In The Know: House sends budget to the Senate, leaders still at odds on additional tax cuts | Resolution to reform OK judicial nominations fails | Lawmakers frustrated with OSDE over slew of rule changes | More

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.

Oklahoma News

Oklahoma House unveils budget plan amid stalemate with upper chamber: Oklahoma House leaders on Tuesday rolled out a nearly $13 billion budget proposal that includes an income tax cut. Tuesday’s announcement comes as House and Senate leaders have been at a budget impasse for over a week. [Oklahoma Voice]

  • ‘New layer of transparency’: House sees Senate spreadsheet, raises online budget dashboard [NonDoc]
  • Oklahoma House includes income tax cut in released budget plan; Senate remains opposed [KOSU]
  • House 2025 budget includes income tax cut [Journal Record]
  • House leaders mention income tax cut in Oklahoma 2025 budget [Tulsa World]
  • Oklahoma House reveals $12.6B budget focusing on education, law enforcement, and tax cuts [KOKH]

Oklahoma’s push to raise minimum wage enters signature collecting phase: The campaign to increase the minimum wage in Oklahoma advanced to a new stage Tuesday, with supporters now able to officially start collecting signatures to place the state question on a future ballot. [KOCO]

State Government News

How They Voted: House Rejects Resolution to Change Oklahoma’s Judicial Selection Process: Several dozen House Republicans joined Democrats on Tuesday to reject a measure seeking sweeping changes to Oklahoma’s judicial nomination system. [Oklahoma Watch]

  • House rejects proposal to reform Oklahoma’s judicial selection process [Oklahoma Voice]

Roundup: SJR 34 failed despite McCall email, OSDE rules questioned, Slavonic to leave ODVA: The Oklahoma Department of Veterans Affairs needs a new director, the state Supreme Court has upheld the dismissal of a massive education funding lawsuit, and in a development that should shock no one, patients trust their doctors more than their insurance companies, according to a poll released by the Oklahoma State Medical Association. [NonDoc]

Oklahoma legislators grapple with rule changes Education Department may not have right to make: For most agency boards, rulemaking can be a tedious, yet often routine, process, but under state schools Superintendent Ryan Walters’ leadership, the state Board of Education’s rulemaking process has been anything but, with passage of rules often drawing criticism across party lines and even resulting in a lawsuit in one case. [The Oklahoman]

  • Oklahoma Board of Education operating as activists, Senate lawmaker says [Journal Record]
  • Lawmakers, Former Employees Frustrated with OSDE [The Black Wall Street Times]
  • Immigration bill draws criticism from Oklahoma Legislative Latino Caucus, House Democrats [Tulsa World]

Immigration bill draws criticism from Oklahoma’s Latino Caucus: Members of the Oklahoma Legislative Latino Caucus on Tuesday expressed opposition to a recent illegal immigration bill. Under the measure, anyone in the state illegally would face a misdemeanor and $500 fine. Violators would be given 72 hours to leave the state. [Oklahoma Voice]

  • Oklahoma lawmakers propose criminal charges for immigrants in state without legal permission [KGOU]
  • Opinion: Oklahoma’s latest immigration proposal would marginalize all immigrants [Tulsa World]

Legislation to break Veterans Commission stalemate goes to governor: A measure to repopulate an Oklahoma Veterans Commission that barely has enough members to function passed the Oklahoma House of Representatives on Monday and was sent to the governor. [Tulsa World]

Oklahoma Senate advances legislation to anonymize home food production: House Bill 2975 would allow homemade food producers to pay $15 to obtain a registration number from the Department of Agriculture that could be used on a product. Currently, homemade products must include the producer’s name, phone number and physical address. [Oklahoma Voice]

Why a state senator is blocking two executive nominations by Gov. Kevin Stitt: Sen. Carri Hicks, of Oklahoma City said she doesn’t approve of Stitt’s nominees for a seat on the Oklahoma State Board of Education and a spot on the board of directors for the Oklahoma Department of Libraries. [The Oklahoman]

AG Drummond’s office will investigate Oklahoma airline customer complaints: Drummond’s office and the federal Department of Transportation are entering into an agreement allowing Oklahoma officials to investigate consumer complaints about airlines. [KOSU]

Voting and Election News

Tulsa County Election Board keeps Jim Rea on ballot: At the end of a nearly three-hour hearing, Tulsa County Election Board Members Bob Jack and Judy Eason McIntyre voted today to retain Democratic candidate Jim Rea on District 2 county commissioner ballot. [NonDoc]

  • Commission candidates say third candidate can’t run; election panel disagrees [Public Radio Tulsa]
  • Election Board keeps Tulsa County Commission candidate on ballot [Tulsa World]

Health News

Homeless in Oklahoma: Sacrificing healthcare for daily survival: Despite hundreds of health clinics and centers that offer free, or nearly-free services, when people experiencing homelessness get sick, they often suffer until they have no other option than going to an emergency room. [Oklahoma Watch]

Oklahoma agency makes headway toward ending 13-year waitlist for disability services: Oklahoma Human Services is getting closer to addressing its 13-year Developmental Disabilities Services (DDS) waitlist as it works to connect a fifth group of 899 people to services. [KGOU]

Criminal Justice News

Terence Crutcher Civil Lawsuit Dismissed: The officer who fatally shot Black Tulsa resident Terence Crutcher will not face retribution for the 2016 slaying. A federal judge dismissed a civil lawsuit filed by Crutcher’s estate against Officer Betty Shelby and the City of Tulsa on Monday. [The Black Wall Street Times]

Housing & Economic Opportunity News

Neighbors, review panel recommend proceeding with $37 million Roosevelt school development: The Oklahoma City Redevelopment Authority on Wednesday is set to designate the team of Marva Ellard and Cathy O’Connor to convert the blighted former Roosevelt school into housing. [The Oklahoman]

OKC advances affordable housing initiative with 214 units: Funding is nearly in place to build more than 200 affordable apartments at the corner of E.K. Gaylord Boulevard and N.W. 4th Street. [Journal Record]

Tulsa releases plan to address housing shortage while aiming to add 13,000 units over 10 years: A plan intended to serve as a guide for an ambitious effort to address Tulsa’s housing shortage, including the needs of homeless people and low-income residents, was released on Monday in its final form. [Tulsa World]

Education News

OKC school board debates $500 million lease-purchase financing deal in marathon meeting: A lengthy discussion and public comments revealed frustrations within Oklahoma City Public Schools over the planning, rollout and oversight of its $955 million bond issue passed in 2022. [Oklahoma Voice]

  • OKCPS class sizes increasing as pandemic funds expire, board approves big bond agreement [NonDoc]
  • Cifuentes takes office, Anderson leaves seat open on Oklahoma City Board of Education [Oklahoma Voice]
  • Questions raised about transparency of Oklahoma City Public Schools $955M bond projects [The Oklahoman]

Langston University’s interim president named to permanent post: Ruth Ray Jackson, who has served as Langston University’s interim president since last July, received the permanent post on Monday from the OSU/A&M Board of Regents, which govern the state’s only historically Black college or university. [The Oklahoman]

Community News

OKC artist paints Nex Benedict mural in Plaza District: ‘Celebrate the positives’: A graffiti-style yellow, white, purple and black mural that reads “Nex” adorns a wall in the Plaza Walls to memorialize Nex Benedict and recognize other LGBTQ+ youths. [The Oklahoman]

Oklahoma City bombing anniversary remembrance ceremony, marathon set for April: With the anniversary of the April 19, 1995 Oklahoma City bombing coming up, here are some events taking place to remember the tragedy. [The Oklahoman]

Founder of women’s support network visits OKC’s new Magdalene House: ‘Love is the sole force for change’: A new Oklahoma City residential program for women will succeed if it is adequately funded, leaders are committed and supporters look for all the ways they can help those in need of hope and second chances. [The Oklahoman]

Quote of the Day

“The current political climate challenges all who desire a bias-free justice system, but we must maintain laws that do not cause undue harm on marginalized and minority groups of people. In doing this, we can clearly demonstrate that our democracy’s foundation is based on the protection of every person’s human rights, civil rights and dignity by taking a stand against government-sanctioned discrimination.”

– Former Tulsa Police Chief Drew Diamond, writing about parallels between current anti-immigrant proposals and early Nazi laws that provided a legal path for German officers to be able to demand “show me your papers” for people on the street. [Drew Diamond / Tulsa World]

Number of the Day

$5.5 billion

Immigrant households in Oklahoma have a total spending power of $5.5 billion. [American Immigration Council]

Policy Note

Foreign-Born Women Have Driven the Recent Increase in Prime-Age Women in the Labor Force: The labor force participation rate of prime-age (25 to 54) women declined dramatically during the pandemic-led recession but has since recovered to an all-time high. We examine how different groups have contributed to this rebound and find that foreign-born women, particularly those with a bachelor’s degree, account for most of the increase in the number of prime-age women in the labor force. Immigration, in turn, fueled the increase in the number of foreign-born women in the labor force. [Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City]

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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.