In The Know is a daily synopsis of Oklahoma policy-related news and blogs. Inclusion of a story does not necessarily mean endorsement by the Oklahoma Policy Institute. You can sign up here to receive In The Know by e-mail.
Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt announced Thursday that he would be joining his counterpart in Nebraska in asking the Supreme Court to declare Colorado’s legalization of marijuana unconstitutional. The people of Colorado had voted to legalize and regulate marijuana sales n 2012. We’ve written about how Oklahoma’s marijuana laws are among the harshest in the US before. State leaders have approved a tax cut for the state’s wealthiest, after projections showed that revenues were high enough to trigger the cut. OK Policy released a statement arguing that allowing the tax cut to trigger is supremely irresponsible. We’ve previously noted that 41 percent of Oklahomans will see no change to their taxes at all. State officials report that falling gas prices will not have a significant effect on the budget of the current fiscal year, although there are concerns that it could impact next year’s budget.
A new post on the OK Policy Blog reveals that the state’s school funding situation is even worse than many previously believed, because our public schools are more dependent on state revenues that those in other states. The State Board of Education has voted to award the contracts for the state’s end-of-instruction, science and social studies assessments to one of three bidders. Board members voted without knowing the name of the vendor, and the name will not be released until the final contract is in place. Superintendent Janet Barresi said that it will be difficult for schools to make mid-year budget adjustments following a state aid miscalculation. Writing in the Journal Record, Oklahoma Observer editor Arnold Hamilton discussed the legislative outcry following Supt. Barresi’s decision to create a $90,000/year position for her counsel’s husband, and argued that the practice is more common in the legislature than the outcry would suggest.
In federal court on Thursday, the former general counsel for the state Department of Corrections testified that political pressure played a key role in the decision to procure and use an untested drug cocktail in the botched execution of Clayton Lockett. A former Tulsa Police officer has been bound over for trial on charges of first degree murder and shooting with intent to kill. The man had shot at his daughter, and shot and killed her boyfriend, Jeremy Lake.
The Tulsa World’s Editorial Board argued that a state Supreme Court decision in favor of an executive privilege exemption to the Open Records Act had torn “a giant hole” in the state’s most important transparency statute, because it makes it more difficult for the public to hold the Governor’s office accountable. Hundreds of residents turned out for a public meeting on an oil drilling plan for Lake Hefner. Pedestal Oil Co. Inc. plans to drill multiple wells 600 feet from a park near the lake. The state Department of Health says that a total of six people have died of influenza in the current flu season, and nearly 140 people have been hospitalized. We’ve written about the importance of getting a flu shot before. The Number of the Day is the cost of a bear hunting license for Oklahoma residents in the 2014-2015 hunting season. In today’s Policy Note, Slate discusses America’s dismal college dropout rates.