In The Know: Homeschool moms speak out against tax credit bills | Oklahoma to vote on first religious charter school in US | Capitol Update

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

Adding penalties to felony reclassification efforts is vital (Capitol Update): Sen. Dave Rader, R-Tulsa, for the second year, is trying to enact a felony criminal reclassification system based on recommendations by the Criminal Justice Reclassification Coordination Council. The proposal is contained in House Bill 1792 by Rep. Mike Osburn, R-Edmond. The bill passed the House, weakened with the title stricken, and passed the Senate Judiciary Committee with the enacting clause stricken last week. It now goes to the Senate Appropriations Committee. [Steve Lewis / Capitol Update]

Oklahoma News

All things aren’t equal: Homeschool moms speak out about education funding: In the rush to pass a bill that would provide “school choice” for Oklahoma families, legislators say they are just looking out for all students – but some homeschooling families disagree. The education package – House Bill 1935 and 2775 – has been the center of intense discussion and argument between the House and Senate, with both chambers debating how much money to invest in public school teachers, private schools and homeschooling families. [Stillwater News Press]

State Government News

An Oklahoma Senate bill is looking to loosen the rules on college athlete NIL deals: The first policy bill that could cross the governor’s desk this year was written specifically to help collegiate recruiters snag the biggest stars and best athletes. Student-athletes in this state who want to be compensated for the use of their name, image or likeness currently have to hire a registered sports agent or an attorney to negotiate their contracts. Senate Bill 840 would eliminate that requirement. [The Oklahoman]

Oklahoma House committee to hear bill allowing tribal regalia be worn during graduation ceremonies: An Oklahoma House committee is set to hear a bill that would allow students in certain schools to wear tribal regalia during graduation ceremonies. [KOCO]

Lawmakers address how Oklahoma can attract big employers: In recent years, Oklahoma has lost out on big contracts from such large-scale businesses as Volkswagen, Tesla and Panasonic, and that has local lawmakers wondering what the state can do to reverse its fortunes and attract significant employers. [Norman Transcript]

Federal Government News

Oklahoma farmers meet with lawmakers in DC to discuss 2023 Farm Bill: Among the most important things on Congress’s plate right now that is not in the national media spotlight is the 2023 Farm Bill. Directly, or indirectly, advocates say, it will affect all Americans. The House and Senate agriculture committees are beginning to work on the once-every-five-years legislation, which is why more than a dozen farmers and ranchers from Oklahoma were in Washington recently, wanting to make sure the state’s congressional delegation — and especially Rep. Frank Lucas (R-OK3), a legacy member of the House Agriculture Committee — knows what their priorities are. [News9]

Voting and Election News

Column: Every vote matters, as evidenced by state elections: In the races that most affect us, we seem to have the lowest number of voters. Those include mayor, city council and school board seats. Local tax initiatives. Even the statewide vote on whether to approve or reject recreational marijuana. We see repeatedly that people who are registered to vote just don’t show up. [Joe Hight Column / Journal Record]

Health News

Column: Oklahoma Health Care Authority was never created to make mandates for all providers: Providers felt blindsided when a public meeting alerted everyone that the Health Care Authority is mandating participation from ALL mental health providers to participate in the health information exchange, OKSHINE, through the state designated entity, MyHealth. [Sabrina DeQuasie Guest Column / The Oklahoman]

Criminal Justice News

How a fake Amazon van was used to move black market marijuana in Oklahoma: The owner of an Oklahoma City kitchen countertop business has been accused of using a fake Amazon delivery van to pick up marijuana to sell on the black market. [The Oklahoman]

Economy & Business News

Canoo moves closer to EV production in OKC: Electric vehicle startup Canoo, which has navigated a bumpy road so far in establishing manufacturing sites in Oklahoma, reached a milestone recently in its plan to open a 500,000-square-foot plant in Oklahoma City. [Journal Record]

Education News

The Catholic Archdiocese of Oklahoma City hopes to open first publicly funded religious charter school in the U.S.: The Catholic Archdiocese of Oklahoma City wants to create a publicly funded religious charter school, and that’s a big deal because it would be the nation’s first. But opponents say it would open the door to discriminatory policies and unconstitutional religious education. [KOSU]

  • Oklahoma to vote on first religious charter school in US [Reuters]

Father of 4 becomes first immigrant to take office on OKC school board: For the first known time in Oklahoma City Public Schools history, an immigrant will sit on its school board, the district said. Juan Lecona, 44, is a 1998 graduate of Capitol Hill High School, a father of four OKCPS students and, as of 2008, a naturalized citizen of the United States. [The Oklahoman]

Former Norman teacher plans to fight for her license at state hearing: A former Norman Public Schools teacher is fighting back against the state superintendent’s plan to strip her of her teaching license for encouraging students to visit a link that offers students free access to a Brooklyn Public Library card. [CNHI via Duncan Banner]

Editorial: Time to return to common-sense local control for school districts: In the last few years — and this year in particular — it seems that state lawmakers and the state education department are wanting to take issues out of the hands of local districts. In our view, this is inappropriate and not the way Oklahomans expect their school districts to operate. [Editorial / Enid News & Eagle]

General News

Community conversations begin this week around reparations for Tulsa Race Massacre survivors, descendants: A series of community conversations about the impact of the Tulsa Race Massacre will kick off today at the 36th Street North Event Center. The Beyond Apology session will examine repair and reparations for the harm caused by the race massacre, with conversations today and Thursday, as well as more coming in the next couple of months. [KOSU]

KOSU to lead community conversations about zero carbon futures: KOSU is partnering with Cortico and Deloitte to host listening sessions. There are 1.7 million people in the United States who work in the energy industry. With the local economy shifts to focus on renewable energy, significant numbers of existing jobs will be threatened or radically transformed during the transition. [KOSU]

Oklahoma Local News

  • Local medical marijuana sales tax directed to ‘health and well-being’ of Edmondites [NonDoc]

Quote of the Day

“If the public schools are failing, legislators need to be focusing their attention on fixing that problem, not giving kids money to go to private school, or giving kids money to be homeschooled. Those are choices that parents make and when we make private choices, we need to fund our private choices, not expect the taxpayers to (foot) that bill.”

-Joshalyn Ocker, who homeschools her children, arguing against proposed bills that would provide tax credits for homeschooling and private school education. [Stillwater News Press]

Number of the Day


Estimated shortage of rental homes that are affordable and available for extremely low-income renters in Oklahoma. [NLIHC]

Policy Note

Realizing the Promise of the Fair Housing Act: Today marks the 55th anniversary of the Fair Housing Act of 1968, a landmark federal civil rights law that prohibits housing discrimination. It also requires the federal government and its grantees to take steps to reduce housing segregation, a mandate that has gone largely unenforced since its inception. The federal government—and cities and states receiving federal funding—has a legal obligation to reduce housing segregation. Yet, this duty is not being enforced. For decades, the federal government largely abandoned any effort to reduce segregation. [Equal Justice Works]

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David Hamby has more than 25 years of experience as an award-winning communicator, including overseeing communication programs for Oklahoma higher education institutions and other organizations. Before joining OK Policy, he was director of public relations for Rogers State University where he managed the school’s external communication programs and served as a member of the president’s leadership team. He served in a similar communications role for five years at the University of Tulsa. He also has worked in communications roles at Oklahoma State University and the Fort Smith Chamber of Commerce in Arkansas. He joined OK Policy in October 2019.

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