The Latest in Oklahoma: June 20 2023 Update

June 20, 2023

On Wednesday, the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the city of Tulsa lacks the jurisdiction to prosecute a Native American man cited by police for speeding because the city is located within the boundaries of an Indian reservation, reversing the district of Tulsa’s ruling in Hooper v. The City of Tulsa. The federal court leaned on the precedence of the 2020 McGirt v. Oklahoma Supreme Court ruling that found that much of eastern Oklahoma, including Tulsa, remains an Indian reservation. Gov. Kevin Stitt released a press release expressing his disappointment in the decision. Read the full decision here.

The office of Oklahoma Auditor and Inspector Cindy Byrd released an audit of the est. $14 billion in spending made by the state in fiscal year 2021 – most of it in the form of COVID-19 relief funds – on Tuesday. Byrd reported that likely more than $29 million in federal funds were misspent due to a lack of oversight for certain relief programs. Byrd stated these funds may have to be repaid to the federal government.

Saturday marks a significant date for the launch of a new statewide health information exchange. The new law allows doctors to share their patients’ medical records with other physicians who may not work in the same medical network – but questions remain about which medical providers will be required to participate and what exemptions might be available after Gov. Stitt rejected the Oklahoma Health Care Athority’s proposed rules. Read more here.

State Superintendent Ryan Walters joined conservatives across the nation – including former President Donald Trump, Gov. Ron DeSantis and former Gov. ​​Nikki Haley – at the Moms For Liberty national summit in Philadelphia today. The summit advocates for parental rights and endorses school board candidates with conservative political views. Walters spoke on a “Future of Education in America” panel with other state education officials from Florida, Arkansas and South Carolina.