Recent Articles

Years of unrestored budget cuts have kept vital state agencies underfunded (Capitol Update)

During the decade downturn in the state’s economy, state agencies were hollowed out. When the economy turned around, the governor insisted on agencies submitting flat budget requests to the legislature and “saving” the increased revenue in various accounts. Then he used the “savings” to demand tax cuts.  [More...]

Interim study on youth justice shows need for funding, cohesive systems for prevention and treatment services (Capitol Update)

Rep. Amanda Swope, D-Tulsa, who in her life outside the legislature is the Tribal Juvenile Justice Program Director for the Muscogee Nation, brought her passion for helping troubled youth with her when she was elected to the House of Representatives.… Read more [More...]

Rebranding private school vouchers: The art of political makeovers (Capitol Update)

In time-honored legislative jargon it’s called “putting lipstick on a pig.”  Most legislators have opposed school vouchers for private schools. In 2022 the Senate tried to pass a bill giving private school students a publicly funded “education savings account,” and… Read more [More...]

How the sausage gets made: Comparing today’s state budget process to previous process (Capitol Update)

Governor Stitt’s special session that lasted only a few hours brought attention to a perpetual issue: transparency of the legislative appropriations process. Stitt’s complaint was he didn’t know what was in the general appropriation bill until it was too late… Read more [More...]

Examining the death penalty in Oklahoma: Insights from last week’s interim study (Capitol Update)

The House Judiciary-Criminal Committee conducted an interim study on the death penalty last week at the request of Rep. Kevin McDugle, R-Broken Arrow. McDugle became concerned with the way the state applies the death penalty after taking an interest in… Read more [More...]

Economic uncertainty calls for fiscal responsibility from Oklahoma leaders, not tax cuts (Capitol Update)

This week legislators will arrive at the Capitol to respond to Governor Stitt’s call for a special session. It is a safe bet that his proposal for a law to trigger an automatic repeal of any tax held by a… Read more [More...]

Tax cut deja vu: Governor’s income tax proposal echoes past attempts (Capitol Update)

Those listening have heard Gov. Kevin Stitt repeat his mantra “the people of Oklahoma elected me to lay a fresh set of eyes on state government.” The implication is the people were looking for someone with new ideas. His latest… Read more [More...]

Taking a deeper look at the latest special session call (Capitol Update)

The Oklahoma Constitution provides for a regular session of the legislature once a year, but last week Gov. Kevin Stitt called the third special session for 2023 to begin on Oct. 3. This follows two special sessions in 2022, one in 2021, and two in 2020. Special sessions are provided for in the Constitution, but they are called Extraordinary Sessions. If the name means anything, you’d think special sessions would be rare. [More...]

Refreshing to see bipartisan work on capital needs for regional, rural universities (Capitol Update)

An encouraging piece of bipartisan work will occur in the form of an interim study to help assess the capital needs for regional and rural universities. [More...]

Investments in people can help make Oklahoma’s workforce competitive (Capitol Update)

Instead of using the state's record-level savings as an excuse for ill-advised tax cuts, lawmakers should follow the wise counsel of elected officials who want to see Oklahoma make workforce development investments in job training, education, childcare and other programs that can help residents get good jobs or re-enter the job market. [More...]