In The Know: Skyrocketing rent, evictions push Oklahomans out of their homes | SQ 828 would put abortion access to statewide vote | Capitol Update

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

A look at DOJ’s civil rights investigation into State of Oklahoma, OKC, OKCPD (Capitol Update): The DOJ does not start an investigation unless there is some evidence they may find violations. Reports of alleged civil rights violations by law enforcement are reviewed by the local U.S. Attorney then forwarded to the DOJ Civil Rights Division for enforcement. The investigation could be a result of either a single or multiple incidents that indicate the possibility of a pattern or practice of civil rights violations. [Steve Lewis / Capitol Update]

Oklahoma News

Forced Out: Skyrocketing Rent, Evictions Pushing Thousands Out of Their Homes: In Oklahoma, it’s easy to be evicted. Moderate- and low-income families face skyrocketing rent, utility and food prices and the ongoing fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic. The resulting economic storm coupled with a lack of affordable housing and weak protection from Oklahoma’s Landlord Tenant Act has pushed thousands from their homes. [Oklahoma Watch]

Oklahoma lawmaker attempts to change how state questions are passed: An Oklahoma lawmaker is trying to change how state questions are passed. Right now, they need just a simple majority of voters to say yes. State Sen. Warren Hamilton, R-McCurtain, wants to change that to a two-thirds majority of all Oklahoma counties. [KTUL]

New petition aims to put abortion access to Oklahoma voters: State Question 828 would give Oklahomans the right to make their own decisions on all matters of pregnancy, including abortion up until the point of fetal viability. In other words, up until the point that a fetus could survive outside the womb. [KFOR Oklahoma City]

State Government News

Column: Can we quit claiming Oklahoma, please?: For those who have forgotten, this land was first the home of indigenous peoples, who had it taken from them and reassigned for the tribes forced here on the Trail of Tears. [Dr. Noel Jacobs Guest Column / The Oklahoman]

DA offers deferred prosecution to Stitt’s son after deputies find him drunk with guns: Following a Halloween incident in Guthrie, the Logan County Sheriff’s Office recommended that a charge be filed against the governor’s son for possessing alcohol as a minor, according to a probable cause affidavit obtained by The Oklahoman. [The Oklahoman]

  • Drew Stitt, others offered deferred prosecution if they enter DA’s program [NonDoc]

Federal Government News

New Congress will give Oklahoma more muscle: Oklahoma’s influence in the U.S. House will grow significantly when Republicans take over in January, with the state delegation’s two senior members, Cole and Frank Lucas, set to lead committees and two newer representatives gaining stature in leadership roles. [The Oklahoman]

Voting and Election News

District 5 Tulsa City Council race headed back to court: The outcome of the election has been in dispute since the polls closed at 7 p.m. on Nov. 8. Unofficial results from the Tulsa County Election Board, including provisional ballots, had challenger Grant Miller up 27 votes over incumbent City Councilor Mykey Arthrell. [Tulsa World]

Criminal Justice News

New diversion referral program works to pair detainees with resources: Detainees at the troubled Oklahoma County Jail could have more efficient access to existing pretrial and diversion programs through a new privately funded effort that aims to streamline that process and decrease the jail’s population. [NonDoc]

State investigators probe hostage situation in Kingfisher County that leaves 4 dead: Authorities are investigating after four people were found dead and one was injured late Sunday near Hennessey in Kingfisher County, about 55 miles northwest of Oklahoma City. [The Oklahoman]

Norman leaders to consider approving nearly $1 million to go toward crime prevention: One item up for discussion on the city council’s agenda Tuesday is a vote on whether to pull more than $900,000 from the city’s search and seizure fund balance. The agenda says some of the money would go toward buying new equipment for Norman SWAT, drug and crime education and safety equipment. [KOCO 5]

Economy & Business News

Fed reports conflicting signals on regional economy: Manufacturing is down, though employers expect to boost employment levels in the near future. Energy activity is up but expected to slow soon, and job growth in the energy sector still lags at pre-pandemic levels. [Journal Record]

Scheels called ‘a major win for Tulsa,’ with retailer set for fall 2024 opening”: A unique retailer planning an indoor Ferris wheel, wildlife mountain and saltwater aquarium, set to open in fall 2024, brings “a major win for Tulsa and for the 71st and Memorial area.” [Tulsa World]

Tulsa gas prices drop below $3 per gallon for first time since January: Gasoline prices in Tulsa have dropped below $3 per gallon at many locations, the lowest they have been in 11 months. [Tulsa World]

Harold Hamm takes Continental Resources private: Harold Hamm, who founded Continental Resources and took it public, has completed a deal to reclaim full control of the $27 billion Oklahoma City-based energy giant that made him a billionaire. [The Oklahoman]

Education News

Interim president to lead UCO beginning in January: A retired university president who lives in Edmond will lead the University of Central Oklahoma temporarily after current UCO President Patti Neuhold-Ravikumar steps down in January. [Journal Record]

General News

Mother, friends, performers among dead at Colorado gay club: A loving boyfriend. A 28-year-old bartender who loved to perform. A mother visiting from a small town who enjoyed hunting. These are among the victims of the rampage at an LGBTQ club in Colorado Springs that left five people dead and 17 others with gunshot wounds. [Public Radio Tulsa]

  • Local LGBTQ allies respond to Colorado Springs shooting that killed former Tulsa-area resident [Tulsa World]
  • Loved ones in Tulsa mourn Club Q slaying victim: ‘This is the worst nightmare’ [Tulsa World]

Oklahoma Local News

Tulsa’s Rejection of Dignity, After Death: Oaklawn, a recently screened film created and produced by the Tulsa-based Center for Public Secrets and Well-Told, captures, through testimony, the accounts of the 1921 Graves Public Oversight Committee members, 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre descendants and Tulsans who continue to demand justice for slain Black residents. [Oklahoma Eagle]

Quote of the Day

“Our landlord tenant act is considered one of the five worst in the country. Tenants don’t have the right to withhold rent if the unit needs repair. And landlords can be bullies. You can get an eviction notice on Monday and be out by Friday.”

– Dan Straughn, the executive director of the Homeless Alliance, speaking on the housing crisis in Oklahoma. [Oklahoma Watch]

Number of the Day

3 in 5

Of the Oklahoma children who didn’t qualify for the full federal Child Tax Credit because their family earnings were too low or the adults were out of work that year, nearly 3 in 5 — about 62% — were Latino, Black, American Indian or Alaska Native, Asian, or another race/multiple races. [CBPP]

Policy Note

Child Tax Credit Expansion Would Shrink the Racial Wealth Gap: The Inflation Reduction Act’s adoption of corporate tax provisions is a big step toward a more equitable tax code, but lawmakers also must provide economic security for the millions of lower- and moderate-income households. [Joe Hughes and Brakeyshia Samms, ITEP / Bloomberg ]

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Hana Saad joined OK Policy in August 2022 as the Communications and Operations Fellow. She graduated from the University of Tulsa with degrees in Media Studies and English and is part of Phi Beta Kappa, an academic honor society. At TU, Hana regularly wrote for The Collegian and was the Co-Editor of the Stylus Journal of Art and Writing. She also serves on the team at Puppy Haven Rescue to help in their mission of saving rescue dogs across Oklahoma. Hana is eager to learn more about public policy in Oklahoma and use her skills to support the OKP work to build a more equitable state. In her free time, she loves to read fiction and poetry, walk her dog, and make copious cups of tea.

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