In The Know: Profitable private-public court debt collection scheme questioned | More questions about tribal tags in Oklahoma | Federal solutions to address child care needs | 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

State experiencing churn in agency directors (Capitol Update): With the change giving the governor the hiring and firing of agency directors, the state will continue to see more turnover in agency leadership. Political appointees will come and go rather than seeing their job as a career. In the five agencies above, a majority of the boards are appointed by the governor and serve at the pleasure of the governor so, in effect, the governor can control both the boards and the directors. [Steve Lewis / Capitol Update]

Oklahoma News

Private-Public Court Debt Collection Scheme Continues to Profit: Federal law prohibits debt collection agencies from threatening arrest because of a lack of payment. However, Oklahoma law authorizes district courts to issue failure-to-pay warrants if a defendant has not paid their fines and fees or made contact with the courthouse. A class-action lawsuit is challenging Oklahoma’s court debt collection processes. [Oklahoma Watch]

State Government News

Answers to your questions about driving with tribal tags in Oklahoma: KOSU is looking to answer some frequently asked questions about tickets for tribal tags. We talked with attorney Joe Halloran with Jacobson Law Group, a national Indian law firm office out of Saint Paul, Minnesota. [KOSU]

  • Tribal nations, lawmakers have questions over ‘out of the blue’ ticketing for tribal tag [The Oklahoman]

Kirkpatrick Policy Group questions Oklahoma’s lawsuit over Massachusetts animal law: Attorney General Gentner Drummond signed an amicus brief with a dozen other states in late October about a Massachusetts law that prevents farmers from putting breeding pigs, egg-laying hens and veal calves in spaces where they can’t stand up, turn around, lie down or fully extend their limbs. [KOSU]

AG Drummond takes issue with rate increase for PSO customers: Attorney General Gentner Drummond asked the Oklahoma Corporation Commission on Monday to modify its final order on Public Service Company of Oklahoma’s rate request to ensure more relief for residential customers. [Tulsa World]

Federal Government News

Every member of Congress was asked about child care policy. Only 5 Republicans responded: In September, when billions of dollars in child care funding were about to expire, a Senate subcommittee convened to discuss solutions. The 19th asked every member of Congress: What is your stance on federal child care policy? What kind of child care policy would you support? No Oklahoma lawmakers responded to questions about what child care policies they’d support. [The 19th]

US consumer inflation eased in October as cheaper gas slowed overall price increases: Inflation in the United States slowed last month in a sign that the Federal Reserve’s interest rate hikes are continuing to cool the consumer price spikes that have bedeviled consumers for the past two years. [AP via Tulsa World]

Tribal Nations News

Tribal leaders ask Congress for help with fentanyl crisis in Native American communities: Leaders of Native American tribes detailed the fentanyl crisis in Indigenous communities during a Wednesday U.S. Senate hearing. Officials also expressed concerns about growing use of synthetic opioid Carfentanil. [Oklahoma Voice]

Five companies graduate from Cherokee Women Accelerator, earn grants: Five companies graduated from the Cherokee Women Accelerator, a program designed to expand access to Cherokee women entrepreneurs, and received a $10,000 grant. [Tulsa World]

Osages to open second casino in as many months: The Osage Nation will open its second casino in as many months on Thursday. The Osage Nation will open its second casino in as many months on Thursday. [Tulsa World]

Ancestral homelands in Alabama will be given remains and objects to MCN: An owner of one of the ancestral homeland sites in Alabama has agreed to grant the Muscogee (Creek) Nation permission to establish a reinterment cemetery. [MVSKOKE Media]

Voting and Election News

What’s on the ballot for the November 14th special election in Oklahoma: Voters in 24 counties across Oklahoma are heading to the polls on Tuesday to consider school bonds, municipal propositions and more. [KOSU]

Health News

Public health workers say they are fighting an uphill battle since COVID. Lackluster funding isn’t helping: Pandemic-related public health funding has dried up. Even the leftover funding is likely not usable for other public health efforts because it is earmarked for COVID. Advocates say there needs to be a change in the tendency for large increases in funding only to deal with specific issues. [KOSU]

Criminal Justice News

With Oklahoma executions ramping up, some push death penalty moratorium: Renewed discussion is underway over the state’s death penalty practices and whether another moratorium might be in order. [NonDoc]

Lawton Inmate Dies After Private Prison Staff Refused Care, Lawsuit Claims: After an X-ray revealed a life-threatening injury, nurses, a doctor and prison guards locked Justin Barrientos in a cell where he suffered for hours without care and lay dead for more than 90 minutes before anyone noticed. [Oklahoma Watch]

Housing & Economic Opportunity

Opinion: Over the past 20 years, a lack of high-speed internet access led to negative economic effects: Unfortunately, many communities in the heartland are seeing their populations shrink and jobs disappear, especially in a time when technology, innovation and artificial intelligence are changing the landscape of the workforce at a rapid pace. That’s why I believe the No. 1 economic issue of our time is connecting residents to affordable, high-speed internet. [Angie Cooper / The Oklahoman]

Economy & Business News

Electric vehicle startup Canoo manufactures first vehicles in Oklahoma: A startup electric vehicle company has manufactured its first vehicles in Oklahoma, officials said.  [Oklahoma Voice ]

Innovation economy could supercharge Oklahoma’s potential: Technology-focused organization and initiative leaders on Monday spoke to state representatives about opportunities, strengths and weaknesses of the state’s innovation economy. [Journal Record]

Midwest City Starbucks workers vote to join union: Starbucks workers at the Midwest City location at 29th Street and Air Depot Boulevard opted for union representation recently in a 13-3 vote. The location is the fourth Starbucks to unionize in Oklahoma. [Journal Record]

Education News

Proposed charter schools hope to add educational options in historically Black OKC community: Three potential new charter schools aim to open in northeast OKC. [Oklahoma Voice]

Request to pull Union library book gets chilly reception from parents: A local organization’s request to pull a sexual assault survivor’s memoir from the shelves of Union High School’s library received a chilly reception from several Union parents at Monday night’s school board meeting. [Tulsa World]

‘This isn’t just a school.’ Parents rally behind online charter school amid proposed in-person rule changes: Parents of students attending Insight School of Oklahoma are arguing against proposed rule changes by the state Department of Education that could close the alternative online charter school. [The Oklahoman]

Early Learning Assessment: A Force For Good When Used Responsibly: New state laws in New Hampshire, Oklahoma, and Connecticut have steered preschool toward play-based learning. [New America]

Opinion: Adults with 21st-century pitchforks who ban books can learn a lot from young people: Societies have a long history of book burnings. All of them were in the name of politics or religion. Technically, book burnings are a form of censorship. When we looked back at history, we found our knee-jerk reactions to be unnecessary. [K. John Lee / The Oklahoman]

Opinion, National Teacher of the Year Rebecka Peterson: Instead of looking for reasons to be angry, find the light in others: My favorite teachers brought out the best in me. As an immigrant to the United States, my early childhood teachers didn’t label me as a foreigner, or even a language learner, from what I can remember. As a young girl, I recall loving these classroom spaces where everyone was celebrated. [Rebecka Peterson / The Oklahoman]

General News

Oklahoma study reveals 73.7% state compliance in preventing underage alcohol sales: The Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services (ODMHSAS) and the Oklahoma Alcoholic Beverage Law Enforcement Commission (ABLE) have announced the results of the bi-annual Underage Access to Alcohol Purchase Study (APS). [Fox 25]

Oklahoma Local News

  • Edmond nature preserve a step closer to reality following conservation agreement. [The Oklahoman]
  • Community celebrates new OKC mural of Black Medal of Honor recipient. [The Oklahoman]
  • Oak development lures retailers from Penn Square Mall. [Journal Record]
  • 161 rental houses planned for $44 million Legacy Farms in Bixby [Tulsa World]

Quote of the Day

 “You have the right to opt out and censor your child’s experience. You do not have the right to censor my child’s experience.”

-Erica Stormont, a Tulsa parent, speaking at a school board meeting about a group’s request to pull a sexual assault survivor’s memoir from the shelves of Union High School’s library. [Tulsa World]

Number of the Day

1.6 million

The number of people in the U.S. age 13 and older who identify as transgender. [UCLA School of Law Williams Institute]

Policy Note

Banning Medical Care and Legal Recognition for Transgender People: Since at least 2017, anti-LGBTQ activists have ramped up their coordinated efforts to erase transgender people from society, including by criminalizing transgender-related medical care (sometimes called gender-affirming care) and blocking transgender people from accessing jobs, housing, public spaces, legal identification and recognition, and simply the ability to live their lives. These efforts have ranged from attempts to roll back nondiscrimination protections for transgender people or to explicitly allow for such discrimination, to bans or restrictions on the ability of transgender people to obtain accurate identity documents, as well as bans on transgender youth playing school sports, using restroom facilities according to their gender identity, and bans on medically necessary health care, often regardless of age. [Movement Advancement Project]

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Kandis West is a communications professional with more than 15 years of experience. Most recently, she served as the Communications Director for the Oklahoma House Democratic Caucus. She spent nine years in the Olympia/Tacoma area of Washington organizing compensation campaigns for teachers for the Washington Education Association. Kandis has a proven track record of increasing community engagement, public awareness and media exposure around the most pressing issues that impact citizens. She is a graduate of the University of Oklahoma Gaylord College of Journalism.

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