In The Know: House approves insurance ban for transgender care | Senate’s voucher bills hit dead end | Plain language needed for eviction summons

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

Plain language eviction summons can help Oklahomans in eviction courtOklahoma’s civil courts should be fair and accessible for all residents. Tenants facing eviction, as well as their landlords, should have legal documents that clearly explain the process and the rights of the parties involved. The current eviction summons – the document a tenant receives to let them know they are being sued by their landlord for eviction – uses dense, legal language that is hard for everyday folks to understand. Rewriting the eviction summons into plain language will create fairness in eviction proceedings by explaining the process to all parties and making it clear when they are supposed to be in court and the consequences of not appearing. [Sabine Brown / OK Policy]

Oklahoma News

Oklahoma House approves bill to ban insurance coverage for transgender care: House Republicans approved a bill Tuesday banning insurance coverage for transgender health care, one of many proposals this year seeking to limit gender transition procedures. House Bill 2177 now moves to the state Senate after the House passed the measure with an 80-18 vote. All 18 votes against were by Democratic members. [The Oklahoman]

  • Oklahoma House passes gender-affirming treatment bill [Tulsa World]
  • Proposed ban on gender affirming care would have an outsized effect on Oklahoma’s Two-Spirit community [KOSU]
  • Oklahoma lawmakers advance bill that would ban gender-affirming health care for minors [Public Radio Tulsa]

Tension remains between Oklahoma agricultural community and marijuana producers: A Senate bill has moved forward that would disqualify cannabis growers from using the agricultural sales tax exemption farmers can use for fertilizer, weed killer and other supplies they need to produce their crops. The ban won’t save much money — only about $297,000, according to the Oklahoma Tax Commission. [The Oklahoman]

  • Oklahoma Senate will hear bill to remove sales tax exemptions for cannabis growers, monitor their water use [KOSU]

Senate school voucher bills hit dead end in favor of tax credits: Two Oklahoma Senate bills that would give families state funds for homeschooling and private education are expected to die this week, as a House tax-credit proposal becomes the center of school choice efforts in the state Legislature. [The Oklahoman]

State Government News

Gov. Stitt expresses ‘strong disagreement’ with Oklahoma AG over Catholic charter school: On Monday evening, Stitt’s office publicized a letter he reportedly had sent to Drummond in “strong disagreement” with Drummond’s legal position on Oklahoma Catholic leaders’ attempt to get taxpayer funding and state sanctioning for what would be the nation’s first religious charter school. [Tulsa World]

House committee shoots down attempt to alter economic development methods: Two bills with the potential to greatly affect Oklahoma’s economic development tactics died a lonely death in a House of Representatives Committee on Tuesday. House Bills 1378 and 1379, by Rep. Tom Gann, R-Inola, would have barred government officials from signing nondisclosure agreements, commonly known as NDAs, and complicated the process for creating tax increment financing districts, or TIFs. [Tulsa World]

Senate passes measure to lock the clock on daylight saving time: The Oklahoma Senate on Tuesday passed a bill that would lock in daylight saving time. Senate Bill 7 by Sen. Cowboy Blake Stephens, R-Tahlequah, passed by a vote of 44-3 and heads to the House for consideration. [Tulsa World]

‘A game-changer on so many levels.’ Bill to increase Oklahoma film incentive cap advances: House Bill 1362, which would more than double the cap for the state film incentive, passed out of committee on Tuesday. HB 1362 would allocate $5 million annually for projects with total expenditures of less than $1 million; $18.75 million for projects between $1 million and $7.5 million; and $56.25 million for projects over $7.5 million. [The Oklahoman]

Bill would add felony back to some drug possession convictions: A proposed state law would again make simple drug possession a felony in Oklahoma after several offenses, thus rolling back part of a state question voters approved in 2016. The bill passed the legislature’s public safety committee, 9-3, along party lines. [Public Radio Tulsa]

Gov. Kevin Stitt wants review of Oklahoma’s state vehicle fleet: State officials will conduct a review of government vehicles to potentially pave the way for Oklahoma to pare down the number of vehicles in the state’s fleet. [Tulsa World]

Voting and Election News

Voter Turnout a Question Mark Leading Up to Recreational Marijuana Vote: Less than four months removed from a heated general election cycle, Oklahoma voters head back to the polls. But how will the recreational marijuana state question influence turnout? With few comparable contests, it’s anyone’s guess. On March 7, voters will decide on State Question 820, which proposes legalizing recreational marijuana for adults 21 and over and establishing a framework to expunge marijuana-related convictions. [Oklahoma Watch]

Health News

Eli Lilly cuts the price of insulin, capping drug at $35 per month out-of-pocket: Eli Lilly will cut prices for some older insulins later this year and immediately expand a cap on costs insured patients pay to fill prescriptions. The moves announced Wednesday promise critical relief to some people with diabetes who can face annual costs of more than $1,000 for insulin they need in order to live. Lilly’s changes also come as lawmakers and patient advocates pressure drugmakers to do something about soaring prices. [AP via KGOU]

Column: Oklahoma kids should not face barriers to accessing dental care: February marked National Children’s Dental Health Month, but the conversation shouldn’t stop. We must examine why such a critical aspect of a child’s healthy future is so often overlooked and how we can make sure all Oklahoma children get the dental care they need in order to thrive. [Jandra Korb Guest Column / The Oklahoman]

Criminal Justice News

‘Deeply tainted’: Oklahoma conservatives call for moratorium, abolition of the death penalty: Amid a mass rescheduling of execution dates and an investigation into one death row inmate’s claim of innocence, some Oklahoma conservatives are shifting away from or completely against the death penalty. [KGOU]

Five months after fight, court dismisses Sen. Tom Woods’ disorderly conduct ticket: After five months fighting to get out of a disorderly conduct ticket he received after getting into a brawl over a financial dispute in August, Oklahoma Sen. Tom Woods has succeeded in getting his case dismissed in Adair County District Court. [NonDoc]

General News

Panel: Make Greenwood District a national monument, pay reparations: Multiple panelists called for reparations to be paid to three living Tulsa Race Massacre survivors and their descendants and said the historic Greenwood District should be declared a national monument during an event hosted Saturday by the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation in Tulsa. [NonDoc]

Federal grant awarded to study removal of part of I-244 through Greenwood: A North Tulsa church has beaten out the state of Oklahoma and city of Tulsa in efforts to secure federal funding for a study that includes looking at the possible removal of a portion of Interstate 244. The U.S. Department of Transportation announced Tuesday that it was awarding a $1.6 million grant to the North Peoria Church of Christ to support a planning study of the removal of the part of I-244 that forms the north leg of the Inner Dispersal Loop through the historic Greenwood District and to establish a community land trust. [Tulsa World]

Mexican Consulate in OKC Expected to Be Taking Appointments as Soon as May: Mexican Oklahomans soon will be able to open bank accounts and purchase homes and vehicles without being forced to leave the state to update or secure vital documentation. Starting May 1, a team of 30 locally hired employees and six Mexican government officials will begin booking appointments at the Mexican consulate in Oklahoma City and deploying mobile consulates across the state to serve the more than 110,000 Mexican nationals who call Oklahoma home. [Oklahoma Watch]

Oklahoma Local News

Quote of the Day

“We get referrals for folks every day requesting gender-affirming care. And when I say gender-affirming care, I mean people that just need therapy.”

– Kelley Blair, the CEO of the Diversity Center of Oklahoma and a licensed therapist, who worries that Senate Bill 613 and House Bill 2177, which ban gender-affirming care, will affect mental health services for transgender youth. [KOSU]

Number of the Day


Percentage of Oklahoma landlords who had a lawyer in eviction court compared to only 4 percent of tenants, according to a survey conducted in summer 2022. [Oklahoma Access to Justice Foundation]

Policy Note

Put it Plainly: How the Use of Plain Language Can Increase Equity and Procedural Fairness in Small Claims Eviction Proceedings: There’s an easy solution to bring the small claims eviction process back to a true “people’s court”: plain language. Many people assume plain language simply means “dumbing down” words, but at its core, plain language means presenting information in a way that allows users to understand what they are reading the first time they read it. This means writers must employ shorter sentences, use active voice, address the reader directly and reduce the reading level. [Oklahoma Bar Journal]

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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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