In The Know: Lawmakers propose changing parts of SQ 780 | Gov. pushing for corporate tax elimination | House passes transgender sports ban

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

Lawmakers propose changing parts of SQ 780, cracking down on serial larcenists: State lawmakers are proposing expanding the time police have to aggregate the crimes of serial larcenists, but critics say it would be a mistake. State Rep. Rande Worthen, R-Lawton, said his measure, Senate Bill 334, would expand the period that larceny offenses could be aggregated from 90 to 180 days in a bid to give law enforcement additional time to link suspects to multiple crimes. Ryan Haynie, a criminal justice reform fellow with the Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs, said he doesn’t consider the measure a rollback of State Question 780, but instead classifies it as a “scale back bill” because it’s not changing the actual substance of the law. His group opposes the measure. [CNHI via The Norman Transcript] OK Policy: In its first year, SQ 780 reversed 10 years of growth in felony filings while crime rates remained at historic lows.

Stitt wants to get corporate tax elimination ‘across the finish line,’ Senate leader still opposed: A week after the leader of the Oklahoma Senate said his chamber and the Republican caucus would not be involved in a plan to eliminate the state’s corporate income tax, Gov. Kevin Stitt told a virtual round table he still wants it done this session. Speaking to the Oklahoma Small Business Association on Friday, Stitt referred to a report by pro-business think tank the Tax Foundation that ranks Oklahoma 30th in business tax climate. [Public Radio Tulsa] OK Policy: Want to reduce Oklahoma’s public services, hurt local business, and shrink our economy? Eliminate the corporate income tax!

Oklahoma House passes legislation to ban transgender women, girls from female sports: Oklahoma House Republicans pushed forward Monday with legislation to ban transgender girls and women from participating in female sports, passing Senate Bill 2 over the objections of LGBTQ organizations, House Democrats and business interests worried about the impact on everything from NCAA tournaments to the state’s nascent film industry to economic development. [Tulsa World] The House voted 73-19 for the bill, mostly along party lines. The measure now heads to the GOP-controlled Senate, which failed to consider a similar bill introduced earlier this session. Oklahoma is one of more than a dozen states where lawmakers are proposing restrictions this year on athletics or gender-confirming health care for transgender minors. Opponents raised concerns the bill could lead to the NCAA pulling some championship games from Oklahoma. The Women’s College Softball World Series is held in Oklahoma City and generates more than $20 million for the city each year. [AP News] Senate Bill 2 requires intercollegiate and school teams in the state be based on biological sex and prohibits males from joining female teams. [Public Radio Tulsa]

Nearly one-quarter of Oklahomans now fully vaccinated: Nearly one-quarter of Oklahomans are now fully vaccinated, according to data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The data shows 24.5% of Oklahoma residents have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19, slightly better than the national average of 23%. The CDC data shows 36.9% of the population has received at least one dose of the vaccine. [AP News]

Health News

Letter: Attack on managed care opponent omits true problem with Medicaid privatization: In the March 26 article “Critic of managed care, Standridge profited from current Medicaid system,” The Norman Transcript’s choice to focus on Sen. Rob Standridge’s pharmacy ownership ignores the fundamental problems with privatizing our state’s Medicaid program. I am writing today to address this oversight. [Steven D. Jimerson, M.D. / The Norman Transcript] OK Policy: Managed care will hurt health care delivery while increasing the program’s costs. We have collected fact sheets and issue analysis regarding managed care at

State Government News

Oklahoma House passes drug-diversion program, voter database bills: Potentially narrowing access to a scholarship program for disabled students, making it harder for schools to carry out public health measures, and making darn sure dead people don’t vote in Oklahoma were among the legislation passed Monday by the state House of Representatives. [Tulsa World]

Bill would make it tougher for Oklahoma school districts to require masks: The Oklahoma House passed a bill Monday putting restrictions on school districts that choose to require masks. Senate Bill 658 requires districts consult with their local health department, something many have done as they navigate the COVID-19 pandemic, but the bill also says districts must list reasons for a mask mandate and specific masks that satisfy it. Otherwise, the requirement is invalidated. [Public Radio Tulsa]

Oklahoma legislative leaders spar over bill to nullify Joe Biden’s executive orders: Republican leaders of the Oklahoma House and Senate are divided on a bill that would allow a majority of state lawmakers to nullify President Joe Biden’s executive orders. [The Oklahoman]

Oklahoma House Democrats want racial sensitivity, diversity training for state legislators: Two racially insensitive incidents at the Oklahoma state Capitol have ignited a conversation about whether state lawmakers should undergo racial sensitivity training. House Democrats want Republican House leaders to implement diversity and inclusion training for state lawmakers. [The Oklahoman]

Criminal Justice News

Inside Oklahoma’s police training for mental health 911 calls: For a few minutes, law enforcement officers from a dozen Oklahoma agencies experience what it’s like to be schizophrenic. The exercise is part of weeklong crisis intervention training, which teaches law enforcement how to identify and respond to mental health emergencies. The risk of being killed by police is greater for individuals with untreated mental illness, according to the Treatment Advocacy Center. A national report found that Oklahoma City and Tulsa are among the most deadliest cities in the nation for police killings. [Oklahoma Watch]

Illinois dramatically cut the cost of prison phone calls. Oklahoma could do the same: In 2008, a 15-minute prison phone call in Illinois cost $6.14, according to data compiled by the Prison Policy Initiative. Daily calls to each parent would have amounted to more than $4,400 annually. Families with an incarcerated member disproportionately struggle financially and often go into debt while supporting their loved one in prison. [Oklahoma Watch]

Technical troubles end Oklahoma County jail trust meeting: Monday’s regular meeting of the Oklahoma County Criminal Justice Authority, otherwise known as the jail trust, ended in bizarre fashion after technical difficulties forced postponement. [NonDoc]

Tulsa County Sheriff Vic Regalado defends appearance at convention featuring conspiracy theorists: Tulsa County Sheriff Vic Regalado on Monday defended his participation in a convention rife with conspiracy theorists held Friday and Saturday in Broken Arrow. [Public Radio Tulsa]

Economy & Business News

4/20: Medical marijuana industry surges in Oklahoma: The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic resulted in a loss of revenue for some service and health-oriented industries, but statistics show that workers in Oklahoma’s legal medical cannabis industry now exceed the number of construction workers. [Tulsa World]

After 75 Years, Noble Research Institute changes focus to regenerative agriculture: The Noble Research Institute is changing its focus from plant science to regenerative agriculture. The institute was started in 1945, by Lloyd Noble as a way to revitalize the agriculture industry following the dust bowl. Now, the institute has 350 employees, and a budget of $60 million. About 130 employees focus on research which is largely based in plant science. [KOSU]

Tulsa among cities selected to use Amazon electric delivery vans: Amazon has begun testing custom electric delivery vans in and around Tulsa. The city is among only 16 locations where Amazon will be using these vehicles for deliveries in 2021. [Tulsa World]

Education News

‘Where my beliefs are’: Stitt hires, fires State Board of Education members: When Gov. Kevin Stitt’s most recent appointee to the State Board of Education, Trent Smith, successfully moved to approve a sweeping resolution about charter school funding at a March meeting in an effort to settle a 2017 lawsuit, State Superintendent of Public Instruction Joy Hofmeister called the move “unexpected.” [NonDoc]

General News

Attorney General Merrick Garland delivers keynote speech at Oklahoma City bombing ceremony: U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland delivered the keynote address Monday at a ceremony for the 26th anniversary of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building bombing. Garland was a top official in the U.S. Justice Department when he traveled to Oklahoma City to investigate the April 19, 1995, bombing and oversee prosecution efforts that led to Timothy McVeigh’s conviction two years later at a trial in Denver. [The Oklahoman] | [KGOU] | [New York Times]

Former Quapaw officials face embezzlement and conspiracy charges alleging misuse of tribal funds: Following a 10-month investigation and a forensic audit, two former Quapaw Nation officials will face criminal charges alleging that they used tribal funds to pay for private jets, spa treatments and other extravagant personal expenses, the tribe confirmed Monday. [Tulsa World]

Quote of the Day

“I’m a conservative Republican who wants to limit the size of government, but I want to have a holistic conversation on tax and taxation. And I think if we do one-offs on corporate, it’s not prudent at this time.”

-Senate President Pro Tem Greg Treat speaking about HB 2083, which would eliminate the state’s corporate income tax [Public Radio Tulsa]

Number of the Day


Evictions granted filed in Oklahoma between January and March 21 despite the Centers for Disease Control’s eviction moratorium

[Source: Open Justice Oklahoma]

Policy Note

The CDC extends an eviction ban, but landlords find ways around it: A federal moratorium on evictions from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention protects renters from being evicted for not paying the rent, if they sign a document saying they’ve been affected by COVID-19. The Biden administration recently extended the ban through June 2021, giving states more time to distribute billions of dollars in federal rent relief aimed at preventing evictions during a public health crisis. Many state and local governments have other protections for renters. But there are plenty of workarounds and plenty of lawyers eager to help desperate landlords find them. [Marketplace]

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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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