In The Know: Tribal leaders call for compact renewal after Stitt veto | Special session dates set at Capitol | 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.

State Government News

26 tribes to lawmakers: Override Gov. Stitt’s veto, renew compacts: Leaders of most Oklahoma tribes are calling on the state legislature to return to the capitol and renew tobacco tax compacts before the clock runs out. [The Oklahoman

  • Legislature to take up veto overrides again; special session dates set at Capitol [Tulsa World]
  • Capitol Insider: Special session on hold as adjournment deadline approaches [KGOU

Oklahoma watchdog agency’s executive director to leave by end of year: The executive director of the Oklahoma Ethics Commission is stepping down out of frustration over a lack of funding. Ashley Kemp, 46, of Norman, has been in charge there for the last seven years. [The Oklahoman

Cost of boycotting banks doesn’t matter, Oklahoma House speaker says: ‘The law is clear’: Whether the cost to the state for blacklisting specific financial firms ends up being $2 million, $20 million or more doesn’t matter, Oklahoma’s House speaker said. “The law is clear,” Rep. Charles McCall, R-Atoka, said Thursday night at the annual Rogers County Republican Party Patriots Dinner. [Tulsa World]

Oklahoma National Guard to deploy troops to U.S.-Mexico border soon: About 50 members of the Oklahoma National Guard will deploy to the U.S.-Mexico border by Aug. 1 after being mobilized by Gov. Kevin Stitt. As Texas tries to beef up immigration and drug-trafficking enforcement at the nation’s southern border, the Oklahoma National Guard will send a contingent of soldiers and airmen to help. [Tulsa World]

Political notebook: Democrat laid groundwork for Stitt’s criminal justice task force: Gov. Kevin Stitt took the bows last week for a new criminal justice reform task force, but a Democrat says she did most of the groundwork for it during two years of interim studies and arguing on the House floor for better data. [Tulsa World]

Federal Government News

Oklahoma Rep. Frank Lucas taps home state expertise for weather bill: Lucas, R-Cheyenne, the chairman of the House Science, Space and Technology Committee, crafted comprehensive legislation called the Weather Research and Forecasting Innovation Act that became law in 2017. He is working on a follow-up and has been holding hearings to gather input. [The Oklahoman

Criminal Justice News

Failed jail inspections exceedingly common in Oklahoma: During a series of inspections in 2021 and 2022, inspectors repeatedly cited the Oklahoma County Jail for failing to conduct mental health assessments during its intake process. [The Journal Record

There are three things that need to happen before our system can render ‘Justice for All’: The criminal justice system in Oklahoma has once again drawn national and international attention for a wrongful conviction in a death penalty case. We should be grateful that the injustice of the convictions in these high-profile capital cases has been revealed. However, we also should recognize that there are almost certainly many other wrongful convictions, in capital and non-capital cases, which never draw sufficient public attention to be revealed and remedied. [Robert M. Anthony Guest Column / The Oklahoman]

Education News

‘Frustrated as hell’: Blackwell teacher quits after trying to take maternity leave: Blackwell Public Schools teacher quit her job in May after she said she received conflicting information from administrators and was “forced out” of her classroom when she tried to take maternity leave. But the district said it was simply following its policies, a claim that highlights the significance of a new state law that took effect July 1 mandating paid maternity leave for full-time employees of school districts. [NonDoc]

Help wanted: Foreign language teachers at a premium in Oklahoma, nationwide: According to a 2022 report compiled by the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education, the number of students completing traditional teacher preparation program for world language education dropped by 44% nationwide between 2008 and 2019. [Tulsa World]

General News

What does Christianity have to do with race and nationalism? A church forum will take a look: A local church that doesn’t shy away from controversial topics will offer a two-day event about a religious ideology that connects Christianity to race and nationalism. Edmond Trinity Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) will host a two-day forum titled “The Threat of White Christian Nationalism” from July 21-22 at the church, 1400 NW 178. [The Oklahoman]

Tulsa completes preliminary search for more 1921 Race Massacre graves: The city of Tulsa says it completed a “test excavation” on Thursday for more possible remains of people killed in the 1921 Race Massacre. Originally scheduled for both Thursday and Friday, crews used heavy equipment in Oaklawn Cemetery near downtown Tulsa, where bodies of massacre victims could possibly be buried. [KGOU]

Oklahoma Local News

  • OKC consultants invite public feedback to refine new preliminary BRT routes [The Oklahoman

Quote of the Day

“The whole point of it is I should not have lost my classroom and my position of eight years because of maternity leave.” 

-Haley Curfman, who had taught second grade at Blackwell Elementary School for the past eight years, said she received conflicting information from administrators and was “forced out” of her classroom when she tried to take maternity leave after her baby was born in May. [NonDoc]

Number of the Day


Number of people in Oklahoma who receive Supplemental Security Income (SSI), a federal program  for low-income elderly and disabled people. [U.S. Social Security Administration]

Policy Note

The Case for Updating SSI Asset Limits: The Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program for low-income elderly and disabled people has the strictest savings limits of any federal program. Eligibility is limited to people who have only $2,000 (or $3,000 for couples). This is not enough for beneficiaries to weather an emergency, let alone provide stability or save for the future. Administering the resource limit, often referred to as an asset test, is burdensome for both Social Security Administration (SSA) staff and for claimants. Policymakers should increase or even eliminate SSI’s resource limit amid growing bipartisan support to do so. [Center on Budget and Policy Priorities]

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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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