Rolling back SQ 780 would be expensive and not address underlying problems (Capitol Update)

There is no doubt that retail businesses are vulnerable to theft. A perfect solution has yet to be found anywhere in any state. But one must wonder if the solution Oklahomans passed in SQ 780 has been given a fair chance to work. [More...]

Senate’s efforts on budget transparency continue, but final budget will still rely on end-of-session negotiations (Capitol Update)

It is a noble effort to try to make the appropriations process more transparent and open to all senators. However, the state budget is almost always going to depend on other revenue and spending policy decisions made earlier in the session. [More...]

Ignoring Oklahoma’s unmet needs today will move us further backwards tomorrow (Capitol Update)

Legislators decided to take a break for this year and cut taxes while they can. Not paying taxes on groceries will feel good. But some of the state’s urgent unmet needs will go unmet for another year while this year’s aspirational requests will become a future unmet need. [More...]

Proposed bill would provide overdue reform of the criminal legal process (Capitol Update)

House Bill 3777, which deals with discovery in criminal trials, is an important and long overdue reform in the criminal legal process. [More...]

Governing is finding a way to say ‘yes’ to solving problems (Capitol Update)

Legislators during appropriations hearings — or in private conversations in the hallways or in their offices — hear from state agencies anxious for funding to do their jobs and to provide services to Oklahomans. The governor’s budget would lead one to believe that Oklahoma has arrived, that we are near the top on measurements of quality of life. In fact, the opposite is true — from mental health to education to health care.  [More...]

Special session went according to script, but tax cuts still major topic during next few months (Capitol Update)

The special session last week went pretty much according to script. The House, following Speaker Charles McCall’s lead, passed the governor’s .25-percent income tax cut along strict party lines. The Senate made good on President Pro Tempore Greg Treat’s announced intention to adjourn the session with no action. Both chambers adjourned to the call of the chair so they could take up a tax bill later in either the regular session that started Monday or in the special session. [More...]

An early look at recommendations from the governor’s MODERN criminal justice task force (Capitol Update)

Gov. Stitt’s MODERN criminal justice task issued its report on February 2, and the recommendations presumably serve as a guide for criminal justice reforms the governor in the upcoming legislative session and beyond.  [More...]

Gov.’s task force is latest step away from practical solutions in Tribal/state relations (Capitol Update)

Tribal leaders took offense at both the composition of the task force and the tenor of the governor’s executive order. Only two of the 38 federally recognized Tribes were to be represented on the 13-member task force. The executive order characterized McGirt as “continuing to wreak havoc in nearly half of the State of Oklahoma and calls for “recommendations relevant to the speedy resolution of the broken system created by the McGirt decision.” Tribal leaders do not view McGirt as having “wreaked havoc” or created a “broken system.” [More...]

Big ticket tax cuts could prevent strategic investments in Oklahoma’s future (Capitol Update)

Big ticket outcomes for the upcoming legislative session have yet to come into focus. Big ticket items could include passage of one or more of the various tax cut proposals being discussed or appropriations that affect budgets across state government. [More...]

Addressing deferred maintenance on Oklahoma’s higher ed campuses (Capitol Update)

Today’s deferred maintenance for higher education facilities exists largely because, with paltry legislative appropriations to higher education in recent years, only around 4 percent of the college and university budgets have been allocated for maintenance. As recently as 2016 to 2018, for example, higher education appropriations were cut by $250 million. [More...]