In The Know: Tulsa Race Massacre survivors plan to appeal dismissed lawsuit | Special elections in 7 Oklahoma counties | Capitol Update | 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

Caring for Caregivers Act had a difficult road to passage; it shouldn’t have been so hard (Capitol Update): The Caring for Caregivers Act, requested by Oklahoma AARP and championed by Rep. Tammy West, R-Oklahoma City, and Sen. John Michael Montgomery, R-Lawton, passed last session. Anyone who has ever been a caregiver would consider this tax credit a no-brainer. In fact, it doesn’t begin to cover the financial burden to a family of caregiving for a loved one. It really shouldn’t have been that hard to get done. [Steve Lewis / Capitol Update]

Oklahoma News

Survivors plan appeal after Tulsa Race Massacre lawsuit dismissed: Attorneys will appeal the dismissal of a lawsuit connected to Tulsa’s 1921 Race Massacre and ask the U.S. Department of Justice to intervene, they said Monday. “We will not go quietly,” said lead plaintiffs’ attorney Damario Solomon-Simmons, reading a statement attributed to the three last known survivors of the massacre. “We will fight until our last breath. Like so many Black Americans, we carry the weight of intergenerational racial trauma day in and day out.” [Tulsa World]

  • Greenwood attorneys will appeal Tulsa Massacre lawsuit dismissal [The Black Wall Street Times]
  • City still focused on healing ‘regardless of any lawsuit,’ Bynum says after Tulsa Race Massacre case tossed [Tulsa World]

State Government News

Oklahoma asks courts to dismiss lawsuit opposing gender-affirming care, ACLU responds: Oklahoma has filed a motion to dismiss a lawsuit challenging the state’s ban on gender-affirming care, presenting stories from people who’ve “detransitioned” and citing a need to protect children. In May, five Oklahoma minors and their families, along with the American Civil Liberties Union, sued the state saying the ban on gender-affirming care was a violation of their equal protections under the law. [KOSU]

Tribal Nations News

‘Known the story all my life’: Osage Nation citizens react to ‘Killers of the Flower Moon’: Apple Studios hosted on Saturday a private event in Tulsa for Osage Nation citizens who worked on the eagerly anticipated film, as well as for tribal elders and leaders. [The Oklahoman]

Voting and Election News

Voters in 7 Oklahoma counties have special elections July 11: There are elections in seven counties scattered around the state. Almost all for propositions related to municipal government or schools. Cherokee, Garvin, Haskell, Johnston, Lincoln, Muskogee and Woodward counties all have elections. [KOSU]

Tulsa mayor to share view on open primaries in Oklahoma at panel discussion Tuesday: More than a decade ago, then-City Councilor G.T. Bynum campaigned against a proposal to make Tulsa’s municipal elections nonpartisan. A majority of voters disagreed with him, and the change to the City Charter was approved. [Tulsa World]

Criminal Justice News

Oklahoma House committee to hold hearing on rape allegations at state prisons: An Oklahoma House committee will convene a hearing later this month about a former Oklahoma Department of Corrections employee who raised concerns about how the agency handled allegations that guards illegally had sex with inmates. [The Oklahoman]

Jail trust ditches private legal representation to use district attorney’s office instead: Oklahoma County’s jail trust will use lawyers from the district attorney’s office to handle its future legal affairs, members decided Monday. Members voted 6 to 0 to authorize District Attorney Vicki Behenna’s office to become the agency’s counsel and assume control in defending it in all pending litigation against the Oklahoma County Criminal Justice Authority. [The Oklahoman]

Economy & Business News

Military shows interest in Canoo battery packs, EV architecture: Canoo, the electric vehicle company with plans for plants in Oklahoma City and Pryor, has expanded the scope of a previously announced partnership with the Department of Defense, the company said Monday. The DOD’s Defense Innovation Unit, or DIU, has shown particular interest in Canoo’s potential for delivering a technologically advanced battery pack scalable for use on various platforms for use by the Navy. [Journal Record]

OSU, Osage collaborate in meat industry workforce development: A new partnership involving Oklahoma State University and the Osage Nation may help put Oklahoma a cut above the rest when it comes to meat industry workforce training. The Robert M. Kerr Food and Agricultural Products Center at OSU recently hosted its first Meat Mastery Program, organized in collaboration with the Osage Nation. [Journal Record]

Education News

Employees dismissed from lawsuit over eagle feather at Broken Arrow graduation: Two individually named Broken Arrow Public Schools employees have been dismissed from a civil lawsuit stemming from a 2022 graduation day confrontation over an eagle feather. Claiming a violation of both the First Amendment and the Oklahoma Religious Freedom Act, Lena’ Black sued Broken Arrow Public Schools and the two women on May 15, stating that the two employees attempted physically to remove an eagle plume from her mortarboard prior to the district’s May 2022 graduation ceremony. Black is a citizen of the Otoe-Missouria Tribe and of Osage descent. [Tulsa World]

General News

Two charged with trying to control public access to State Board of Education meeting: Two men are now facing criminal charges for trying to control public access to the June meeting of the Oklahoma State Board of Education. One stands accused of wrenching the arm of a teacher from Tulsa and pushing a state-employed security officer. [Tulsa World]

Oklahoma Local News

  • OKC rapid transit project gains momentum [Journal Record]
  • Despite LGBTQ+ book brouhaha, Tulsa Public Schools renews CityYear agreement [Tulsa World]

Quote of the Day

“I implore you. Stay. Keep watching. Keep the pressure on. Pay attention. … The only way (the justice system) works is when everybody pays attention.”

– Attorney Sara Elena Solfanelli, on the Tulsa County District Court’s dismissal of a lawsuit connected to Tulsa’s 1921 Race Massacre. [Tulsa World]

Number of the Day


The rate of Oklahoma fourth graders who are not proficient in reading, up from 71% in 2019. [KIDS COUNT]

Policy Note

Meet the People Deciding How to Spend $50 Billion in Opioid Settlement Cash: As more than $50 billion makes its way to state and local governments to compensate for the opioid epidemic, people with high hopes for the money are already fighting over a little-known bureaucratic arm of the process: state councils that wield immense power over how the cash is spent. [KFF Health News]

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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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