In The Know: Governor asks for shut down of Class III gaming, state Supreme Court rules SB 608 unconstitutional, and 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. Click here to subscribe to In The Know and see past editions.

New from OK Policy

Policy Matters: Paid family and medical leave can benefit Oklahoma: Unfortunately, most Oklahomans do not have access to paid family and medical leave. In these circumstances, most workers face the impossible choice of sacrificing income or not caring for themselves or a loved one who needs them. [Ahniwake Rose / The Journal Record]

In The News

Gov. Stitt asks federal court to shut down Oklahoma tribes’ Class III casino gaming: Gov. Kevin Stitt has asked a federal court to prevent the state’s American Indian tribes from operating Class III gaming in Oklahoma, saying it is illegal. [Tulsa World] Attorneys representing the governor filed their response to a gaming lawsuit brought by the Cherokee, Chickasaw, and Choctaw nations just before the first of the year. [NonDoc]

Booze battle: Oklahoma Supreme Court finds SB 608 unconstitutional: In a 5-4 decision concerning the difference between “may” and “shall,” the Oklahoma Supreme Court upheld a district court ruling that SB 608 — a controversial bill to re-expand distributor access to top wine and liquor brands — violated the state’s constitution. [NonDoc]

Oklahoma Corporation Commission considers how tight budget year might impact upgrade efforts: Current revenue projections for Oklahoma’s upcoming state budget and Gov. Kevin Stitt’s efforts to get state agencies that report to him to limit their requests for the coming fiscal year have caught the attention of elected members of the Oklahoma Corporation Commission. [The Oklahoman]

Oklahoma gross production tax collections fall: Gross production tax collections in Oklahoma have been down for four consecutive months, and a steep drop in oil prices could be to blame. Journal Record editor Russell Ray discusses what this downward trend could mean for 2020. [KGOU]

The Duncan Banner Editorial Board: Higher ed funding should be increased: Not every human being needs a university degree. There’s a growing range of opportunity for skilled tradespeople, who can find their niche with CareerTech. But that’s no reason to starve Oklahoma’s higher education of critical dollars. [Editorial Board / The Duncan Banner]

Accurate census count expected to boost tribal investments: Following reports of acute undercounting of Oklahoma Native American populations in the 2010 census, costing the state and tribal governments millions in potential funding, tribes began working together and with the U.S. Department of Commerce to strategize for the 2020 census. [The Journal Record ????]

Beyond Gaming: Tribal business investments reflect diversity: Many people may not fully appreciate the powerful impact that Native American tribes have on the Oklahoma economy, and especially the vitality tribes bring to rural communities, an economist and university professor who has long studied influences of sovereign nations within the state said. [The Journal Record ????] Tribes commit millions to state road and highway projects. [The Journal Record ????] Oklahoma home to largest tribal-operated outpatient health center. [The Journal Record ????] Economic impact of First Americans Museum may be underestimated. [The Journal Record ????]

Oklahoma State Superintendent thanks tribes for investment in state education: Oklahoma’s State Superintendent of Public Instruction Joy Hofmeister thanked the state’s tribes for their contributions to the state’s educational goals at a quarterly meeting of the Inter-Tribal Council of the Five Civilized Tribes Jan. 10. [CNHI] Cherokee Nation doubles funding for career-tech training. [The Journal Record

Stitt announces OMES leadership changes: Gov. Kevin Stitt announced Wednesday leadership changes at the state Office of Management and Enterprise Services. John Budd, the agency’s current director and chief operating officer of the state, will solely focus on his role as Oklahoma’s COO going forward. [The Oklahoman]

Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Authority names new director: Oklahoma native Travis Kirkpatrick was named the new director of the Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Authority. Kirkpatrick has served as interim director for the last 90 days. [Fox 25]

Dispensaries generate more sales tax revenue for OKC than bars in December: The Oklahoma City alone, not including any of the other cities in the metro area, now has nearly 195 dispensaries open and operational. Those dispensaries have consistently generated between $250,000 and $350,000 per month for the past six months. [The Oklahoman]

Unaccountable: Oklahoma lawmakers introduce midwife legislation: Several Oklahoma lawmakers have introduced legislation seeking to regulate or altogether ban certain midwives in the state. Those bills, and the lawmakers sponsoring them, vary in their approach of regulating non-nurse midwives, whose businesses have grown in the past decade as out-of-hospital births have gained popularity. [The Oklahoman]

Lawmakers want exemptions for park fees: Proposed legislative measures would exempt foster families, military veterans and those who live in communities near state parks from paying the new admission fees expected later this year. [CNHI]

Oklahoma senator working on bill for state-backed blockchain institution: Oklahoma Sen. Nathan Dahm, R-Broken Arrow, wrote a new bill which looks to build a state-backed innovative financial institution around blockchain technology, establishing a new classification of institutions. [Cointelegraph]

Bill would limit gun magazine size: A new House bill set for this legislative session would limit the number of bullets a gun could hold at one time. The bills author says 10 other states, including Colorado, have put limits on high capacity gun magazines. [KFOR]

Seminole representative will seek soon-to-be vacant Senate seat: State Rep. Zack Taylor, R-Seminole, plans to run for a state Senate seat that will become vacant at the end of the month. Taylor announced the news on Facebook Tuesday, saying he feels he can make a bigger difference for Oklahoma families in the state Senate. [The Oklahoman]

Capitol restoration project work to continue throughout 2020 legislative session: The start of Oklahoma’s 2020 legislative session is two weeks away, and when lawmakers return, they’ll be greeted by the familiar whine of power tools and other construction sounds. [Public Radio Tulsa]

Indian education resource advisers to be eliminated in Tulsa Public Schools RIF, employees tell Tulsa World: Tulsa Public Schools administrators intend to recommend a major reorganization of the district’s Indian Education Program as part of an upcoming proposal to reduce district office services. [Tulsa World]  Public outcry as Tulsa Public Schools considers reducing Indian Education footprint [Osage News]

2019 area home construction total highest in 13 years: Tulsa-area home construction last year was at its highest level since 2007. A total of 3,080 houses were built in the area in 2019, the most since 4,303 were built in ’07, according to data from Tulsa-based New Orders Weekly. [Tulsa World]

Wendell Franklin discusses his vision for TPD, ‘Live PD’ and being named Tulsa’s first black police chief: Maj. Wendell Franklin was introduced Wednesday as Tulsa’s next police chief.  [Tulsa World] Black Tulsans express cautious optimism, disappointment in hiring of city’s first black police chief. [Tulsa World]

Quote of the Day

“I think the tribes have seen an appreciable increase in non-gaming entities. Clearly, gaming is a large portion of their revenue, (but) I expect it to continue to shrink over time in terms of overall revenues, because the tribes recognize their need to diversify and they have strong desire to get into other businesses.”

-Kyle Dean, Director of the Center for Native American and Urban Studies at Oklahoma City University [The Journal Record ????]

Number of the Day


The number of states including Oklahoma who provide the SAT and ACT to all high school juniors at no cost to families or districts.

[Source: Oklahoma State Department of Education]

See previous Numbers of the Day here.

Policy Note

In nearly every U.S. metro area, new data show opportunity lags for kids of color: Most white children in the United States live in neighborhoods with high levels of opportunity, while most black and Hispanic children live in ones with low opportunity, according to the research. Often, these neighborhoods are just a few blocks apart. NPR got an early look at the data, which will be publicly available early next year. It’s surprising not that such disparities exist but that they are so pervasive. [NPR]

You can sign up here to receive In The Know by e-mail.


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.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.