In The Know: Crowds gather at Capitol to protest anti-immigrant law | Budget stalemate continues, Gov. suggests leadership take a back seat | House committee approves controversial OSDE rule changes

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 wants new budget summit — without himself, Speaker McCall or Senate Leader Treat in the room: Stitt, who, according to social media posts, was apparently campaigning in Pennsylvania Tuesday, sent an email to Senate Pro Tempore Greg Treat and House Speaker Charles McCall late Tuesday afternoon calling for a change in budget summit format he’s been following. This email, obtained by The Oklahoman, pushed for a fourth budget summit — this one without Treat, McCall or the governor. [The Oklahoman]

  • Budget summit day three: A rehash of tax cut arguments, and little progress [The Oklahoman]
  • Democratic lawmakers frustrated, not surprised to be left out of budget talks by the Republicans [KOSU]
  • Budget summit stalemate: Oklahoma leaders clash over income tax cuts [Fox25]
  • Treat reiterates the Senate will not support an income tax cut [City News OKC]

State Government News

Leaders to rally against new immigration bill during Hispanic Cultural Day at Oklahoma Capitol: Wednesday is Hispanic Cultural Day at the state Capitol and was originally meant to highlight the culture and Latinos in STEM. But with the signing of House Bill 4156, leaders in the community want to make sure state lawmakers know they do not stand with the new law. [KOCO]

  • Oklahoma Association of Chiefs of Police release joint statement on HB4156 [Fox25]

OSDE rules: House committee recommends approving all but one: After declining to take action last week, the Oklahoma House Rules Committee advanced a resolution approving all proposed State Department of Education rules except one after a meeting Tuesday afternoon. [NonDoc]

  • Republicans advance controversial Oklahoma State Department of Education rules out of committee [Oklahoma Voice]
  • OK House committee votes to approve controversial department of education rules [Journal Record]
  • Walters’ administrative rules proposals passed their first legislative hurdle. What’s next [The Oklahoman]

Oklahoma state superintendent’s $50,000 contract raises questions on political ties: We learned last year that the OSDE paid Houston-based Precision Outreach over $22,000 to produce 30 minutes of videos, and now, $50,000 more Oklahoma tax dollars are headed to the Texas company. [Fox25]

Oklahoma Treasurer Adds Bank to Blacklist Weeks After It Sold Higher Ed Bonds: Oklahoma Treasurer Todd Russ added global bank Barclays to his list of financial firms thought to be discriminating against the oil and gas industry just weeks after it led the sale of $230 million in bonds for the University of Oklahoma. [Oklahoma Watch]

Tribal Nations News

100-year-old basket returns home to the Modoc Nation: The Modoc Nation celebrated gembli — meaning coming home in Modoc — after leaders from the Peoria Tribe of Indians of Oklahoma returned a culturally significant basket. [KOSU]

Voting and Election News

Cole takes on well-financed challenger in race for Oklahoma’s Fourth Congressional District: The Oklahoma airwaves have been filled with a smackdown between an incumbent political legend and a newcomer with deep pockets who recently moved into the state. Paul L. Bondar said he’s willing to spend millions in his bid to unseat incumbent U.S. Rep. Tom Cole in the June 18 primary. [Oklahoma Voice]

  • Why a Texas businessman with few ties to Oklahoma is running to unseat Rep. Tom Cole [The Oklahoman]

Health News

Attorney General Drummond sues pharma, PBMs over insulin prices: Attorney General Gentner Drummond has filed a lawsuit against major diabetic drug manufacturers and pharmacy benefit managers (PBM) for an unfair and deceptive pricing scheme that has cost Americans billions of dollars. [Journal Record]

Oklahoma City short on youth psychiatrists, high on need: Oklahoma City has one of the most significant needs for child and adolescent psychiatrists, who serve some of the state’s most vulnerable children. A national nonprofit representing these professionals published a review of the nation’s largest cities and their populations under 18. [KGOU]

Criminal Justice News

In vehicle scheme, Pittsburg County Sheriff Chris Morris charged with felony embezzlement: A month before his bid for a third term will be decided by voters, Pittsburg County Sheriff Chris Morris was charged Tuesday with a felony count of embezzlement of state property for allegations that he falsified records as part of a scheme to have the county buy a $29,000 utility vehicle he had purchased months earlier. [NonDoc]

  • Oklahoma sheriff charged with embezzlement after investigation of $31,099 purchase of UTV [The Oklahoman]

Devastated families go to court over two deadly pursuits for minor reasons: Both of those deadly chases in Oklahoma are contrary to recent Department of Justice guidance in a report that recommends pursuits only take place for violent crimes and where the suspect presents an imminent threat to the public — based solely on the suspect’s criminal actions and not driving behavior. [Tulsa World]

DA, county jail team up to make it harder to get fentanyl to detainees: On Monday, members of the county’s jail trust unanimously approved an agreement between District Attorney Vicki Behenna and the trust that allows agency investigators to work together. [The Oklahoman]

Economy & Business News

What’s going on with natural gas?: An unusually warm winter and several other factors have led to a glut in natural gas supplies and the lowest prices the market has seen since the COVID-19 pandemic, according to industry experts and the federal government. [Journal Record]

Education News

Oklahoma parental choice tax credits still a work in progress. Lawmakers approve tweaks to program.: The Oklahoma Tax Commission is still working through thousands of applications for the state’s new parental choice tax credits, five months after the high-demand program launched. [Oklahoma Voice]

Looking to make bank? These college degrees pay the most for Oklahoma graduates: Here are the highest and lowest paying college degrees in Oklahoma, according to data from the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey 5-year survey of those aged 24 to 65 with a bachelor’s degree or higher. [The Oklahoman]

Local Headlines

  • Oklahoma City Council holds public hearing for proposed hotel tax election [KOSU]
  • Edmond Council denies Logan County wastewater agreement, advances Pelican Bay renovations [NonDoc]
  • Edmond residents urged to vote on funding boost for city growth [Journal Record]
  • Tulsa bus fares to increase July 1 [Public Radio Tulsa]

Quote of the Day

“This law has the potential to destroy the connections and relationships we have built within our local immigrant communities and set us back for many years to come.”

– The Oklahoma Association of Chiefs of Police and Metro Law Enforcement Agency leaders said in a join statement regarding HB4156, the anti-immigration bill set to go into effect on July 1, 2024. [Fox25]

Number of the Day


Share of Oklahoma entrepreneurs who are immigrants. [American Immigration Council]

Policy Note

Our revised race standards still fall short for Indigenous Americans: This March, the White House Office of Management and Budget published new standards for race and ethnicity data to help policymakers and researchers collect more accurate statistics on underrepresented racial and ethnic groups. These changes are a positive development, but they don’t go far enough to solve the most significant data issues facing another group: American Indians and Alaska Natives. [The Hill]

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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.