In The Know: Recreational marijuana election date set for March | Ethics of jail phone calls questioned | Tulsa Race Massacre lawsuit

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

SQ 820: Recreational marijuana set for March ballot: Oklahoma voters will go to the polls in a March 7, 2023, special election to decide the fate of State Question 820, which would legalize marijuana for recreational use and expunge past marijuana convictions for some people. [NonDoc]

  • Stitt picks March date for marijuana vote [Journal Record]
  • Oklahoma to vote on legalizing recreational cannabis sales, use [KGOU]
  • Oklahoma voters to decide recreational marijuana question in March special election [The Oklahoman]

Ethics of OK County Jail phone call charges questioned: Detainees at the Oklahoma County Jail are provided meals, clothing and some other necessities, but their ability to stay in contact with the outside world comes at a price. [NonDoc]

Justice for Greenwood supporters pack courtroom to hear Tulsa Race Massacre lawsuit status: The plaintiffs in the Tulsa Race Massacre lawsuit may not have been able to be present in the courtroom on Tuesday, but a swath of supporters held their place as a judge scheduled a hearing on recent motions to dismiss the claims. [Tulsa World]

Voting and Election News

GOP PAC to launch ‘seven-figure’ ad buy against Joy Hofmeister in Oklahoma governor race: The Republican Governors Association on Wednesday will launch a “seven-figure” ad buy attacking Democratic gubernatorial candidate Joy Hofmeister. The Republican Governors Association is helping Gov. Kevin Stitt as several polls show the governor’s race is a dead heat. Millions in spending from PACs and dark money groups that haven’t revealed their donors appear to be hurting Stitt’s favorability ratings and driving down his poll numbers. [The Oklahoman]

The Frontier fact-checked candidates for Oklahoma County District Attorney: The Frontier used public records, interviews and other sources to fact-check some of the candidates’ claims and the organization found false and misleading claims from both candidates. [The Frontier]

Health News

Gender-affirming care was a lifeline for this Oklahoma teen. Now it’s a political target: Sixteen-year-old Sterling began taking testosterone about a year ago, after several appointments with his doctor in Oklahoma City. It was one of the best choices he’s ever made. But in recent weeks, Sterling’s health care has become a target of Republican lawmakers. Now, it’s unclear what’s next for him. [The Oklahoman]

Criminal Justice News

Four dead friends in an Oklahoma river: What we know about the Okmulgee killings: An arrest has been made, but questions remain after the bodies of four men were found dismembered in an Oklahoma river days after family reported them missing. [The Oklahoman]

  • Person of interest in 4 Okmulgee men’s slayings arrested in Florida [Tulsa World]

Injured Oklahoma County deputy gives update on his recovery: Deputy Mark Johns of the Oklahoma County Sheriff’s Office says prayer, and the support of the community and his wife have gotten him through the beginning of a long recovery process following being shot in the line of duty on Aug. 22. [The Oklahoman]

OKC church prepares to paint second cross at anti-death penalty vigil: A local church is preparing to make another color change to a symbolic anti-death penalty demonstration on its front lawn. The second of 25 crosses erected on the lawn of the Lazarus Community at Clark Memorial United Methodist Church will be painted either red or green at a vigil set for 6 p.m. Thursday at the church, 5808 NW 23. [The Oklahoman]

Economy & Business News

Rents still rising in OKC, other cities – but at slower pace: Rental rates are still rising in Oklahoma City and other cities, continuing a trend that has lasted well more than a year, but apartment inflation is showing signs of easing, according to a recent look at data by [Journal Record]

Officials: Power reserves increased for Oklahoma, regional grid: An increase in power reserves required by the grid that oversees the state of Oklahoma was among the topics discussed Tuesday by the Oklahoma Corporation Commission. [Tulsa World]

Quote of the Day

“It is not ethical or moral for jails to take advantage of individuals incarcerated during what is perhaps the worst time in their lives. Many incarcerated folks have no means of communicating with loved ones, friends or their attorneys outside of paying for phone calls at an exorbitant price.”

-Hanna Roberts, attorney for the ACLU of Oklahoma, speaking about the Oklahoma County Jail’s phone policies that charge detainees $0.16 per minute for phone calls once they’ve used their one free 15-minute phone call and 30-minute video call per week. [NonDoc]

Number of the Day


The share of Oklahoma children under age 18 who live in families with incomes less than 150 percent of the federal poverty level, which is about 320,000 Oklahoma children. In 2021, a 150% poverty threshold for a family of two adults and two children was $41,218. [KIDS COUNT]

Policy Note

States Use Fiscal Recovery Funds to Promote Income Security: States across the country are using flexible State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds (SLFRF) to boost income security, particularly for those who face structural barriers to building wealth and income and have been disproportionately impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Income security programs, such as one-time or monthly cash payments and savings accounts, help people with low incomes emerge from the worst of the pandemic. By strengthening and expanding these programs with FRF, states can continue to improve the current and long-term well-being of individuals and families. [Center on Budget and Policy Priorities]

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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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