In The Know: Tribal sovereignty decision | Signatures submitted for recreational marijuana state question | Inflation primer

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.

Oklahoma News

Oklahoma tribes to Gov. Stitt after Castro-Huerta decision: come to the table and move forward: Tribal leaders across Oklahoma and beyond are reacting to last week’s U.S. Supreme Court decision in the Oklahoma v. Castro-Huerta case, saying the ruling upends more than 100 years of federal Indian law. Tribal nations in Oklahoma say they want Gov. Kevin Stitt to come to the table and meet with the tribes on matters of public safety. [KOSU

  • Oklahoma spent millions on a legal and PR campaign to paint reservations as ‘lawless dystopias’ and convince the Supreme Court to weaken tribal sovereignty, experts say [Business Insider
  • The Supreme Court’s attack on tribal sovereignty, explained [KOSU

State Government News

Supporters of SQ 820 turn in 164,000 signatures in effort to legalize recreational marijuana in Oklahoma: Supporters of one effort to legalize recreational marijuana turned in about 164,000 signatures on Tuesday, hoping to get a state question on the November ballot. [Tulsa World] Oklahomans for Sensible Marijuana Laws submitted more than 164,000 signatures to the Office of the Secretary of State, far more than the roughly 95,000 they need to qualify State Question 820 for the ballot. [Public Radio Tulsa

‘Monetary phenomenon’: An inflation primer for the Oklahoma Legislature: At the end of this year’s regular session of the Oklahoma Legislature, Gov. Kevin Stitt called for a special session to provide Oklahomans “inflation relief.” The special session came and went without full legislative action on Stitt’s proposals. The House advanced (again) a variety of tax cut proposals, but Senate President Pro Tempore Greg Treat announced his caucus wanted more time to study the topic. [NonDoc

From OK Policy: States have few tools to address inflation | Inflation in Oklahoma Factsheet

Tribal Nations News

Former Cherokee Nation chief justice, Vietnam veteran, receives Medal of Honor at White House: More than 50 years after he returned from Vietnam, a longtime Oklahoma attorney and former Cherokee Nation chief justice has been presented the nation’s highest military honor for his actions there. [Tulsa World] “At long last, long last, your story is being honored as it should have been always,” Biden told Birdwell. [Public Radio Tulsa

America’s Original Sin Continues: The Fight Over Native Children: The Indian Child Welfare Act pushes for Native children to be adopted by Native families.  In the highest court of the land, the Indian Child Welfare Act is expected to be debated later this year in Brackeen v. Haaland, in what many in the field of federal Indian law are describing as the largest threat to Indian Country and sovereignty in centuries. [HuffPost]

From OK Policy: Tribal-state coordination to prioritize Oklahoma Indian Child Welfare is one way to improve child well-being

Health News

As formula shortage wears on, social media has been a lifeline for families in need: As formula shortage wears on, social media has been a lifeline for families in need Dana Branham Oklahoman Social media has been a lifeline for Kristen Wickham, of Piedmont, a 36-year-old mom whose 5-month-old son needs specialty formula. The type of formula her baby needs was hard to find even before the nationwide shortage, spurred by the shutdown of a major factory. [The Oklahoman

Guest column: How recreational facilities can make Oklahoma City competitive for new business: Health is influenced as much by our built environment as it is by diet or medical care. Well-designed places engage communities, encourage physical activity, reduce stress and improve access to nutritious food. Yet it is often left out of the conversation on public health. [Opinion / The Oklahoman

Criminal Justice News

Judge appoints herself in last-ditch effort to provide oversight to Okla. workers’ comp cases: In a last-ditch move to ensure thousands of injured workers can have their day in court, a workers’ compensation judge appointed herself to continue hearing cases after the Oklahoma Legislature failed to extend her position. [The Oklahoman

Economic Opportunity

OKC Council told many more evictions coming: The second round of federal assistance for Oklahoma City residents who can’t pay their rent won’t last much longer. In a few months, the application portal will close because the pool of applicants already is so large, said Ginny Bass Carl, executive director of Community Cares Partners, the program that is distributing Emergency Rental Assistance, or ERA, funds to eligible renters and their landlords. [The Journal Record

Economy & Business News

Oklahoma utility companies will collect millions in fees from 2021 winter storm recovery: Oklahomans will pay more than $157 million in fees and “ongoing financing costs” associated with bonds that utility companies will use to cover the expense of a 2021 winter storm, which will add a still-to-be-determined extra charge to customer bills that could increase due to rising interest rates. [The Oklahoman

Gas prices decline for third straight week but remain well above $4 per gallon: Gasoline prices declined for the third straight week and may continue to do so, at least in the short term, a national analyst said. Tulsa’s average gas price was $4.328 on Tuesday, down about 10 cents per gallon from $4.426 a week ago, according to AAA Oklahoma. [Tulsa World

Education News

In-state tuition and fees slated to remain mostly flat for Oklahoma college students: Oklahoma’s Regents for Higher Education will meet Wednesday to approve tuition and fee rates for the state’s colleges and universities. Under the proposed budget, tuition and fees will remain mostly flat – increasing 1.8 percent for in-state students and 1.6 percent for out-of-staters. [KGOU

Quote of the Day

“Far from settling things, I think the court has kind of muddied the water now.” 

-James Maggesto, an attorney who focuses on Native American Law, speaking about the Supreme Court’s recent decision that held Oklahoma had concurrent jurisdiction with the federal government to prosecute some crimes committed on reservations [Business Insider]

Number of the Day


Black people in Oklahoma are 4.2 times more likely to be arrested for marijuana than white people. Racial disparity in arrests increased between 2010 and 2018. Pontotoc County has the highest racial disparity for marijuana arrests in the state. [ACLU]

Policy Note

What Inflation Means for State and Local Budgets: Rising costs are starting to put pressure on budgets and may increase pension risk. Still, government balance sheets are in good shape and the economy remains in growth mode. [Governing]

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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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