In The Know: Gov proposes another special session for tax and revenue cuts | State seeks input on private school vouchers after public backlash | Rejecting short-sighted budget planning | 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

Policy Matters: State needs fiscally responsible budget planning: Many Oklahoma lawmakers say they’re fiscally responsible with our tax dollars, yet they don’t follow some best practices of financial planning that can help ensure this. [Shiloh Kantz / Journal Record]

Oklahoma News

Oklahoma judge upholds gender-affirming ban on minors, ACLU to appeal: Oklahoma’s ban on gender-affirming care will be allowed to go into effect after a Tulsa federal judge ruled the ACLU’s challenge to SB 613 would likely fail. The ACLU of Oklahoma is planning to appeal. [High Plains Public Radio]

  • Federal judge in Oklahoma clears the way for a ban on medical care for transgender young people [AP via KOKI]
  • Opinion: Some of Oklahoma’s most vulnerable residents face stark shift in care as harmful law takes effect [Nicole McAfee / Oklahoma Voice

State Government News

Stitt says another special session call for tax cuts possible: Gov. Kevin Stitt told FOX23 he is studying the idea of calling for another special session to try and force lawmakers to cut taxes, even if it’s just a quarter of a percentage point. [KOKI]

State seeks input on school tax credits amid initial concerns: Since the legislature passed a law allowing tax credits for private or home school families, the Oklahoma Tax Commission proposed rules detailing how the process would work. It’s prompting some to raise eyebrows, but the commission is encouraging input from the public. [KJRH]

Oklahoma lacks accessible services for families in the child welfare system, task force finds: Many foster families said the state doesn’t provide enough support. Stress leads many to consider quitting. [The Frontier]

Politics, Policy Clash Over Energy Boycott Law: Oklahoma House Speaker Charles McCall is replacing two of his appointees to a state pension system. The move follows a board vote in August to use an exemption from a new state law forbidding the state from doing business with financial firms perceived to be hostile to the oil and gas industry. [Oklahoma Watch]

  • Bill protecting oil and gas industry needs changes, Oklahoma Senate panel told [Tulsa World]

Autism advocates urge lawmakers to pass driver’s license safety law: Advocates urged lawmakers on Wednesday to allow people with autism to register their disability on driver’s licenses and state identification cards to enhance safety during police interactions. Miscommunication between a person with autism and an officer can escalate to unnecessary use of force, injury and even death, experts said. [Oklahoma Voice]

Federal Government News

Social Security benefits will increase by 3.2% in 2024 as inflation moderates: Millions of Social Security recipients will get a 3.2% increase in their benefits in 2024, far less than this year’s historic boost and reflecting moderating consumer prices. [AP via KFOR]

Voting and Election News

Analysis of the State Senate District 32 Special Election: The voters of District 32 made their voices heard last night, Oct. 10, 2023. District 32 will see Republican Dusty Deevers face off against Democrat Larry Bush in the Special General election on Dec. 12, 2023. [KSWO]

Health News

How is the first commercial rollout of COVID-19 vaccines going in Oklahoma?: After its recent FDA approval, the CDC recommended everyone six months and older get an updated COVID vaccine. But getting it hasn’t been easy for some Oklahomans, with appointments canceled day of due to insurance snags and issues finding a place that carries it. [KGOU]

Criminal Justice News

Oklahoma corrections department faces backlash over ‘unfair terminations’ and questionable hiring practices: A slew of legal action continues against the Oklahoma Department of Corrections (ODOC) under what one attorney calls a ‘reign of terror.’ We’ve been reporting for months on the former high-level employees who were suddenly fired for seemingly no reason. Now we’re looking into who has taken their places at the department and why they don’t need to hold any qualifications or experience. [KOKH]

Oklahoma judge called mother a liar, mocked appearances in texts sent during trial of murdered toddler: A new judge exchanged more than 500 text messages with her bailiff during her first murder trial, mocking the physical appearance of attorneys, jurors and witnesses, an investigation found. Lincoln County District Judge Traci Soderstrom, 50, should be removed from office for her conduct, the Oklahoma Supreme Court’s chief justice said Tuesday. [The Oklahoman]

Kingfisher case: Questions on document and coach posed to federal judge, OK Supreme Court: With Mason Mecklenburg’s federal lawsuit against Kingfisher Public Schools and its football coaches scheduled to go to trial in December, the defendants have asked the judge for summary judgments that would dispose of the KPS graduate’s claims without a trial. [NonDoc]

  • Supreme Court referee hears arguments in Kingfisher abuse lawsuit [Enid News & Eagle]

Housing & Economic Opportunity

Oklahoma grapples with housing crisis: Thousands wait for affordable homes amid state growth: From city to suburbs to rural communities, as our state grows the housing market has declined. [KOKH]

Education News

Oklahoma State Board of Education member resigns: Oklahoma’s top school board has another vacancy. Suzanne Reynolds announced her resignation Wednesday from her at-large seat on the Oklahoma State Board of Education, bringing her 10-month tenure to an end. [Oklahoma Voice]

  • Another Stitt appointee on state education board resigns [Tulsa World]
  • Another Oklahoma State Board of Education resigns [KOKI]

Schools face rising cyberattack threats: K-12 districts have experienced 1,619 cyber incidents in the last six years, according to the K12 Security Information eXchange, a national nonprofit dedicated to protecting U.S. school districts from cyber threats. Oklahoma accounts for at least nine of those attacks in that period. [Journal Record]

Editorial: Walters should stick to education, not war: This man is supposed to be focused on ensuring a quality education for Oklahoma’s children – something they are guaranteed by the state constitution. Instead, he’s trying to dismantle the whole system by spreading lies about our teachers, and championing a private curriculum formulated by a discredited group of religious zealots with axes to grind and agendas to push. [Editorial / Tahlequah Daily Press]

General News

Behind two major OKC blazes were unlicensed OG&E contractors, no oversight or inspections: Two major apartment fires that caused millions in damage took place after electricians, not subject to any independent inspection or regulation, were connecting the properties to transformers on behalf of Oklahoma Gas and Electric Co. [The Oklahoman]

Oklahoma Local News

  • ARPA money approved for nonprofits; Crutcher Foundation gets full request [Public Radio Tulsa]
  • Oklahoma County offers $2.5 million for land near Will Rogers World Airport for new jail [The Oklahoman]
  • Consultants offer possible sites for new or expanded Tulsa County Courthouse [Tulsa World]

Quote of the Day

“The truth the governor does not want to accept is that there isn’t any appetite to cut the state income tax. Why? Because while ‘cutting income taxes’ is a great campaign promise, it isn’t wise to do without a realistic plan to fund core services of state government in place.”

– House Minority Leader Cyndi Munson (D-OKC) [The Oklahoman]

Number of the Day


When adjusted for inflation and population growth, Oklahoma’s FY 2024 budget of $11.8 billion is 12 percent smaller than the FY 2000 budget of $13.3 billion and 3.3 percent larger than the current year’s budget (FY 2023) of $11.4 billion (excluding supplemental appropriations). [OK Policy]

Policy Note

Budgeting for the Future: Fiscal Planning Tools Can Show the Way (Archive): When state policymakers are writing a budget, they should be mindful of the future, not just the present.  The state budget is the single most important document that a state government produces each year, and it receives close public scrutiny.  It serves as both a financial plan and a policy document — that is, a description of the policies the state intends to pursue in the future.  The spending, tax, and other policy decisions that comprise the budget have consequences for a state’s fiscal and economic security that last long beyond the budget year.  [Center on Budget and Policy Priorities]

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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.

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