In The Know: Response to Tulsa mass shooting | Chairman claims pressure to fire potential political challenger | Audit resolution fails

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.

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Oklahoma News

Tulsa mass shooting prompts diverging political responses: On the ground floor of the Oklahoma state Capitol, where the flags on the south steps were being lowered to half staff, Democratic lawmakers huddled Thursday to call for new gun control measures, including a repeal of the state’s “permitless carry” law and a waiting period for purchasing a firearm. About 30 miles north, Don Spencer, the leader of a statewide gun rights organization, worked the phones from his home office, pushing lawmakers to expand firearm access, especially in private businesses. [The Oklahoman

  • Saint Francis shooting: Oklahoma imposes few obstacles to obtaining firearms [Tulsa World
  • Citing Tulsa and other mass shootings, Biden says ‘it’s time to act’ on gun control [The Oklahoman]
  • Oklahoma House Democrats call for stricter gun laws [Tulsa World] [CNHI via The Norman Transcript]
  • After Saint Francis mass shooting, Tulsa County’s lone Democratic commissioner calls for gun reform [Public Radio Tulsa
  • Muskogee Mayor asks Congress to help prevent shootings [Muskogee Phoenix]
  • Tulsa police: Bomb threat in Muskogee connected to Tulsa shooting [CNHI via The Norman Transcript]
  • Tulsa shooting highlights vulnerability of hospitals [AP
  • Gunman saw his doctor the day before killing him, three others in his medical office [Tulsa World
  • Pain management: Tulsa shooting exposes threats doctors face [AP
  • A doctor who loved jazz, a mother of two: What we know about the Tulsa shooting victims [The Oklahoman] [CNHI via The Norman Transcript]

State Government News

The chairman of a state board claims Stitt’s top aide urged members to vote on firing a potential political challenger: The chairman of a state board claims Gov. Kevin Stitt’s chief of staff urged members to call a vote to remove Joel Kintsel from his job at the Oklahoma Department of Veterans Affairs as Kintsel prepared to announce a run for governor. [The Frontier

Audit resolution fails at state Capitol: A lawmaker whose jurisdiction covers Cleveland and Pottawatomie counties plans to reintroduce a House resolution in the next session to force an audit of the Oklahoma Turnpike Authority. [The Norman Transcript]

Bob Doucette: All is not well among Oklahoma Republicans: There should be no happier bunch in politics than Oklahoma Republicans. Every GOP priority — on abortion, taxes, guns, and more — has gained passage without much of a fight. And yet, all is not well among Okie Republicans.  A simmering fissure between Gov. Kevin Stitt and a wide spectrum of fellow Republicans erupted during the last week of the 2022 legislative session. [Column / Tulsa World

Voting and Election News

Deadline approaching to request absentee ballots for June election: Voters who want absentee ballots mailed to them for the upcoming election should apply by June 13. According to a press release from Garfield County Election Board, the deadline for requesting an absentee ballot for the June 28 primary election is 5 p.m. Monday, June 13. [Enid News & Eagle]

Visit the Oklahoma State Election Board website to learn more about local elections and state deadlines

Rural affairs on display in open Senate District 4 race: After 12 years in the Oklahoma State Senate, Sen. Mark Allen (R-Spiro) cannot run for reelection because of term limits. This leaves Senate District 4 open, and four Republicans are vying for the seat. [NonDoc

Health News

Insurance must now cover diagnostic mammograms in Oklahoma: Oklahoma House Bill 3504 now requires insurance companies to fully cover the cost of diagnostic mammograms. State Rep. Melissa Provenzano (D-District 78) worked with groups across the country to draft the legislation. [KTEN

Economy & Business News

State first-time jobless claims jump 41%: First-time Oklahoma jobless claims jumped 41% last week compared with the previous week, according to a government report. Initial claim weekly totals have varied since peaking for the year the last week of March at 2,946, with the month of May featuring claims up one week only to decline the following week. [Tulsa World

  • U.S. added 390,000 jobs in May as hiring remained robust [Tulsa World

Education News

College enrollment continues to decline in Oklahoma: Enrollment at Oklahoma’s colleges and universities tumbled by almost 5 percent in spring 2022 compared to spring 2021, according to a report released last week by the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center. [KOSU

Previously from OK Policy: Oklahoma among worst states for higher education cuts, harming students who already face the greatest barriers 

Oklahoma Local News

Latest OKC homeless count down but situation still dire for many: That number is down from 1,573 in 2020, the last time the annual count was done. The 2021 count was skipped due to the COVID pandemic. But, officials with the City of Oklahoma City and the Oklahoma City Homeless Alliance caution that the lower number may have been due to circumstances of this year’s count. [OKC Free Press]

Quote of the Day

“As a community, we have gotten really good about moving people from homelessness into housing. What we as a community are not so good at is preventing you from becoming homeless in the first place. And, that’s the hard one, right?”

– Dan Straughan, executive director of the Homeless Alliance, speaking about the latest count of Oklahoma City’s homeless population. [OKC Free Press]

Number of the Day

25 million

Number of filers who claimed the federal EITC in 2019

[Source: Urban Institute]

Policy Note

Millions of Children May Lose Medicaid: What Can Be Done to Help Prevent Them From Becoming Uninsured? About half of children in the United States are now insured through Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). These children have had stability in their Medicaid coverage during the COVID-19 public health emergency due to a continuous coverage requirement, but this protection is likely to expire sometime in 2022 –– perhaps as soon as April. States will have to recheck eligibility for everyone enrolled in Medicaid including children. Children could lose coverage in one of two ways: they could become eligible for another public coverage program and get lost in transition; or they could remain eligible for Medicaid but still lose their coverage for procedural reasons. It is critical that state and federal policymakers act to minimize coverage losses, make data available to the public, and intervene quickly if children begin to lose coverage and end up uninsured. [Georgetown University Center for Children and Families]

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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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