In The Know: What the end of universal free lunch program means for some families | Health care coverage gaps for immigrants | 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

Excluded in the Expansion: The persisting gaps in health care coverage for immigrant Oklahomans: Medicaid expansion in Oklahoma has allowed more than 300,000 residents to enroll for health care, but almost 82,000 Oklahomans who are immigrants remain uninsured. Since the mid-1990s, many immigrants are either partially or entirely ineligible for federal public benefits programs, including Medicaid. As a result, noncitizen immigrants are significantly more likely than citizens to be uninsured, leaving them at risk of serious illness and with limited options for preventative care. [Gabriela Ramirez-Perez / OK Policy]

Oklahoma News

As Universal Free Lunch Program Ends, Obstacles Return For Some Families: The pandemic-inspired federal program funding free meals for all students has ended, leaving Breyden and many Oklahoma students whose households hover near the poverty line at greater risk of going hungry during the school day. [Oklahoma Watch]

Oklahoma will receive at least $8.9 million in Juul teen vaping settlement: Oklahoma is one of 33 states that will receive payouts from electronic cigarette maker Juul Labs in the settlement of a two-year probe that found the company “relentlessly marketed to underage users.” [The Oklahoman]

Tribal Nations News

Chief Hoskin delivers ‘State of Nation’ address virtually after testing positive for COVID-19: Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr. spoke to thousands of Nation citizens virtually for the “State of the Nation” address after he tested positive for COVID-19 at the end of August. [Public Radio Tulsa]

Voting and Election News

Stitt’s ‘rural wall’ could be a significant edge this election: If Stitt retains the rural advantage he had four years ago, Joy Hofmeister, his Democratic opponent this year, would need to make significant gains with urban voters to have a chance. [The Oklahoman]

In her run for Governor, Democrat Joy Hofmeister vague on her abortion stance: Despite previously supporting anti-abortion stances, Democratic gubernatorial candidate Joy Hofmeister has called for the reversal of Oklahoma’s near total abortion ban as she attempts to unseat incumbent Gov. Kevin Stitt. [The Frontier]

Health News

Oklahoma Health Care Authority Denials Could Cost State More in Long Run – An Analysis: Just as thousands of Oklahoma families are celebrating a win with historic state funding for the developmental disabilities waiting list, some of those same families are also experiencing a loss as the Oklahoma Health Care Authority (OHCA) has started pulling back on critical nursing care for this vulnerable population. [The Oklahoma City Sentinel]

Criminal Justice News

Prosecuted after a pregnancy loss for drug use: Dozens of women who used drugs while pregnant have faced criminal charges. Experts expect even more cases now that Roe has been overturned. [The Frontier]

Roundup: OU prof charged, Dan Kirby investigated, Henderson fallout continues: After passenger dies in crash, former Rep. Dan Kirby under investigation; OU professor charged for lewd acts with minor; After former Judge Tim Henderson not charged, second ADA resigns; Suspended Rogers County ADAs face multiple accusations; OSBI serves search warrant on former Swadley’s VP. [NonDoc]

Second passenger from August OHP pursuit dies: Mercedes Martinez, one of two people ejected from a truck an Oklahoma Highway Patrol trooper spun out during a pursuit Aug. 15, has died. [The Norman Transcript]

Economy & Business News

Federal funding to give lift to OSU’s Aerospace Institute: A big funding lift announced recently by the federal government will advance work of the Oklahoma Aerospace Institute for Research and Education at Oklahoma State University. [Journal Record]

Oklahoma County invests $4.4 million in communications improvements for first responders: Over $4 million in upgrades to the radio systems used by first responders across Oklahoma County will enhance communication efforts, offering many small local agencies connections to other departments they previously lacked. [The Oklahoman]

Education News

ACLU leads lawsuit over Oklahoma transgender bathroom ban: Three Oklahoma students are suing the state over its law that bars transgender students from using the bathroom corresponding with their gender identity. [State Impact Oklahoma and KOSU

Survey available for Tulsa school board districts rezoning; public comment to be heard: Tulsa Public Schools’ Board of Education is now on the clock to adjust its boundaries. At a Tuesday evening meeting, the board had its first public conversation about redistricting options. [Tulsa World]

Editorial: Oklahoma college freshman classes bursting in enrollment: Tulsa-area universities are posting record freshman class enrollments, showing enthusiasm for higher education and top recruitment work by the schools. [Editorial / Tulsa World]

Quote of the Day

“We’re really doing a disservice by not keeping [universal free meal waivers] in place and it’s going to be harder for schools. It’s going to be harder for families. And I’m not sure we can predict every result from it yet, but over the course of this school year, you’re going to see it.”

-Chris Bernard, executive director of Hunger Free Oklahoma, speaking about the end of the pandemic-inspired federal program that funded free meals for all students [Oklahoma Watch]

Number of the Day


Rate that immigrants are covered by health insurance, compared with 87% for the U.S.-born population. [State Demographics Data |]

Policy Note

Access to health care is one more obstacle for undocumented immigrants in Oklahoma: Undocumented immigrants in Oklahoma subsist on the edge, not only in terms of finding jobs and places to live, but also in gaining access to basic, continuing medical care.  [Oklahoma Watch via The Oklahoman

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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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