In The Know: State Supreme Court to hear Tulsa Race Massacre reparations case | Community rallies behind TPS as accreditation decision looms | Protecting our state question process | More

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

Policy Matters: State question process vital to democracy: The framers of Oklahoma’s Constitution recognized the state question process as central to our democracy, calling it “the first power reserved to the people.” By doing so, they affirmed that our state’s political power is held by its citizens, who have the right to directly shape laws. However, some lawmakers now are seeking to restrict these rights by making it harder to bring state questions to a vote of the people. [Shiloh Kantz / Journal Record]

Oklahoma News

Oklahoma Supreme Court agrees to hear Tulsa Race Massacre reparations case: The Oklahoma Supreme Court will consider a reparations case from survivors of the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre after a lower court judge dismissed it last month, giving hope to advocates for racial justice that government may make amends in one of the worst single acts of violence against Black people in U.S. history. [The Oklahoman]

  • State declines to discuss settlement in Tulsa Race Massacre lawsuit [Journal Record]
  • State Supreme Court agrees to retain Race Massacre survivors lawsuit appeal [Tulsa World]

What you need to know as Oklahoma’s state board of education weighs Tulsa Public Schools’ accreditation: Next Thursday, the State Board of Education will consider changing the accreditation status of the state’s largest school district, Tulsa Public Schools. This comes after over a year of remarks from State Superintendent Ryan Walters targeting the district. [Public Radio Tulsa]

  • TPS students plan rally amidst pending State Board decision [The Black Wall Street Times]
  • History teacher fights for local control ahead of TPS takeover [The Black Wall Street Times]
  • TPS board formally calls on state to green-light accreditation [Public Radio Tulsa]
  • ‘It creates chaos’: Tulsa community slams education leaders for accreditation uncertainty [KTUL]
  • Officials, parents, students rally behind TPS following accreditation threat [Public Radio Tulsa]
  • TPS supporters say turmoil damaging the district [Tulsa World]

State Government News

This is how Gov. Kevin Stitt has shaped the Oklahoma Supreme Court: Gov. Kevin Stitt has not always found the state Supreme Court friendly to his policies and efforts. But the three justices Stitt, a Republican, has appointed since becoming governor seem to have shifted the court’s political ideology, especially when it comes to gubernatorial power, even though they weren’t enough to overturn some rulings. [The Oklahoman]

Stroble case asks OK Supreme Court to decide income tax rules on reservations: Implications of the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2020 landmark ruling in McGirt v. Oklahoma are still in dispute three years later as the Oklahoma Supreme Court prepares to weigh arguments in the Stroble v. Oklahoma Tax Commission case, which asks whether tribal citizens who live within reservation boundaries and work for tribally controlled entities are exempt from state income tax. [NonDoc]

Bingman to resign as secretary of state: Brian Bingman said Wednesday he plans to resign his posts as Secretary of State and Native American Affairs to run again for Corporation Commission. “I will be transitioning out from the governor’s office to devote full time to running for Corporation Commission,” Bingman said. [Tulsa World]

Oklahoma lawmaker economic report cards released: School has only just begun, but report cards for Oklahoma legislators have already been released. The State Chamber Research Foundation is a non-profit that compiles the RIED Report, grading each lawmaker on how they voted on bills related to economic growth. [KTEN]

This new Oklahoma executive order narrowly defines ‘woman’: After two failed efforts in the state legislature to define a woman and a man based on their sex assigned at birth, Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt signed an executive order limiting those definitions, the latest blow to transgender rights in the state. [PBS News Hour]

Oklahoma Tax Commission launches FAQ section ahead of Parental Choice Tax Credit Act implementation: On Wednesday, the Oklahoma Tax Commission unveiled an FAQ section on its website for parents who want to take advantage of the Parental Choice Tax Credit Act when it goes into effect next year. The act, known as House Bill 1934, passed the legislature this past spring and was signed by the Governor in May. It goes into effect in January 2024. [Fox 25]

Federal Government News

Oklahoma AG calls on Congress to pass the EATS Act in response to Prop 12: The EATS Act is a bill designed to prevent states and local governments from regulating the production and distribution of food products within their borders that are subject to interstate commerce. Drummond, alongside 15 other state attorneys general, has signed a letter to Congress advocating federal legislators to pass the bill in response to the U.S. Supreme Court upholding a California animal welfare law, in May. [KOSU]

Tribal Nations News

MMIP task forces are given years to solve a problem centuries in the making: At least 10 states and various federal agencies have launched efforts to address the problem of missing and murdered Indigenous people. But, charged with solving in a few years an issue that took centuries to develop, those efforts have had to grapple with historical neglect, modern bureaucracy and myriad disparities that would require a transformation of Indian Country’s public services to be resolved. [Cronkite News]

Voting and Election News

Voter registration deadline drawing near for Lawton races: The deadline to register to vote in the Sept. 12, special election for the City of Lawton Wards 7 and 8, and tax proposition is Aug. 18. [KSWO]

Health News

Oklahoma law aimed at helping small pharmacies intrudes on Congress’ power, court says: Key parts of an Oklahoma law aimed at helping small pharmacies draw more customers covered by health plans were struck down on Tuesday by a federal appeals court. [The Oklahoman]

  • Oklahoma can’t regulate PBMs’ pharmacy networks: federal appeals court [Modern Healthcare]

Sooner Care set to begin disenrollment: State officials are warning area residents using Sooner Care to supplement their health care needs that they need to check their eligibility or risk losing coverage. Yearly reenrollment in Sooner Care was paused in March 2020 due to the public health emergency, and on April 30 this year, the Oklahoma Health Care Authority started going through the rolls and removing those that had expired. [Tahlequah Daily Press]

Criminal Justice News

Federal jury rules in favor of Oklahoma County in lawsuit over jail detainee’s 2019 death: A federal jury took Oklahoma County’s side recently in a lawsuit over a county jail detainee’s 2019 death that sought $11 million in compensation. [The Oklahoman]

Men who shouted slurs, attacked Black man outside Oklahoma bar sentenced for hate crimes: In Oklahoma City federal court, U.S. District Judge Bernard M. Jones sentenced Brandon Wayne Killian, 32, to six years in federal prison for his role in a 2019 hate crime attack on a Black man outside a Shawnee bar. [The Oklahoman]

Joint interim study to assess Oklahoma’s court-based diversion programs: The study, from Rep. Jason Lowe, D-Oklahoma City, and Sen. George Young, D-Oklahoma City, will look at the effectiveness of court fees associated with trial and conviction and focus on how to support and improve programs that reduce incarceration rates. [Journal Record]

Oklahoma State Representative Amanda Swope of Tulsa will guide Interim Study aiming to improve Juvenile Justice System: Representative Amanda Swope, D-Tulsa will present an interim study to identify areas of improvement to the juvenile justice system. [City Sentinel]

Economic Opportunity

Want to open a franchise? Oklahoma is the place to be: The Sooner State comes in at No. 5 in an economic outlook study conducted by the American Legislative Exchange Council and economist Arthur Laffer, which considers 15 variables including tax rates and workers’ compensation costs. [Journal Record]

Education News

Bixby superintendent talks growing community, concerns about OSDE: It is time to head back to school for students in the Bixby Public School system. District leadership is ready for what this year brings. [2 News Oklahoma]

5 Oklahoma colleges will get a cyberinfrastructure boost thanks to $1.2 million grant: Nearly $1.2 million is going to the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education and a state research network that connects education institutes across Oklahoma. The grant will allow five more institutions to join 21 other public and private colleges and universities around the state. [KOSU]

Column: State Superintendent Ryan Walters and reckoning with McGirt: Recently, State Superintendent Ryan Walters has gestured toward revoking the accreditation of the Tulsa Public Schools. Walters’s threats risk more than disrupting the learning environment of TPS students. They also invite a broader reckoning over the Supreme Court’s monumental 2020 opinion in McGirt v. Oklahoma. [Marc Roark and Stephen Galoob / Tulsa World]

Column: Instead of blaming individuals for low ‘outcomes,’ we must make education a team effort: We need to relearn, “My opponent is my opponent, not my enemy.” And, I hope we can eventually agree that to become a “Top 10 State,” defending public education is crucial, but protecting our democracy is our No. 1 priority. [John Thompson Guest Column / The Oklahoman]

Oklahoma Local News

  • Bricktown development receiving $200 million in support from Oklahoma City [KOSU]
  • Bethany receives $100,000 grant from the state to repair & improve water infrastructure [KOSU]

Quote of the Day

“Our schools are the heart of this community. We all have a stake in the success of Tulsa Public Schools and cannot stand idly by as state leaders jeopardize its mission. This event is a testament to our commitment to the local control needed for TPS and Tulsa to thrive.”

– Lance Brightmire, a recent Tulsa Public Schools graduate, on the student-led town hall scheduled for Saturday, August 19. [The Black Wall Street Times]

Number of the Day


Oklahoma is one of three states with a non-refundable state child tax credit. [Center on Budget and Policy Priorities]

Policy Note

How to help America’s kids: Give their parents cash: Perhaps most importantly, this state trend to expand child tax credits is encouraging because in our byzantine, kludgy tax system — replete with exemptions, deductions, work requirements, and nonrefundable credits — refundable child tax credits have the potential to be one of the most inclusive and progressive social assistance programs for parents and kids. Unlike the other benefit options, refundable child tax credits offer cash that can be spent on a range of needs, and they can benefit even families with no earned income. [Vox]

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Annie Taylor joined OK Policy as a Digital Communications Associate/Storybanker in April 2022. She studied journalism and mass communication at the University of Oklahoma, and was a member of the Native American Journalists Association. She earned her bachelor’s degree in Strategic Communications from the University of Central Oklahoma. While pursuing her degree, she worked in restaurant and retail management, as well as freelance copywriting and digital content production. Annie is an enrolled member of the Choctaw Nation, and holds a deep reverence for storytelling in the digital age. She was born and raised in southeast Oklahoma, and now lives in Oklahoma City with her dog, Melvin.

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