In The Know: Tribal leaders speak out against Gov.’s claims | Indigenous Peoples Day | Reducing state’s incarceration rate

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

Interim study examines ways to reduce Oklahoma’s incarceration levels (Capitol Update): It’s still early to know if major criminal legal reform is going to be on the legislative agenda for next session. I think there is a sincere desire by legislators to bring Oklahoma’s prison population to a more rational level if they can figure out how to do it safely. But there are a couple of problems (at least) that may get in the way. [Steve Lewis / Capitol Update]

Oklahoma News

Oklahoma Gov. Stitt, attorney general are ‘enemies of sovereignty,’ Cherokee leader says: For months, Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt has criticized the “dysfunctional chaos” of a landmark Supreme Court ruling that changed how crimes involving Native Americans are prosecuted. Tribal nations have pushed back against that narrative. On Monday, several leaders presented a unified message: Stitt’s claims are exaggerated. Cherokee Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr. was most direct during a virtual Indian law symposium, calling Stitt and Oklahoma’s attorney general “enemies of sovereignty.” [The Oklahoman] Oklahoma counties and municipalities have begun entering into new intergovernmental agreements and working with their tribal neighbors following last year’s landmark U.S. Supreme Court ruling, and tribal leaders said they’re hopeful state officials will soon be willing to do the same. [CHNI via Enid News and Eagle]

  • Cole continues to advocate for tribal sovereignty on Indigenous Peoples’ Day [Norman Transcript]

OKC’s First Americans Museum celebrates Indigenous Peoples Day: Oklahoma City’s new First Americans Museum is in a position to lend clarity to that national conversation as the collection of stories, recovered artifacts and biographies of notable Native Americans through history gives people of all persuasions the chance to go beyond stereotypes and misinformation and better understand the journey of ancient peoples whose living relatives carry on today.   [The Oklahoman]

  • Fifth Annual Native American Day celebrated in Tulsa [KTUL]

Health News

OB/GYN says vaccine best way for pregnant women to stay out of hospital with COVID-19: With the latest data affirming that it’s safe and effective for them, a Tulsa obstetrician and gynecologist is urging pregnant women to strongly consider the COVID-19 vaccine. “It’s becoming clear that it’s safe (for pregnant women),” said Dr. Lora Larson, OB/GYN hospitalist with Saint Francis Hospital. [Tulsa World] Dr. Lora Larson at Saint Francis said during a Monday briefing by the hospital there’s plenty of data at this point showing the vaccines are safe for the pregnant person and their child. [Public Radio Tulsa]

  • The state’s seven-day average in new coronavirus cases jumped significantly after heavy weekend reporting, to 1,235 per day. [KOSU]
  • No mask policy changes made at Jenks, BA school board meetings [Tulsa World]

Red Cross: Blood supply ’emergency’; several donation events set: The American Red Cross continues to experience an emergency blood and platelet shortage that has caused the blood supply to drop to the lowest post-summer level in at least six years, the nonprofit said. [Tulsa World]

State Government News

Attorney general discusses new job, other topics: Attorney General John O’Connor said he loves being a Rotarian on Monday. O’Connor, who has practiced law for more than 40 years and was appointed as Oklahoma’s 19th attorney general by Gov. Kevin Stitt on July 23, made his way to Enid to speak at the weekly Rotary Club meeting because he wanted to hear from community members. [Enid News & Eagle]

New Tulsa mural explores Black and Indigenous solidarity: The project was commissioned by IllumiNative, an Oklahoma-based non-profit organization that advocates for better representation of Indigenous people in the media, education, politics and culture. They wanted to bring awareness to the parallels of Indigenous and Black history in the state, especially after the passage of HB 1775, a bill that prohibits public schools from teaching critical race theory. [KOSU]

Federal Government News

Oklahoman testifies before Congress about financial difficulties of ranchers: Scott Blubaugh, fifth-generation Oklahoma farmer and rancher and president of the American Farmers & Ranchers (AFR) Cooperative, called on Congress recently to address rising inequities among different sectors of agriculture markets. [The Journal Record]

Tribal Nations News

As Fort Sill Apache try to expand in New Mexico, new suit stems from land dispute: On a patch of land in southwest New Mexico, leaders of an Oklahoma tribe envision a future home. For that to happen, the Fort Sill Apache need to rebuild an economic base in the same area where their ancestors lived until they became prisoners of war. But decades of legal challenges have impeded their plans. [The Oklahoman]

Criminal Justice News

Parole revocation is on the rise in Oklahoma: There’s been a recent uptick in parole revocations in Oklahoma. The Oklahoma Pardon and Parole Board had 14 such cases last month. “In March 2020, after having several months with no revocation hearings, that was the amount of hearings that it took just to get caught up for the previous, I believe, five months, and that’s how many we’re seeing every month now,” General Counsel Kyle Counts told the board on Monday. [Public Radio Tulsa]

Jail study ‘listening session’ shows divide between consultants, residents: Leaders of the second listening session on possible solutions for the problematic Oklahoma County Detention Center or Jail found themselves facing an angry crowd Thursday night. [OKC Free Press]

Economic Opportunity

With current facility ‘pushed to extremes,’ Tulsa Food Bank plans to double its capacity: Fifteen years ago, Tulsa’s Community Food Bank opened a distribution center that was designed to handle 20 million pounds of food per year, or nearly three times more than the organization was giving away at the time. It seemed to have plenty of room for growth. [Tulsa World]

Education News

Board strikes deal with Western Heights teachers union: The Western Heights Board of Education ratified agreements this evening with the Western Heights Education Association that had been at an impasse for two years. The arrangement will provide signing bonuses for new teachers and salary increases for certified and support staff. [NonDoc]

OSU’s space cowgirl recounts ‘fantastic’ suborbital ride upon her return to Stillwater: If Wally Funk can orchestrate her next move as well as she conducted the band assembled in her honor Monday, the famed “Mercury 13” member just might have a shot at finding a way aboard the International Space Station. [Tulsa World]

Oklahoma Local News

  • Oklahoma elections: Edmond voters deciding whether to buy land adjacent Hafer Park [NonDoc] | [The Oklahoman]
  • City of Tulsa developing cycling safety education campaign funded by scooter license fees [Public Radio Tulsa]
  • City, Tulsa County declare Juneteenth an official holiday [Tulsa World]
  • Root Tulsa looks to expand self-guided tours in the city after successful launch [Public Radio Tulsa]

Quote of the Day

“Just as Oklahoma guards its sovereignty from federal overreach, we too will zealously defend our sovereignty from Oklahoma’s intrusion or disregard… When sovereigns abandon their respect for the rights of other sovereigns, our ability to work together breaks down and really can become difficult.”

-Chickasaw Nation Gov. Bill Anoatubby [The Oklahoman]

Number of the Day


Black Americans possess 4 percent of the nation’s household wealth while representing 13 percent of the U.S. population [Brookings]

Policy Note

State Income Taxes and Racial Equity: Narrowing Racial Income and Wealth Gaps with State Personal Income Taxes: Historical and current injustices, both in public policy and in broader society, have resulted in vast disparities in income and wealth across race and ethnicity. Employment discrimination has denied good job opportunities to people of color. An uneven system of public education funding advantages wealthier white people and produces unequal educational outcomes. Racist policies such as redlining and discrimination in lending have denied countless Black families the opportunity to become homeowners or business owners, creating vast differences in intergenerational wealth. The lasting effects of these inequities compound over time. [ITEP]

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Jessica joined OK Policy as a Communications Associate in January 2018. A Mexican immigrant, she was a Clara Luper Scholar at Oklahoma City University where she obtained a B.A. in Political Science and Philosophy. Prior to joining OK Policy, Jessica worked at a digital marketing agency in Oklahoma City. She is an alumna of both the National Education for Women (N.E.W.) Leadership Institute (2013) and OK Policy's Summer Policy Institute (2015). In addition to her role at OK Policy, Jessica serves as a board member for Dream Action Oklahoma in OKC and communications director for Dream Alliance Oklahoma in Tulsa.

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