In The Know: Budget talks continue at the Capitol, divisions over tax cuts persist | Governor tours tornado devastation | SB 1709’s impact on child welfare system

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

OK Policy to Host FREE Sales Tax Relief Credit Virtual Town Hall on Thursday, May 9: Oklahoma has a tax credit on the books designed to help low- and middle-income families, but the amount of the credit hasn’t been adjusted in more than three decades. OK Policy and TogetherOK will host a virtual town hall on Thursday, May 9, so Oklahomans can learn how they can increase the value of their Sales Tax Relief Credit for tax savings. [Kandis West / OK Policy] [Register now for free]

SB 1709 could impact reporting for child welfare system, long-term care facilities (Capitol Update): Senate Bill 1709 by Sen. Paul Rosino, R-Oklahoma City, and Rep. Jon Echols, R-Oklahoma City, has flown somewhat under the radar, but it could have a large impact on the health and safety of children in the child welfare system and persons in long-term care facilities. [Steve Lewis / Capitol Update]

Oklahoma News

Gov. Stitt tours Barnsdall, National Weather Service says tornado probably an EF-4: Gov. Kevin Stitt toured the town of Barnsdall Tuesday after a tornado ripped through the town, killing at least one, leaving one missing and destroying dozens of homes. [Public Radio Tulsa]

  • Update: Man still missing after EF4 tornado damage affects Barnsdall [Tulsa World]
  • Barnsdall ‘in despair’ after second tornado in five weeks hits [Public Radio Tulsa]

State Government News

As Oklahoma leaders head into second budget summit, divisions persist: The meeting, hosted by Stitt, was supposed to kick-start a state budget process that had stalled. This year, lawmakers have about $13.1 billion to spend for FY 25. Monday’s meeting was also rare for its open, freewheeling nature involving the governor and legislative leaders. [The Oklahoman]

District Court judge halts enforcement of “blacklist” law that restricts investments: An Oklahoma County judge halted the enforcement of a controversial state law Tuesday, a measure that places banks and financial companies on a blacklist if they invest in entities critical of the oil and gas industry. [The Oklahoman]

House sends major league sports incentive to governor: Major sports franchises locating in Oklahoma could recoup up to $10 million a year from the state under legislation passed by the state House of Representatives and sent to Gov. Kevin Stitt on Tuesday. [Tulsa World]

Tribal Nations News

Oklahoma tribes need more money for policing, Cherokee, Muscogee officials tell Congress: Oklahoma tribes need more money from Congress to expand and maintain their criminal justice systems almost four years after the McGirt v. Oklahoma ruling, representatives of the Cherokee and Muscogee nations told members of Congress on Tuesday. [The Oklahoman]

How an 1840s murder defined how courts determine who is an Indian: The Cherokee Nation announced efforts in February to push for a change in how federal law determines Indian status under the Major Crimes Act that would require Cherokee Freedmen to be recognized as Native Americans by federal courts. Currently, federal law uses a test from an 1846 murder case that requires both tribal connections and “Indian blood” for a person to be deemed Native American for the purposes of criminal jurisdiction. [NonDoc]

Health News

Millions More Go To Oklahoma Hospitals As Managed Care Begins: Oklahoma hospitals are seeing a financial bump as the Oklahoma Health Care Authority makes the first of a new payment type under SoonerSelect, the state’s new managed care system for Medicaid. The so-called enhanced directed payments are an addition to a program already in place that taxes hospitals based on their patient revenue to attract more federal money. [Oklahoma Watch]

Criminal Justice News

Future executions in Oklahoma to be set for 90 days apart: The Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals has decided future executions will be set 90 days apart “unless circumstances dictate modification.” [The Oklahoman]

Juvenile justice center director fired, Tulsa County commissioner says: With one former staff member already arrested and calls on social media for a broader investigation into the Tulsa County Family Center for Juvenile Justice, the director of the facility was fired on Monday. [Tulsa World]

Long-awaited finale for Epic co-founders’ court hearing delayed again: The conclusion of an already delayed court hearing for Epic Charter School’s co-founders will be postponed even further because of a last-minute demand that one of the defense attorneys be disqualified from questioning a star witness. [Oklahoma Voice]

  • Preliminary hearing in Epic Charter Schools case is on hold [The Oklahoman]

Meet the woman behind OKC’s innovative approach to helping victims of domestic violence: Safe to say not many 19-year-olds are spending their free time at the police station volunteering to help the victims of rape and other forms of violence and abuse. “That’s what started my career in victim services,” says Oklahoma City’s Kim Garrett-Funk. [The Oklahoman]

Housing & Economic Opportunity News

Long Story Short: How Oklahoma Zoning Laws Contribute to the Housing Crisis (Audio): Heather Warlick recently wrote about how Oklahoma’s restrictive zoning ordinances may stand in the way of solving the state’s affordable housing shortage. [Oklahoma Watch]

Education News

Cameron University in Lawton will soon have a new interim president.: Jari Askins, who has worked as a former district judge, state legislator and Oklahoma’s lieutenant governor, will serve as Cameron University’s interim president as the Lawton school searches for a new leader. [The Oklahoman]

Community News

New 12,345-acre nature preserve will be convenient to Tulsa, OKC: A family’s donation of their 12,345-acre ranch in Creek County creates The Nature Conservancy’s largest wildland preserve, conveniently located between the state’s major metropolitan centers. [KOSU]

Black cyclists in Oklahoma bike 600 miles to all 13 Black Towns: Osborne Celestain’s Black cyclists’ 600-mile bike ride across Oklahoma’s historic Black towns was more than an athletic feat; it was a tribute to the resilience of these communities. Alongside Eyakem Gulilat, Celestain transformed a physical journey into a cultural exploration, deeply connecting with the history and ongoing struggles of the areas they visited. [The Black Wall Street Times]

Local Headlines

  • Council considers city vote to hike OKC hotel tax, change revenue use [NonDoc]
  • Should OKC raise hotel tax? [Journal Record]
  • Mayfest: Diverse lineup of art, music, performances at Tulsa’s premier outdoor festival [Tulsa World]

Quote of the Day

“The position of the Senate on reducing people’s tax burden is clear, and we’ve always wanted to reduce. But we want to do it in a prudent fashion that is sustainable.”

– Senate Pro Tem Greg Treat responding to comments made during Monday’s budget summit where the governor and the House Speaker urged the Senate again to include personal income tax cuts in its budget proposal. [KOCO]

Number of the Day


Approximate number of households that did not receive Oklahoma’s Sales Tax Relief Credit in 2020 compared with 2010. Since its creation in 1990, the number of recipients of the Sales Tax Relief Credit has generally declined as incomes rose while eligibility for the credit remained flat. [OK Policy]

Policy Note

State Tax Credits Have Transformative Power to Improve Economic Security: Refundable tax credits help families pay for food, housing, transportation, and other necessities. State lawmakers have, for years, based state-level credits on policies available in the federal tax code. By doing so, they’ve amplified the benefits of federal credits in their states. More recently, however, states have taken more innovative steps that go beyond the basics of federal law to do more for low- and middle-income families. [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.