In The Know: FY 2023 Budget Highlights | Oklahoma lethal injection executions to proceed | State revenue levels

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

FY 2023 Budget Highlights: The FY 2023 budget makes some good and long-awaited investments in Oklahomans. It also misses several critical opportunities to make generational change, such as investing in common education and funding State Question 781. In late April 2022, state leaders needed only days to fast track $698 million to fund tax breaks to lure an out-of-state company to build a manufacturing facility here. Moving forward, lawmakers should apply the same momentum to restoring decades of cuts, better prioritizing public schools, and providing meaningful support to low- and middle-class Oklahomans. [Emma Morris / OK Policy]

Budget includes a few long-awaited investments, but misses crucial opportunities: This year, Oklahoma lawmakers appropriated $10.68 billion to the state budget for Fiscal Year 2023, which begins on July 1, 2022. The FY 23 state budget includes some long-awaited investments in areas like access to mental health care and reducing the 13-year wait for services for individuals with developmental disabilities. It also, however, includes almost a billion dollars for corporate tax incentives and economic development. Lawmakers also missed crucial opportunities to invest in public education. [Emma Morris / OK Policy]

Oklahoma News

Federal judge clears way for Oklahoma lethal injection executions to proceed: Oklahoma may continue to use its three-drug lethal injection protocol to carry out executions, U.S. District Judge Stephen Friot ruled on Monday. In a 45-page ruling, Friot ruled plaintiffs fell “well short” of proving Oklahoma’s protocol causes an unconstitutional level of pain and suffering. He also dismissed the plaintiff’s claims that execution by firing squad or lethal injection with pentobarbital would be a less painful alternative. [Oklahoma Watch] Judge Stephen Friot’s ruling followed a six-day federal trial earlier this year in which attorneys for 28 death row inmates argued the first of the three drugs, the sedative midazolam, is not adequate to render an inmate unable to feel pain and creates a risk of severe pain and suffering that violates the U.S. Constitution’s Eighth Amendment prohibiting cruel and unusual punishment. [AP News]

State Government News

State revenue levels out but still hits record high for May: Oklahoma’s post-pandemic economic surge slowed last month, but gross tax revenue still hit a record high for May. Gross revenue to the treasury edged above $1.3 billion in May, up 5% from the record $1.24 billion collected in May 2021. Last month’s total is 21% above pre-pandemic May 2019. [Tulsa World] That’s according to State Treasurer Randy McDaniel, who noted in a report Monday that May’s increase of 5.9% in sales and use tax collections by the state was outpaced by the current rate of inflation. The annual inflation rate has been pegged at 8.3%. Energy prices are up a staggering 30.3% from a year ago, and food costs have risen by 9.4%. [The Journal Record]

New from OK Policy: The FY 2023 budget makes some good and long-awaited investments in Oklahomans. It also misses several critical opportunities to make generational change, such as investing in common education and funding State Question 781. 

Oklahoma lawmakers passed 5 contradictory abortion bans. No one knows which laws will be enforced: The laws at times contradict each other, offering starkly different rules for when doctors are permitted to provide care — and raising high-stakes questions about what enforcement will actually look like in Oklahoma. Lawmakers contacted by Insider were in disagreement about what the law in Oklahoma will be. [Business Insider]

  • Oklahoma abortion rights fight stirs painful memories [NonDoc]

Federal Government News

U.S. Supreme Court declines to hear ‘Innocent Man’ case: Oklahoma prosecutors are deciding whether to again file charges in a nearly 40-year-old case against a man accused of helping kill an Ada woman after the U.S. Supreme Court on Monday rejected the state’s appeal. [The Frontier] Without comment, justices rejected the state of Oklahoma’s petition arguing that Fontenot should not have been allowed to present the evidence that ultimately led to his freedom in a case documented in two books. [The Oklahoman]

Tribal Nations News

Wilma Mankiller’s U.S. quarter unveiled in Cherokee Nation celebration: Wilma Pearl Mankiller was the first woman Principal Chief of the Cherokee Nation. Born in Tahlequah, Oklahoma in 1945, she helped improve the lives of Cherokee people by giving them access to clean water, a better education and made them feel proud to speak and be Cherokee. [KOSU]

  • With her face on a new U.S. quarter, Wilma Mankiller is still inspiring the Cherokee Nation [Tulsa World]
  • New quarter honors legacy of Cherokee principal chief [CNHI via Enid News & Eagle]
  • A new quarter honors Native American leader and activist Wilma Mankiller [NPR via KOSU]

Voting and Election News

Stitt’s ‘Oklahoma Turnaround’ ads may violate ethics rules: The latest campaign commercial for Gov. Kevin Stitt prominently featuring his appointed attorney general, John O’Connor, is raising eyebrows in political circles and may run afoul of state Ethics Commission rules for electioneering, according to several Republicans and Democrats. [Oklahoma Watch]

Economy & Business News

Former roughneck sues SandRidge Energy, claims thousands were exposed by data breach: A former SandRidge roughneck who believes his name and Social Security number were acquired and then sold to bad actors after the company was hit by a ransomware attack in 2021 has launched a lawsuit seeking class action status against the company. [The Oklahoman]

Supply-chain issues affecting paper used to print vehicle titles: Move aside groceries, baby formula and cars, there’s now a new shortage, and its causing issues for Oklahomans trying to buy and sell vehicles. The Oklahoma Tax Commission is facing a shortage of title stock paper, which is used to print titles for motorized vehicles and boats. Most titles are now printing eight to 12 weeks after the application is first processed as the state begins to ration its existing supply of paper, the commission said Friday. [CNHI via The Claremore Daily Progress]

Education News

Oklahoma City school board member steps down, new member to be appointed: Six years on the Oklahoma City Board of Education came to an end Monday for one of the board’s longest-sitting members. District 3 representative Carrie Coppernoll-Jacobs tendered her resignation, effective Tuesday, and attended her final school board meeting Monday evening. [The Oklahoman] Jacobs has deep feelings for the OKCPS board not only from the years she has served on the board, but because before she ran for the seat, she was the education reporter for The Oklahoman newspaper and covered the district and state education matters. [OKC Free Press]

Tulsa school board approves $653 million budget for next school year: The Tulsa school board approved a $653 million preliminary budget for the 2022-23 school year on Monday night. Under state law, districts have to approve at least a preliminary budget before the start of the fiscal year on July 1 but can make revisions during the fiscal year as conditions warrant. [Tulsa World]

Shawnee Public Schools, Ron Arthur sued over sexual encounter: A former student on Monday sued the former assistant athletic director of Shawnee Public Schools over their sexual encounters last year. He is seeking to recover actual and punitive damages from Ronald Gene Arthur “to deter him, and others similarly situated, from this behavior in the future and to punish him for his socially unacceptable behavior.” [The Oklahoman]

Before getting their diplomas, these Yukon High School seniors go back to elementary school: High school graduation isn’t just about celebrating what’s ahead – it’s also a way for students to mark where they came from. In Yukon, that means going back to where it all started: their old elementary school. [KGOU]

Retired Northeast Oklahoma professor pens book on desegregation, Black teachers’ experiences: A Northeastern State University emeritus professor of psychology has written a book that serves as a primary source reader detailing the voices of Black people who taught during segregation. [CNHI via The Norman Transcript]

General News

OSU, Catholic church help fill gaps in finances, community for Afghan refugees: He wasn’t expecting to get a glimpse of home on his first visit to the Oklahoma State University campus. Tayyab Ghazniwal was thousands of miles away from his native Afghanistan, and yet he could see the red, black and green flag of his homeland flying high outside OSU’s School of Global Studies and Partnerships. [The Oklahoman]

Oklahoma Local News

Comanche County Commissioners vote to use ARPA funds to fix road damage from last year’s ice storm: The Comanche County Commissioners announced their intention to use the first round of American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds to repair lingering damage to roadways caused by the ice storm of February 2021. [The Lawton Constitution]

Tulsa County commissioners agree to buy east Tulsa building for new Election Board offices: Tulsa County commissioners on Monday took another crack at finding a new home for their Election Board. Commissioners voted to pay $9.1 million for a 112,556-square-foot office building on East Skelly Drive with the intent of turning it into the new Election Board facility. The agreement includes a 120-day due diligence period during which the county could pull out of the deal. [Tulsa World]

OKC presents 2nd annual Juneteenth on the East Festival with Mya: This year Oklahoma City will celebrate Juneteenth in style, with a three-day, family-friendly event featuring live music, a 5k race, interactive murals, dance performances, spoken word, food trucks, educational tents and vendors. It also will feature local small businesses, who are the backbone of the Eastside community. [The Black Wall Street Times]

City to look at why water rate increase failed: The Norman City Council plans to find out why voters said no to a water rate increase this year in a presentation at its Tuesday night study session. [The Norman Transcript]

Quote of the Day

“Watching what she was able to do reinforced everything I had been told growing up as a young Cherokee woman in North Carolina, and that is we have the best solution to our own problems and that we are capable of being those change agents”

– Brenda Toineeta Pipestem, speaking at the release of the first limited edition quarters honoring the late Wilma Mankiller, the first woman Principal Chief of the Cherokee Nation. [KOSU]

Number of the Day


Percentage of LGBTQ2+ Americans experiencing poverty–nearly twice the rate of the general population

[Source: National LGBTQ Anti-Poverty Action Network]

Previously from OK Policy: To ensure every resident has equal opportunities for success, Oklahoma’s elected officials and policymakers must understand the variety of ways discrimination impacts LGBTQ2S+ Oklahomans’ lives.

Policy Note

Suicide risk and Prevention for Transgender people: Studies have found that around 40% of transgender adults have attempted suicide in their lifetimes and that 30% of transgender youth have attempted suicide in the past year. Yet, studies have found that certain experiences, like family and social support, are associated with reduced prevalence of suicide thoughts and attempts. [UCLA School of Law Williams Institute]

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Jessica joined OK Policy as a Communications Associate in January 2018. A Mexican immigrant, she was a Clara Luper Scholar at Oklahoma City University where she obtained a B.A. in Political Science and Philosophy. Prior to joining OK Policy, Jessica worked at a digital marketing agency in Oklahoma City. She is an alumna of both the National Education for Women (N.E.W.) Leadership Institute (2013) and OK Policy's Summer Policy Institute (2015). In addition to her role at OK Policy, Jessica serves as a board member for Dream Action Oklahoma in OKC and communications director for Dream Alliance Oklahoma in Tulsa.

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