In The Know: Senate Freedmen hearings | Evidence of teacher, staff crisis | Change requires overcoming complacency

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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Policy Matters: Change requires overcoming complacency: These past two years have highlighted the power of collective action and the impact that we the people can have when we use our voices. For many of us, jumping into advocacy can be daunting. Our voices and our votes have power, but what does that look like in action? There are many options, but I’d like to focus on some simple things we can all do to get involved with each other and turn our frustrations into action and forward progress. [Shiloh Kantz / The Journal Record

Oklahoma News

‘It’s clearly unresolved:’ Lankford requests solution in hearing on Five Tribes’ Freedmen: During a U.S. Senate Committee on Indian Affairs hearing this afternoon regarding the descendants of slaves formerly held by the Muscogee, Chickasaw, Choctaw, Seminole and Cherokee nations, representatives from four of the Five Tribes expressed consternation at the idea of federal intervention that would pressure the tribes to recognize Freedmen as full citizens who would be eligible for tribal benefits. [NonDoc

  • U.S. Senate panel delves into tribal freedman issue [Tulsa World
  • State’s largest tribes split over status of descendants of their former slaves [The Lawton Constitution
  • Freedmen tribal citizenship debate at heart of US Senate hearing [The Oklahoman
  • (Audio) Headlines: Senate Tribal hearing, Mooreland fire & OKC Scissortail Park [KOSU

Editorial: Evidence of Oklahoma’s teacher, staff crisis found everywhere: For anyone doubting Oklahoma is in the grip of a teacher and support staff recruitment and retention crisis, look at your local public school district. With less than a month before school starts, administrators across the state have posted more than 550 job openings with the Oklahoma State School Boards Association. [Editorial / Tulsa World

State Government News

Oklahoma allows abortions in life-threatening situations, but how much danger is enough?: When the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade this summer, it became clear abortion bans like the ones in Oklahoma and Texas were here to stay. In Oklahoma and Texas, the laws don’t clarify what counts as life-threatening. That leaves room for interpretation, and has already delayed critical care. [State Impact Oklahoma

Find Out Who Requested Federal Relief Money Using Our New Searchable Database: After months of resisting the release of the applications, the state in May provided details of almost $18 billion in project requests under the 2021 federal coronavirus relief bill, the American Rescue Plan Act. [Oklahoma Watch

Oklahoma Tourism Claims Swadley’s Tried To “Mislead” State, Foggy Bottom Kitchen Files Countersuit: The Oklahoma Tourism and Recreation Department filed more robust claims against Swadley’s Foggy Bottom Kitchen, which the state had contracted to renovate and manage state park restaurants. [News 9

Voting and Election News

Oklahoma one of 10 states without online voter registration: Runoff elections are just a few weeks away, and Oklahoma is one of just 10 states that does not offer online voter registration. In 2015, Oklahoma lawmakers passes a bill that would authorize online voter registration. Seven years later and it is still in the works. [Fox 25

Health News

Q&A: How has 988 line worked in first month in Oklahoma?: In nearly a month of operation, Oklahoma’s 988 behavioral health crisis line has responded to hundreds of calls and has sent dozens of mobile crisis teams across the state to support Oklahomans. [The Oklahoman

Economy & Business News

Fed raises benchmark rate by three-quarters of a point: The Federal Reserve on Wednesday raised its benchmark interest rate by a hefty three-quarters of a point for a second straight time in its most aggressive drive in three decades to tame high inflation. [The Journal Record

White House officials: Gas prices should continue to decline: Gasoline prices, which have fallen for more than 40 days straight, should continue to decline over the next several weeks, barring any supply disruptions, White House officials said Wednesday. [Tulsa World

General News

Northwest Oklahoma residents to evacuate as fire burns thousands of acres, relief in sight: As drought and extreme temperatures persist across the region, some residents in Northwestern Oklahoma are evacuating their homes as a wildfire continues to scorch thousands of acres. [State Impact Oklahoma

Quote of the Day

“Oklahoma has one of the lowest participation rates in the country. Of the people who are eligible to vote, we have a low rate of people who are actually registered, and of the people registered, a low percentage turnout.”

-Sen. Julia Kirt, D-Oklahoma City, addressing Oklahoma’s low voter participation and the years-long efforts to get the online registration system functional. [Fox 25

Number of the Day


Number of states that have minimum wager higher than the federal minimum wage rate [Yahoo Finance

Policy Note

The cheeseburger economics of the minimum wage: When actually analyzing the prices of cheeseburgers — specifically Big Macs — Oklahomans already pay more than diners in some of our neighboring states with higher minimum wages. While raising the minimum wage will likely result in extremely modest price hikes, the cost of labor is only one of many factors that go into business owners’ pricing decisions. Raising the minimum wage will not make burgers unaffordable but will be a crucial support to our low-income families and state economy as a whole. [OK Policy Archive]

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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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