In The Know: Shortage of affordable housing | 2-year plan for DDS waiting list | Addressing Oklahoma’s scheduled executions

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.

Oklahoma News

Oklahoma’s housing crisis focus of Okla Legislative interim study: One state representative who wants to address the housing issue facing our state is Representative Mickey Dollens, HD-93 in southside OKC.  Dollens has begun gathering a diverse committee of guests and speakers with the hope of finding actionable ideas that can lead to officially proposed legislation in the House’s next session, including representatives from the Oklahoma Policy Institute. [Oklahoma City Free Press

  • With a shortage of affordable housing, Tulsa is looking for more landlords to take Section 8 subsidies [Tulsa World
  • Rental rates continue to rise in OKC, across US [The Journal Record

State Government News

Oklahoma DHS expects to clear disability waiting list by 2024: More than 5,000 Oklahoma families who have waited years for disability services may not have to wait much longer. The Oklahoma State Department of Human Services plans to clear within the next two years its 13-year waiting list for developmentally disabled Oklahomans awaiting government-funded services. [The Oklahoman

Column: Oklahoma executions should stop until system is reformed: Over the next 2½ years, Oklahoma’s execution chamber at the State Penitentiary in McAlester may become a busy place. That’s because the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals has scheduled 25 executions to occur over the next 29 months. The question is, should these executions occur? [Column / The Oklahoman

Oklahoma’s calls for improved school security offer few new mandates: While recent mass shootings have led some to call for stricter gun laws, including a ban on the type of assault weapons that have been commonly used inside schools, Oklahoma leaders have rejected the thought of any limits on firearms. [The Oklahoman

Tribal Nations News

Oklahoma AG pushes for more state prosecutions in Indian country: Oklahoma Attorney General John O’Connor told state prosecutors and local law enforcement agencies on Friday that they can start exercising an expanded authority over criminal cases involving non-Indians accused of crimes against Native Americans on Native land. [The Oklahoman

  • “State Sovereignty Does Not End At A Reservation’s Border.” [The Oklahoma Eagle

Voting and Election News

Why Oklahoma governor’s race could be Epic battle: After the arrest of Epic virtual charter schools’ two founders on charges of financial crimes, Gov. Kevin Stitt accused state education officials of being “asleep at the wheel” when it came to its oversight of the school, calling out state schools Superintendent Joy Hofmeister, who Stitt will face in November’s general election. But in 2020, as Hofmeister urged the Oklahoma State Board of Education to downgrade Epic’s accreditation status after a critical state audit, it was Stitt’s office that fought to protect the scandal-ridden school. [The Oklahoman

Two GOP contenders face a tight race in the CD2 runoff: After a crowded Republican field in Oklahoma’s District 2 Congressional race was whittled down to two, former State Sen. Josh Brecheen and State Rep. Avery Frix will face off in the Aug. 23 runoff election. [The Frontier

Health News

New COVID vaccine gives Oklahomans their first non-mRNA option starting next month: Oklahomans will soon have a new option for COVID-19 prevention, with shipments of the nation’s first approved protein-based vaccine expected here in early August. [Tulsa World

Tulsans continue to rally for abortion rights: As her two teenage daughters cheered and screamed with other abortion-rights advocates in downtown Tulsa on Friday, Jessica Smith couldn’t help but get emotional. Wearing matching shirts that read “my body, not yours” and holding signs hand drawn by Smith’s youngest daughter, the three joined about 50 other protesters on Friday to march around downtown Tulsa and advocate for reproductive health care. [Tulsa World

Criminal Justice News

Meet the Champions team, an alternative response to mental health police calls in OKC: A new mobile crisis team is available to Oklahoma City police responding to mental health calls, bringing a licensed therapist, case manager and other resources directly to the person in need. [The Oklahoman

New Oklahoma County sheriff’s office to be partly funded by jail bond: Oklahoma County’s $260 million bond package is supposed to help fund a new sheriff’s office in addition to a new jail facility, according to the ballot language and information from county officials, but the sale of the current office is on hold due to contract issues. [The Oklahoman

Economic Opportunity

Report: Women in Oklahoma workforce are falling behind: With unemployment at an all-time low and businesses struggling to find workers, the state could be doing a lot more to address the issues that keep so many Oklahoma women out of the workforce and in poverty, analysts say. [The Journal Record

Economy & Business News

Tech schools, job hubs, community colleges fill vital need in boosting workforce, experts say: National education advocate Cordell Carter said universities remain a “finishing school for humans” and where “the best among us go, not just to get a job but to be a better version of ourselves.” But during a virtual talk last week before a live Tulsa audience, he added that people also need quicker, less expensive routes to employment. [Tulsa World

Education News

Area schools scrambling to fill vacancies in summer’s waning days: With classes slated to resume across northeastern Oklahoma in August, multiple school districts are still scrambling to find teachers and support staff. [Tulsa World

Quote of the Day

“The need is already great and continues to grow. A lot of folks who never thought they would need a subsidy, who always thought that they would be able to take care of things completely by themselves, are finding themselves in need of help just because of the economy right now.”

– Ginny Hensley, vice president for communications and public affairs at the Tulsa Housing Authority, on the increasing need for affordable housing.  [Tulsa World

Number of the Day

$15.75 per hour 

Estimated living wage for a single childless adult in Oklahoma. For a single person with one child, the living rate is $30.94 per hour. [Living Wage Calculator, MIT]

Policy Note

Rising minimum wages in 20 states and localities help protect workers and families against higher prices: On July 1, three states, 16 cities and counties, and the District of Columbia raised their minimum wages. At a time when families are coping with rising prices, these increases will help many low-wage workers and their families make ends meet. [Economic Policy Institute] NOTE: July 24th marks the 13th anniversary of the last time the minimum wage was increased. 

You can sign up here to receive In The Know by e-mail.


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.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.