In The Know: Reports of systemic abuse at Enid DHS center | Recruiting new business to Oklahoma | Election day in Comanche County | 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.

State Government News

After reporting alleged abuse, a former Greer Center staffer found flyers saying she was available for sex acts: The Oklahoma Department of Human Services continued to refer clients to a troubled center for people with developmental disabilities for months after reports of systemic abuse first surfaced. A former Greer Center staff member said coworkers retaliated against her after she reported the allegations. [The Frontier]

Federal Government News

Federal safety grants to benefit rural communities in Oklahoma: They weren’t exceptionally large grants, but towns in Oklahoma will be able to buy police radios and firefighting gear and make other investments in safety after receiving federal funding provided through the U.S. Department of Agriculture. [Journal Record]

Tribal Nations News

Letter to the Editor: Today I surrendered use of my Osage Nation car tag: After 30+ years of the State of Oklahoma recognizing the entirety of Oklahoma as Indian Territory, Gov. Kevin Stitt decided to take his frustration out on Oklahoma Tribes and declare our reservation boundaries are the only place I can live and continue to use my Osage car tags. [April Wazhaxi-Jones / Osage News]

Voting and Election News

Lawton residents to select next Oklahoma senator. Here are the candidates’ key issues.: On Tuesday, Comanche County residents will head to the polls to choose who should fill a vacant state Senate seat in the Lawton area. Democrat Larry Bush and Republican Dusty Deevers will face off in a special election to determine who will represent Senate District 32, an area that covers Cameron University and Fort Sill. [Oklahoma Voice]

Criminal Justice News

Oklahoma lawmaker says there’s no legislative appetite to punish women who seek abortion care: Efforts to prosecute women who seek abortions are unlikely to win public or legislative support, a state lawmaker said. Sen. Shane Jett, R-Shawnee, said he does not believe Oklahoma lawmakers have an interest in passing legislation that would punish women for seeking out abortions. [Oklahoma Voice]

Jimcy McGirt pleads guilty days before retrial on child sex abuse charges: On the eve of his retrial, Jimcy McGirt for the first time Tuesday admitted to sexually abusing a child in 1996 in exchange for a 30-year prison sentence with credit for time he has already served. [Tulsa World]

Civil rights organizations host forum promoting law enforcement accountability: Multiple civil rights organizations hosted a forum on Tuesday evening, promoting law enforcement accountability in Oklahoma City and across the state of Oklahoma. [KFOR]

Housing & Economic Opportunity

Oklahoma plans $215M affordable housing program: New homes and rental properties could hit the Oklahoma market in the next two years if rules for a $215 million state-funded construction loan program are approved by the end of the year, officials said. [Journal Record]

Economy & Business News

Oklahoma lawmakers differ on how to recruit new businesses to state: At the State Chamber of Oklahoma’s State of Business forum, Republican legislative leaders said tax reform, increasing the number of trained and talented workers and changing how the Oklahoma Department of Commerce operates could help the state land massive economic development deals. [Oklahoma Voice]

  • State leaders: Growing, retaining businesses should be priority [Journal Record]

CEO that sued Bacone may bid on the school in upcoming auction: Bacone College in Muskogee, a school serving many underprivileged and Indigenous students, lost a contract lawsuit brought by Utah-based Midgley-Huber Energy Concepts. The lawsuit was over unpaid HVAC work totaling more than $1.5 million. Chris Oberle, owner of MHEC and its parent company, Midgley-Huber Inc., told KWGS he wants to place a bid. [Public Radio Tulsa]

  • The future of an Oklahoma college is unclear as its campus goes up for auction [KOSU]

Education News

Oklahoma school voucher applications start Wednesday: Applications were originally set to open last Friday, but have now been delayed until this Wednesday, December 6. The program lets parents who pay or expect to pay private school tuition apply for a tax credit of $5,000 to $7,500. [KTEN]

Bynum urges board to name Ebony Johnson TPS’ permanent superintendent: Mayor G.T. Bynum sent a letter on Tuesday to Tulsa Public Schools board members warning that “local control of Tulsa Public Schools hangs in the balance” and asking that they hire Ebony Johnson as the permanent superintendent of the district. [Tulsa World]

Oklahoma City schools hope to boost staff diversity with pipeline program: She has a different native language and land of origin, but Masoomeh Rana Mohammadi knows more than most what some of her students have gone through. Having come to the U.S. from Iran in 2001, Mohammadi has an immigrant background like several of the eighth graders in her algebra I classroom at Capitol Hill Middle School, where nearly 79% of students are learning English as their second language. [Oklahoma Voice]

‘Dropped the ball’: Board approves Kingfisher football hazing lawsuit settlement at tense meeting: On Monday night in a packed room on the high school campus, those who supported plaintiff alumnus Mason Mecklenburg and those who supported criminally charged football coach Jeff Myers seemed to agree on one thing: It sure felt like the home team lost. [NonDoc]

  • Angry Kingfisher taxpayers told they may not have to pay the rest of $5 million lawsuit settlement [The Oklahoman]

General News

Oklahoma Local News

  • Tourism’s impact on rise in Tulsa, officials report [Journal Record]
  • Oklahoma State University reveals plans for research park to bring communities together [News on 6]
  • Tulsa County seeking repayment of $157,000 in ARPA funding from The Oasis Projects [Tulsa World]

Quote of the Day

“We have to find a way to be able to give Commerce and others the tools to actually land these (deals) absent us having to rush a bill through and try to get something passed. It’s bad policy to try and rush something through.”

– Senate Pro Tem Greg Treat (R-OKC) on the state’s recent methods of attracting new businesses. [Oklahoma Voice]

Number of the Day

10.5 million

The unauthorized immigrant population in the United States reached 10.5 million in 2021. This was a modest increase over 2019 (10.2 million) but nearly identical to 2017 and consistent with a general decrease during the past 15 years. [Pew Research Center]

Policy Note

New census projections show immigration is essential to the growth and vitality of a more diverse US population: In a future of decreasing births and increasing deaths across an already aging population, immigration levels are crucial in leading to national growth as opposed to decline, and countering what would otherwise be extreme aging. Yet counter to widespread claims, immigration is not primarily responsible for making the nation more racially and ethnically diverse, as the U.S. population will become less white even under scenarios of low or zero future immigration. [Brookings]

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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.