In The Know: Tulsa Race Massacre survivors’ reparations lawsuit dismissed | New law allows blind voters to receive electronic ballots | OK lawmakers file interim study requests | 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.

Oklahoma News

Tulsa Race Massacre survivors’ lawsuit dismissed, ending years-long quest for reparations: The judge in a case that sought financial restitution for the three remaining survivors of the Tulsa Race Massacre dismissed the case with prejudice Friday, effectively ending any further attempts by survivors’ attorneys to seek reparations. The lawsuit, filed against the City of Tulsa, Tulsa Regional Chamber, the Tulsa County Commissioners, Tulsa County Sheriff Vic Regalado and the Oklahoma Military Department, stated that the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre represented an “ongoing public nuisance,” to survivors Viola Fletcher, Lessie Benningfield Randle and Hughes Van Ellis, Sr. [The Oklahoman]

  • Oklahoma judge throws out a suit seeking reparations for the Tulsa Race Massacre [KOSU]
  • Justice for Greenwood to appeal after Tulsa Race Massacre lawsuit dismissed [Tulsa World]

State Government News

Column: Oklahoma lawmakers file dozens of study requests: There is a misconception that state lawmakers work only four months out of the year. [O]ver the summer months, many lawmakers will file reviews of policies called “interim studies.”  I want to highlight a few of the studies and encourage you to either attend or watch online when they happen. [Joe Dorman Guest Column / Journal Record]

Tribal Nations News

McGirt v. Oklahoma, 3 years later: How police work on the Muscogee Nation reservation: Officer Daryl Wilson puts on his Ray-Ban sunglasses and starts the “Black Stallion of Justice,” his nickname for the Dodge Durango he drives on patrol. His department-issued rifle rests next to the passenger seat. He finds his laptop and logs in to start another day on patrol for the Muscogee Nation Lighthorse Police. [The Oklahoman]

How Osage people are shaping their own story before release of ‘Killers of the Flower Moon’ film: Killers of the Flower Moon, the nonfiction book by David Grann about the Osage murders, has been made into a movie by director Martin Scorsese. Over the weekend, it made its Oklahoma debut for some Osage citizens. [KOSU]

Four incumbents reelected to Choctaw Nation Tribal Council: Tony Ward of District 2, Eddie Bohanan of District 3, Perry Thompson of District 8 and Robert Karr of District 11 all managed to retain their seats for another four years. No incumbent received less than 77 percent of the vote. [NonDoc]

Voting and Election News

New Oklahoma law allows blind voters to receive electronic ballots: Oklahoma lawmakers last year passed House Bill 1711, which allows legally blind voters to request the electronic delivery of an absentee ballot. That measure is one of more than 50 new laws that took effect July 1. [Tulsa World]

Health News

New DNA sequencer to ‘unlock new era of science’ at OMRF: One of the world’s fastest DNA sequencers was delivered recently to the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation, paving the way for greater insights and accelerated research into everything from cancer to Alzheimer’s disease. [Journal Record]

Column: State of maternal health in Oklahoma is bleak. We are failing women, especially Black women: The number of women who die giving birth in America each year has nearly doubled in the last 20 years. The numbers are even more disconcerting when disaggregated by race/ethnicity. We have to reimagine what health care could look like when patients, physicians, health care systems and legislators truly commit to health equity. Continued failure to act falls far short of The Oklahoma Standard. [Dr. Angela Hawkins Guest column / The Oklahoman]

Column: SCOTUS affirmative action decision moves diversifying physician workforce two steps backward: For Black, Latinx and Indigenous communities, race has always determined access to higher education. Affirmative action serves as a check against systemic injustices that are far from just “a thing of the past.” The court’s decision will further limit people of color’s access to higher education and threatens to worsen health inequities of communities who cannot afford it. [Jabraan Pasha, M.D. Guest Column / Tulsa World]

Column: Educating Oklahomans about coverage options is key to avoiding health care catastrophe: More than 300,000 Oklahomans are expected to lose Medicaid coverage over the next nine months, and increasing awareness will be the only way to avoid a potential health care catastrophe. This adds to more than 623,000 uninsured in Oklahoma. [Jeanean Yanish Jones Guest column / The Oklahoman]

Economy & Business News

Accelerator helps Latino businesses unlock potential: StitchCrew, an organization founded with a mission to increase equitability in the economy through entrepreneurship, is looking for candidates for the second cohort of its accelerator program to assist Latino-owned businesses in Oklahoma City in their growth and unlock their potential. [Journal Record]

Education News

Oklahoma schools should teach Tulsa Race Massacre as a ‘racist’ event, state superintendent says: Oklahoma’s schools chief said the Tulsa Race Massacre was a “terrible, evil, racist event in our history” and should be taught in schools as such, clarifying comments he made Thursday that had some questioning whether he believed race was a factor in the 1921 attack. [The Oklahoman]

  • Hear and read Ryan Walters’ full remarks about the Tulsa Race Massacre [The Frontier]
  • Ryan Walters denies saying Tulsa Race Massacre was not about race [Tulsa World]

Oklahoma faces critical shortage of school counselors: Counselors say they often juggle other duties like teaching PE and testing. The state hasn’t directed funding to help fix the problem. [NonDoc]

Their education came to a halt in Afghanistan. An Oklahoma school gave them a new start.: A new program, called Pathways, from Epic Charter School is focusing on students age 21-25 who still lack a high school diploma. The program’s first 20 students are all Afghan refugees. [The Oklahoman]

School wants individual staffers dismissed from lawsuit over eagle feather at BA graduation: Attorneys for Broken Arrow Public Schools filed a motion Friday seeking to have two individually named employees dismissed from a civil lawsuit stemming from a 2022 graduation day confrontation over an eagle feather. [Tulsa World]

General News

  • Can’t pay your electric bill? PSO and OG&E have options [Tulsa World]

Oklahoma Local News

  • As OKC adds to its license plate-reading surveillance network, see what the cameras can do [The Oklahoman]
  • From a judge’s rejection to $30M in assets: First Church United Methodist’s day in court [The Oklahoman]
  • Area districts passing on Teacher Empowerment Fund [Tulsa World]
  • June storm reveals need for a new public safety center, TAEMA official says [Tulsa World]

Quote of the Day

“We want everybody to vote. We want everybody to have that access, and you try to remove as many barriers as you can for people with disabilities.”

– Sen. Paul Rosino, R-Oklahoma City, who co-authored legislation that will allow people with vision impairment or low vision to receive an electronic ballot at home that they can fill out using software that will read the text out loud. [Tulsa World]

Number of the Day


Rate of Oklahoma households with zero (or negative) net worth. Oklahoma’s ranking here is the nation’s second highest, tied with three other states (Tennessee, Indiana, and Georgia) and the District of Columbia. [Prosperity Now]

Policy Note

State Limits on Revenues and Budgets Stifle Democracy: This year, 18 state legislatures have considered roughly 50 proposals that would create or tighten arbitrary limits on state and local revenues and budgets. These limits tie the hands of future policymakers and undermine their ability to advance policies that meet their constituencies’ evolving needs. In doing so, they needlessly — but arguably deliberately — constrain the democratic process. [Center on Budget and Policy Priorities]

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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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