In The Know: House, Senate leaders clash over private school tax credits | Panasonic again interested in Oklahoma? | Oklahomans deserve justice reform

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

Oklahomans deserve justice reform; there is still time to deliver results this session: Now that the Oklahoma state legislature is roughly halfway through the 2023 session, there is still time for lawmakers to prioritize criminal justice issues. In recent years, Oklahoma has made some progress in modernizing the state’s justice system and alleviating the pressure on Oklahoma’s prisons and jails. Despite recent progress, Oklahoma still ranks third in the nation for overall incarceration. During the remainder of the 2023 session, Oklahoma legislators have an opportunity to address pressing criminal justice issues, implement measures that will decrease the number of people going to prison and jail, expand on previous initiatives, and provide genuine public safety for every community. [David Gateley / OK Policy]

State Government News

In the Wake of School Choice Financial Scandals, Legislature Pursues Tax Credits Over Vouchers: Financial scandals at a pandemic relief voucher program and an online charter school demonstrated the risks of directly handing parents state dollars to educate their children. Now, the Oklahoma Legislature is pursuing a tax credit plan as its main vehicle for funding private and home school students this session — which some say has more accountability baked in. [Oklahoma Watch]

McCall doubles down on education bills, Treat fires back: One day after a pair of education funding and reform bills advanced with amendments out of Senate committees, Oklahoma House Speaker Charles McCall doubled down Tuesday on his ultimatum that his proposals not be changed by the opposite chamber. An hour later, Senate President Pro Tempore Greg Treat fired back, saying he would not “give into threats.” “We’re not going to give into bullying,” said Treat. [NonDoc]

  • Oklahoma House, Senate at impasse over education bills on teacher pay, tax credits [The Oklahoman]
  • Oklahoma House, Senate leaders continue clash over teacher pay, tax credit bills [Tulsa World]
  • Oklahoma House, Senate at odds over education legislation [Journal Record]

Panasonic said to be interested again in Oklahoma factory: Oklahoma Senate leader Greg Treat and other lawmakers said Tuesday that Project Ocean came back to the Oklahoma Department of Commerce to seek an incentive package that’s currently worth nearly $700 million in capital investment rebates. The funding has been in limbo over the past year after both Panasonic and then Volkswagen chose other locations to build electric vehicle battery manufacturing plants. [The Oklahoman]

Federal Government News

Lankford renews warnings about foreign land ownership: U.S. Sen. James Lankford on Tuesday renewed alarms over foreign ownership of U.S. agricultural land, noting that such interests expanded their Oklahoma holdings from 321,000 acres in 2011 to nearly 1.7 million a decade later. [Tulsa World]

Tribal Nations News

Cherokee Nation gives $7.8 million to area school districts: At its first in-person distribution event since 2020, officials with the Cherokee Nation gave away $7.8 million in car tag revenue to public school districts and charter schools from across northeastern Oklahoma on Tuesday. [Tulsa World]

Health News

Some Edmond Santa Fe students, staff are testing after potential tuberculosis exposure: At least some students and staff at Santa Fe High School are being tested to see if they’ve been exposed to tuberculosis, health officials confirmed Monday. [The Oklahoman]

Criminal Justice News

New delay sought for Glossip execution: Oklahoma’s top prosecutor and attorneys for death-row inmate Richard Glossip have asked a court again to delay Glossip’s upcoming execution while his attorneys seek to have his conviction overturned. [Journal Record]

Economic Opportunity

Bipartisan group of Senators want to get honest about Oklahoma’s economic development: A new bipartisan Senate committee will look at what Oklahoma needs to do to improve its economic development. The committee will hear from the Department of Commerce and many regional chambers of commerce. [KFOR Oklahoma City]

OKC council votes to give housing authority $55M to renovate, build affordable housing: The Oklahoma City Housing Authority will use the money, along with about $400 million in other private and public funds, to redevelop at least 1,500 units of its current public housing. It also will create more than 600 new units of both supportive and workforce housing units — all part of a plan it first presented to the city council for consideration as a MAPS 4 project in July 2019. [The Oklahoman]

Oklahoma Local News

  • TPS District 1 candidates both criticize state voucher push [Public Radio Tulsa]
  • Recent bond vote shapes Norman school board runoff [NonDoc]
  • In debate, Edmond Ward 1 City Council candidates find plenty to agree on [NonDoc]

“Approximately 90% of Oklahoma families choose their local public schools. Public funding belongs in public schools.”

-Sen. Carri Hicks, D-OKC, speaking about proposed bills that would provide private school tax credits that overwhelmingly benefit wealthy Oklahoma families at the expense of poorer ones. [Journal Record]


In an analysis of private school voucher tax credits in three states —Arizona, Louisiana, and Virginia— at least 60% of all voucher tax credits go to families with annual incomes over $200,000. [ITEP]

After two decades of studying voucher programs, I’m now firmly opposed to them: Vouchers are dangerous to American education. They promise an all-too-simple solution to tough problems like unequal access to high-quality schools, segregation and even school safety. In small doses, years ago, vouchers seemed like they might work, but as more states have created more and larger voucher programs, experts like me have learned enough to say that these programs on balance can severely hinder academic growth — especially for vulnerable kids. [Josh Cowen / Hechinger Report]

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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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