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 or subscribe to the podcast on iTunes, Stitcher, or RSS. The podcast theme music is by Zebre.
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Today you should know that Oklahoma City mayor Mick Cornett won a fourth term in office. Cornett received 65.7 percent of the vote, compared to 32.8 percent for challenger City Councilman Ed Shadid. Tulsa mayor Dewey Bartlett vetoed a city council resolution that urged the state not to sell a rail line connecting the Tulsa area to Oklahoma City. A pro-marijuana group is seeking to have voters in Oklahoma City decide whether to reduce the penalties for possessing cannabis.
The Oklahoma House approved a bill (HB 2625) that would leave decisions about promotion of children failing the third-grade reading sufficiency exam to “teams” composed of the child’s parents, a teacher, an administrator and a reading specialist. Oklahoma Watch reported on how teachers are scrambling to prepare students for high-stakes testing that could keep thousands from leaving the 3rd grade.
The House also approved a bill (HB 2500) that extends a moratorium on state standards for maximum class sizes, updated textbooks, and library materials. The bill calls for 5 percent annual increases in education funding until the per-pupil funding level of 2009 is achieved, but those funding increases will not become law unless they are included in annual budget bills. Meanwhile, proposals approved by the Senate and being considered in the House would mandate automatic tax cuts beginning in 2016 or as soon as revenue recovers after that year. The OK Policy Blog explained why it’s irresponsible to be putting the tax system on auto-pilot.
The House voted to extend a tax break for the film industry for ten years, one day after voting it down. The Senate passed a bill to fund completion of the American Indian Cultural Center with $40 million from Oklahoma’s Unclaimed Property Fund. A lawsuit challenging Oklahoma’s law that shields details of drugs used in executions has been moved to federal court. Tulsa World editor Ginnie Graham debunked myths about the safety net originating in a Cato Institute report. The OK Policy Blog previously explained why the report and a related Oklahoman editorial made big distortions of the truth.
The Number of the Day is how much a tax cut approved in the Oklahoma Senate could reduce state revenues by 2018. In today’s Policy Note, Wonkblog shares an interactive chart of the federal government’s spending and revenues over the last 60 years.
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