In The Know: Hundreds of bills still on table this session | Why lawmakers might not override Stitt’s vetoes | Supreme Court stays Glossip execution

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.

Oklahoma News

Hundreds of bills still alive as Oklahoma Legislature enters final stretch of 2023 session: As the Oklahoma Legislature moves into the final weeks of the 2023 session, lingering questions remain about a number of significant policy proposals and whether they will make it to the finish line. Just a few short months ago, state leaders touted their primary goals this session: education policy, tax cuts and workforce development. [The Oklahoman]

  • Gov. Kevin Stitt optimistic Oklahoma lawmakers will cut taxes this year [Tulsa World]

Why Oklahoma lawmakers might not override Gov. Stitt’s vetoes: In the past two weeks, Gov. Kevin Stitt has vetoed dozens of bills, amid a fight over education funding. The House and Governor are pressuring the Senate to adopt their plan, and Stitt’s part has been to veto legislation authored by Senators who have not supported his plan. [KOSU]

  • House says school choice bill won’t go to Stitt until agreement reached on school funding, teacher pay [KOCO]

State Government News

Election Board head praises Senate Bill 481 to protect Oklahoma election officials: Oklahoma’s top election officer praised a new law making it a crime to harass or threaten the state’s election workers. [The Oklahoman]

Oklahoma Takes Steps To Address Childcare Scarcity: A bill aimed at streamlining local rules for in-home daycares was signed into law by Gov. Kevin Stitt this week. Freshman legislator Rep. Suzanne Schreiber, D-Tulsa, authored the bill requiring local governments to follow Department of Human Services capacity limits instead of creating their own. Studies show 55% of Oklahomans live in areas where childcare is scarce. [Oklahoma Watch]

Norman Pride goers concerned about Oklahoma legislation they feel targets LGBTQ+ community: This weekend Norman is celebrating gay pride, with hundreds of people gathering at Andrews Park, but one topic on the minds of many at the festival: legislation that Governor Stitt signed into law earlier this week. [KTUL]

Capitol Insider: Heading into session’s final three weeks, no budget deal done (Audio): Squabbling over competing education funding plans leaves lawmakers without a budget agreement as the 2023 legislature’s adjournment looms on May 26th. [KGOU]

Roundup: OK Supreme Court rules in custody case, Stitt vetoes rankle tribal leaders: Frosty relations between tribes and the state of Oklahoma got even chillier recently as the result of an Oklahoma Supreme Court ruling and three vetoes by Gov. Kevin Stitt on legislation affecting tribes. [NonDoc]

Opinion: Communication should be priority for all of us in Oklahoma Legislature: When I was first elected, Democrats accounted for almost one-third of the legislators in the Oklahoma House of Representatives. Today, Republicans have a supermajority, controlling over three-fourths of the seats in both the Oklahoma House and Senate. There are many reasons the Republicans have this grip on absolute power, to include partisan gerrymandering, but the result is a government that caters to extremists and shuts out those who disagree. Loyalty to political party and extremist ideology become the priority over compromise and communication. Control and absolute power trump debate and dialogue. [Rep. Cyndi Munson Guest Column / The Oklahoman]

Column: Civil rights education law shuts out Black voices: In this week’s chapter of “Clueless White Guys” comes Sen. Micheal Bergstrom of Adair and Rep. Mark Lepak, who passed a civil rights education bill without consulting any Black legislators. They gloss over this fact when patting themselves on the back for being champions against bigotry and for peaceful protests. [Ginnie Graham / Tulsa World]

Editorial: End childish standoff that holds legislation hostage, Oklahomans as political pawns: Oklahomans are pawns in an unproductive political fight that holds legislation hostage and rejects popular, needed potential laws. The standoff between Gov. Kevin Stitt and the Senate over tax cuts and private school vouchers/tax credits has created a large swath of collateral damage. [Editorial / Tulsa World]

Federal Government News

Oklahoma lawmakers disclose wish lists that have major highway and military projects: Oklahoma members of Congress are seeking $760 million for home-state projects this year, with freshman Sen. Markwayne Mullin accounting for nearly half of the total with requests for military, health care, highway and airport funding. [The Oklahoman]

D.C. Digest: Hern in middle of high stakes debt ceiling debate: Liars’ poker: Republicans and Democrats accused each other of distortions, obfuscations, prevarications and bald-faced fibbery as the country moves toward default on some of its $31 trillion in debt. The Biden White House emailed state-by-state “fact sheets” offering the estimated impact of House Republicans’ debt limit and spending reduction bill on everything from school lunches to veterans benefits, all of which Republicans denounced as fabrication. [Tulsa World]

Tribal Nations News

Inter-Tribal Council leaders call on Oklahoma Legislature to overturn vetoes: The elected leaders of the Cherokee, Chickasaw, Choctaw, Muscogee, and Seminole Nations call on the Oklahoma Legislature to overturn vetoes by Governor Stitt of bills protecting religious freedom, education, and public safety in Oklahoma. [Red Lake Nation News]

Choctaw Chief: Stitt returns to unwarranted attacks on tribes: Senate Bill 429 would have clarified students have the right to display these important markers of their heritage. The Legislature overwhelmingly agreed, with only one member voting against it. But when the bill reached Gov. Kevin Stitt’s desk, he vetoed the measure, returning to his first-term pattern of rejecting almost everything supported by tribes. [Chief Gary Batton Guest Column / The Oklahoman]

How eligible food and farm workers can apply for a $600 relief payment through Cherokee Nation: The Cherokee Nation is giving one-time $600 relief payments to farmworkers and meatpackers who worked during the pandemic through the Farm and Food Workers Relief Program. The U.S. Department of Agriculture allocated $41 million to Cherokee Nation, in addition to 14 other agencies, to distribute federal relief payments over the next two years. [KOSU]

Voting and Election News

Broken Arrow state senator elected Oklahoma Republican Party chairman: The Oklahoma Republican Party has fresh leadership after a Broken Arrow lawmaker won a three-way race to become the new state GOP chairman. Conservative state Sen. Nathan Dahm will lead the Oklahoma Republican Party for the next two years after jumping into the leadership race mere days before Saturday’s election. [Tulsa World]

Health News

New Oklahoma law will increase syphilis screening for pregnant patients: Oklahoma ranks in the top five states for babies born with syphilis, but that could change soon. The governor signed a bill that will require more frequent screenings for pregnant patients. [KOSU]

World Health Organization says COVID-19 is no longer a global emergency: The World Health Organization declared COVID-19 over as a global health emergency Friday, marking a historic end to a devastating chapter of the pandemic that claimed more than 7 million lives worldwide. [The Oklahoman]

Criminal Justice News

Death row inmate Richard Glossip gets execution stay from US Supreme Court: Death row inmate Richard Glossip on Friday was granted another stay of execution. The U.S. Supreme Court stayed his May 18 lethal injection, days after Oklahoma’s new attorney general, Gentner Drummond, told justices that Glossip was convicted on “false testimony that was not corrected by the prosecution.” [The Oklahoman]

  • DAs share concerns on Oklahoma AG’s handling of death penalty case [Tulsa World]
  • U.S. Supreme Court halts execution of Oklahoma death row inmate Richard Glossip [KOSU]

OSBI takes over Okmulgee Co. case; sex, electronic devices allegedly in home of offender: Records show the offender bonded out of jail for an alleged sex crime in 2020. The Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation has taken over the probe of the apparent murder-suicide of six people by sex offender Jesse McFadden in Okmulgee County. [Public Radio Tulsa]

Economic Opportunity

Column: Treat one another with civility and compassion no matter income, mental health status: A bias against those who suffer from mental health issues is coupled with a bureaucracy that is difficult for anyone to navigate. Patients, as well as compassionate caregivers, are trapped in systems that will not allow the treatment that patients need. [Nancy Snow Guest Column / The Oklahoman]

Education News

Historical and rhetorical: A conversation with Ryan Walters about ‘woke’: One week before Superintendent of Public Instruction Ryan Walters told a legislative committee that he considers teacher unions to be a “terrorist organization,” NonDoc reporter Bennett Brinkman and I ran into the firebrand State Department of Education leader near the elevators of the Oklahoma Capitol. [NonDoc]

Column: Anti-public school rhetoric a threat to teachers and democracy: State Superintendent of Education Ryan Walters recently used the term “terrorist” to describe teachers unions while just a few blocks from where an actual terrorist bombed and killed 169 fellow Oklahomans at the federal Murrah Building. This is a ridiculous, offensive exaggeration. Walters should be bringing us together, mending our communities and offering ways to help schools feel safe. As a mom, I am terrified by the vitriol in his words. [Ashley Heider Daly Column / Tulsa World]

  • Editorial: Editorial: Ryan Walters calling teachers ‘terrorists’ puts educators at risk [Editorial / Tulsa World]

Training nurses amid nursing shortage: Schools struggle to attract, retain nursing faculty: For the state’s nursing education programs, though, former working nurses like Stidham — as their primary source for faculty — represent an ongoing conundrum. [Tulsa World]

Langston University celebrates new health facility in historic Greenwood District: Langston University celebrated the opening of a brand-new health facility in Tulsa, with hopes to address the nursing shortage in Oklahoma. The state-of-the-art Allied Health Facility was created to help nursing students get a world-class education. Dr. Teressa Hunter, the dean of the School of Nursing and Health Professions, was particularly proud of one major investment. [KOCO Oklahoma City]

Column: Community has many programs available for investing in public education: Recent events in school boards throughout our country remind us that community members, including business leaders, must be actively engaged to ensure our children are put first, to advance the common goal of sustaining a strong public education system and to demand that elected officials not pander to polarizing culture wars or political theatrics. [Moises Echeverria Column / Tulsa World]

Oklahoma Local News

  • As Oklahoma City considers new development, residents raise concerns about area’s underground water supply [The Oklahoman]
  • Oakdale Public School parents, faculty concerned by 655-home development proposal [NonDoc]
  • City councilors unanimously approve mediation process to resolve internal disputes [Tulsa World]

Quote of the Day

“These politicians are working really hard to make the LGBTQ community invisible. Every piece of legislation regarding the community is aimed at denying them the same privileges to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness as any other community. No compassion is shown for families with LGBTQ adults or children, and certainly no legislation addresses the actual needs in that community.”

-Clytie Bunyan, The Oklahoman’s managing editor for diversity, community engagement and opinion, writing about Gov. Stitt vetoing OETA funding because of programming that included LGBTQ-related issues. [The Oklahoman]

  • Tuesday, May 9: Community town hall about Oklahoma’s anti-transgender health care ban hosted by Freedom Oklahoma, the ACLU of Oklahoma, and the Campaign for Southern Equality [RSVP]

Number of the Day


Number of legislative bills — not related to the budget — that lawmakers could consider this legislative session before Sine Die on May 26, which is 18 days from today. Additional bills not included in that count would likely implement the fiscal year 2024 budget. [KGOU Capitol Insider

Policy Note

The Trouble with State Tax Triggers: State policymakers are increasingly using “triggers” to pass big tax cuts while ducking tough decisions on how to pay for them. They are bad tax policy. Naturally, they are incredibly popular. [Tax Policy Center]

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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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