In The Know: Gov. Fallin signs ballot access bill

In The KnowIn The Know is a daily synopsis of Oklahoma policy-related news and blogs. Inclusion of a story does not necessarily mean endorsement by the Oklahoma Policy Institute. You can sign up here to receive In The Know by e-mail.

On Tuesday, Gov. Fallin signed a bills intended to make it easier for third parties to get on the ballot and to speed up the transfer of inmates from county jails to state prisons. Oklahoma Watch reports that changes to the Reading Sufficiency Act could expand the number of students at risk of retention and increasing the number of students receiving remediation. Parents would also be involved in the process for an additional three years. Lawmakers say they are close to a deal to reign in wind production tax credits. In his Journal Record column, Executive Director David Blatt explains why the legislature doesn’t need a supermajority to halt a scheduled tax cut because the state successfully proved that the legislation in question isn’t a revenue bill in court last year.

Responding to allegations from BuzzFeed that the state Attorney General’s office had provided inaccurate information to the US Supreme Court on a death penalty case, the AG’s office has admitted an “inadvertent citation error” and alerted the Court of the error, but says that the “error” has no bearing on the state’s case. Another Tulsa activist group is calling for Tulsa County Sheriff Stanley Glanz to resign. The Frontier has compiled extensive documentation of reports alleging racism and sexual misconduct in the Tulsa County Sheriff’s office. An attorney from the City of Tulsa is demanding that the Sheriff’s Office stop connecting the city’s police chief to former Reserve Deputy Robert Bates, who shot and killed an unarmed man on April 2. The executive director of the Oklahoma GOP stepped down due to concerns within the party over his record of domestic violence. He was instead appointed as the party’s political director.

Former state Sen. Melvin Porter, Oklahoma’s first African-American senator, was honored on Tuesday. Fifty years after his election to office, the state’s elected officials do not reflect the diversity of the people in this state. An Oklahoma House panel has advanced a bill to complete the state’s long-delayed American Indian Cultural Center. Following two years of collaboration between the Cherokee Nation’s Language Program department and Google, the Cherokee language is now available on a range of Android, Microsoft and Apple devices. The Number of the Day is 9,121 – the years of potential life lost before age 75 per 100,000 of the population in Oklahoma. The US median is 7,681. In today’s Policy Note, The Washington Post reports on a new study showing that federal safety net programs do more to ease poverty than previously thought.

In The News

Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin signs ballot access bill

Gov. Mary Fallin has signed a bill designed to make it easier for third parties to get on the ballot in Oklahoma. The new law, signed Tuesday, will reduce the number of signatures required to get a third party on the ballot to at least 3 percent of the total votes cast in the last general election for governor.

Read more from NewsOK.

New Law Aims to Speed Up Transfers of Inmates to Prisons

The number of state inmates being kept in county jails has long been hard to track. A new law is aimed at making the count more precise. Gov. Mary Fallin this week signed into a law a bill that will require county officials to notify the Department of Corrections within three days after a prisoner in a county facility has been sentenced by a district court.

Read more from Oklahoma Watch.

Bill Could Increase Students Repeating Third Grade

Proposed changes to Oklahoma’s third grade Reading Sufficiency Act could nearly double the number of students at risk of repeating the grade, but would keep parents involved in the retention process for another three years. Lawmakers spent several hours Wednesday negotiating a compromise between the House and Senate versions of Senate Bill 630. Both chambers have already passed different versions of the bill.

Read more from Oklahoma Watch.

Oklahoma lawmakers look to rein in wind industry tax credits

The Legislature is set to rein in wind industry tax credits that cost the state tens of millions of dollars each year, but the proposed changes will have no impact on the state budget for years. Senate Finance Committee Chairman Mike Mazzei says a deal has been reached involving the wind industry, state officials and a group that opposes the tax credits.

Read more from KSWO.

See also: The wind energy debate comes sweeping down to the Capitol from the OK Policy Blog.

Tax-cut red herrings

This week, as legislators work to finish the state budget, expect fierce debate over painful service cuts and questionable one-time revenues they will tap to address the state’s massive budget hole. Compounding the problem even harder, they seem hellbent on proceeding with next year’s scheduled cut to the state’s top income tax rate.

Read more from the Journal Record.

See also: No, halting the tax cut doesn’t need a supermajority from the OK Policy Blog.

Oklahoma Attorney General Admits “Error” In Brief To Supreme Court, But Says It Has No Bearing On Case

Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt’s office admits that it had provided inaccurate information to the Supreme Court in a death penalty case before the justices. The admission comes 13 days after BuzzFeed News first asked Pruitt’s office for comment on the issue. In a statement, spokesperson Aaron Cooper says it was an “inadvertent” error.

Read more from Buzzfeed.

Reports allege racism, sexual misconduct in jail under Major

Major Tom Huckeby once likened the Tulsa County Sheriff’s Office to a “paramilitary” operation, imbued with strong discipline and order. But in court records and internal reports, others painted a far different picture: one where supervisors in the Tulsa Jail labeled black employees “N” in personnel records, Huckeby and others allegedly had “rampant sex” with co-workers and black inmates were assaulted for sport.

Read more from The Frontier.

Another activist group renews calls for Sheriff Stanley Glanz to resign, federal probe

Another activist group has formed and is renewing calls for Sheriff Stanley Glanz to step down and a federal investigation into Eric Harris’ shooting death, which came at the hands of former Reserve Deputy Robert Bates. The United League for Social Action — or TULSA — coordinated a rally at the courthouse plaza over the lunch hour Wednesday that attracted around 75 people.

See more from the Tulsa World.

City demands county cease and desist connecting TPD chief to Bates

A Monday letter from City Attorney David O’Meilia to Tulsa County officials demanded an immediate cease and desist regarding the county’s recently suspended spokesman connecting the city’s police chief to former Reserve Deputy Robert Bates. Bates was a 73-year-old reserve deputy charged with manslaughter in the shooting death of Eric Harris on April 2.

Read more from the Tulsa World.

Man who pleaded guilty to domestic abuse misdemeanors is out as Oklahoma GOP executive director

A man who pleaded guilty to two misdemeanor offenses connected to domestic abuse is out as executive director of the Oklahoma GOP. Party Chairman Randy Brogdon said Wednesday he asked Thomas Clint Ryan to step down and assume the position of political director after party members, including Republican state legislators, expressed concerns about his appointment.

Read more from NewsOK.

First African-American State Senator, E. Melvin Porter, Honored On Senate Floor

Oklahoma’s first African-American state senator has been honored on the floor of the Senate, 50 years after his election to office. Surrounded by family members, former state Sen. Melvin Porter received a standing ovation after a resolution was read in his honor.

Read more from KGOU.

See also: Oklahoma fails to make gains electing women and people of color from the OK Policy Blog.

Oklahoma House panel advances American Indian Cultural Center bill

A proposal Speaker Jeff Hickman says will complete the long-delayed American Indian Cultural Center and get it off the state’s books passed its first legislative test Wednesday. By a count of 21-5, the House Appropriations and Budget Committee accepted House Bill 2237 and sent it to their A&B counterparts in the Senate.

Read more from the Tulsa World.

Cherokee Language now Available on Google Android Devices

The Cherokee language has gone digital. The language of the Oklahoma-based tribe is now available for download on more than 20 Android devices, making the language more accessible to millions of Google smartphone and tablet users.

Read more from Public Radio Tulsa.

Quote of the Day

“Corruption must be ended.”

– Rev. Gerald Davis, minister of the Unitarian Universalist Church of the Restoration, speaking at a rally in Tulsa on Wednesday. The rally’s organizer called for Sheriff Stanley Glanz to resign, among other demands. (Source)

Number of the Day


Years of potential life lost before age 75 per 100,000 population (premature death) in Oklahoma. The US median is 7,681.

Source: 2015 County Health Rankings.

See previous Numbers of the Day here.

Policy Note

Safety net does more to ease poverty than previously thought, new study finds

The Baltimore riots have re-ignited the ideological wars over the efficacy of government spending to alleviate poverty, with Republicans who want to slash the budget seizing on images of urban chaos to argue that federal anti-poverty policy has been an abject failure at accomplishing its own goal. Paul Ryan suggests dumping more cash into the bottomless pit otherwise known as federal spending on the poor will only produce the “same failed result.” But a new study being released today finds that the federal safety net may actually be doing more to alleviate poverty than previously thought.

Read more from The Washington Post.

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Carly Putnam joined OK Policy in 2013. As Policy Director, she supervises policy research and strategy. She previously worked as an OK Policy intern, and she was OK Policy's health care policy analyst through July 2020. She graduated from the University of Tulsa in 2013. As a student, she was a participant in the National Education for Women (N.E.W.) Leadership Institute and interned with Planned Parenthood. Carly is a graduate of the Oklahoma Center for Nonprofits Nonprofit Management Certification; the Oklahoma Developmental Disabilities Council’s Partners in Policymaking; The Mine, a social entrepreneurship fellowship in Tulsa; and Leadership Tulsa Class 62. She currently serves on the boards of Restore Hope Ministries and The Arc of Oklahoma. In her free time, she enjoys reading, cooking, and doing battle with her hundred year-old house.

One thought on “In The Know: Gov. Fallin signs ballot access bill

  1. Admired your ability not to put “heh, heh, heh” after “He was instead appointed as the party’s political director.”

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