In The Know: Public Health Emergency extended | Expanding driver’s license eligibility | Castro-Huerta ruling continues broken promises

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

Expanding driver’s license eligibility is better for all of us: It’s a fact of life that getting around in Oklahoma requires a driver’s license. Because immigrants in Oklahoma who are undocumented are barred from getting one, the lack of a license presents a major challenge for 85,000 Oklahomans to get to work, doctor’s appointments, the grocery store, or take children to school. Allowing all immigrants access to driver’s licenses would increase road safety, boost the economy, and give immigrants a form of identification and peace of mind. [Gabriela Ramirez-Perez / OK Policy

Oklahoma News

Castro-Huerta ruling continues a legacy of broken promises to Native American communities: In June, the US Supreme Court ruled in Oklahoma v. Castro-Huerta that the state has the jurisdiction to prosecute non-Native Americans for crimes committed on tribal land, unraveling a 2020 ruling known as McGirt. The recent ruling is impossible to disconnect from the United States’ centuries-long relationship with Native American communities—a relationship marked by broken promises, stolen resources, cultural loss, discrimination and violence. [Big If True

  • (Audio) Supreme Court upends federal Indian law in Oklahoma v. Castro-Huerta decision [KGOU

Oklahoma tribes express guarded optimism in the wake of state Attorney General election shakeup: As Attorney General John O’Connor prepares to exit following his GOP primary defeat, tribal leaders hope change will improve relations with AG’s office. [The Frontier

Public Health Emergency extended another 90 days – saving around 200,000 Oklahomans from losing healthcare coverage: Oklahoma Health Care Authority (OHCA) says the Federal Health and Human Services Department (HHS) has extended the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency (PHE). The extension allows certain Oklahomans on Medicaid to maintain their health coverage over the next 90 days. [KFOR]  

State Government News

New Law Reduces Taxes for Businesses, Cuts Support for Jobless Oklahomans: Republican legislators passed a law lowering taxes for businesses, but critics say it comes at the expense of jobless Oklahomans. The law, which passed along party lines in both the House and the Senate, cuts the maximum number of weeks that unemployed Oklahomans can receive financial support from 26 to 16 starting Jan. 1. [Oklahoma Watch

Legislative Update: Southern Legislative Conference provides opportunity to collaborate: CSG is a nationwide nonpartisan organization serving all three branches of state elected and appointed officials. Oklahoma is among 15 states in the Council’s southern region. Conferences like this provide great opportunities to collaborate with legislators from other states, to hear solutions they’ve developed on common issues and to bring back the best ideas to Oklahoma. [Column / Stillwater News Press

Federal Government News

Oklahoma representatives are ‘out-of-step’ with our views on abortion, reproductive freedom: My story is no different than many others. I came of age with Roe v. Wade, having just graduated from high school in 1973. I lived with the freedom to make decisions about my reproductive health, a freedom my mother did not have and one I never take for granted. So, I am angry, disappointed, but most of all, I am energized. [Opinion / The Oklahoman

  • Oklahoma lawmakers oppose abortion bills, including interstate travel measure [The Oklahoman
  • D.C. Digest: Inhofe, Lankford back child support payments during pregnancy [Tulsa World

Editorial: We cannot afford to look away from the Jan. 6 committee’s work: The House select committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol riot has painted a detailed picture of the days leading up to one of the worst days in the history of American politics, as well as harrowing details of the attack itself. [Editorial / Tulsa World

Tribal Nations News

‘People looking for hope’: Lawrence Spottedbird, Jacob Tsotigh sworn in as Kiowa Tribe executives: Several Kiowa Tribe citizens seemed to breathe a sigh of relief Friday as they celebrated the swearing in of new Chairman Lawrence Spottedbird and Vice Chairman Jacob Tsotigh. [NonDoc

Voting and Election News

T.W. Shannon barnstorms Oklahoma in effort to overtake Markwayne Mullin: Trailing in first-round results and campaign cash, T.W. Shannon embarked on a barnstorming tour of Oklahoma last week in his effort to overtake U.S. Rep. Markwayne Mullin in the Republican race to succeed U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe. [The Oklahoman

2nd Congressional District candidates offer GOP voters fairly distinct choice in the runoff: Oklahoma’s 2nd Congressional District race became much clearer on June 28, when the blur of names and faces in the Republican primary shrank from 14 to two. [Tulsa World

Health News

With Tulsa’s COVID risk upgraded and cases rising, local ER leaders push precautions, vaccination: People may enjoy forgetting about precautions during each lull between COVID-19 surges, but health care professionals and data experts want to caution Oklahomans now that they’re seeing another significant uptick. [Tulsa World

Ahead of national 988 launch, here’s how the new crisis line works in Oklahoma: A new three-digit phone number, 988, will launch nationwide Saturday for anyone to call or text in a mental health crisis. In Oklahoma, calls are being answered by an in-state crisis call center to address and deescalate mental health crises in the moment and serve as an entry point for Oklahomans to get connected with other mental health resources. [The Oklahoman

Economic Opportunity

Oklahoma City Nonprofit Opens 20 Tiny Houses For Teens, Young Adults In Need of A Safe Home: The village of tiny houses at Pivot, A Turning Point for Youth, grew by 20 on Wednesday. The houses will be available for individuals 25-year-olds and younger who are aging out of foster care or are not in a stable living situation. [News 9

Economy & Business News

Reversing the brain drain: Local nonprofit works to keep talent ‘inTulsa’: InTulsa helps connect local talent with tech jobs, letting people seek higher salaries and advance their careers without moving away. Since spinning off [from Tulsa Remote] as a separate effort in 2021, the group has helped hundreds of Tulsans find new jobs and has an active talent pool with more than 5,000 candidates, said Miller, inTulsa’s head of strategic partnerships. [Tulsa World

A beef with meat packers is the focus of a Texas lawsuit. Oklahoma ranchers hope it leads to change: Oklahoma’s ranchers are watching closely as yet another company attempts to hold the nation’s meatpacking industry accountable for what they call monopolistic actions that squeeze the nation’s fresh meat supply chain and harm ranchers and consumers alike. [The Oklahoman

Column: Tulsa survey finds Tulsa needs to work on establishing LGBTQIA+ inclusive workplaces: As famous urbanist Richard Florida aptly notes in his book, The Rise of the Creative Class, there are three critical identifiers that mark an innovative and growing city—technology, talent and tolerance. As a member of the LGBTQIA+ community and an education facilitator at Holberton Tulsa, a software engineering school, I am excited about Tulsa’s progress. But there is still work to do. [Kristen Loyd, Guest Column / Tulsa World]

Education News

Why is Gov. Stitt targeting issues at Tulsa Public Schools?: Oklahoma’s governor has amassed several political adversaries during his first term in office — tribal governments, blue states, and health care workers, to name a few — but one of his top foes has been Tulsa Public Schools, the urban school system closest to his hometown. [The Oklahoman

Hofmeister: Oklahoma educators will be dealing with effects of pandemic for years: Oklahoma educators will be dealing with problems created by the COVID-19 pandemic for years, State Superintendent of Public Instruction Joy Hofmeister said. [The Lawton Constitution

Oklahoma school districts were promised billions for coronavirus relief. Here’s how much they’ve spent: Since the coronavirus pandemic began, public schools have been promised a windfall of federal funding. In Oklahoma schools have been budgeted $2.1 billion total. [KGOU

Oklahoma Local News

  • New turnpike connections expected to bring new life to small town Oklahoma [The Oklahoman

Quote of the Day

“I think that there was a presumption that our unemployment benefits were too generous and I think that’s probably wrong. I think there are real-world issues, like trying to find childcare and making those arrangements to get back to work.”

– Sen. Michael Brooks, D-Oklahoma City, speaking about a law that cuts the number of weeks unemployed Oklahomans can receive financial support. [Oklahoma Watch

Number of the Day


Percentage of Oklahoma adults in households with children up to four-years-old who cut work hours due to childcare disruptions caused by the pandemic, Mar. 30, 2022 – Apr 11, 2022 [KIDS COUNT]

Policy Note

Unemployment Insurance: Economic Lessons from the Last Two Recessions: In this Economic Brief, we give an overview of the changes that have taken place in the unemployment insurance system during the last two severe economic episodes: the Great Recession and the COVID-19 pandemic. We discuss how unemployment benefits supported households’ consumer spending and whether it slowed labor market recovery. [Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond]

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Kristin Wells served as the Communications and Operations Fellow for OK Policy from October 2021 to July 2022. She previously worked as a digital content producer for News On 6. A native Kansas Citian, Kristin graduated with a B.A. in Media Studies and a B.A. in Spanish from the University of Tulsa in 2020. While there, she was accepted into the Global Scholars program, spurring her interests in policy, social movements, global identities, and the importance of education and advocacy. She hopes to use her skills to continue to learn and create a more equitable future for Oklahomans. An avid sports fan, Kristin lives in Tulsa with her rescue dog and is passionate about college basketball, documentaries, and coffee.

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