In The Know: Call for greater budget transparency | Gov. Stitt calls special session on budget | Legal challenge to abortion bill

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

New from OK Policy

Together Oklahoma to host Pride and Policy Listening Sessions: Together Oklahoma is hosting a special statewide Listening Session in the coming weeks to discuss the pressing issues and policies affecting the LGBT community. The Southwest Regional Organizer for Together Oklahoma, Katie Applegate, told us more about why the session are so important to the community. [KSWO

Oklahoma News

‘Left in the dark’: Stitt vetoes parts of budget, calls special session for tax cuts: Offering similar criticisms of the Republican-led Legislature’s budget process that Democrats have griped about all year, Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt said today that he will veto a bill increasing funds for private prison companies, veto bills providing one-time tax rebates to citizens and will call lawmakers into a special session June 13 for the purposes of “real relief.” [NonDoc

  • Stitt call for greater transparency in federal relief funds, vetoes some budget bills [Oklahoma Watch
  • Stitt calls special session, blasts budget ‘backroom deals’ [CNHI via Enid News & Eagle]
  • Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt vetoes key parts of $9.8B state budget, calls special session [The Oklahoman
  • Gov. Kevin Stitt calls for special session of Legislature for ‘real tax reform’ [Tulsa World

Recently from OK Policy: Cuts to the individual income tax rate are unfair to low- and middle-class families since they return the largest benefit to the wealthiest Oklahomans. Tax cuts now can devastate state revenue and funding for services like public education in future years. 


Previously from OK Policy: Completely eliminating the sales tax on groceries will cost critical revenue now and in the future. To avoid this, lawmakers should consider significantly expanding the Sales Tax Relief Credit that would provide targeted tax relief to Oklahomans who need it, cost less revenue, and give lawmakers more flexibility to raise revenue in the future.

State Government News

Legal challenge filed to stop Oklahoma anti-abortion bill: A group of abortion providers in Oklahoma filed a legal challenge Thursday to a new law that bans nearly all abortions in the state. The lawsuit filed with the Oklahoma Supreme Court seeks to stop the new law from taking effect. [AP News

  • (Audio) This Week in Oklahoma Politics: New abortion poll, unemployment benefits, state tourism scandal and more [KOSU]

Audit questions slowness of Oklahoma support for abortion alternatives: As Oklahoma’s Republican lawmakers pass the nation’s strictest anti-abortion laws, an internal audit by the Oklahoma State Department of Health shows the agency has serious concerns about the performance of a vendor selected to provide reimbursements for care to pregnant women at crisis centers that counsel against abortions. [Oklahoma Watch

  • Oklahoma anti-abortion program pledged to help 9,300 women. It spent more on salaries than aid [The Oklahoman

Bizarre State Board of Education meeting sees man detained over custody issue: District officials from Western Heights, Ninnekah and Oologah-Talala Public Schools, all of which are currently under probation, provided their required quarterly updates at Thursday’s State Board of Education meeting. [NonDoc

Former OKC legislator never charged over lobbyist’s sexual assault accusation: Prosecutors have declined to charge former state Rep. Jose Cruz with sexual battery over an incident with a lobbyist New Year’s Eve at her Oklahoma City apartment. Oklahoma County District Attorney David Prater said the decision was made after the lobbyist never turned over her phone for a forensic examination so police could complete an investigation. [The Oklahoman]

Voting and Election News

Haven’t received a new voter ID card yet? Tulsa County Election Board wants to know: Have you received your new voter identification card in the mail? That’s the question Tulsa County Election Board Secretary Gwen Freeman wants people to think about and answer as soon as possible. [Tulsa World

Education News

Seven Oklahoma schools must add days to 2022-23 school calendars after state ed board denies waivers: Seven Oklahoma school districts must alter their shorter-than-normal school calendars after the State Board of Education on Thursday denied them waivers to continue in 2022-23. [Tulsa World

Duncan businessman named to OU regents: Duncan businessman Rick Braught was appointed to the University of Oklahoma Board of Regents late last month by Gov. Kevin Stitt. [The Lawton Constitution]

Lt. Wayland Cubit to take post as security chief at Okla City Public Schools: Lt. Wayland Cubit, widely known for his community engagement work for the Oklahoma City Police Department, is retiring from the department and taking the position of director of security at Oklahoma City Public Schools July 1. [OKC Free Press]

Quote of the Day

“Why is it happening behind closed doors? Why are only a select few in charge while the rest of us are expected to nod our heads and not ask any questions?”

– Gov. Stitt at a press conference on the budget [Gov. Stitt / Youtube]

Report from OK Policy: A February 2022 report from the Oklahoma Policy Institute shows that Oklahoma is among the nation’s least transparent states when engaging its residents during the development of the annual state budget. 

Number of the Day


Lost buying power of the Sales Tax Relief since its creation in 1990

[Source: OK Policy Calculations]

Previously from OK Policy: Completely eliminating the sales tax on groceries will cost critical revenue now and in the future. To avoid this, lawmakers should consider significantly expanding the Sales Tax Relief Credit that would provide targeted tax relief to Oklahomans who need it, cost less revenue, and give lawmakers more flexibility to raise revenue in the future.

Policy Note

3.7 million more kids are in poverty without the monthly Child Tax Credit, study says: Since the monthly payments from the expanded Child Tax Credit expired at the end of 2021, nearly 3.7 million more children are in poverty, according to a new study from Columbia University. In the span of just one month, from December 2021 and January 2022, the monthly child poverty rate increased from 12.1% to 17%, the highest rate seen since the end of 2020. Black and Latino children experienced even higher increases in poverty, with 5.9% and 7.1% increases, respectively. [NPR]

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Kristin Wells served as the Communications and Operations Fellow for OK Policy from October 2021 to July 2022. She previously worked as a digital content producer for News On 6. A native Kansas Citian, Kristin graduated with a B.A. in Media Studies and a B.A. in Spanish from the University of Tulsa in 2020. While there, she was accepted into the Global Scholars program, spurring her interests in policy, social movements, global identities, and the importance of education and advocacy. She hopes to use her skills to continue to learn and create a more equitable future for Oklahomans. An avid sports fan, Kristin lives in Tulsa with her rescue dog and is passionate about college basketball, documentaries, and coffee.

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