma: “At my white coat ceremony almost a year ago, I pledged to “do no harm” in the pursuit of a medical career. However, one does not need to graduate from medical school to see that our fragmented health care coverage in Oklahoma harms patients and communities, yielding poorer health outcomes than the national average.” [Daniel Pham Op-Ed / The Oklahoman]

State Government News

Republican leaders say Medicaid expansion state question likely to pass, funding still to figure out: With a vote on a state question to expand Medicaid less than three weeks away, Republican state lawmakers think they know how it will go. “I think 802 is likely to pass,” House Majority Floor Leader Jon Echols, R-Oklahoma City, said during a legislative briefing with the Tulsa Regional Chamber. [Public Radio Tulsa]

Capitol Insider: June 30 Oklahoma primary election primer (audio):  Oklahoma voters go to the polls on June 30 under some new rules and recommendations due to the COVID-19 pandemic. KGOU’s Dick Pryor and eCapitol’s Shawn Ashley talk to Oklahoma State Election Board Secretary Paul Ziriax about absentee voting and what to expect on election day for the Oklahoma Primary Election. [KGOU]

Legislative offices swamped with requests for help on unemployment claims: Legislative offices are swamped with pleas from constituents seeking help in obtaining unemployment benefits. Meanwhile, the Oklahoma Employment Security Commission has known since before 2017 that its computer system needed an upgrade and has been collecting funds to pay for it. [Tulsa World]

Federal Government News

Court filings clear way for possible decision in lawsuit over tribal gaming compacts: Attorneys for Gov. Kevin Stitt and Oklahoma gaming tribes submitted additional legal arguments to an Oklahoma City federal judge Friday, clearing the way for a possible court ruling on whether the state’s 15-year tribal gaming compacts expired on Jan. 1 or automatically renewed on that date. [The Oklahoman]

Frank Keating: A new playbook for the post-COVID-19 world: The federal government must be the sole lead for national nightmares and it must warn the states and show the states how to survive. [Frank Keating Op-Ed / Tulsa World]

Criminal Justice News

Two Oklahoma men contract COVID-19 while incarcerated, survive while homeless: Without widespread testing of all the individuals experiencing homelessness in Oklahoma City, only three are known to have contracted COVID-19 so far. Each of them came from a correctional facility. [The Oklahoman]

Inmate found dead at Oklahoma County jail, second death this year: An inmate died Saturday at the Oklahoma County jail, according to the sheriff’s office. Around 5:30 p.m., medical staff were doing rounds and found Desirae Denton, 35, “unresponsive in her cell,” where she was housed alone, according to a press release. [The Oklahoman]

Op-Ed: State Question 805 will save the state money and bring a sense of redemption to criminal justice in Oklahoma: To put it bluntly, sentencing enhancements are costing Oklahoma a fortune, both in the monetary cost of keeping people locked up for longer periods of time as well as the societal cost of separating families for decades and preventing those offenders from becoming productive members of society. [Don Millican Op-Ed / Tulsa World]  

Economy & Business News

Farmers are struggling to break even amid a surge in global wheat production: Farmers in Oklahoma and across the Great Plains are in the middle of cutting their wheat crops. Even as more people bake during the pandemic, some wheat farmers may need help to break even this year. [KOSU]

State’s casinos are reopening; some go smoke-free: Casinos reopening as coronavirus fears begin to subside in Oklahoma may look and feel somewhat different to patrons. [The Journal Record]

Getting ready for action: Shuttered by virus, Oklahoma film industry fights to return: It’s tough to shoot a movie when the actors and crew are all sitting around at home under self-quarantine. The coronavirus slipped in about three months ago and grabbed big and small Oklahoma productions by the neck. [The Journal Record]

Education News

CARES Act provides $16 million in school grants for COVID-19 relief: Oklahoma schools could tap into $16 million in federal stimulus funds for needs related to COVID-19. Gov. Kevin Stitt and state schools Superintendent Joy Hofmeister announced on Friday school districts can apply for up to $500,000 in incentive grants, depending on student enrollment. [The Oklahoman]

OKC schools must improve racial equity, leaders say: Oklahoma City Public Schools publicly affirmed its support for Black Lives Matter last week, but district leaders say there’s more to do to back that up with action. [The Oklahoman]

General News

Column: Other answers to the governor’s questions about race: State leaders must be more purposeful in their appointments and consideration of bills coming from marginalized communities. Business leaders must be more deliberate in hiring and promotion practices, and the same for nonprofits in board recruitment. [Ginnie Graham / Tulsa World]

Cherokee Nation removes confederate monuments in Oklahoma: The Cherokee Nation has removed two confederate monuments from its Capitol Square that were erected nearly a century ago by the Daughters of the Confederacy. [AP News] Removal of monuments stirs controversy [Tahlequah Daily Press]

Oklahoma Local News

  • Editorial: Local effort look to solve problems, drive Tulsa forward [Tulsa World Editorial]
  • Enid commissioners may soon see return of LGBTQ equality measure [Enid News & Eagle]
  • Tahlequah school board discusses concerns over returning to classrooms [Tahlequah Daily Press]
  • Edmond parents want their kids back in the classroom this fall [KOSU]

Quote of the Day

“What I want people to recognize is equity doesn’t mean taking away from somebody to give to someone else. We have some groups that are not at the basic floor of opportunity, and so how do we get them there and maintain the level for others?”

-Marsha Herron, OKC Public Schools Executive Director for Equity and Innovation [The Oklahoman

Number of the Day

$1.267 billion

Expected increase in Medicaid, CHIP, and Marketplace Tax Credits in nonexpansion states like Oklahoma during 2020 (assuming no pandemic) if Oklahoma accepted Medicaid expansion.

[Source: Robert Wood Johnson Foundation / Urban Institute]

See previous Numbers of the Day here.

Policy Note

Stolen Breaths: Any solution to racial health inequities must be rooted in the material conditions in which those inequities thrive. Therefore, we must insist that for the health of the Black community and, in turn, the health of the nation, we address the social, economic, political, legal, educational, and health care systems that maintain structural racism. Because as the COVID-19 pandemic so expeditiously illustrated, all policy is health policy. [The New England Journal of Medicine]

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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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