In The Know: #OKLeg stalemate: Senate and House clash over state budget numbers | Southeast Oklahoma prepares for total eclipse | Oklahoma voters deserve choices at the polls

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

New from OK Policy

Policy Matters: Oklahoma voters deserve choices at the polls: One of the great features of our democratic government is choosing who best represents our voice in government. For too many Oklahoma voters, however, these choices will be made for them simply because no one else showed up to file for elected office. [Shiloh Kantz / Journal Record]

Oklahoma News

Eclipse brings tourism and challenges as Oklahoma goes under the shadow of the Moon: Any point on the globe can expect to see a total solar eclipse about once every 400 years. This Monday, it’s far southeast Oklahoma’s turn. [State Impact Oklahoma/ KGOU]

  • Is the Oklahoma National Guard being deployed for the April 8, 2024 solar eclipse? [Oklahoma Watch]
  • Camping out for the eclipse? Plan for poor cell service, winding roads and maybe wildfires [The Oklahoman

Opinion: In wake of Nex Benedict’s death, we should all reconsider the power of words: I first ran for elected office as a Republican in Oklahoma 15 years ago. After a decade serving in the Oklahoma House of Representatives and over five years as a statewide elected official, right now, I’m struggling to recognize my own party. [Leslie Osborn / The Oklahoman]

State Government News

Oklahoma Senators blame opposite chamber for state budget delays, refuse to hear fiscal House bills: Oklahoma’s budget-making process has hit a snag: Senators won’t consider any money bills from the opposite chamber, and Pro Tem Greg Treat said they’ll continue with that stance until they get a budget plan from the House. [KOSU]

  • Oklahoma Senate leaders accuse House of ‘shady tactics’ in clash over state budget numbers [The Oklahoman]
  • Budget battle brews: Senate demands House numbers [NonDoc]
  • Senate refuses to hear Oklahoma House budget priorities, accuses chamber of not being transparent [Oklahoma Voice]
  • Budget dispute heats up between Senate, House in Oklahoma [Tulsa World]

Bill would allow some Corporation Commission conversations outside of public meetings: A measure set for consideration Thursday in the Senate Energy and Telecommunications Committee would ease some restrictions that the three-member commission faces in trying to deal with agency matters without removing requirements that any discussions or action on pending rate increases or other proposals must take place in a public meeting. [NonDoc]

‘Oklahoma lacks jurisdiction’ in Keith Stitt speeding ticket case, U.S. attorneys say: The United States has filed an amicus brief with the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals supporting petitioner Marvin Keith Stitt, a high-profile development that marks the first time the federal government has weighed in on major Indian law decisions coming from the state’s top criminal court since December. [NonDoc]

Legislation to allow advertising for on-farm sales of donkey milk advances: The only raw milk allowed to be advertised for on-farm sales in Oklahoma is goat milk, but Senate Bill 1963 would add donkey milk to the list. [KOSU]

Federal Government News

Congress works amid dysfunction, Mullin says at Tulsa Chamber event: U.S. Sen. Markwayne Mullin addressed a Tulsa Regional Chamber forum Wednesday, touching on topics including the outlook for a tax relief bill and who will replace Sen. Minority Leader Mitch McConnell this fall. [Tulsa World]

Lawton factory to make platform to link ‘notoriously fragmented’ national defense systems: Picogrid, a defense technology startup, said it has received $12 million in financing for a factory in Lawton, its second, to build its unified platform for autonomous remote systems for military uses under a nearly $1 billion Pentagon contract. [The Oklahoman]

Voting and Election News

Candidates fewer as filing for state and federal offices begins: Filings were a little thin Wednesday for the first day of Oklahoma’s three-day filing period for state and federal offices. The 133 offices contested this year drew just 206 applicants, the fewest for an opening day since 2012. [Tulsa World]

  • Candidates flock to Capitol to file for office [Oklahoma Voice]
  • 2024 candidate filing period: 8 a.m.-5 p.m., April 3-5. State and federal offices file at the Secretary of the State Election Board at the State Capitol in Oklahoma City. County offices file with county election board secretaries. Go to for packets and further details.

Oklahoma Gov. Stitt, task force call for unlimited donations from individuals to candidates: A task force created by Gov. Kevin Stitt proposes eliminating the cap on how much money state politicians can accept from individual campaign donors. Right now, a candidate on the ballot for a primary, runoff and general election can receive just shy of $10,000 from an individual. [KOSU]

  • Campaign Finance Task Force take aim at outside spending [Oklahoma Watch]

Tulsa County filing period begins with three candidates seeking to succeed Commissioner Keith: The three-day filing period for Tulsa County elected offices got off to a fast start on Wednesday with five people registering to run. Four county offices are on the ballot this year: county clerk, court clerk, sheriff and District 2 commissioner. [Tulsa World]

OKC city councilwoman Nikki Nice files for unexpired state Senate term: Oklahoma City’s Ward 7 Councilmember Nikki Nice is seeking election to the state Senate. Nice first took office on the city council in 2018. She is seeking to replace state Sen. George Young, who announced in early February he would step down early from his Senate District 48 seat on Nov. 15, 2024. [The Oklahoman]

Criminal Justice News

Lower burglary, theft rates attributed to S.Q. 780, better security systems: A ballot measure approved by voters to raise the felony threshold value from $500 to $1,000 was reversed by the passing of House Bill 3694, which could affect certain aspects of law enforcement. In 2016, voters approved State Question 780 and in 2019, the Legislature passed H.B. 1269 making the provisions of S.Q. 780 retroactive. The bill is now being considered by the Senate Public Safety Committee. [Tahlequah Daily Press]

Oklahoma death row inmate Michael Dewayne Smith to be executed Thursday: Oklahoma is set to execute its first death row inmate of the year Thursday morning. Michael Dewayne Smith, 41, was convicted of the murders of 40-year-old Janet Moore and 24-year-old Sharath Babu Pulluru in separate events on February 22, 2002. [KOSU]

  • Michael DeWayne Smith scheduled to be executed Thursday at Oklahoma State Penitentiary [The Oklahoman]

Oklahoma County sheriff’s deputies on paid leave after man sets himself on fire during eviction: Two Oklahoma County sheriff’s deputies are on paid administrative leave after a man set himself on fire during an eviction proceeding at a home in northwest Oklahoma City. [The Oklahoman]

Housing & Economic Opportunity News

Deed Scam: OKC family receives eviction notice on home they own: Imagine being evicted from a home you own. It’s happening to one Oklahoma City family, who like you, may be wondering how this is possible. It was through a quick claim deed. Quick claim deeds are just that, a quick way to change ownership on a deed. A couple of signatures are notarized on a form and then dropped off at the county clerk’s office. [New9]

Oklahoma real estate bill boosts transparency for buyers and sellers: A real estate bill designed to ensure transparency between brokers and buyers and sellers is headed to the House floor for consideration. SB1920 protects clients and brokers. The bill would delineate a timeline, agreement responsibilities and duties between realtors involved in a deal. [Journal Record]

Education News

Moms for Liberty pushes for more involvement in education from parents, Oklahoma voters: Leaders from Moms for Liberty chapters in Oklahoma met Wednesday at the Capitol to participate in a parents’ rights rally and advocate for moving school board elections. [Tulsa World]

New school choice office being set up within State Department of Education: State Superintendent of Public Instruction Ryan Walters announced late last week he is setting up a new Office of School Choice within the Oklahoma State Department of Education. [Fox23]

School board newcomer defeats OKC incumbent, Tulsa voters decide 3 seats: A newcomer to elected office defeated a school board incumbent in Oklahoma City while voters in Tulsa decided three contested seats in Tuesday’s board of education elections. Jessica Cifuentes defeated sitting board member Cary Pirrong in Oklahoma City Public Schools’ District 3. A former OKCPS student and graduate of ASTEC Charter Schools, Cifuentes won the western Oklahoma City seat 66.6% to 33.4%. [Oklahoma Voice]

Opinion: Is Ryan Walters the ‘Music Man’ of Oklahoma? He has failed on every level to be a leader: What’s Walters selling? It’s pretty simple. He’s selling himself to right-wing extremists and unknowing voters in Oklahoma to gain further power on a national stage. Putting aside a laundry list of harmful things he’s done, Oklahomans deserve to know what is being done to make our schools a better place for students to learn and grow and a place where teachers feel appreciated. [Drew Williamson / The Oklahoman]

Local Headlines

  • City solicits ideas for Route 66-themed development near Cry Baby Hill [Tulsa World]
  • 15-year-old boy reported missing, endangered from Tulsa [Tulsa World]
  • Can a new amphitheater keep its noise pollution promise to its neighbors? [The Oklahoman]

Quote of the Day

“Press releases don’t work. Communication back and forth has ceased, basically, between the chambers until just two weeks ago.”

– House Appropriations and Budget Committee Chairman Kevin Wallace (R-Wellston) said about the stalemate budget battles between the Oklahoma Senate and Oklahoma House of Representatives. [NonDoc]

Number of the Day


Only 1 in 5 Oklahoma voters (19.6 percent) had choices of candidates during 2022’s primary elections for the state legislature. [Ballotpedia]

Policy Note

26 Common Barriers to Running for Office and How to Overcome Them: There are many questions women have about considering a run for office and common reasons they may cite why they shouldn’t run for office. This guide is meant to answer those questions and encourage you to consider a run for office by dispelling myths you may believe about running for office. [She Should Run]

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Kandis West is a communications professional with more than 15 years of experience. Most recently, she served as the Communications Director for the Oklahoma House Democratic Caucus. She spent nine years in the Olympia/Tacoma area of Washington organizing compensation campaigns for teachers for the Washington Education Association. Kandis has a proven track record of increasing community engagement, public awareness and media exposure around the most pressing issues that impact citizens. She is a graduate of the University of Oklahoma Gaylord College of Journalism.