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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

Taking a deeper look at the latest special session call (Capitol Update): The Oklahoma Constitution provides for a regular session of the legislature once a year, but last week Gov. Kevin Stitt called the third special session for 2023 to begin on Oct. 3. This follows two special sessions in 2022, one in 2021, and two in 2020. Special sessions are provided for in the Constitution, but they are called Extraordinary Sessions. If the name means anything, you’d think special sessions would be rare. [Steve Lewis / Capitol Update]

Oklahoma News

Oklahoma religious private schools look to expand in light of new tax credits: New private school tax credits have some Oklahoma religious officials looking at expanding the number of parochial schools and increasing enrollment options to accommodate more students. [Oklahoma Voice]

State Government News

Oklahoma lawmakers to discuss use of corporal punishment on students with disabilities: The two state lawmakers who tried unsuccessfully this year to ban the use of corporal punishment for public school students with disabilities will hold a joint study on the issue in October. [The Oklahoman]

Advocates push for increased hemp regulations in Oklahoma: Experts are urging state lawmakers to pass legislation that would increase regulation of the state’s industrial hemp industry. [Oklahoma Voice]

Oklahoma AG may target ‘forever chemicals’ in legal action: Oklahoma Attorney General Gentner Drummond is considering taking legal action against companies linked to “forever chemicals” found in water supplies in Oklahoma and across the country. [Journal Record]

Federal Government News

Biden administration urges Oklahoma to fix underfunding of land-grant HBCU: States engaged in decades of underfunding of land-grant Historically Black Colleges and Universities, leading to a more than $12 billion disparity with comparable white institutions, leaders of the U.S. Department of Education and U.S. Department of Agriculture said on Monday. [Oklahoma Voice]

  • State-run, land-grant HBCUs are owed more than $13 billion, the White House says [KOSU]

Oklahoma superintendent to testify before US House committee on Tuesday: The topic is Chinese government money in schools. Walters said he was called to testify because members of Congress wanted to hear about Chinese influence. Walters called out Tulsa Public Schools through Confucius studies programs. The district has previously said they don’t see foreign influence at play. [KOCO]

  • Ryan Walters speaks on Constitution and religion in D.C.: Oklahoma’s State Superintendent Ryan Walters traveled to Washington D.C. last week to speak at the “Pray, Vote, Stand” Summit. That summit is where Walters made this claim: “The Supreme Court has been wrong. There is no separation of church and state in the constitution or declaration of independence, it doesn’t exist,” said Walters. [News 9]

Voting and Election News

Lawmaker wants to save process that allows Oklahomans to change state law through voting: One state lawmaker wants to save the process that allows Oklahomans to change state law through a vote. Democratic state Rep. Mickey Dollens argued the right to directly participate in the lawmaking process is under attack in the state. [KOCO]

Tulsa World Opinion podcast: Why younger Oklahomans don’t see the point in voting: Kimberlee Wilson is a senior at Oologah-Talala High School. She recent wrote a guest column entitled “I’m a 17-year-old Oklahoma student and my peers don’t see the point in voting.” She speaks with Ginnie Graham about why her peers “accept that their votes don’t make a difference,” why voter turnout statewide is low, and how things can change. [Opinion / Tulsa World]

Health News

Her pregnancy was non-viable and her life was at risk but Oklahoma law prevented an abortion: When she awoke on the couch in the early morning hours of Nov. 21, Magon Hoffman’s pajama pants were soaked in blood. What began as light bleeding the night before had turned severe. Hoffman assumed she was miscarrying. But an ultrasound revealed it was Hoffman’s life that was in danger. [Oklahoma Watch]

Oklahoma needs nurses. OCU is offering scholarships, fast-track program to fill gap: In an effort to bring more nurses into the field, Oklahoma City University is launching a path for students to receive a nursing degree in just one year. [The Oklahoman]

Narcan now in drugstores, but the life-saving spray is $45. Here’s where to get it free.: The life-saving naloxone nasal spray is now available over the counter at local pharmacies, but a package of two doses can cost almost $45, leaving many asking if the product can feasibly make it to the hands of those who need it. [The Oklahoman]

Norman to host first ‘Out of the Darkness’ walk to support those affected by suicide: Norman is preparing to host its first Out of the Darkness walk on Nov. 12 to support people affected by suicide and decrease stigma. [KGOU]

Criminal Justice News

Anthony Sanchez Oklahoma: protest scheduled execution: On Thursday, September 21, the Oklahoma Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty (OK-CADP) asks the public to join them at the Anthony Sanchez Oklahoma “Don’t Kill For Me” demonstration in protest of his scheduled execution in Oklahoma. [The Black Wall Street Times]

Officials pass out free cue cards to help bridge gap between police, deaf: Advocates for the deaf and hard of hearing are working to prevent tragic police encounters by offering free cue cards to help bridge the communication gap. [Oklahoma Voice]

Economy & Business News

How the UAW strike will affect auto industry: The United Auto Workers strike that began Friday is unlikely to affect the industry or consumers in the short term but could result in significant changes down the road, local expert Hugo DeCampos said. [Journal Record]

Education News

Tulsa school board hires special counsel; feds charge former administrator: On the same day the Tulsa Public Schools Board of Education voted to hire special counsel, federal prosecutors charged Devin Fletcher, the former TPS chief talent and equity officer, with wire fraud in an embezzlement case that caught the attention of state officials. [Public Radio Tulsa]

  • Former Tulsa Public Schools administrator charged with felony wire fraud conspiracy [KGOU]
  • Former TPS senior administrator charged in embezzlement case [Tulsa World]
  • TPS board hires special attorney for accreditation compliance, looming state audit and criminal probe [Tulsa World]

Oklahoma Local News

  • ‘Elephant in the room:’ Edmond City Council, EPS Board discuss GO bonds at joint meeting [NonDoc]
  • Stillwater mayor reports ‘Vision Forward’ successes [Journal Record]
  • OKC Council could leverage NBA arena project to add workforce benefits, like Milwaukee did [The Oklahoman]
  • Second Annual Pärlá Fest highlights BIPOC creatives in Tulsa [The Black Wall Street Times]

Quote of the Day

“We do need to be careful about changes that we are making to the process — that we are not taking away the intent of a ballot initiative, which is to be citizen-led and accessible in order to present ideas.”

– Michelle Tilley, who was involved with initiative petitions to expand Medicaid and to legalize recreational cannabis in Oklahoma, on recent legislation that added considerably to the expense and difficulty of getting a petition approved and on the ballot. [Tulsa World]

Number of the Day


Percentage of Oklahoma children who lived in households at or below the federal poverty level in 2022. Oklahoma had the nation’s 8th highest rate of child poverty in 2022. [U.S. Census via OK Policy]

Policy Note

Lapse of Expanded Child Tax Credit Led to Unprecedented Rise in Nation’s Child Poverty Rate: Lawmakers accomplished something commendable in 2021 when they expanded the Child Tax Credit (CTC) and cut child poverty in half, the largest drop ever recorded. Despite requests from President Biden to extend the credit enhancements, Congress allowed those measures to expire at the end of 2021. With the Census Bureau’s release of new poverty data covering 2022, we now know what happened when the credit expansion ended, and the results are not particularly surprising: the nation lost the dramatic gains made against child poverty in 2021. [Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy]

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Annie Taylor joined OK Policy as a Digital Communications Associate/Storybanker in April 2022. She studied journalism and mass communication at the University of Oklahoma, and was a member of the Native American Journalists Association. She earned her bachelor’s degree in Strategic Communications from the University of Central Oklahoma. While pursuing her degree, she worked in restaurant and retail management, as well as freelance copywriting and digital content production. Annie is an enrolled member of the Choctaw Nation, and holds a deep reverence for storytelling in the digital age. She was born and raised in southeast Oklahoma, and now lives in Oklahoma City with her dog, Melvin.

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