In The Know: Gov. Stitt signs expungement bill | Reaction to Roe v. Wade leak and OK abortion ban | Fire services for subscription fee

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.

Oklahoma News

Oklahoma Gov. Stitt signs expungement bill in effort to ease re-entry to the workforce: A new law is designed to help Oklahomans with criminal records attain a clean slate. In an effort to more easily share information between arresting agencies and the state’s courts, House Bill 3316 creates an avenue to automatically expunge certain criminal cases. Gov. Kevin Stitt signed the bill on Monday. After passing both the House and Senate floors with a combined five votes against, the bill aims to take a financial and future burden off of those that have served their time. “There was certainly a general consensus that, you know, this this isn’t anything that’s partisan related; what it’s about is it’s about humans,” said Rep. Nicole Miller, R-Edmond, the bill’s primary House author. “So this is really a measure to help people.” [The Oklahoman

Previously from OK Policy: HB 3316, Oklahoma’s Clean Slate law, can knock down a major barrier to employment, housing, and education.

Stitt signs ‘fetal heartbeat’ bill as U.S. Supreme Court indicates it may be ready to overturn Roe v. Wade: On the same day the U.S. Supreme Court confirmed it may be prepared to overturn Roe v. Wade, Gov. Kevin Stitt signed the latest piece of abortion-banning legislation to arrive on his desk. [Tulsa World] Stitt on Tuesday signed legislation that will allow private citizens to sue anyone who “aids or abets” a woman seeking an abortion after a “fetal heartbeat” is detected or about six weeks into pregnancy — often before a woman knows she is pregnant. The bill took effect upon Stitt’s signature. The new law essentially will halt most abortions in Oklahoma. [The Oklahoman

  • Oklahoma governor signs Texas-style abortion ban into law [KOSU] [The New York Times] [AP News]
  • Oklahoma lawmakers vow to become most anti-abortion state in the country, abortion rights proponents ‘terrified’ [CNHI via The Norman Transcript]
  • Oklahomans rally at state Capitol following Roe. v. Wade opinion leak [The Oklahoman
  • Tulsa pro-choice advocates protest Supreme Court’s draft opinion that would overturn Roe v. Wade [Tulsa World
  • Northwest Oklahoma women protest, celebrate leaked court ruling that’d reverse Roe [Enid News & Eagle]
  • Supreme Court could halt access to safe abortions, Indigenous activists say [Indian Country Today]
  • Oklahoma clinics react to potential Supreme Court abortion ruling [FOX 25]
  • ‘Still in shock’: Abortion defenders, foes stunned by leak [The Black Wall Street Times
  • Oklahoma contemplates post-Roe v. Wade future [The Journal Record
  • What happens if Roe v. Wade is overturned? [Business Insider]

A subscription fee for fire service in rural Oklahoma gaslights public outcry: In August, the Board of Trustees voted 4-0 to approve a voluntary $250 fire protection subscription fee for residents outside the Luther town limits, with the money allotted for personnel, apparatus, equipment and supplies. About 900 letters explaining the decision were sent out. [The Oklahoman]

State Government News

‘Go away’: Turnpike plan leads to turbocharged tensions: In late March, the Oklahoma State Capitol rotunda filled with a dissonant symphony of protesters chanting, “Go away, OTA!” On Monday, 24 plaintiffs filed a lawsuit challenging the Turnpike Authority’s plans in Cleveland County District Court. Today, leaders of the coalition are planning to attend the 10 a.m. meeting of the Council of Bond Oversight in Room 100 of the State Capitol to express their frustrations with the proposed turnpike projects. [NonDoc] The Council of Bond Oversight, chaired by Oklahoma City broker Mark Beffort, is scheduled Wednesday to review the line of credit with Wells Fargo. The council also will be tasked with reviewing the Turnpike Authority’s proposed $5 billion, 15-year ACCESS Oklahoma bond package. [The Oklahoman] As reported by The Transcript, the OTA has cited its authority to construct those toll roads as stated in a bill the legislature adopted in 1987 that included several turnpike projects. [The Norman Transcript]

Bill would reduce time Oklahomans could collect unemployment benefits: A bill that reduces the amount of time Oklahomans could collect unemployment benefits will “effectively end unemployment tax increases on Oklahoma businesses,” its authors said last week. House Bill 1933, by Sen. Zach Taylor, R-Seminole, and Rep. Ryan Martinez, R-Edmond, would index state unemployment benefits, adjusting them based on the number of weekly claims. The measure cleared the state Senate last week and is set to be heard by the House of Representatives. [Southwest Ledger]

Recently from OK Policy: House Bill 1933 would weaken our economy, threaten families’ financial security, and fail to get more Oklahomans back to work. The legislature should reject HB 1933 and any other bills that would inhibit the ability of the unemployment insurance program to provide the support our workers and our economy need. 

Voicemail to Sen. Jessica Garvin threatens ‘shootout’ over marijuana license fees: A voicemail left Friday for Sen. Jessica Garvin threatened a “shootout” with state law enforcement agencies regarding HB 2179, which proposes an increase in license fees for Oklahoma medical marijuana grow operations. [NonDoc

Oklahoma Supreme Court authorizes bond sales for OG&E, criticizes AG’s lack of involvement: While justices unanimously concluded (with one abstention) that the state’s Legislature and Corporation Commission cleared required legal hurdles in order to sell up to $800 million in bonds to secure those costs, two concurring opinions revealed several justices remain concerned, and provided heavy criticism of Oklahoma Attorney General John O’Connor. [The Oklahoman] “The cost of natural gas for the Oklahoma utilities during the two weeks of extreme cold exceeded their entire fuel acquisition cost in 2020,” the opinion said. [Tulsa World

Law may expand options for child care around military bases: A new law in Oklahoma could make it easier for people to find quality child care around Tinker Air Force Base or other military installations in the state. [The Journal Record

Stitt signs 911 dispatcher training bill: A bill ensuring 911 dispatchers receive training to render first-aid instructions in the hope of saving more lives was signed into law recently by Gov. Kevin Stitt. House Bill 3278, authored by Rep. Justin Humphrey, R-Lane, is a clarification of law enacted last year. [The Lawton Constitution]

Bill that would limit robocalls reaches governor’s desk: For years, people thought the federal Do Not Call list prevented them from receiving these types of calls, but apparently not. The measure written by Sen. Bill Coleman, R-Ponca City, creates the Telephone Solicitation Act of 2022, which would prohibit numerous types of marketing calls and set strict rules on when others can be made. [Southwest Ledger]

Tribal Nations News

Quapaw Nation Chairman to represent federally: The Tribal Chairman of the Quapaw Nation will be representing his tribe — and others — at the federal level. Joseph Byrd is joining the Tribal Nations Leadership Council. He’ll interact with the U.S Department of Justice — serving at the Bureau of Indian Affairs Eastern Oklahoma District. [Four State Homepage]

Voting and Election News

Dark money group launches TV ad blaming Gov. Kevin Stitt for Swadley’s scandal: A well-funded dark money group has launched a new TV ad blaming Gov. Kevin Stitt for the growing scandal over state park restaurants. The dark money group now plans to spend about $750,000 in television, cable, digital and direct mail advertising on its new criticism, its founder said. [The Oklahoman

GOP AG hopefuls O’Connor, Drummond dead even on fundraising: Cash contributions to Attorney General John O’Connor and his Republican primary challenger Gentner Drummond differed by less than $120, and less than $2,000 separated their total contributions through March 31, according to Oklahoma Ethics Commission reports. [Tulsa World

Health News

Oklahoma aims to tackle maternal health issues plaguing the state: Oklahoma’s expectant mothers receive some of the worst health care in the country. That’s according to a 2021 report that showed the Sooner State ranks 40th in maternal care. According to the report, from 2016-2019, 23.5 of every 100,000 live births ended with the mother dying. The national rate for the same period was 20.1. [News On 6]

Healthier Oklahoma Coalition provides COVID-19 update: Oklahoma health experts say the number of COVID-19 cases continues to drop week after week due to Oklahomans having some form of immunity. Doctors say for those who do test positive, they are seeing more people with the BA.2 variant. [News 9]

Criminal Justice News

Mashburn refuses to meet with Euwins’ family with attorney present: Cleveland County District Attorney Greg Mashburn did not meet with Shed Euwins’ immediate family Tuesday morning, arguing he agreed to meet with them, but not with the attorney they had present. [The Norman Transcript]

Economic Opportunity

Tulsa Job Corps Center is reopened and ready to transform lives: The Tulsa County Job Corps campus has immediate availability to safely provide campus living, overall health and wellness, and educate qualified applicants and place them directly into employment in our community. [The Oklahoma Eagle

Education News

UCO announces tuition increase, no faculty layoffs to offset $15 million budget shortfall: After weeks of outcry against potential layoffs, the University of Central Oklahoma announced Tuesday it won’t cut any full-time faculty to offset a $15 million budget shortfall, but it could raise tuition. [The Oklahoman

  • University of Central Oklahoma to Address Budget Deficit Without Cutting Current Faculty [Ponca City Now
  • UCO to cut 30 vacant faculty positions, will retain all full-time faculty [NonDoc

Oklahoma Local News

City Council begins budget process with Police and Fire Departments: On Tuesday morning the City Council of Oklahoma City held a special meeting to prepare for the Fiscal Year 2023 budget. Tuesday’s meeting, the first of three budget hearings scheduled in May, featured a budget overview, plus Police and Fire budget presentations. [OKC Free Press]

Stillwater developing incentive for large industrial employer: The Stillwater City Council is discussing changes to its downtown redevelopment plan that would extend incentives for a major industrial project. The money for the incentive would be generated by a sales and property tax-funded vehicle called a Tax Increment Financing district. [Stillwater News Press]

Quote of the Day

“If you check the box (on a job application) that you have some something on your record, you’re only 50% likely to be called back and even less likely than that to get a job.”

– Rep. Nicole Miller (R-Edmond), speaking about a new law designed to help Oklahomans with criminal records attain a clean slate. HB 3316 was approved by the legislature with bipartisan support and signed by the Governor this week. [The Oklahoman]

Previously from OK Policy: HB 3316, Oklahoma’s Clean Slate law, can knock down a major barrier to employment, housing, and education.

Number of the Day

1 day

The tax cut in HB 3350 would provide more money in 1 day to the top one percent of earners than it would to the lowest 20 percent of earners in an entire year.

[Source: Oklahoma Policy Institute]

New from OK Policy: Under HB 3350, the majority of the benefit would go to the richest Oklahomans and leave the state scrounging for revenue to provide services that support us all.

Policy Note

Tax Cuts’ Drain on Revenues Would Stifle Oklahoma’s Economic Growth: Bills the Oklahoma House has passed to cut corporate and individual taxes wouldn’t boost state economic growth or stimulate new business investment as intended. Even if lower taxes were the economic driver the bills’ authors seem to think they are, the state is already well situated from that perspective, and it’s likelier the bills’ drain on revenues would harm Oklahoma’s schools, services, and workforce quality and thereby discourage investment. [Center on Budget and Policy Priorities]

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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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