In The Know: Controversial immigration legislation becomes law as hundreds of bills clear governor’s desk | Senate Budget Chairman replaced amidst budget negotiations | OSDE refuses to share data, skews school rankings on national report

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

Stitt signs controversial Oklahoma immigration bill: Gov. Kevin Stitt on Tuesday signed a controversial immigration bill that is expected to draw a legal challenge. House Bill 4156 would create a new crime called “impermissible occupation” for willfully entering the state without legal authorization to be in the United States. [Oklahoma Voice]

  • Gov. Stitt signs controversial immigration bill, calls for task force on workforce visas, permits [The Oklahoman]
  • Oklahoma immigration bill: What does HB 4156 say? Does it promote racial profiling? [The Oklahoman]
  • Gov. Stitt signs Oklahoma’s sweeping state-level immigration enforcement bill [KOSU]
  • Gov. Stitt signs Texas-style immigration bill into law [Tulsa World]

State Government News

Senate makes key leadership change during finalization of state budget: The leader of the Oklahoma Senate announced a mid-session course change on Tuesday that will affect the process of finalizing a state budget for the coming fiscal year. Senate President Pro Tem Greg Treat announced his decision to replace veteran Senate Budget Chairman Roger Thompson, R-Okemah, with Sen. Chuck Hall, R-Perry. [Tulsa World]

With a half-dozen bumps left on budget deal boulevard, Treat talks Stitt beef, makes Wallace laugh: Leaders of the Oklahoma House of Representatives said Monday they could strike a state budget agreement with their Senate counterparts by the end of the week, but lingering tensions between the upper chamber and Gov. Kevin Stitt could complicate the remaining month of session. [NonDoc]

  • Speaker McCall: State ‘Hiccup’ Could Complicate Budget Negotiations [News on 6]

Stitt Signs Hundreds of Bills Into Law as Budget Negotiations Continue: With less than a month left to go in the legislative session, House and Senate leaders are inching closer to a budget agreement and Gov. Kevin Stitt has signed hundreds of bills into law. But disagreements over potential income tax cuts remain a sticking point among the Republicans in charge at the Capitol. [Oklahoma Watch]

  • Gov. Kevin Stitt signs bills on ranked choice voting, poll worker incentives and others [Oklahoma Voice]
  • Gov. Kevin Stitt vetoes bill adding plants to Oklahoma noxious weed hit list [Oklahoma Voice]
  • Gov. Stitt signs Mason Treat Act [Journal Record]

Jenks Chamber leader to head Oklahoma Department of Commerce: Heather Turner, executive director of the Jenks Chamber of Commerce, has been chosen to head the Oklahoma Department of Commerce, Gov. Kevin Stitt announced Tuesday. [Tulsa World]

Federal Government News

President Biden approves Oklahoma disaster declaration: President Joe Biden Tuesday declared a major disaster exists in Oklahoma, making federal aid available to those affected by last weekend’s severe storms in Hughes, Love, and Murray counties. [KGOU]

  • FEMA, Sen. Lankford survey tornado damage in Sulphur as agency works on its response [KGOU]

Oklahoma’s governor among 47 others opposing National Guard move to Space Force: Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt signed on to a letter Monday alongside 47 other state governors, as well as five territories and commonwealths, opposing the Biden administration’s move to incorporate Air National Guard service members into the Space Force. [Oklahoma Voice]

Biden administration to greatly ease marijuana regulations: The Biden administration plans to remove marijuana from a list of the most dangerous and highly regulated drugs, the Department of Justice said Tuesday night. [Oklahoma Voice]

Health News

Oklahoma hospital refers patients elsewhere after severe tornado damage: Health care services at a hospital in Marietta are temporarily unavailable after a deadly tornado Saturday night left severe damage. The storm resulted in blown-out windows, crumbling ceilings and a mangled exterior. [KGOU]

Opinion: Talking honestly about abortion is part of getting an initiative petition to Oklahoma voters: In the nearly 50 years women had a national right to choose an abortion, a movement grew in opposition that stigmatized the choice. A consequence was that women shut down, afraid to tell their stories or even let their views be known. [Ginnie Graham / Tulsa World]

Education News

U.S. News: OSDE denied access to data, skewing Oklahoma school rankings: U.S. News and World Report says the Oklahoma State Department of Education (OSDE) did not grant them access to schools AP testing data, causing numerous Oklahoma schools to plummet in U.S. News rankings the past two years. OSDE claims they sent the data, but it must’ve been lost in the mail. [KFOR]

  • School leaders question Walters’ education agency role in steep declines in national high school rankings [Tulsa World]

Another Oklahoma school district paying up over accusations of student abuse: Adults at Wewoka Middle School had seen Principal Cody Barlow acting strangely around boys before. It became known as Barlow being Barlow. That led to a criminal case against Barlow and a lawsuit against him and the school district. The criminal case is still pending. The lawsuit has been settled for $1.95 million. [The Oklahoman]

Community News

Better Business Bureau® warns of contractor scams following severe weather: The recent damage caused by severe weather and tornados brings out the best in people, as strangers reach out to help others in need. Unfortunately, the aftermath of a crisis also brings out contractors who take advantage of those who have already been victimized. [Journal Record]

Local Headlines

  • It’s official: Postal Service is moving Tulsa mail processing to Oklahoma City [Tulsa World]
  • OKC adjusts budget for revenue, prioritizes safety [Journal Record]
  • Trust Issues: Edmond’s Uncommon Ground Sculpture Park on ‘life support’ [NonDoc]

Quote of the Day

“We have serious concerns about the taxpayer cost of enforcement and the risk of increased racial profiling that could put documented citizens living in Oklahoma at risk.”

– Rep. Arturo Alonso Sandoval, D-Oklahoma City, on the legal challenges HB 4156 likely faces now that is has been signed into law. [The Oklahoman]

Number of the Day


Percentage of Black homeownership in Oklahoma, compared to 70.1% for whites, 61.7% for American Indian/Alaska Natives, and 53.6% for Hispanic/Latinos. [Prosperity Now]

Policy Note

Tax History Matters: A Q&A with Professor Andrew Kahrl, Author of ‘The Black Tax’: Property taxes are the backbone of local governments, generating approximately three in four local tax dollars nationwide. Property taxes have historically been regarded as a relatively stable and broad-based funding source, but flawed tax administration practices, state constraints, and certain policy decisions contribute to their regressivity. In his new book, “The Black Tax: 150 Years of Theft, Exploitation, and Dispossession in America,” Professor Andrew Kahrl walks readers through the history of the property tax system and its structural defects that have led to widespread discrimination against Black Americans. [Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy]

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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.