In The Know: Walters appoints Libs of TikTok creator to Oklahoma’s library review committee | Proposal to set retirement age for state judges draws concern | Gov announces AI task force | 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

Ryan Walters names Libs of TikTok creator to Oklahoma school library panel: An out-of-state conservative running the far-right-wing social media account Libs of TikTok will sit on an Oklahoma committee reviewing school library content. [Oklahoma Voice]

  • Ryan Walters appoints Libs of TikTok creator to OSDE Committee [The Black Wall Street Times]
  • Libs of TikTok creator Chaya Raichik appointed to Oklahoma’s library review committee [The Oklahoman]
  • Who is Chaya Raichik? Everything to know about the Libs of TikTok creator [The Oklahoman]
  • State Superintendent Ryan Walters taps far-right media personality for school library committee [Public Radio Tulsa]
  • Oklahoma lawmakers, educators concerned over ‘Libs of TikTok’ creator’s appointment to education committee [KFOR]
  • Libs of TikTok creator named to advisory group on Oklahoma school libraries [Tulsa World]
  • Editorial: Libs for TikTok creator unworthy of representing Oklahoma’s children [Editorial / Tulsa World]

State Government News

Proposal that would force Oklahoma judges to retire at 75 stokes concern: Some in the legal community are concerned about legislation that would require judges to retire at 75. But the author said Senate Bill 1672 is needed because the Oklahoma Supreme Court over the years has invalidated reforms Republicans worked very hard to pass after a century of Democratic control. [Oklahoma Voice]

Oklahoma state lawmaker apologizes for bill labeling ‘Hispanic’ gang members terrorists. Fellow lawmakers say it’s not enough: An Oklahoma state lawmaker says he will now change the language of a bill he proposed that designates anyone “of Hispanic descent” that is “a member of a criminal street gang” and convicted of a “gang-related offense” a terrorist. [CNN]

How can Oklahoma address artificial intelligence? Stitt task force offers guidance.: A new task force created by Gov. Kevin Stitt recommends the state hire a chief artificial intelligence officer to oversee public sector use of the emerging technology, manage its risks and promote AI innovation within government. [Oklahoma Voice]

  • Stitt embraces AI as means to shift state workers to private sector [Tulsa World]

State lawmaker files bill to add optional autism identifier to state-issued ID: Rep. Nicole Miller of Edmond authored the bill, with the purpose to help those with autism when interacting with law enforcement. The bill is set to be heard during the upcoming legislative session, beginning on Feb. 5. [News 9]

Federal Government News

U.S. Rep. Josh Brecheen backs ‘decriminalization of cockfighting’: Wrapping up his comments before a newly formed game fowl group in Kentucky, Anthony DeVore buoyed their spirits by touting the political clout his similar chicken-breeding organization has back in Oklahoma. On Dec. 9, he told members of the Kentucky Game Fowl Commission at their first meeting in Langley, Kentucky, that his group in Oklahoma has the political support of U.S. Rep. Josh Brecheen (R-OK2). [NonDoc]

Voting and Election News

Oklahoma primaries: Everything you need to know for the 2024 presidential election: As the nation’s attention is on former U.S. President Donald Trump’s Iowa Caucus victory Monday night, you may be wondering: when are the primary elections in Oklahoma? And, who’s on the ballot? [The Oklahoman]

Long Story Short: Bill Would Make it Harder to get an Initiative on the Ballot (Audio): Keaton Ross reports on a democracy bill facing the Legislature this session, including one that would make it harder for Oklahomans to propose their own laws. [Oklahoma Watch]

Health News

What Oklahoma counties made the list of the unhealthiest in the country?: Oklahoma’s two most populous counties are among the top 25 unhealthiest counties in the nation, according to a recent study by Velotric. [The Oklahoman]

Some Hillcrest patients’ personal info hacked in cyberattack on Ardent Health: Some Hillcrest patients have received notification from the health care system’s parent company that their personal information, including Social Security numbers, was hacked in a November cyberattack. [Tulsa World]

Criminal Justice News

Racial disparity persists at Oklahoma County jail despite overall population decrease: The population of Oklahoma County’s jail is significantly lower than it was eight years ago, but racial disparity persisted among its population in 2022. More Black detainees made up the jail’s population than white detainees. [The Oklahoman]

Oklahoma is begging the Supreme Court not to make it kill Richard Glossip: The case against Richard Glossip fell apart. Even the state’s Republican attorney general says he should not be executed. The Supreme Court may not care. [Vox]

  • Oklahoma death row inmate’s case to be heard by U.S. Supreme Court [KGOU]

Housing & Economic Opportunity

Woman says landlord evicted family after demanding flood, mold repairs: A woman says her landlord evicted her family after she refused to pay rent until her landlord cleaned mold and water damage in their apartment. [KFOR]

Economy & Business News

Tulsa, Oklahoma City airports report travel uptick in 2023: Tulsa International Airport reached levels not seen since 2008. Ending last year with over 3 million passengers, which is considered a high mark since nearly 3.3 million airport passengers went through the airport in 2008. Will Rogers Airport reported more than 4 million passengers in 2023, also an increase to pre-pandemic levels. [KOSU]

Education News

Board members allege illegal meetings in Gist resignation, Johnson appointment: Two Tulsa Public Schools board members have filed a lawsuit alleging their colleagues broke state law — including in the resignation of the district’s former superintendent, and appointing her replacement. [Public Radio Tulsa]

  • Superintendent Ebony Johnson: TPS lawsuit disheartening and divisive [Tulsa World]

General News

FERC holds Grand River Dam Authority responsible for Northeast Oklahoma flooding: After decades of frequent flooding in Miami and other Northeastern Oklahoma towns along the Neosho River, a federal regulatory agency has determined the Grand River Dam Authority is responsible. Now, GRDA has been ordered to purchase frequently flooded lands upstream of Grand Lake. [KOSU]

How Would MLK Advise Us To Face Today’s Challenges?: Tulsans voice different perspectives. [Opinion / Oklahoma Eagle]

Oklahoma Local News

  • Brookside town hall kicks off 2024 Tulsa mayor’s race [Tulsa World]
  • ‘A legal giant’: Public defender Bob Ravitz dies at 71 [NonDoc]
  • Proposed 1,907-foot OKC skyscraper needs new zoning approval [Journal Record]

Quote of the Day

“We’ve appointed a 28-year-old from New York that’s a realtor that has no children and has no education background.”

– Chair for the Oklahoma House Committee on Education Rep. Mark McBride (R-Moore), speaking about State Superintendent Ryan Walters’ choice to appoint an out-of-state, partisan social media commentator—whose posts have been associated with bomb threats to Oklahoma schools—to a board overseeing content in Oklahoma school libraries. [KFOR]

Number of the Day


When adjusted for inflation and population growth, Oklahoma’s state budget for the current fiscal year that ends on June 30, 2024, is 12 percent smaller than the Fiscal Year 2000 budget. [OK Policy]

Policy Note

States Should Reverse Tax-Cut Spree, Take Brighter Path in 2024: As the 2024 legislative season starts, state policymakers again face a critical choice when it comes to tax policy: whether to pursue policies that ensure wealthy households and corporations pay their fair share and that vital public services are funded adequately, or to continue the recent trend of costly, regressive tax cuts that undermine their ability to meet people’s needs or invest in the future. With state revenues weakening and other risk factors on the horizon, states should reject calls for additional tax cuts and instead protect and raise revenues to support public services that help families and communities thrive. [Center on Budget and Policy Priorities]

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Annie Taylor joined OK Policy as a Digital Communications Associate/Storybanker in April 2022. She studied journalism and mass communication at the University of Oklahoma, and was a member of the Native American Journalists Association. She earned her bachelor’s degree in Strategic Communications from the University of Central Oklahoma. While pursuing her degree, she worked in restaurant and retail management, as well as freelance copywriting and digital content production. Annie is an enrolled member of the Choctaw Nation, and holds a deep reverence for storytelling in the digital age. She was born and raised in southeast Oklahoma, and now lives in Oklahoma City with her dog, Melvin.