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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

Policy Matters: All Oklahomans deserve freedom to exist: All Oklahomans deserve to live authentic lives and have their humanity recognized. However, a number of Oklahoma legislators are pushing for new laws that would essentially erase a group of residents from public life. [Shiloh Kantz / The Journal Record]

Oklahoma News

Gov. Kevin Stitt has signed 14 bills into law so far. Here’s a look at what the laws do: Gov. Kevin Stitt signed 14 bills Tuesday, including legislation that could jump-start Oklahoma’s electric vehicle charging network. The governor has until Saturday to decide whether to sign 49 remaining bills passed during the 2023 regular legislative session. Bills that aren’t signed into law by then will be automatically vetoed. [The Oklahoman]

State Government News

How much would a Catholic charter school cost Oklahoma taxpayers? It could be millions: A newly approved Oklahoma Catholic charter school, projected to be the first state-funded religious school in the country, expects to cost taxpayers more than $26 million over its first five years of operation. The Oklahoma Statewide Virtual Charter School Board voted 3-2 on Monday in favor of an application to create St. Isidore of Seville Catholic Virtual School. [The Oklahoman]

  • Law establishes new board to oversee Oklahoma charter schools [Journal Record]

Stitt signs bill to help improve security at Oklahoma schools: A measure that works to protect Oklahoma students from outside threats has been signed into law. Senate Bill 100 requires Oklahoma’s more than 2,000 school sites to undergo a risk and vulnerability assessment from the Oklahoma School Security Institute or a nationally qualified assessor by July 1, 2026. [KFOR Oklahoma City]

  • Oklahoma public schools to increase security under new law [KTUL]

Legislature may meet Monday to take up unfinished business: The Oklahoma Museum of Popular Culture — OKPOP — “needs to be finished,” Oklahoma Speaker of the House Charles McCall, R-Atoka, said this week. Whether it gets the $18 million in matching funds budgeted for the coming fiscal year but not yet authorized remains to be seen. [Tulsa World]

Voting and Election News

Stitt’s Second Inaugural Committee Raised Nearly $1.5 Million: Individual donors, state lawmakers and businesses pitched in a combined $1.49 million to celebrate Gov. Kevin Stitt’s swearing-in to a second term, a decline from the $2.37 million raised for inaugural festivities in 2019. [Oklahoma Watch]

Health News

Oklahoma initiatives improving mental health care, official says: Initiatives undertaken in recent years to improve mental health care in Oklahoma, including deployment of electronic tablets to connect people in rural areas to professionals via telehealth, have benefited thousands of Oklahomans and saved the state money, the administrator of the Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services said. [Journal Record]

How a new Oklahoma program aims to combat fentanyl overdoses in the state: As the number of overdose deaths from fentanyl continues to soar across the state, health officials are launching a campaign to make the anti-overdose medication Narcan easily available to the people who need it most. Over the next few months, the Oklahoma State Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services officials will install vending machines across the state with Naloxone and fentanyl testing strips as part of its Harm Reduction campaign, which seeks to stop the stigma associated with asking for help regarding substance abuse. [The Oklahoman]

Criminal Justice News

Death-row inmate convicted in knife slaying denied clemency: The Oklahoma Pardon and Parole Board voted Wednesday to deny recommending clemency for a man convicted of stabbing a Tulsa woman to death with a butcher knife in 1995, clearing the way for his planned execution next month. [Journal Record]

  • Oklahoma panel denies clemency for man convicted of woman’s 1995 stabbing death [The Oklahoman]
  • Board rejects clemency for Tulsa County killer Jemaine Cannon [Tulsa World]

Tulsa police chief suggests nation transform response to gun violence: As mass shootings plague the country, Tulsa’s police chief is comparing the violence to 9/11 and urging a more comprehensive response. KWGS’ Max Bryan sat down with Chief Wendell Franklin for StateImpact. [Public Radio Tulsa]

Economy & Business News

Tulsa Remote: Once ‘crazy idea’ producing big returns after first four years: Four years since first setting foot here, Jackiez Gonzalez still isn’t close to exhausting the possibilities. “I dream about opening up my own business in the next few years or even running for office,” she said. “I would never have seen either as remotely feasible in Boston. Here, it really just feels like a matter of ‘when.'” [Tulsa World]

Education News

Five years after 2018 OEA voter guide pledges, 14 legislators flipped on school choice: In the months following the 2018 teacher walkout, questions about support for public education defined many of the campaigns for seats in the Oklahoma Legislature. As part of their 2018 “voter guide,” the state’s largest teacher union, the Oklahoma Education Association, asked candidates a slate of questions about their support for various public school issues. One question focused on so-called school choice programs. [NonDoc]

General News

Tulsa City Council delays action on settlement with woman arrested outside 2020 Trump rally: City councilors took no action Wednesday to settle a lawsuit filed by a former elementary school art teacher alleging that the city, two police officers and other parties violated her First Amendment rights outside the BOK Center before then-President Donald Trump’s 2020 campaign rally. [Tulsa World]

Column: Cost of the culture war too high and unnecessary for Oklahomans: Oklahoma’s new culture wars are just starting, and they’re going to get expensive.  Frustratingly, these divisive public policies aren’t originating from Oklahomans but rather are imported from national ideologues who are hellbent on creating their version of a utopia in their likeness. The culture wars don’t reflect actual challenges facing Oklahomans. They don’t embrace the state’s diversity. They don’t improve anything. [Ginnie Graham / Tulsa World]

3 miles of Ninemile Creek contaminated by oil spill Friday, officials say: Local officials and farmers are still dealing with the aftermath of a major oil spill north of Enid, where hundreds of barrels of oil mixture are estimated to have spread across Ninemile Creek in north-central Oklahoma. [The Oklahoman]

Quote of the Day

“The culture wars don’t reflect actual challenges facing Oklahomans. They don’t embrace the state’s diversity. They don’t improve anything.”

– Ginnie Graham, Tulsa World Editorials Editor, speaking about divisive public policies that are distracting policymakers from the more pressing issues facing our state. [Tulsa World]

Number of the Day


Percentage of LGBTQ adults over the age of 25 in Oklahoma who are raising children. [Movement Advancement Project]

Policy Note

LGBTQ+ Americans Under Attack: A Report and Reflection on the 2023 State Legislative Session: The LGBTQ+ community is under attack in state legislatures across the country. Starting in 2015, there has been a steady increase in anti-LGBTQ+ bills across state houses, from 115 bills introduced in 2015, to over 500 in 2023. In 2020, the primary focus of these bills shifted from LGBTQ+ people in general, to transgender and non-binary youth in particular. [Human Rights Campaign]

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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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