In The Know: Contentious education budget meeting with new superintendent | Performance-based teacher raises proposed | Sports betting | Capitol Update | More

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

Recent education proposals could be most comprehensive education reform in decades (Capitol Update): Among the bill deadline’s better reveals last week was a set of serious proposals by Sen. Adam Pugh, R-Edmond, to improve Oklahoma education. This may be one of those rare moments in Oklahoma’s brief history where a giant step forward for education could be taken without having to ask for a tax increase. The money is there. It would be a shame to miss the opportunity. [Steve Lewis / Journal Record]

Oklahoma News

What to watch for during Oklahoma’s 2023 legislative session: The first Monday in February marks the beginning of the Oklahoma legislative session. And Oklahoma lawmakers are gearing up to consider more than 3,000 bills. Our reporters will be there to cover them. Here’s what they’ll be watching for leading up to the convening of the 2023 legislature. [KOSU]

  • Podcast: Long Story Short: Oklahoma lawmakers complete pre-session bill filing [KGOU]

State Government News

Ryan Walters presents Joy Hofmeister’s budget request, but he hopes to change it: Two days before his first Oklahoma State Board of Education meeting, Superintendent of Public Instruction Ryan Walters presented a budget request this morning to a House of Representatives subcommittee, but he told lawmakers that he plans on changing the numbers shortly. [NonDoc]

  • Ryan Walters gives governing vision, drawing ire, sharp words from Democrats [The Oklahoman]
  • Top education official spars with lawmakers during budget hearing [CNHI via Enid News & Eagle]
  • Lawmakers leave State Supt. Walter’s budget presentation with more questions than answers [KTUL]

State Superintendent Ryan Walters wants teacher pay raises tied to student performance: Walters did not share any details about how much of a raise he wanted or how student performance would be measured. As the new state superintendent of public instruction, Walters will present his budget proposal on Thursday to the state Board of Education. [The Oklahoman]

  • State Superintendent Ryan Walters calls for performance-based teacher pay raises [Tulsa World]

Walters wants 10-year history of DEI spending in Higher Ed, review of current programs: State Superintendent Ryan Walters informed the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education this week of a new review of its 10-year spending history on and current materials used for diversity, equity and inclusion, or DEI, programs. [Tulsa World]

Senate leader wants a more ‘methodical’ approach to sports betting: Gov. Kevin Stitt wants to legalize sports betting this year, but it has yet to win full support from Senate Pro Tem Greg Treat. Treat, R-Edmond, who has the power to decide what bills will get heard in the Senate, said he has “zero desire” to support a bill to solely legalize sports betting this session. [The Frontier]

Bills would require non-pregnant parent to pay prenatal costs or child support: The father of an unborn child would be responsible for the cost of prenatal care or paying child support under legislative measures authored by two Republican lawmakers. [CNHI via Ada News]

Voting and Election News

Oklahoma Supreme Court upholds decision to strike OKC city council candidate from ballot: Chris Cowden, who filed to run for city council in northwest Oklahoma City’s Ward 2, was recently deemed by the Oklahoma County Election Board to not meet the voter registration requirements set by the Oklahoma City charter. The board voted in December to strike Cowden from the ballot because he had not been registered to vote within Ward 2 for at least a year. [The Oklahoman]

Column: Oklahoma’s election system is well-run, but let’s make it easier to file: I ran into my neighbor at our polling place last month, and he said “I don’t play the lottery, but I do vote.” Fewer Oklahomans are doing so. Only about half of our state’s registered voters participated in the last general election, even less showed up in the four other elections held in 2022. [Chris Powell Guest Column / The Oklahoman]

Criminal Justice News

Richard Glossip, six other Oklahoma death row inmates get new execution dates: Death row inmate Richard Glossip’s execution was reset Tuesday to May 18. The Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals also rescheduled the execution dates of six other convicted murderers. [The Oklahoman]

  • Appeals court grants changes to state’s execution schedule [Tulsa World]

Upgrades sought for security cameras in Oklahoma prisons: Oklahoma prisons urgently need security camera upgrades “in the worst way,” the head of an organization that represents correctional employees said. [CNHI via McAlester News-Capital]

Economic Opportunity

Software company from Austin, Texas, relocating to Tulsa: Eight months after attending the 2022 PGA Championship at Southern Hills Country Club and learning of Tulsa’s potential from municipal leaders, Ward has announced that Laundris, the software company for which he is CEO, is relocating here from Austin, Texas. [Tulsa World]

Economy & Business News

Real estate sales stats show Oklahoma faring better than most: A recent examination of real estate market data from around the country showed Oklahoma holding up a bit better than other states despite pressures caused by higher mortgage interest rates and the nation’s slowing economy. The state ranked 10th in the nation in the ratio of homes sold per 100,000 population. [Journal Record]

Oklahoma economy added nearly 50,000 jobs in 2022: Oklahoma businesses and governments added more than 47,000 workers in 2022, but the unemployment rate ticked higher last year as more people sought work. The latest state-by-state unemployment figures from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics were released on Tuesday. [The Oklahoman]

‘That’s egg-cessive’: Why are egg prices so high and how is it impacting OKC businesses?: In December 2021, one dozen eggs retailed for about $1.79, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. As of December 2022, the price had risen to an average of $4.25 per dozen, or 311% higher. [The Oklahoman]

Education News

Column: Oklahoma law to protect students’ feelings is harmful to their psychological growth: I admit I do not ever like feeling bad or being made to feel bad. Distress is something we cannot avoid in all areas of life, and for which we must develop psychological coping in order to prevent potential harm. So why would I want that for my kids? [Noel Jacobs Guest Column / The Oklahoman]

General News

Greenwood Rising sued by family of man slain in 1921 Race Massacre: A great nephew of a doctor killed in Tulsa’s 1921 Race Massacre has sued the Greenwood Rising history center, the nonprofit that raised money for the museum, and the city of Tulsa, demanding compensation for what his petition calls unjust enrichment and unauthorized use of Dr. A.C. Jackson’s image and personal history. [Tulsa World]

Quote of the Day

“I just want to fund education. I want kids to learn. I want the far right to shut up, and I want the far left to shut up. And I want to teach reading, writing and arithmetic.”

-Rep. Mark McBride, R-Moore, chair of the House Appropriations and Budget Subcommittee on Education during a sometimes contentious legislative meeting where new State Superintendent Ryan Walters was scheduled to present his agency’s budget. [Tulsa World]

Number of the Day

Up to 13%

Medicaid expansion reduced recidivism by up to 13% as seen in decreased probability of rearrest and the number of arrests. In the Midwest and Southwest, the estimated effects at two years after expansion were consistent with estimates from other studies on the relationship between access to health-care services and recidivism. [National Library of Medicine]

Policy Note

Connecting Recently Released Prisoners to Health Care—How to Leverage Medicaid: Lacking access to health care is among the challenges faced by people released from correctional facilities. They are more likely to experience and die from infectious diseases, chronic health conditions, substance use disorders, behavioral health disorders and severe mental illness. These individuals continue to have higher risks of death and disease than the general population following release from incarceration. A study tracking data from 2000-2009 in Washington state found that former state prisoners were three times more likely to die from any cause and more than 10 times more likely to die from overdose than the general population. [National Conference of State Legislatures]

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Hana Saad joined OK Policy in August 2022 as the Communications and Operations Fellow. She graduated from the University of Tulsa with degrees in Media Studies and English and is part of Phi Beta Kappa, an academic honor society. At TU, Hana regularly wrote for The Collegian and was the Co-Editor of the Stylus Journal of Art and Writing. She also serves on the team at Puppy Haven Rescue to help in their mission of saving rescue dogs across Oklahoma. Hana is eager to learn more about public policy in Oklahoma and use her skills to support the OKP work to build a more equitable state. In her free time, she loves to read fiction and poetry, walk her dog, and make copious cups of tea.

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