In The Know: SCOTUS to review ICWA case | Oklahoma gives $15 million from ‘Quick Action Closing Fund’ | Join our team

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

Join our team as a Development Manager (Search Extended): OK Policy has extended its search for a Development Manager, a vital position that ensures the financial health of the organization through targeted donations and grants. Remote work is available for Oklahoma residents and the deadline to apply is Monday, March 14. [Learn more and apply

Oklahoma News

Supreme Court to review ICWA case: The U.S. Supreme Court agreed to hear Texas v. Haaland, a case seeking to overturn the Indian Child Welfare Act. The high court said Monday morning it would take the case reviewing the 1978 federal law. Many call the Indian Child Welfare Act a gold standard for child welfare policy. [Indian Country Today] The law gives Native American families priority in foster care and adoption proceedings involving Native children, and it places reporting and other requirements on states. [AP News

Oklahoma gives electric vehicle manufacturer $15 million from state’s ‘Quick Action Closing Fund’: Oklahoma is giving electric vehicle manufacturer Canoo $15 million from the state’s “Quick Action Closing Fund” as part of an incentive package valued at $300 million intended to bring thousands of new tech and manufacturing jobs to the state. The $15-million Quick Action Closing Fund incentive is the largest the state has ever awarded since the program was created under Gov. Mary Fallin in 2011. [The Frontier

Expert challenges Oklahoma execution protocol as federal trial starts: Oklahoma’s execution protocol leaves offenders sensate but paralyzed and unable to convey that they’re feeling extreme pain, one expert testified Monday during the first day of a federal trial challenging the constitutionally of the state’s three drug cocktail method. [CNHI via The Norman Transcript]

State Government News

Supporting Ukraine: Oklahoma Senate approves resolution in support of Ukraine, condemns violence by Russia: The Oklahoma Senate adopted a resolution Monday expressing the Sooner State’s support and historical ties with the nation of Ukraine. Senate Resolution 27 was introduced by Senate President Pro Tempore Greg Treat, R-Oklahoma City. “We stand with the people of Ukraine and call on the citizens of Oklahoma to join us in praying for their safety and freedom,” said Sen. Treat. [KFOR

Bill would allow undocumented workers to get driver’s licenses: A bill that would help undocumented workers get a state driver’s license is getting both blue and red support, partially because it could mean more green for the state. “This will allow a lot of people to come out of the shadows,” said Latino activist, Jorge Hernandez. [KFOR

Recently from OK Policy: Given the tremendous contributions immigrants have made throughout our nation’s history, bringing immigrants into the fold does not have to be a divisive issue in Oklahoma; instead, it can become a way to strengthen our state, our communities, and our economy.

Nonbinary gender on Oklahoma birth certificates targeted by Republican bill: Oklahoma Republican legislators moved on Monday to no longer allow nonbinary designations on state-issued birth certificates.  After a 7-3 vote in the Senate’s Health and Human Services committee, Senate Bill 1100 passed despite procedural and legislative opposition by Senate Democrats. [The Oklahoman] The measure comes after the State Department of Health entered a settlement agreement in a federal lawsuit and then issued a person a nonbinary birth certificate. [Tulsa World

Recently from OK Policy: Given the importance of data to advocacy efforts, our state government should pursue policies that will further our understanding of anti-LGBTQ2S+ discrimination.

Oklahoma bill aims to ensure death row inmate sentences are correct: House Bill 1551 would establish a “Conviction Integrity Review Unit.” The unit would review if there is a “plausible claim of actual innocence which is supported by information or evidence not previously presented and is capable of being investigated and resolved.” [KFOR]

Idaho and Oklahoma expected to be first states to pass Texas-inspired six-week abortion bans: Two states could soon pass six-week abortion bans, becoming the first states to mirror Texas, whose ban outlawed the procedure for the majority of people when it went into effect six months ago. [The 19th News]

Editorial: Be wary of government official choosing secrecy: It’s always troubling when a government agency opts for secrecy, especially in issues of public funding. The latest closure of records is from Dan Sivard, purchasing director of the Office of Management and Enterprise Services. He decided that the $12 billion in applications for funding from the COVID-19 federal package are not for everyone’s eyes. [Editorial Board / Tulsa World]

Tribal Nations News

‘This is our backyard’: Quapaw Nation asserts more control over environment within its reservation: As the effects of McGirt move beyond criminal jurisdiction with legal challenges to tax laws, environmental cleanup regulation and how to reclaim abandoned mines within Oklahoma are coming into focus. Leaders of tribal nations say the landmark Supreme Court ruling wasn’t just a win for tribal sovereignty, it’s a win for their ability to care and steward the land, a job they say they’re most qualified to do. [KOSU

Cherokee on a smartphone: Part of a drive to save a language: By itself, being able to read smartphone home screens in Cherokee won’t be enough to safeguard the Indigenous language, endangered after a long history of erasure. But it might be a step toward immersing younger tribal citizens in the language spoken by a dwindling number of their elders. [AP News]

Health News

CDC eases masking advice for much of the US, but where should you keep one on in Oklahoma?: About half of Oklahoma’s counties are still seeing a high enough burden of COVID-19 in their communities that residents should continue to wear masks, according to new guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. [The Oklahoman

  • Active Oklahoma Covid cases below, 5,000 for first time since August [Public Radio Tulsa
  • OKCPS lifts mask mandate because of lower community positivity rates [OKC Free Press]  [KOSU]
  • Tulsa Public Schools adjusts mask policy [Tulsa World]

ODVA aims to serve Oklahoma’s most disabled veterans through ’70 Percent-plus Initiative’: The Oklahoma Department of Veterans Affairs (ODVA) “70 Percent-Plus Outreach Initiative” has been launched. The “70 Percent-Plus Outreach Initiative” is a tightly focused effort by ODVA to connect, through in-person presentations, direct mail, radio spots and word of mouth, with the 53,000 Oklahoma veterans who are 70 percent or higher in their service-connected disability to reach those who need long-term care. [Muskogee Phoenix

Criminal Justice News

61st and Peoria neighborhood could be site of first police camera network, city officials say: Police Chief Wendell Franklin plans to meet with residents in the 61st Street and Peoria Avenue neighborhood in a few weeks to discuss placing video cameras in the area, he said Monday. [Tulsa World]

OKC City Council to consider consultant findings for police reform: The City Council of Oklahoma City will vote on acceptance of a report detailing recommendations for police reform Tuesday. The report concludes a 15-month process. [OKC Free Press]

Economy & Business News

Seed-to-sale cannabis monitoring back on track in state: Plans for “seed-to-sale” monitoring of all products transacted in Oklahoma’s medical marijuana industry are back on track following settlement of a lawsuit. [The Journal Record]

Education News

Stressed teachers face new challenges from Legislature: Bills both prohibiting and requiring teachers to address cultural and mental health issues have been proposed, which may add stress to Oklahoma’s teachers – who have been leaving the profession by the droves. [The Journal Record

  • (Audio) ‘Focus: Black Oklahoma’: the state of teaching, critical race theory, white supremacist gangs [KOSU

Seven area finalists awaiting Oklahoma Teacher of Year announcement this week: The 2022 Oklahoma Teacher of the Year ceremony is scheduled for March 3, and the newly selected Oklahoma Teacher of the Year will travel Oklahoma as an ambassador for teachers during the 2022-23 school year. [Tulsa World]

Oklahoma Local News

‘Radically different’: Inclusive planning to continue as hallmark of South of 8th project: Work on plans for an area of Oklahoma City’s northeast side is progressing with the intention of promoting investor and broader community buy-in through strategic partnerships. [The Oklahoman]

Cleveland County under state audit following reported theft: Cleveland County is under state audit after a county commissioner reported suspicious financial activity from a former employee. [The Norman Transcript]

City staff makes recommendations for attracting and keeping workers: The City of Stillwater will start a pilot program over the summer that adjusts the work schedule for staff at City Hall, giving them four nine-hour work days followed by a half day on Friday. [Stillwater News Press]

People’s Convoy overnight stop in Oklahoma draws crowds: ‘Such a patriotic moment’: Hundreds of people crammed into a Will Rogers Turnpike truck stop to show their support as a convoy of truckers stopped overnight in Oklahoma on their way to Washington, D.C. [Tulsa World]

Quote of the Day

“Let’s get them documented as far as being drivers in the state of Oklahoma. Learn the state of Oklahoma driving laws, put them on the street and let them keep working. They are working so that means there are taxes that are going to be due the state of Oklahoma.”

–Senator Bill Coleman (R-Ponca City), speaking about a bill that would allow undocumented workers to receive state driver’s licenses [KFOR]

Recently from OK Policy: Given the tremendous contributions immigrants have made throughout our nation’s history, bringing immigrants into the fold does not have to be a divisive issue in Oklahoma; instead, it can become a way to strengthen our state, our communities, and our economy.

Number of the Day


Percentage of Oklahoma residents who are female

[Source: U.S. Census Bureau]

March is designated national Women’s History Month to honor the contribution of women and girls to our nation’s history.

Policy Note

Women’s History in Oklahoma: From the beginning, women’s lives reflected the multiple intersections of public and private activity, artistic and intellectual expression, racial interaction, class negotiation, and gender role transformation that continue to shape the cultural identity of the state. [Oklahoma Historical Society]

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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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