In The Know, Weekend: Flood of evictions expected when courts reopen; remembering the OKC bombing; and 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. Subscribe to In The Know and see past editions.

Note: During the pandemic, OK Policy will be publishing In The Know on Saturdays and Sundays in order to keep our subscribers up to date on the latest information going on in the state and the nation.  

Oklahoma News

Flood of evictions expected to hit Oklahoma: Oklahoma City could see thousands lose their homes in coming months due to record unemployment and economic turmoil caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Attorneys and academics told The Oklahoman a moratorium on eviction hearings, once ended, will be followed by a wave of evictions creating a homeless population not seen since the Great Depression. [The Oklahoman] OK Policy: Policymakers must do more to prevent evictions and foreclosures during and after the COVID-19 crisis. Our Open Justice Oklahoma program created a real-time evictions and foreclosures court tracker, which shows there have been 1,213 evictions and 159 foreclosures filed since March 15 when the state declared a state of emergency due to the pandemic.  

Coronavirus in Oklahoma: 2,570 confirmed cases, 139 deaths [The Oklahoman] Visit for the latest COVID-19 numbers in Oklahoma.

State Government News

Oklahoma Medicaid expansion question placed on June 30 ballot: Gov. Kevin Stitt has put a state question to expand Medicaid in Oklahoma on the June 30 ballot. SQ802 would amend the state constitution to expand Medicaid as allowed under the Affordable Care Act without any additional restrictions. [Public Radio Tulsa]

Liberty vs. Health: COVID-19 restrictions ignite fears endemic to U.S. history, culture: The law, politics and individual freedoms weigh heavily on the minds of citizens as COVID-19 rules and regulations swirl in the year 2020. [Tulsa World]

Opinion: Extensive testing needed before normalcy can be restored: A growing chorus of voices rising up in support of re-opening the economy on some an arbitrary date is cause for concern given the fact we may not know the extent of the COVID-19 pandemic in Oklahoma. [Muskogee Phoenix Editorial]

Criminal Justice News

Ginnie Graham: Petition reflects concerns about public health outbreaks in Oklahoma prisons: Families of prisoners fear for the health of loved ones behind bars. That’s not an unfounded reaction to the deadly COVID-19 virus. National reports from jails and prisons show difficulties in halting the fast-moving community spread. A petition was started by a University of Tulsa law student experienced in criminal justice efforts with recommendations for the Oklahoma Pardon and Parole Board. It contains legal measures that could be immediately implemented to bring down overcrowding. [Opinion / Tulsa World] OK Policy has joined with other Oklahoma organizations to call for safe reduction of prison populations through an accelerated pardon and parole process, as well as other policy recommendations to slow the spread of COVID-19 both inside and outside prison walls

Tulsa World editorial: Commutations right decision during pandemic, but released inmates need support services: Gov. Kevin Stitt and the Pardon and Parole Board made a good decision when they commuted the sentences of 450 prison inmates recently. That will lead to the quick release of about 100 prisoners and accelerated releases for the rest. [Tulsa World Editorial]

Economy & Business News

Child care providers in home settings express frustrations: Those who provide child care services from their homes “are still struggling to get supplies” they need to ensure they stay safe and healthy while protecting their families and those in their care from COVID-19. [Muskogee Phoenix] OK Policy: Child care plays pivotal role during health crisis. We have joined with other state organizations asking for emergency relief and policy changes for child care in Oklahoma.

Helping Cherokee small businesses survive: Small businesses are the lifeblood of the local economy in many of our communities in northeast Oklahoma. But right now, many of our Cherokee-owned businesses are struggling to stay afloat amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. [Cherokee Nation via CNHI]

Made in Oklahoma businesses need support: The Oklahoma State University Robert M. Kerr Food and Agricultural Products Center (FAPC) is encouraging residents to celebrate Made in Oklahoma Month this month by supporting local food companies. [Woodward News]

Altered Lives: Therapist finds new ways to help people navigate the new normal in a world without handshakes and hugs: Tulsa therapist Dennis England has been conducting sessions through the social networking app Zoom – a process that has required some changes for both therapist and client. [Tulsa World

Education News

Unappreciated and underpaid: The support staff of Tulsa Public Schools: There appears to be a disconnect between the people that run Tulsa’s education system and the people that work for them,” said community advocate Kelsey Royce. According to several sources, support staff have experienced unfair working conditions while being unappreciated and underpaid for years. [Tulsa Star] OK Policy has noted that support staff are vital to Oklahoma schools and should receive pay during the school closures.  

Health News

COVID-19 presents unique interpersonal challenges, but Tulsa hospital isn’t in a New York state of operations. Here’s why: Early anxiety among medical professionals in Saint Francis Hospital’s COVID wards and emergency room in Tulsa has settled into an evolved sense of normalcy — like riding a bike — and the dire circumstances in New York aren’t playing out here. [Tulsa World]

Health care workers express concern about accelerated return to elective surgeries: Gov. Kevin Stitt amended an executive order that will lift his suspension on elective surgeries beginning Friday, but health care professionals expressed concerns about moving forward too quickly. [Muskogee Phoenix]

Your COVID-19, testing questions answered: As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact more Oklahomans every day, we took some of your questions straight to the experts. [Norman Transcript]

Oklahoma Congressional delegation pushes feds to make public hospitals eligible for CARES Act funds: All members of Oklahoma’s Congressional delegation sent a letter on Friday to federal officials urging that publicly trusted hospitals be made eligible for Paycheck Protection Program loans and other financial assistance programs. [Public Radio Tulsa]

General News

Chinese community helping in the fight against COVID-19: Before the virus ever made its way to the United States, many Chinese Americans had a sneak preview of the danger as they watched it threaten family and friends in their home country. Now many of those same people are working to help protect their new home. [The Oklahoman]

Coronavirus in Oklahoma: Resilience defines Oklahoma history: By connecting the dots of history in the life of one man, we can find some comfort that courage, resilience and taking care of one another defines the Oklahoma experience. [Commentary / The Oklahoman]

Oklahoma Local News

  • 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre history center won’t be built on Greenwood Cultural Center property [Tulsa World]
  • Norman seeks input on plan to reopen [The Oklahoman]
  • Grove nurse hospitalized for a week with coronavirus [Joplin Globe]
  • Chickasha has had 2 COVID-19 recoveries, 6 cases, 1 death [Chickasha Express-Star]
  • Garfield County COVID-19 cases increase to 10; Oklahoma has 2,570 cases, 139 deaths [Enid News & Eagle]

OKC Bombing — 25 Years Later

25th Anniversary Remembrance Ceremony (Video) [Oklahoma City National Memorial & Museum]

Bill Clinton: What Oklahoma City can teach us: Most important, they have refused to allow an evil act to poison their own hearts, responding instead with what has come to be known as the Oklahoma Standard: a commitment to serving those in need, honoring those lost and damaged by the bombing, and treating all with neighborly kindness. [Opinion / The Oklahoman]

April 19, 1995: A moment of eternity: Twenty-five years later, the stories of resilience and fortitude, of picking yourself up and moving forward, of remembering what happened to us all on April 19, 1995, but not becoming paralyzed by it, can be found among scores of victims and their families. [The Oklahoman Editorial]

  • Oklahoma City bombing story [AP via Public Radio Tulsa]
  • ‘She was taken from me in an instant’: 25 years after losing her mother in the Oklahoma City bombing, Tulsan to honor her, help read victim names, for anniversary observance [Tulsa World]
  • ‘The earth rocked’: A diary from the day of the Oklahoma City bombing [NonDoc]
  • How a daughter shares love of sports with father she never met [The Oklahoman]
  • 25 years ago, a prayer service gave hope to a shaken America [Journal Record]
  • In their own words: CityRep revisits its original ‘Oklahoma City Project’ with bombing anniversary radio broadcast [The Oklahoman]
  • Musical memories: Collective Soul frontman, Mayor David Holt recall OKC bombing benefit concert 25 years later [The Oklahoman]
  • Never forget April 19, 1995: Photos show the mission of Oklahoma City National Memorial [Tulsa World]
  • Memories of a thoroughly ordinary, unremarkable day [Enid News & Eagle]
  • We must remain vigilant against purveyors of hatred [Enid News & Eagle Editorial]
  • McVeigh attorney reflects on the worst domestic terrorism attack in U.S. history [CNHI]
  • OKC Thunder has internalized the bombing and every better day since [Norman Transcript]

Quote of the Day

“There’s a lot of nasty stuff going on. It’s not as easy to lock people out when they’re staying home with the pandemic. But God forbid you leave, you may come back and find out the door is locked. They can also switch the utilities from the tenant to the complex and then shut them off.”

-Michael Figgins, director of Legal Aid, discussing evictions during the pandemic [The Oklahoman]

Number of the Day


Oklahomans killed during the April 19, 1995 bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah building in Oklahoma City.  [Oklahoma City National Memorial & Museum]

See previous Numbers of the Day here.

Policy Note

Millennials don’t stand a chance. They’re facing a second once-in-a-lifetime downturn at a crucial moment: The Millennials entered the workforce during the worst downturn since the Great Depression. Saddled with debt, unable to accumulate wealth, and stuck in low-benefit, dead-end jobs, they never gained the financial security that their parents, grandparents, or even older siblings enjoyed. They are now entering their peak earning years in the midst of an economic cataclysm more severe than the Great Recession, near guaranteeing that they will be the first generation in modern American history to end up poorer than their parents. [The Atlantic]

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David Hamby has more than 25 years of experience as an award-winning communicator, including overseeing communication programs for Oklahoma higher education institutions and other organizations. Before joining OK Policy, he was director of public relations for Rogers State University where he managed the school’s external communication programs and served as a member of the president’s leadership team. He served in a similar communications role for five years at the University of Tulsa. He also has worked in communications roles at Oklahoma State University and the Fort Smith Chamber of Commerce in Arkansas. He joined OK Policy in October 2019.

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