In The Know: Historic vote: House hits supermajority on revenue plan

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.

Today In The News

Historic vote: House hits supermajority on revenue plan: The Oklahoma House of Representatives made a historic vote this evening, passing a $447 million revenue package 79-19. The vote on HB 1010XX marked the first time the body has hit the three-fourths supermajority for advancing tax measures since Oklahomans added that requirement to the state constitution 26 years ago [NonDoc]. For the first time since Oklahoma’s political leaders began pushing for more revenue last year, the House of Representatives mustered enough votes to raise several taxes [NewsOK]. Oklahoma House Passes Teacher Pay Raise Plan, But Teachers Union Says Walkout Is Still On [KOSU].

Broad group of Oklahoma organizations and faith leaders call on lawmakers to pass revenue solutions: Today, more than two dozen organizations delivered a message to Oklahoma lawmakers that now is the time for them to pass the revenues that are needed to fund core budget responsibilities and avert a walkout by teachers and state employees. Blatt presented a menu of revenue options totaling $1.4 billion, well over the $812 million in budget needs identified by Oklahoma teachers and state employees who are participating in a walkout on April 2nd [OK Policy]. Oklahoma has many good options to resolve the teacher walkout [OK Policy].

State Tax Cuts: A Key Factor in AZ, OK Teacher Pay Crises: Media coverage of possible teacher strikes in Arizona and Oklahoma, following one in West Virginia, has often overlooked an important contributing factor in those states: excessive state tax cuts that have shrunk state revenues and thereby made it harder for states to devote adequate resources to education. Reductions in state education funding largely due to tax cuts have limited pay and other resources for teachers [Center on Budget and Policy Priorities].

Survey: 170 Okla. school districts prepared to close for teacher walk out: A survey shows that 170 school districts are prepared to close for at least one day if legislators do not fund education and teacher pay raises. The survey is a collaborative effort from the Oklahoma State School Boards Association, Cooperative Council for Oklahoma School Administration, Organization of Rural Oklahoma Schools and United Suburban Schools Association [KOKH]. 

After years of legislative failure, Oklahoma teachers are ready to strike: No one at the state Capitol can claim they weren’t warned. Teachers are planning a statewide strike starting April 2 unless lawmakers come up with a sustainable plan to fund public schools, including a three-year, $10,000 teacher pay raise. The strike deadline was announced March 6, but anyone could have seen it coming for months — years — before that [Editorial Board / Tulsa World].

Two men, two tales of the 1990 teachers’ walkout: Ron Sharp and Lawrence E. Lane were both part of the 1990 teacher walkout that led to the passage of the landmark House Bill 1017. Both were educators who were passionate about the profession and supported the education reform and tax package. They’ll both be back at the Capitol if teachers walk off the job on April 2 [Tulsa World].

Legislative logjam taking a toll on moderate Oklahoma Republicans who are leaving politics: As a high school football coach, Dennis Casey won seven state titles in 11 years, so he knows something about what success feels like. Lately, as a member of the Oklahoma House of Representatives, he hasn’t felt it often. “As an educator, you know when you’re being effective,” the Morrison Republican said. “You know when you’ve had a good day. And you know when you’ve not been able to accomplish what you want to accomplish. “In this place, it’s really difficult to get anything accomplished.” That is why Casey is one of those headed for the exits at the Capitol [Tulsa World].

Legislature on Track to Tweak Oklahoma’s Quality Jobs Incentives: Changes seem likely for one of Oklahoma’s most popular corporate tax incentives. A Senate bill tweaking the Quality Jobs Act has advanced to the House Appropriations and Budget Committee. Rep. Matt Meredith asked Rep. Leslie Osborn just how much the measure will change for an incentive the state paid out $70 million for last year [Public Radio Tulsa].

New law fails to stem flow of prison admissions for drug possession: A voter-approved ballot measure reducing drug possession from a felony to a misdemeanor has so far done little to stem the flow of inmates into Oklahoma prisons for that crime. Records show 882 individuals were sent to Oklahoma prisons for possession of controlled substances during the last half of 2017, making it once again the top crime for Oklahoma prison admissions, according to new research by, a national advocacy group for criminal justice reform [The Oklahoman].

New left lane law nets dozens of citations in Oklahoma: Early one morning last November, Darren Fields was driving home after celebrating an Oklahoma City Thunder win against the Los Angeles Clippers when the lights of an Oklahoma Highway Patrol trooper lit up his car. The trooper had been following Fields, 25, for a while as he drove down the left lane of Interstate 40 eastbound [NewsOK].

Rally to end mass incarceration in Oklahoma planned for Thursday: A rally is planned for the Oklahoma Capitol rotunda Thursday calling for an end to mass incarceration in the state. Speakers include former Tulsa Police Drew Diamond; Kris Steele, former House Speaker and founder of Oklahomans for Criminal Justice Reform; and DeMarchoe Carpenter, an Edmond man who was wrongfully convicted of murder and imprisoned for 22 years [KRMG].

Oklahoma County Jail Employees, Inmates Without Water Due To Repairs: A big repair job at the Oklahoma County Jail forced officials to shut the water off completely early Monday morning. Thousands of inmates and employees were without running water for most of the day. Jail officials said the main water line was turned off around 1 a.m., and repairs were expected to be completed Tuesday evening [News 9].

Don’t rush to the death chamber; let other states absorb the costs and the publicity of nitrogen executions: Oklahoma criminal justice leaders appear to have thrown in the towel on ever resuming lethal injection to carry out the state’s death penalty. The lethal injection process has been beset by problems for years that we won’t reiterate here. As a result, the state hasn’t carried out an execution in three years, which undercuts justice and the potential for capital punishment’s deterrence [Editorial Board / Tulsa World].

New petition seeks to put recreational marijuana on November ballot in Oklahoma: Tired of politicians meddling in state questions, an advocacy group is working toward a vote for a constitutional amendment allowing Oklahomans to use marijuana recreationally or medically. Green the Vote, a group that was unsuccessful in previous years with multiple initiative petitions seeking legalization of medical marijuana, will cast a wider net with petitions to legalize recreational marijuana and medical marijuana separately [Tulsa World].

James Gallogly named new OU president: James “Jim” Gallogly will become the 14th president of the University of Oklahoma this summer. The OU Board of Regents made the appointment in a special meeting Monday morning. Gallogly, 65, a former energy executive and graduate of the OU College of Law, was selected from seven finalists interviewed for the position [NewsOK].

Quote of the Day

“I stand here tonight, and I am ready to invest in the future and invest in the great state of Oklahoma. Join me tonight, vote yes, and let’s all invest in this great state we call home.”

– Rep. Earl Sears (R-Bartlesville), debating for HB 1010XX, a bill that raises $447 million in new revenue to fund teacher pay raises and other priorities. Its passage by a 79-19 vote marks the first time that the House has reached a three-fourths majority for a tax measure since that requirement was added to the Oklahoma Constitution in 1992 (Source)

Number of the Day


Votes in favor of a $447 million revenue package to fund teacher pay raises and other priorities in the Oklahoma House of Representatives on Monday night. This is the first time the House has reached the three-fourths majority to raise taxes since that requirement was added to the Oklahoma Constitution in 1992.

Source: NewsOK

See previous Numbers of the Day here.

Policy Note

If Trump Axes Public Media Funding, Rural Areas Could Lose Government News: When President Trump released his budget in February, he vowed to eliminate federal funding for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB), telling the country’s vast network of publicly funded radio and television stations that they would be better off entering the commercial market. Public broadcasters, especially those in rural areas and smaller markets, say that would be akin to putting them out of business. And if that happens, it could exacerbate the already sharp decline of state and local government news coverage across the country [Governing].

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Ryan Gentzler worked at OK Policy from January 2016 until November 2022. He last served as the organization's Reserach Director and oversaw Open Justice Oklahoma. He began at OK Policy as an analyst focusing on criminal justice issues, including sentencing, incarceration, court fines and fees, and pretrial detention. Open Justice Oklahoma grew out of Ryan’s groundbreaking analysis of court records, which was used to inform critical policy debates. A native Nebraskan, he holds a Master of Public Administration degree from the University of Oklahoma and a BA in Institutions and Policy from William Jewell College. He served as an OK Policy Research Fellow in 2014-2015.

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