In The Know: Sufficient funding needed for justice-involved youth | Staffing issues at polling places | Senate: No grocery, income tax proposals in special session

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

Sufficient funding for OJA will support Oklahoma families:The Board of Juvenile Affairs approved the FY 2024 budget request for the Office of Juvenile Affairs (OJA) last week for filing with the Office of Management and Enterprise Services (OMES) by Oct. 1. Agency budget requests can be used by the governor to form his budget and are considered by the legislature when it convenes in February to write the state budget. The OJA budget request is a good example of the way state government is working — or not working — under the recent changes in governing structure. [Steve Lewis / OK Policy]

Oklahoma News

Fearing harassment, election workers are quitting, Tulsa County official says: Tulsa County Election Board Secretary Gwen Freeman invited municipal officials to come to her office last week to hear first hand how difficult it has become to recruit and retain quality poll workers. [Tulsa World]

State Senate won’t consider grocery, income tax proposals:  Despite pressure from the governor, the state Senate will not consider eliminating Oklahoma’s grocery tax or cutting the income tax during the Legislature’s special session, which starts Wednesday. [CNHI via Enid News & Eagle]

State Government News

Oklahoma lawmakers will resume a special session Wednesday. Here’s what to know: The Oklahoma Legislature will reconvene Wednesday in a special legislative session to spend the bulk of the state’s share of pandemic relief funds and allocate all $250 million from a new fund intended to bolster rural economic development. [The Oklahoman]

Oklahoma lawmakers block gender reassignment treatment in OU children’s hospital funding: Republican state lawmakers plan to give $39.4 million in federal stimulus funds to the University of Oklahoma health system to build a new pediatric mental health facility, but the money comes with restrictions. None of the funds can be used to perform “gender reassignment medical treatment” on minors, according to legislation filed Monday by GOP lawmakers. [The Oklahoman]

Confronted by a rape survivor, Stitt says Oklahoma can amend abortion ban if it went too far: Confronted by a rape survivor who criticized his signing of anti-abortion bills that lack exceptions for victims of rape and incest, Gov. Kevin Stitt said he was simply fulfilling a campaign promise to voters but the Legislature could make changes if lawmakers felt the new laws went too far. [The Oklahoman]

Federal Government News

Federal funds aim to plug orphan oil and gas wells: Oklahoma is set to receive a federal grant to begin addressing an orphaned oil and gas well problem that has plagued the state for decades. Since the discovery of oil in the late 1800s, an estimated 500,000 oil and gas wells have been drilled statewide. [NonDoc]

Voting and Election News

Integrated poll shows extremely tight gubernatorial race between Stitt, Hofmeister: An exclusive poll shows that incumbent Gov. Kevin Stitt and challenger Joy Hofmeister are in an extremely tight race in Oklahoma’s upcoming gubernatorial race. [KOCO News 5]

  • New poll finds Kevin Stitt has narrow lead on Joy Hofmeister in race for Oklahoma Governor [KGOU]

Health News

Channeling Childhood Chaos To Help Oklahomans Suffering Addiction, Mental Illness: Feature from Oklahoma Watch, “A Mile In Another’s Shoes,” is an initiative to give voice to the voiceless or call attention to the plight of those affected by public policy. Abuse and fear filled Mongo Allen’s childhood. For years, he watched his father struggle with post-traumatic stress disorder and alcoholism. Allen and his brothers suffered the consequences. After his father recovered and opened up about his strife, Allen began teaching others how to heal. [Oklahoma Watch]

Criminal Justice News

New facility to help advocates manage surge in child abuse cases: Tulsa’s Child Abuse Network says their new $10 million facility will help to manage a surge in child abuse cases. [Public Radio Tulsa]

Governor, local leaders celebrate law that restricts public access to line-of-duty police-death recordings: Local and state leaders gathered at the Tulsa Police Memorial on Monday to celebrate the ceremonial signing of a bill spurred by the 2020 line-of-duty death of Sgt. Craig Johnson. [Tulsa World]

Economy & Business News

Visitors to Oklahoma state parks last year boost local economies: Visitors to Oklahoma state parks in 2021 spent $354.2 million in the communities surrounding the parks, according to research commissioned by the Oklahoma Tourism & Recreation Department. [Tulsa World]

Quote of the Day

“What happens when someday I can’t staff the elections? And I see that coming — I really do. I see the handwriting on the wall. There may come a day when I can’t hire enough people to work those precincts, and my question to myself is, ‘What are you going to do?’ And I don’t know.” 

— Tulsa County Election Board Secretary Gwen Freeman, speaking on how difficult it has become to recruit and retain quality poll workers. [Tulsa World]

Number of the Day


For the lowest-earning Oklahomans (the bottom 20%), taxes represent a 13.2% share of their income, which is more than twice the share for Oklahomans in the top 1% where taxes represent 6.2% of their income. [Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy via OK Policy]   

Policy Note

How Red States Use Regressive Grocery Taxes to Feed the Rich: Conservative state legislatures are using pandemic-era surpluses to give tax cuts for the wealthy while maintaining unfair flat taxes that punish the poor. [The New Republic]

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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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