In The Know: #OKLeg seeks to overhaul Oklahoma’s judicial selection process | Gov. vetoes bill clarifying who can hold dual public offices | Lawmakers attempt to tackle Oklahoma’s child care crisis | Capitol Update

In The KnowIn The Know is your daily briefing on Oklahoma policy-related news. Inclusion of a story does not necessarily mean endorsement by the Oklahoma Policy Institute. Some stories included here are behind paywall or require subscription. OK Policy encourages the support of Oklahoma’s state and local media, which are vital to an informed citizenry. Subscribe to In The Know and see past editions.

New from OK Policy

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. [Steve Lewis / Capitol Update]

Oklahoma News

Senate passes bill seeking to overhaul Oklahoma’s judicial selection process: If approved by voters, the measure would let the governor select appellate judges subject to Senate confirmation. It would amend the Oklahoma Constitution. Currently, the Judicial Nominating Commission (JNC) screens applicants and sends three names to the governor to choose from. [Oklahoma Voice]

State Government News

Saying the law is clear, Stitt vetoes bill that would clarify dual office-holding dispute: With a dispute over dual office-holding still unresolved, Gov. Kevin Stitt struck down a bill attempting to clarify the agriculture commissioner’s ability to also serve on the governor’s Cabinet. [Oklahoma Voice]

  • Gov. Stitt vetoes measure meant to protect Oklahoma cabinet member from AG opinion, calling it ‘unnecessary’ [KOSU]
  • Gov. Kevin Stitt vetoes bill that would have protected two of his cabinet secretaries [The Oklahoman]

Senators unanimously agree to boost Oklahoma’s sexual consent age to 18: The Oklahoma Senate on Tuesday passed a bill that would increase the age for sexual consent. Senate Bill 615, by Sen. Warren Hamilton, R-McCurtain, passed by a vote of 41-0 and heads to the House. [Oklahoma Voice]

Senate Pro Tem Greg Treat and House Speaker Charles McCall reflect as terms come to an end: With long-serving leaders term-limited, Treat and McCall look back on what worked and what didn’t during their time at the Oklahoma Capitol. [The Frontier]

Opinion: Let the sun shine in: This is Sunshine Week, which doesn’t have anything to do with the weather forecast. It’s a week that focuses on transparency and openness in government, something that political candidates usually promise in their election campaigns but sometimes forget once they are elected. [Joe Hight / Journal Record]

Federal Government News

GOP U.S. Sen. Lankford of Oklahoma blocks bill expanding IVF for vets, service members: Washington state Democratic Sen. Patty Murray tried to pass a bill Tuesday that would expand access to in vitro fertilization for military service members and veterans, but Oklahoma Republican Sen. James Lankford raised an objection and prevented the legislation from moving forward. [Oklahoma Voice]

Oklahoma County Republican Party censures U.S. Senator James Lankford: The Oklahoma County Republican Party censured Oklahoma U.S. Senator James Lankford over his work on a failed border security deal. [Fox 23 News]

Tribal Nations News

Future ‘Bracker’ test teased as appellate court affirms Wyandotte Reservation 4-1: The Wyandotte Nation has become the 10th tribal government in Oklahoma to have its reservation affirmed by a court since the McGirt v. Oklahoma decision in 2020. The Wyandotte Reservation in Ottawa County continues to exist, the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals ruled in a 4-1 decision March 7. [NonDoc]

Criminal Justice News

‘Get his day in court’: After Phil Koons hearing, case heading to jury trial: In a packed courtroom this morning, Jefferson County District Court Judge Dennis Gay allowed a criminal case against Ringling Public Schools principal and coach Phil Koons to head to a jury trial after rejecting a plea deal more than two months ago. [NonDoc]

  • Ex-Ringling coach accused of cursing at players withdraws court plea [The Oklahoman]

Oklahoma House passes ‘Knights Law’ in honor of Henryetta murder victims: Nearly one year after the horrific murder-suicide in Henryetta, a bill aimed at preventing future tragedies has passed the Oklahoma House. Family members of the victims worked with Rep. Scott Fetgatter, R-Okmulgee, to pen House Bill 3992, called Knights Law, which would require people convicted of certain child sex crimes to serve 100% of their sentence. [The Oklahoman]

‘Ethical policing’: Body camera protocol bill advances to Oklahoma Senate: An Oklahoma lawmaker is working to change how law enforcement agencies use their body cameras. House Bill 3598 would allow officers to review their body camera footage before writing a report. [KOKH]

Housing & Economic Opportunity

Lawmakers attempt to tackle Oklahoma child care crisis with new business, provider tax credits: House lawmakers on Tuesday approved the creation of two new tax credits designed to bolster the state’s struggling child care industry and help sidelined parents reenter the workforce. [Oklahoma Voice]

Opinion: A tax loophole means thousands of struggling Oklahoma families are being left out. Support the bill to fix this: We have a once-in-a-decade opportunity before us to help 232,000 Oklahoma children under 17, who are living near or below the poverty line. These children across our state are struggling, and ― because of a loophole in our tax system ― they’ve been left out of the Child Tax Credit that most families receive. [Rep. Mark McBride / The Oklahoman]

Education News

Questions about investigation into Owasso High School remain after district board meeting: Questions about the U.S. Department of Education’s investigation into civil rights concerns at Owasso High School went unanswered this week during the district’s board of education meeting where neither the administration nor the board addressed the allegations. [The Oklahoman]

  • Owasso School Board President Brent England to face new challenger in April 2 election [Tulsa World]
  • GLAAD calls for removal of Oklahoma’s top education official in new ad following death of Nex Benedict [The Hill]

Lawmakers want to change Oklahoma’s teacher bonus program. That includes no clawbacks: If the state Legislature has its way, changes are coming to a teacher signing bonus program that state schools Superintendent Ryan Walters has championed, but which saw numerous implementation problems with its administration by the Oklahoma State Department of Education. [The Oklahoman]

House bill allows Oklahoma teachers to continue teaching while drawing pension: A House bill that would remove earnings limits for retirement-eligible teachers who decide to continue teaching passed the chamber of origin Tuesday. Kyle Hilbert, R-Bristow, said he authored the bill to incentivize teachers to stay in Oklahoma during a time when many are choosing to teach elsewhere. [Journal Record]

Community News

A right-leaning think tank is pressuring elected leaders to withdraw from a CAIR-OK event: A right-leaning think tank is pressuring elected officials in Oklahoma City to withdraw from a Ramadan event held by a Muslim advocacy group because of what it alleges are ties to extremism, but local civic leaders are pushing back against the think tank’s demands and claims. [The Oklahoman]

Local Headlines

  • City taking New Life Village to court, June 18 set for Edmond lodging tax election [NonDoc]
  • A fresh coat of paint: MetroLink Tulsa officially unveiled [Public Radio Tulsa]
  • Officials begin testing whitewater recreational flume at Zink Lake [Tulsa World]

Quote of the Day

“We have to incentivize, recruit, retain our workforce. When we’re not doing that in the child care workforce, we’re shorting every other industry.”

– Suzanne Schreiber, D-Tulsa and author of House Bill 4147, which creates new tax credits designed to bolster the state’s struggling child care industry and help sidelined parents reenter the workforce. [Oklahoma Voice]

Number of the Day


A study of 23 cities around the U.S. showed shoplifting incidents reported to police declined 7% during the first half of 2023 when compared to the first half of 2019. Including New York City in that data set increased the rate of reported shoplifting rate by 16%. [Council on Criminal Justice]

Policy Note

Myth vs. Reality: Trends in Retail Theft: Trends in retail theft are more difficult to assess, in part because of varying data collection and theft reporting methods. That said, the available crime data and industry figures cut against claims of a national increase in retail theft, despite notable spikes in some cities. Regardless, policymakers must take concerns about retail theft seriously. But responding requires a better understanding of the data — and the careful separation of myth from reality. [Brennan Center for Justice]

You can sign up here to receive In The Know by e-mail.


Annie Taylor joined OK Policy as a Digital Communications Associate/Storybanker in April 2022. She studied journalism and mass communication at the University of Oklahoma, and was a member of the Native American Journalists Association. She earned her bachelor’s degree in Strategic Communications from the University of Central Oklahoma. While pursuing her degree, she worked in restaurant and retail management, as well as freelance copywriting and digital content production. Annie is an enrolled member of the Choctaw Nation, and holds a deep reverence for storytelling in the digital age. She was born and raised in southeast Oklahoma, and now lives in Oklahoma City with her dog, Melvin.