In The Know: Justice reform polls strongly; Republican Party wants sanctions for teacher walkouts; vetting Stitt’s nominees…

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.

New from OK Policy

Point of View: Oklahoma lawmakers should restore the earned income tax credit: Want to reduce poverty and help working families get ahead in Oklahoma? Lucky us, we already have a great tool — the earned income tax credit (EITC). In 2000, Oklahoma lawmakers created the state EITC as a partner to the federal EITC with bipartisan support. [Courtney Cullison / NewsOK] Contact your legislators and ask them to restore the EITC using our easy, online form at

Project Oklahoma: What needs to be done to make Oklahoma a top 10 state in education? Oklahoma Policy Institute Education expert, Rebecca Fine, said it does come down to the dollar. “I think that in order to make the kind of investment, make us competitive in the region, we’re going to have to raise new sources of revenue,” said Fine. [FOX 25]

In The News

Oklahoma poll reveals strong support for criminal justice reform: A poll commissioned by Right on Crime and conducted by Ascend Perspectives revealed a majority of registered voters in four separate legislative districts in Oklahoma support criminal justice reforms and place significant importance on how their lawmakers vote on criminal justice reform legislation. The poll surveyed a number of criminal justice reforms. [Right on Crime]

Nearly 2,000 DNA samples collected at Oklahoma jails in the last five months: More than 50 county jails across the state have received training from the OSBI on the process. Of the 1,855 samples collected, there have been hits in 27 previously unsolved cases, including a homicide case and a rape case. [The Frontier]

State Republicans pick chairman, adopt platform seeking sanctions for teacher walkouts: Oklahoma Republicans on Saturday elected a Tulsa County businessman as their new state chairman and adopted a platform that calls for penalizing school districts for teacher walkouts and demanding floor votes in the Legislature on abolishing abortion. [NewsOK] In addressing the state Republican Party on Friday, Gov. Kevin Stitt largely shied away from talking politics, even Republican politics, in keeping with his tendency to avoid blatant partisanship whenever possible. [NewsOK]

Senate plans more thorough vetting of Stitt’s nominees: The Oklahoma Senate has moved at a slow pace in confirming Gov. Kevin Stitt’s appointments to his cabinet, state agencies and various boards and commissions as Senate leadership said it seeks a more thorough approach to vetting gubernatorial appointments. [NewsOK]

In radical change from Pruitt, Hunter avoids Obamacare case: Three years ago, with Scott Pruitt serving as attorney general, Oklahoma likely would have been a leader in the latest court battle over the Affordable Care Act. Now, it is not even among the 20 states challenging the act in a lawsuit that is before a federal appeals court in Texas. [NewsOK]

Oklahoma Revenue Climbs: Oklahoma State Treasure Randy McDaniel says March revenue to the state treasury shows continued growth in the state’s economy. McDaniel said Friday the state collected $1.1 billion during the month, an increase of $101.2 million from March 2018 and continues the state’s March 2017 rebound from an economic downturn. [AP News]

While state leaders debate how to best fund education, Stitt pushes for teacher pay raises: Gov. Kevin Stitt and legislative leaders are ironing out differences on education funding. During his February state of the state address to lawmakers, Stitt called for a $1,200 teacher pay raise. The proposed raise would be on top of an average $6,100 teachers received last session. [Tulsa World]

Education funding: Lawmakers debate value of April 1 deadline: Oklahoma’s Republican legislative leaders maintain that they will strike a budgetary agreement within weeks and build upon last year’s historic investment in education. Democrats, on the other hand, say the Legislature has already failed its responsibilities by not meeting an April 1 deadline of “full funding” for common education passed into statute in 2003. [NonDoc]

Gilcrease teachers fight to save successful multigrade classroom as TPS discusses consolidating: Two best friends haven’t backed down from trying to save their dream classroom and beloved school since learning about the proposal to merge Gilcrease Elementary with ECDC Bunche. Al-Jibouri’s and Powell’s classroom consists of third-graders who have been retained and their peers who advanced to the fourth grade. [Tulsa World]

Oklahoma Senate passes bill to improve teachers’ training, familiarity with dyslexia: The Oklahoma Senate unanimously passed a bill yesterday to expand the training teachers receive on recognizing students with dyslexia and getting them the educational support they need. [OU Daily]

State finds Tulsa Public Schools not complying with basic federal requirements for students with disabilities: The Oklahoma State Department of Education is requiring Tulsa Public Schools to make a sweeping review of records for all of its 7,000-plus special education students after a parent’s formal complaint revealed that the district is not complying with basic requirements for how students with disabilities must be served. [Tulsa World]

Official calls for more diversity on state Board of Education: Gov. Kevin Stitt, who has pledged to make Oklahoma a Top 10 state for education, could help his cause by adding more people of color and “consumers of public education” to what currently is an all-white state school board, a school district leader told The Oklahoman. [NewsOK]

Capitol Insider: Lawmakers tackle job licensing: In this episode of Capitol Insider, KGOU’s Dick Pryor and eCapitol’s Shawn Ashley discuss an ongoing effort in Oklahoma to reform occupational licensing. Right now lawmakers are considering making it easier for military spouses and for people with felony convictions to work. [KGOU]

Pharmacists, state chamber at odds over prescription benefits: Independent pharmacists and the integrated behemoths that account for as much as 85% of the prescription drug business are fighting it out by proxy this week in the Oklahoma Legislature. The pharmacists are hoping at least one of two similar bills — Senate Bill 841 and House Bill 2632 — survives this week’s committee deadline. [Tulsa World] Concerns about the business practices of pharmacy benefit managers has reached “the boiling point,” said Sen. Greg McCortney, author of a bill to change how those entities operate in Oklahoma. [NewsOK]

Oklahoma wouldn’t give up its trooper-pursuit policy, but 36 states did. How does OHP compare in transparency and accountability?: The Oklahoma Highway Patrol vigorously defended the secrecy of its vehicular pursuit policy, but 36 other states handed over their chase protocols upon open records requests from Tulsa World. [Tulsa World]

Bill to legalize hunting guides on public lands advances to House: Senate Bill 566, the proposal to allow hunting guides on public land, has been amended since it was first introduced in the Legislature to allow the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation to regulate guiding if the bill does become law. [NewsOK]

Oklahoma lawmaker says he will likely reintroduce future legislation over bill language transparency: An Oklahoma lawmaker has said he will likely reintroduce legislation pushing for transparency over bill language. Last session, Rep. Collin Walke, D-Oklahoma City filed a bill that would require lawmakers to disclose where they got the language for their bill. [KFOR]

Budtenders in Oklahoma offer guidance, but lack medical training: Bridget Sharp found satisfying work dispensing drugs, but she’s no pharmacist. Sharp is a budtender at Blue Collar Criminals, a medical marijuana business that grows, processes and dispenses marijuana bud and other cannabis-related products. [NewsOK]

Demand for Oklahoma-grown hemp still uncertain: In just a year, 53 licenses have been granted by the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food and Forestry to grow industrial-use hemp, officials said Friday. About 1,000 more acres have been legally committed to hemp than any other time in the state’s history. [Journal Record ????]

OU Regents to be briefed Tuesday on investigation thought to involve Boren: University of Oklahoma’s chief governing body will hold a closed-door meeting for a debriefing with private investigators hired to probe allegations of possible inappropriate conduct thought to target former OU President David Boren. [Tulsa World] The attorney for former University of Oklahoma President David Boren says Boren met with investigators for the university who are looking into allegations that he sexually harassed male subordinates. [AP News]

Quote of the Day

“We are going to make another investment in education this year, but I will tell you that over the past 10 years of the history of agencies, a lot of agencies were cut significantly. I believe all ships rise with the tide, so there will be other investments in other agencies.”

-House Appropriations and Budget Committee Chairman Kevin Wallace, R-Wellston. Out of 65 appropriated agencies, 39 remain 20 percent or more below their FY 2009 funding, without adjusting for nearly a decade of inflation. [Source: Tulsa World]

Number of the Day


The number of 501(c)(3) non-profits in Oklahoma (2017).

[Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics]

See previous Numbers of the Day here.

Policy Note

Louisiana adopts ‘Netflix’ model to pay for hepatitis C drugs: Instead of paying for each prescription individually, Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards (D) said the state would essentially pay a subscription fee to a drug company, an alternative payment arrangement that has become known as the “Netflix model.” The state would then get unlimited access to the drug, similar to how consumers pay a monthly fee to stream unlimited television shows and movies. [Washington Post]

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Jessica joined OK Policy as a Communications Associate in January 2018. A Mexican immigrant, she was a Clara Luper Scholar at Oklahoma City University where she obtained a B.A. in Political Science and Philosophy. Prior to joining OK Policy, Jessica worked at a digital marketing agency in Oklahoma City. She is an alumna of both the National Education for Women (N.E.W.) Leadership Institute (2013) and OK Policy's Summer Policy Institute (2015). In addition to her role at OK Policy, Jessica serves as a board member for Dream Action Oklahoma in OKC and communications director for Dream Alliance Oklahoma in Tulsa.

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