In The Know: Study: Early childhood education has positive impact | Oklahoma’s Open Meeting Act | Evidence-based immigration policy reform | 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

Progress made on evidence-based immigration policy reforms, but more work is needed: Sensible policy reforms related to immigration can benefit all Oklahomans by making us safer, healthier, and saving Oklahomans money. Two such measures were Senate Bill 669 and House Bill 2351. These two bills addressed different concerns around public safety and health care and enjoyed broad bipartisan support. Neither bill advanced this year, but they are both available for consideration in the 2024 legislative session. [Gabriela Ramirez-Perez / OK Policy]

Oklahoma News

Educare shows positive impact on early learning, study finds: A groundbreaking study titled “Kindergarten through Grade 3 Outcomes Associated with Participation in High-Quality Early Care and Education: A RCT Follow-Up Study” with Tulsa’s Educare has unveiled a transformative solution to the persistent student achievement gap in education. [The Black Wall Street Times

One county commissioner talks to another. Is that an official public meeting?: Oklahoma’s Open Meeting Act boils down to this: Public business should take place in public view. A deliberative body, like the three-member county commission, cannot make decisions privately. But county commissioners also exist in a liminal space between executive and legislative. [The Oklahoman

State Government News

Reboot: Oklahoma Broadband Office discards ARPA list, starts new process: After hearing complaints for months from internet service providers, growing concerns from its governing board members and recent suggestions from the Office of the Attorney General, the Oklahoma Broadband Office is tossing out its list of proposed broadband projects to be considered for an initial allocation of $382 million in American Rescue Plan Act funds. [NonDoc

Bumps in the road: State and tribal officials face problems with Oklahoma turnpike tolls: You may have noticed some changes on your trips down Oklahoma’s turnpikes over the past couple of years. Instead of rolling to a stop at a toll booth and scrounging for cup holder quarters, you can now zip under a camera that takes a picture of your license plate. [KOSU

2 Oklahoma Pardon and Parole Board members resign: Board chairman Richard Smothermon and member Cathy Stocker, both former district attorneys, departed from the board this week. Smothermon had served on the board since July 2021, while Stocker was appointed last year. [Public Radio Tulsa

AG touts working with tribes on law enforcement: Oklahoma Attorney General Gentner Drummond said he continues to work with tribes to resolve law enforcement issues resulting from the McGirt decision. [CNHI]

Federal Government News

With lawsuit dismissed, student loan debt forgiveness begins for 800,000 borrowers: A federal judge on Monday dismissed a lawsuit from two conservative groups seeking to block student loan forgiveness for more than 800,000 borrowers. The outstanding debt in question, worth about $39 billion, is what borrowers still owe after making 20 to 25 years’ worth of payments. [The Oklahoman

Trump and 18 allies charged in Georgia election meddling as former president faces 4th criminal case: Donald Trump and 18 allies were indicted in Georgia on Monday over their efforts to overturn his 2020 election loss in the state, with prosecutors using a statute normally associated with mobsters to accuse the former president, lawyers and other aides of a “criminal enterprise” to keep him in power. [AP via Tulsa World

Tribal Nations News

Chief Hoskin sworn in for second term: The Cherokee Nation’s chief promised his “unyielding loyalty and devotion” to the tribe after being sworn in for a second term Aug. 14. First elected in 2019 with nearly 58% of the vote, Hoskin secured a second term in office on June 3 with nearly 63% of the vote against three opponents. [Cherokee Phoenix

Economy & Business News

Oklahoma City is one of the top cities for young professionals, according to Forbes: The Oklahoma City metro was ranked No. 2 top city in the United States for young professionals. Forbes’ study revealed that Oklahoma City offers a winning combination of low living costs, job opportunities, and a vibrant atmosphere. [The Oklahoman] 

Education News

GKFF, mayoral candidates express concerns about Tulsa Public Schools’ accreditation status: Tulsa’s largest private foundation on Monday added its name to the growing list of Tulsa stakeholders expressing concern about Tulsa Public Schools accreditation status. [Tulsa World]

EPS pay raise deals struck by district board, unions: The Edmond Association of Classroom Teachers and the Support Employees of Edmond unions have voted overwhelmingly to ratify their respective agreements with the Edmond Public Schools Board of Education for the upcoming 2023-24 school year, providing the biggest EPS pay raise ever for support staff employees. [NonDoc

  • Teachers use crowdfunding like DonorsChoose to finance special projects. How does it work? [The Oklahoman

General News

Commemorating 65 Years of Clara Luper’s Historic Sit-Ins: Commemorating the 65th anniversary of the Oklahoma City Sit-Ins, the 2023 Freedom Fiesta is proudly presented by the Clara Luper Legacy Committee. In 1958, Clara Luper and a group of young African American students staged a series of sit-ins at segregated lunch counters in downtown Oklahoma City, protesting against racial segregation and demanding equal treatment for all. [The Black Wall Street Times

Column: Oklahoma is a leader in the clean energy revolution: Our long overdue national pivot away from fossil fuels like oil, gas, and coal is accelerating with a speed that experts find astonishing. [Lance Janda Guest Column / The Lawton Constitution

Oklahoma Local News

  • Lawton voters have until Friday to register for Sept. 12 elections [The Lawton Constitution
  • State Sen. Cody Rogers announces his intention to run for District 2 Tulsa County Commission [Tulsa World]

Quote of the Day

“For too long, our approach to early childhood education as a country has been fragmented and underfunded. It can and must change. Childcare has never been more important, and the urgency for tangible solutions, particularly in the aftermath of the COVID crisis, has never been more urgent. This new study makes the undeniable case for putting a renewed focus, from a policy level and a financial one, on holistic early education. We have the answers for disrupting intergenerational poverty nationwide; now we just need the will to do it.” 

– Cindy Decker, Executive Director of Tulsa Educare. [The Black Wall Street Times

Number of the Day


Number of states — and the District of Columbia — that have enacted laws to allow unauthorized immigrants to obtain driver’s licenses. [National Conference of State Legislatures]

Policy Note

Why Some Wisconsin Lawmakers and Local Officials Have Changed Their Minds About Letting Undocumented Immigrants Drive: For years, advocates for immigrants have tried to persuade lawmakers in Wisconsin to allow undocumented immigrants to get driver’s licenses. Democrats have been mostly on board, but the challenge has been convincing Republicans, who control the state Legislature, to take an action that some of their constituents might fiercely oppose. “If we suddenly kicked out all of the people here, the undocumented, our dairy farms would collapse,” one lawmaker said. “We have to come up with a solution.” [ProPublica]

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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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