In The Know: Lawmakers override numerous Stitt vetoes | Ryan Walters drops ‘incendiary’ video that worries parents, teachers | Gov. signs private school voucher 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.

New from OK Policy

WATCH: Conversation with Advocates, Jeanean Yanish Jones of the Healthcare Alliance for the Uninsured: Jeanean Yanish Jones, Executive Director for Healthcare Alliance for the Uninsured, speaks about the investments Oklahoma can make in its health care system, and how that will benefit our entire state, not just those who are the most vulnerable. [OK Policy / YouTube]

Oklahoma News

Oklahoma lawmakers override 13 of Gov. Kevin Stitt’s vetoes, including OETA legislation: Lawmakers in both the House and Senate voted to override Gov. Kevin Stitt’s veto that would have led to the end of Oklahoma’s public television broadcaster, OETA. They also took up 12 other measures the governor had refused to sign into law, passing them without his support. [KOSU]

  • Oklahoma Legislature overturns 13 Stitt vetoes [Journal Record]
  • Lawmakers override Stitt’s vetoes, including OETA legislation [The Oklahoman]
  • Lawmakers override Stitt’s veto of OETA bill [Tulsa World]
  • Veto overrides save OETA, tribal regalia rights [CNHI]

Stitt signs education package, fulfills campaign promise on school choice: After spending much of last year on the campaign trail vowing to expand school choice options, Gov. Kevin Stitt took a victory lap Thursday by signing into law an education package that provides tax credits to families who send their children to private school. [The Oklahoman]

  • Governor signs private- and home-school tax credit bill, one of his top priorities. [The Oklahoman]
  • Stitt signs education package, fulfills campaign promise on school choice [Tulsa World]
  • Governor gets charter school legislation, education rules [Tulsa World]

State Government News

Oklahoma State Superintendent continues inflammatory rhetoric against teachers’ unions: State Superintendent Ryan Walters is again taking aim at teachers’ unions, this time with the announcement of an Oklahoma State Department of Education public awareness campaign he says highlights teacher unions’ positions on issues. [KOSU]

  • Superintendent Ryan Walters’ Video Escalates Attacks on Teacher Unions [Oklahoma Watch]
  • State superintendent launches self-described ‘public awareness’ campaign against teachers union [Tulsa World]
  • Tulsa school board president ‘begs’ state superintendent to tone down rhetoric [Public Radio Tulsa]
  • Education video prompts outrage, tears among educators [CNHI]
  • Oklahoma State Department of Education video ‘painted a target on our backs,’ teacher says [The Oklahoman]
  • Ryan Walters launches ‘incendiary’ video denouncing teachers unions [The Oklahoman]
  • Watch the video [The Oklahoman]
  • Teachers, parents react to ‘incendiary’ Ryan Walters video attacking teachers unions [The Oklahoman]

‘Opened the state up to lawsuits’: Oklahoma attorney, lawmaker react to OSDE email: An attorney is saying the Oklahoma State Department of Education (OSDE) committed a First Amendment violation. This comes after Ryan Walters’ chief advisor sent a threatening email to OSDE staffers, calling it a “final warning” to employees who disagree with Walters’ beliefs. [Fox 25]

  • Ryan Walters holds contentious meeting Thursday, threatens employees who leak emails [KOCO]
  • ‘Ryan Walters versus the State of Oklahoma’: OSDE threatens to fire employees who share information with media [KFOR]

Ryan Walters addresses federal grant drama at State Board of Education meeting: During a packed State Board of Education meeting Thursday, State Superintendent of Public Instruction Ryan Walters implied that teacher unions support pedophilia, admonished news media and accused a leading member of the Oklahoma Legislature of “intentionally” lying about the status of federal grant applications. [NonDoc]

New fines for Oklahoma drivers who don’t move over for flashing lights signed into law: Drivers who don’t move over or slow down for vehicles with flashing lights on the side of the road will now risk hefty fines. That’s thanks to an Oklahoma House of Representatives bill that passed both legislative chambers and was signed by Gov. Kevin Stitt. [The Oklahoman]

‘Rock Chalk!’ Oklahoma, Kansas rivalry reaches both governors over license plate bill: After Gov. Kevin Stitt vetoed a bill that included a specialty license plate for the University of Kansas, Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly said, “Our doors are always open’ to KU grads in Oklahoma. [The Oklahoman]

Column: ‘The government is here to help’ are terrifying words to bankers: Regardless of the questionable reasoning for doing so, Bank of America’s placement on the state’s ESG blacklist forces the city of Stillwater to turn to a different lender. It will likely be one with a higher interest rate, which could cost taxpayers nearly $1.2 million in additional costs. [Adrian Beverage Guest Column / The Oklahoman]

Tribal Nations News

A vetoed bill to protect tribal regalia at graduations is a step closer to being overridden: Oklahoma public schools will not be allowed to block Native American students from wearing tribal regalia at graduation ceremonies under a new law approved Thursday. [The Oklahoman]

  • Lawmakers override Stitt’s veto on tribal regalia at graduation ceremonies [Tulsa World]

Criminal Justice News

Education Watch: Criminal Case Against Epic Co-Founders, CFO Set For Court: Last week, a judge set a court date in the criminal casen against Epic Charter Schools’ co-founders and former chief financial officer. A preliminary hearing is scheduled for Oct. 23-25 and Oct. 27 for David Chaney, Ben Harris and Josh Brock in Oklahoma County District Court. Preliminary hearings are like mini trials, with evidence and witnesses, that allow a judge to assess whether there’s enough of a case to move forward to trial. [Oklahoma Watch]

Oklahoma County DA files 59 felony cockfighting counts against Newalla couple: Oklahoma County District Attorney Vicki Behenna has filed 59 felony counts related to cockfighting against a Newalla couple caught with “a large number of roosters,” some tied to stakes outside their home. [NonDoc]

Oklahoma Local News

  • OKC retained its spot as America’s 20th largest city, and just keeps growing. [The Oklahoman]
  • Former downtown Holiday Inn eyed for conversion to apartments [The Oklahoman]

Quote of the Day

“That is the kind of thing that will get us killed. You can’t put that rhetoric out there in today’s climate. I’m sitting inside that board room with people in front of me and people behind me talking about how all we do in schools is porn and how we’re teaching porn. And just crazy, crazy things. That is not happening in public schools. Ryan, we used to talk all the time back when you were reasonable. I don’t know what’s happened.”

– Jami Cole, a teacher from Duncan, speaking about the inflammatory anti-teacher union video released by Superintendent Ryan Walters during a state board of education meeting Thursday. [The Oklahoman]

Number of the Day


 Of adults surveyed who had been asked to pay a court fine or fee in the past ten years, 98.5% of respondents reported that the court-ordered fines and fees impacted at least one aspect of daily life. More than half (51%) reported experiencing multiple impacts. [Wilson Center for Science and Justice & the Fines and Fees Justice Center]

Policy Note

Debt Sentence: How Fines And Fees Hurt Working Families: Court-imposed debt impacts working families across all racial groups, political affiliations, and income levels. In the past ten years, a third of Americans have been directly affected by fines or fees related to traffic, criminal, juvenile, or municipal court. This report is the first national survey to examine how court-imposed fines and fees affect individuals and families. Researchers found that fines and fees debt creates hardships in people’s daily lives. Many respondents reported experiencing serious hardship, being impacted in three or more aspects of daily life. [Wilson Center for Science and Justice & the Fines and Fees Justice 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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