In The Know: Gov. vetoes 20 bills in political fight with Senate | OETA renewal in question after veto spat | Senate passes bill banning transgender care for minors

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

Angry over education and tax policy, Stitt vetoes 20 ‘unrelated’ Senate bills: In an air raid aimed at the Oklahoma Legislature’s upper chamber, Gov. Kevin Stitt vetoed 20 Senate bills late Wednesday evening with identical veto messages that said he “will continue to veto any and all legislation authored by senators who have not stood with the people of Oklahoma and supported this plan.” He had vetoed three Senate bills earlier in the day, and he also axed five House bills. [NonDoc]

  • Stitt vetoes 20 Senate bills to spur approval of his education plan; senators push back [Tulsa World]
  • Gov. Stitt vetoes dozens of bills, threatens more over Oklahoma education funding fight [KOSU]
  • ‘Pass my bill’: Gov. Stitt vetoes 20 bills from authors against his tax plan [KTUL]
  • Stitt veto threat injects urgency into Oklahoma education funding fight [Public Radio Tulsa]
  • Oklahoma House, Senate leadership respond to Gov. Stitt’s mass vetoes [Fox 25]
  • ‘Calm down and sober up’: Senate leadership has message for Gov. Stitt after mass vetoes [Fox 25]

After moving education package alternative, Senate rejects two Stitt Cabinet nominees: One day after Gov. Kevin Stitt vetoed 20 Senate bills and threatened to continue axing measures from the Legislature’s upper chamber if his proposed education package compromise was not passed to his desk, the Senate Rules Committee convened around 9:40 p.m. Thursday and voted against confirming a pair of Stitt’s Cabinet secretaries. [NonDoc]

  • Senate panel rejects two Stitt Cabinet appointments [Tulsa World]

Proposed ban on gender-affirming care for minors survives legislative deadline: With less than 24 hours before a major legislative deadline, the Oklahoma House passed a ban on gender-affirming care for minors, bringing the state one step closer to joining other conservative states who have adopted similar legislation this year. Because the House amended the legislation, Senate Bill 613 now goes back to the Senate for final approval. In February, the bill passed the Senate by an overwhelming majority. Gov. Kevin Stitt asked for this kind of legislation in his State of the State speech at the beginning of session. [The Oklahoman]

  • Oklahoma Senate passes bill banning transgender care for minors [Tulsa World]
  • Bill banning gender-affirming care for minors passes Oklahoma House [KGOU]

Gov. Kevin Stitt vetoes OETA renewal, questioning public broadcaster’s long-term value: The broadcaster responsible for bringing “Sesame Street,” “Downton Abbey” and the “OETA Movie Club” into homes across the state is in danger of being shut down by Gov. Kevin Stitt. Voicing concerns about the Oklahoma Educational Television Authority’s long-term value to the state, the governor vetoed legislation Wednesday intended to renew OETA’s authorization for another three years. [The Oklahoman]

State Government News

House Republicans in a huff after brief ban from the Senate floor: House Republicans closed shop and left in something of a huff after their Senate GOP brethren told them they couldn’t come on the floor in that chamber for awhile Thursday afternoon. Floor privileges, as they’re known, are typically a routine courtesy, which may be why the House leadership seemed to find their revocation so galling — “the most juvenile move I’ve ever seen” during his 11 years in the Legislature, Majority Floor Leader Jon Echols, R-Oklahoma City, told the House. [Tulsa World]

Podcast: Richard Glossip clemency denied, McCurtain County scandal, Stitt’s education compromise and more: This Week in Oklahoma Politics focuses on death row inmate Richard Glossip failing to get clemency from the Pardon and Parole Board despite pleas from Attorney General Gentner Drummond along with several state officials and Gov. Kevin Stitt searching for all “legal avenues” to remove McCurtain County Sheriff Kevin Clardy after Clardy was caught on tape with other county officials in making racist and hateful remarks. [This Week in Oklahoma Politics]

Federal Government News

Oklahoma reps laud Republican debt limit bill’s passage: Oklahoma 1st District Congressman Kevin Hern isn’t buying the stock prediction that the debt limit and spending bill narrowly passed by the U.S. House on Wednesday is already as good as dead. [Tulsa World]

Tribal Nations News

Cherokee Nation Principal, Deputy Chief candidates debate issues in Tahlequah: Cherokee Nation voters got to hear from eight people vying to lead the largest tribal nation in the United States earlier this week. All eight candidates — four for Principal Chief and four for Deputy Chief — squared off about everything from health care, spending of pandemic relief funds and tribal sovereignty during a debate hosted by the Cherokee Phoenix at the Sequoyah High School campus in Tahlequah. [KOSU]

Economy & Business News

PSO makes progress on plan for green energy projects: Public Service Co. of Oklahoma (PSO) has made some progress on six proposed green energy projects – three solar and three wind – that the company has said would help to diversify its energy supply and save customers money on bills. PSO, with its sister company the Southwestern Electric Power Co. (SWEPCO), owns green energy facilities in Oklahoma capable of producing 1,485 megawatts of power. One of the facilities, the Traverse wind farm in Blaine and Custer counties, was listed as the biggest such facility in North America when it opened last year. [Journal Record]

  • PSO guarantees customer protections as Corporation Commission considers rate hike for solar, wind projects [KGOU News]

Can Oklahoma’s film industry keep its ‘upward trajectory’ going?: With the growth of Oklahoma’s film and television industry, Smith is still based in his hometown and living his childhood dream: He works full time as a cinematographer and camera operator, with his credits including the Oscar-winning movie “Minari,” the historical drama “Montford: The Chickasaw Rancher” and the sci-fi coming-of-age story “The Posthuman Project,” along with the upcoming Oklahoma-made films “Reagan” and “What Rhymes with Reason.” [The Oklahoman]

Education News

Walters says diversity, equity, inclusion efforts are Marxist, calls for spending reports: All Oklahoma public schools must report their diversity, equity and inclusion efforts to the state, as top education leaders continue their opposition to these programs. The Oklahoma State Board of Education unanimously voted Thursday to require every public school district in the state to submit a special report detailing all spending, materials, personnel and third-party contractors focused on diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives this school year. [The Oklahoman]

  • State board requests special DEI report from Oklahoma school districts [NonDoc]
  • Oklahoma Department of Education issues new requirements for diversity, equity, inclusion [Fox 25]

Oklahoma teachers skeptical of Walters’ new signing bonus plan: Oklahoma teachers have questions after State Superintendent Ryan Walters unveiled his signing bonus plan, which he said is one of the largest in the country. In Walters’ bonus plan, nothing would be given to teachers already in Oklahoma classrooms. [KTUL]

Quote of the Day

“Man, where I come from there ain’t choice. You’ve got public schools. You don’t have private schools sitting on every other corner. That’s an issue. They say, ‘Yeah, well it opens up a free market.’ Well, I’m all for free markets, but I’m not seeing anybody coming out and building brick-and-mortar schools for our kids in rural Oklahoma.”

– Sen. Blake “Cowboy” Stephens, talking about the issue of “school choice” and proposals for private school tax credits that has created an impasse between the governor and lawmakers this session. [NonDoc]

Number of the Day


If Oklahoma adopts current proposals for private school tax credits, it’s projected to reduce Oklahoma’s state aid to local schools by $123 million annually from FY2030 and after. Adjusted for inflation, the combination of prior funding cuts and the cost of vouchers would leave the state aid allocation 22 percent lower in FY 2030 than in 2009 when Oklahoma had 55,000 fewer students than we do today. [OK Policy]

Policy Note

State Policymakers Should Reject K-12 School Voucher Plans: School vouchers typically deplete available state revenues by cutting taxes for people who pay into voucher programs or through line-item appropriations in the state budget. And since the largest share of state spending is on public education, reducing overall state revenues almost inevitably reduces the available funding for public schools, especially as school voucher programs grow. [Center on Budget and Policy Priorities]

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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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