In the Know: Lawmakers calling for extra time for budget | How will proposed teacher raises compare with other states | Lawmakers reject ‘intelligence bill’

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

Overtime: Legislature collecting signatures for concurrent special session to finish FY 2024 budget: Facing a 5 p.m. May 26 deadline to adjourn the year’s regular session, leaders of the Oklahoma Legislature are circulating petitions to call themselves into a concurrent special session to create more time for Fiscal Year 2024 budget negotiations and make sure they have a chance to override any potential vetoes from Gov. Kevin Stitt. [NonDoc]

  • Oklahoma lawmakers call for a concurrent special session to buy time with looming deadlines [KOSU]
  • Oklahoma Legislature calls special session to finalize state budget [Tulsa World]
  • Oklahoma House Democrats discuss priorities for state budget [Journal Record]

With teacher pay raises on the way, how does Oklahoma compare to other states?: A major education funding package announced Monday would narrow the gap between Oklahoma and average teacher salaries in other states. However, Oklahoma isn’t likely to leapfrog any of its neighbors, based on initial projections. Unless Arkansas passes the Sooner State with its own teacher pay raise package, Oklahoma is expected to remain fourth in teacher compensation in its seven-state region. [The Oklahoman]

  • Historic education plan advances through Oklahoma House, Senate [Tulsa World]
  • Paid maternity leave for Oklahoma teachers part of GOP education plan [Tulsa World]

State Government News

Republicans change their minds on OHP ‘intelligence division’ bill: Legislation that would have expanded the Oklahoma Department of Public Safety’s investigative authority into what some lawmakers termed “spying” suffered a heavy defeat in the House of Representatives on Tuesday morning. House Bill 1976, which passed the House easily two months ago, lost 30-63 on final passage after concerns were raised, most publicly by Democrats, that the measure put too much authority in the hands of the DPS director, a position that answers only to the Governor’s Office. [Tulsa World]

Oklahoma lawmakers want state to reject Dominion machines over Tucker Carlson leaving Fox: A group of Oklahoma lawmakers filed a resolution on Tuesday to reject alleged attempts by Dominion Voting Machines to silence Tucker Carlson. [The Oklahoman]

Ethics Commission settles Conservative Alliance PAC lawsuit, Kannady mum: The Oklahoma Ethics Commission has settled a lawsuit against a Virginia-based political action committee that spent more than $150,000 in multiple Republican Oklahoma legislative races in 2018 as part of an electoral effort participated in by a top GOP House leader to defeat several hardline members of his own caucus. [NonDoc]

A new name and when they reopen: What we know about Oklahoma’s 6 state park restaurants: The Oklahoma Tourism and Recreation Department is one step closer to reopening its six state park restaurants. The restaurants have been rebranded by their new operator La Ratatouille and will use the name The Lookout Kitchen. [The Oklahoman]

Former Corporation Commissioner Jeff Cloud: ‘Choice and competition’ threaten state’s low-cost energy relied upon by Oklahomans: Even as the current legislative session winds down, a small interest group continues to misinform Oklahomans, lobbying for deregulating the retail energy market. As a former chair of the Oklahoma Corporation Commission, I was charged with regulating utility providers, and I implore our state leaders to critically review such misleading proposals for “choice and competition,” which inherently threaten the state’s low-cost energy relied upon by Oklahoma families and businesses alike. [Jeff Cloud Column / The Oklahoman]

Tribal Nations News

Three tribal nations in Northeast Oklahoma have reservation statuses recognized: Three tribal nations in Northeast Oklahoma have had their reservations deemed as ‘never disestablished’ by the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals. Winston Whitecrow Brester, a citizen of the Seneca-Cayuga Nation, filed for post-conviction relief in November 2020 over a string of crimes he was convicted of between 2018 and 2020 in Ottawa County. [KOSU]

Native American graduate forced to remove eagle feather from cap sues Oklahoma school: A Native American high school graduate who wore an eagle plume on her graduation cap is suing her Oklahoma school district after she says two employees forced her to remove the feather. Lena’ Black says Broken Arrow Public Schools violated her religious and free speech rights during her May 2022 commencement ceremony. Black is a citizen of the Otoe-Missouria Tribe and a descendant of the Osage Nation. Eagle feathers are sacred within many Native American cultures and traditions. [The Oklahoman]

Criminal Justice News

This vacant fixer-upper could become mental health unit for county jail: Oklahoma County could spend up to $25.6 million to buy and improve a vacant hospital as a way to address the mental health needs of jail detainees without waiting for a new facility to be built. [The Oklahoman]

Oklahoma may reintroduce felony drug possession, mandatory jail time: Seven years after Oklahoma voters passed sweeping criminal justice reforms in State Question 780, the state Legislature has walked back some of those reforms for people with multiple drug convictions. House Bill 2153 now heads to the governor’s desk for final approval. [The Oklahoman]

OKC police officer seen flipping off motorcyclist in viral TikTok; OKCPD responds: A viral clip circulating social media and drawing criticism appears to show an Oklahoma City police officer flipping off a motorcyclist, an incident the department said it is now reviewing. [The Oklahoman]

Economy & Business News

Canoo reports $90.7M loss in first quarter: Electric vehicle startup Canoo reported a loss of $90.7 million in the first quarter of 2023, adding to financial pressures faced by the company as it continues to pursue mass production of EVs in Oklahoma City. The company, which also has invested in plans to produce EV batteries in Pryor and to locate other activities in Tulsa, reported Monday that it remains committed to a plan to build 20,000 EVs in Oklahoma City by year’s end. [Journal Record]

Feast or famine: Parts of Oklahoma receive rain while others remain in exceptional drought: While much of Oklahoma has received consistent rainfall over the past week, the most drought-stricken areas of the state are still parched. [KOSU]

Oklahoma City union begins contract negotiations with Apple: After successfully becoming the second Apple store in the country to join the Communications Workers of America last October, the Oklahoma City Apple Retail Union began its contract negotiations with the corporation Monday. [KOSU]

Education News

Epic founders get preliminary hearing date in criminal case: Epic Charter School’s co-founders finally got a preliminary hearing set in a criminal case filed against them nearly a year ago. [Tulsa World]

Middle-schoolers develop bilingual resource guide as lesson on immigration: After seventh-graders at Tulsa School of Arts and Sciences met with the manager of the Tulsa City-County Library’s Hispanic Resource Center, students decided to research, compile, design, edit and publish a 44-page guide in English and Spanish listing resources available to Tulsa’s immigrants, including descriptions of services offered and how to contact the providers. [Tulsa World]

Quote of the Day

“I don’t think the people of Oklahoma want the state police to turn into a police state.”

– Rep. Regina Goodwin, D-Tulsa, speaking on House Bill 1976, which would have expanded the Oklahoma Department of Public Safety’s investigative authority. It failed to go through the Senate yesterday. [Tulsa World]

Number of the Day


If the state adopted a 4.5% flat personal income tax, the top 1% of Oklahoma’s wealthiest would be the only income band that would NOT see a tax increase. [ITEP analysis via OK Policy]

Policy Note

Tax Dodging Is a Monopoly Tactic: How Our Tax Code Undermines Small Business and Fuels Corporate Concentration: Local and federal policymakers have systematically structured tax systems in a way that deepens the concentration of corporate power. Meanwhile, smaller competitors bear their fair share of their tax burden, even as they are being crushed by outsized corporations. Making our tax system fairer would help small businesses—which are essential for robust economies, community well-being, and healthy democracies—compete on a more level playing field. [Roosevelt Institute]

You can sign up here to receive In The Know by e-mail.


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.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.