In The Know: Lawmakers want immigration law like Texas | Budget transparency needs all players on board | Bill allows some nurses to prescribe drugs | Hunting and fishing fees could increase

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

Policy Matters: Budget transparency progressing, but needs all players on board: The Oklahoma Senate held true to its word about passing a budget proposal before the end of March, nearly two months sooner than has been the norm. While this is a welcomed step towards making this vital process more public, we now need the House leadership to address budget issues with similar vigor. [Shiloh Kantz / Journal Record]

Oklahoma News

Oklahoma could soon get version of controversial Texas immigration law: House Speaker Charles McCall vows to secure Oklahoma’s borders via a measure similar to one passed by Texas lawmakers last year that allows local police to arrest and deport people they suspect entered the country illegally. [KOSU]

  • Oklahoma House Speaker Charles McCall to file legislation allowing illegal immigrant arrests [Oklahoma Voice]
  • Inspired by Texas, Republicans in Other States Eye Immigration Bills [New York Times]
  • Oklahoma attorney general wants immigration law like Texas’ [Tulsa World]
  • Oklahoma immigration attorney weighs in on contentious Texas law [KFOR]

Tulsa City Councilor mulls reviving rejected proposal as governors deny Texas sending migrants to Tulsa: Tulsa city councilor Jayme Fowler said Wednesday he has yet to determine whether he will move forward with a proposed ordinance that would prohibit the use of city funds to house, accommodate or provide public benefits to illegal immigrants. [Tulsa World]

  • Editorial: Tulsa leaders were right to reject political stunt preying on immigrant fears [Editorial / Tulsa World]

State Government News

Legislature approves bill to bundle Oklahoma hunting and fishing licenses, increase fees: A bill to streamline Oklahoma’s hunting and fishing licenses is headed to the governor’s desk after a multiyear journey through the legislature. The measure also hikes hunting license fees for the first time in two decades. [KOSU]

Media firm makes changes after Fox 25’s report on State Supt. national promotion: After FOX 25 and Oklahoma Watch released a story that revealed Oklahoma tax dollars were being used to promote Walters nationally, Vought Strategies changed its registered agent in the state from David Martin to Mary Grace Vought, who is the president and founder of the firm. The update happened on March 18, five days after the story was released. [FOX25]

Oklahoma social workers face barriers in getting licensed, a bill could help them get to work faster: The hour requirement for a clinical social worker license in Oklahoma breaks down to 3,000 spent directly with clients and 100 spent with a licensed supervisor. The rest goes toward regular work hours. Oklahoma is also one of the only states in the U.S. requiring 3,000 hours of direct client contact. [KGOU]

Opinion: Locking people up longer isn’t doing much to deter lawbreaking: As of January 2018, one in eight Oklahoma prisoners were serving a sentence of life with parole, life without parole, or a sentence of 50 years or more, sometimes referred to as “virtual life.” Since 2018, those numbers have only increased. These life sentences amount to a per-prisoner cost of $1 million or more, and that is if they do not have underlying health conditions. [Crystal Avilla / The Oklahoman]

Federal Government News

Oklahoma Sen. Lankford announces bid for Senate Republican leadership post: Oklahoma Sen. James Lankford has announced he will run for vice chair of the Senate Republican Conference, a position considered the fifth-highest in the chamber’s GOP leadership. Lankford, of Oklahoma City, was elected to the U.S. Senate in 2014. [Oklahoma Voice]

Tribal Nations News

Ada woman, former Oklahoma teacher, sentenced for sex abuse crimes: An Ada woman has been sentenced to federal prison on three counts of sexual abuse of a minor in Indian Country. The charges arose from an investigation by the Chickasaw Nation Lighthorse Police and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. In Muskogee federal court this week, Erin Nicole Fixico-Mitchell, 33, was ordered to serve 69 months followed by 10 years of supervised release. She pleaded guilty last year. [The Oklahoman]

Tribal elections: Cherokee, Osage nations face constitutional questions; Peoria, Apache tribes elect leaders: As Oklahomans prepare for the April 3-5 filing deadline for state elections, some tribal nations across the state have been conducting or preparing for elections of their own. [NonDoc]

Voting and Election News

Oklahoma group weighing open primary ballot initiative to increase inclusion, reduce divisiveness: Oklahomans may get a chance to change the election process by ending closed primaries. Oklahoma supporters of open primaries are working on an initiative petition to let voters decide whether or not a massive change is needed. [Oklahoma Voice]

Health News

APRNs could prescribe some drugs if Oklahoma governor signs bill: Oklahoma lawmakers have passed a bill that would allow advanced practice registered nurses to prescribe certain drugs without the oversight of doctors. Sen. Brenda Stanley, R-Midwest City, who authored Senate Bill 458, said its passage into law would help to alleviate a severe shortage of physicians in rural parts of Oklahoma. [Tulsa World]

  • Oklahoma bill that would allow nurses to prescribe drugs heads to Gov. Stitt’s desk [The Oklahoman]

Criminal Justice News

Lawmakers chime in after DA’s comments surface about Drummond, Glossip clemency: Oklahoma Attorney General Gentner Drummond has been criticized by some state prosecutors for taking the position that the death-penalty conviction of Richard Glossip should be set aside. [Tulsa World]

Tulsa’s Terence Crutcher Foundation awarded $2 million from Yield Giving Project: “We were in disbelief — in shock, really,” said said Tiffany Crutcher, whose foundation is named for her late twin brother, who was fatally shot by a Tulsa police officer in 2016. Crutcher said the $2 million gift comes with no restrictions on use but that she expects most if not all of it will go toward one project — the foundation’s restoration of the North Pointe Shopping Center, which is part of its larger mission to help revitalize north Tulsa and the Black Wall Street area. [Tulsa World]

Housing & Economic Opportunity News

Homelessness and mental health can intersect for those on the streets, their allies: Following a Wednesday morning meeting of the Oklahoma Housing Finance Agency’s Board of Trustees, those experiencing homelessness in Tulsa could see additional support for mental health issues in the coming months. The trustees voted unanimously to award $1.2 million of National Housing Trust Fund money to the Mental Health Association Oklahoma for the purpose of fixing up 16 multifamily units in a 27-unit development in Tulsa to provide transitional housing for people who need to be close to support services while they get back on their feet. [NonDoc]

Economy & Business News

Women’s Business Summit Celebrates Successes: When the Greenwood Women’s Business Center opened two years ago, it promised to provide women in Tulsa – particularly Black women and other women of color – a hand in launching and growing their businesses. Last week, at its second anniversary gathering, the InnovateHER Summit, the Center gave the two hundred attendees a couple of big things to celebrate. [Oklahoma Eagle]

These three Oklahoma cities rank among most investible cities in U.S. : Northeast Oklahoma has two of the most investible cities in the U.S., according to a recent study. Although Oklahoma didn’t crack the top 10, three cities did make the top 100 in the list. [Journal Record]

Why small businesses seem to be struggling: America’s employers added 275,000 jobs in February, again showcasing the U.S. economy’s resilience despite high-interest rates. Yet, the smallest businesses – those with fewer than 10 employees – cut more than 23,000 jobs last month, signaling they are struggling, according to the Intuit QuickBooks Small Business Index. [Journal Record]

Education News

Court throws out letter in Edmond Public Schools vs. OSDE lawsuit due to lack of credibility: A mystery letter from a so-called Edmond Public Schools parent to the Oklahoma Supreme Court defending the State Department of Education’s actions has been stricken from the record due to a lack of credibility. [KFOR]

$1.9M federal grant expands OU entrepreneurship programs: Startup OU, a program of the Tom Love Innovation Hub at the University of Oklahoma’s Price College of Business, has received a $1.9 million grant to expand its entrepreneurial programs from the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration. [Journal Record]

Opinion: Ryan Walters acts like a bully. To expect him to properly address bullying is not realistic: Bullying is conduct that cannot be objectively justified by a reasonable code of conduct, and whose effect is to threaten, undermine, constrain, humiliate and harm the reputation, self-esteem, self-confidence or ability to perform. Unfortunately, the Oklahoma public education system is now experiencing the harmful effects of the bullying of Ryan Walters. [Janis Blevins / The Oklahoman]

Community News

Supreme Court rejects appeal from parents who lost custody of trans teen: The Supreme Court declined to decide Monday whether an Indiana couple who believe children should be raised based on their sex at birth should have lost custody of their teenager, a transgender girl. [USA Today]

Opinion: Political integrity in Oklahoma and the nation is decaying. We must address it: It’s time to confront a hard truth: Our government is at a critical juncture. We are grappling with threats that test our strength and demand immediate, decisive action. The urgency of our national challenges should drive our leaders to work together and act quickly to secure and protect what matters most. Instead, we are seeing bitter infighting characterized by extreme ideologies and the pursuit of personal agendas. [Madison Horn / The Oklahoman]

Local Headlines

  • Special use permit for jail site near Del City requested by landowner [The Oklahoman]
  • City of Edmond requests forced sale of apartment labeled a public [The Oklahoman]
  • OKC Zoo Amphitheater announces new management, 2024 summer lineup coming soon [The Oklahoman]
  • More development for Automobile Alley: Offices, retail and hotel planned for key intersection [The Oklahoman]

Quote of the Day

“National rhetoric has resurfaced on immigration during this presidential election year. The vitriol is emotional and meant to divide Americans. State and local political opportunists are using it for their own gain.”

-Tulsa World editorial focused on political stunts that are preying on and stoking fears of immigrants in our communities. [Tulsa World

Number of the Day


Percentage of people living in north Tulsa who earned at or above 200% of the poverty level in 2022, compared with 73.2% of people living in south Tulsa. [Tulsa Equality Indicators] | [Website]

Policy Note

Feds Seek to Heal Community Scars from Interstate HighwaysThe Reconnecting Communities program is giving $3.3 billion to help cities address problems caused by highways. But in most cases, the projects stop short of removing highways altogether. [Governing]

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Kandis West is a communications professional with more than 15 years of experience. Most recently, she served as the Communications Director for the Oklahoma House Democratic Caucus. She spent nine years in the Olympia/Tacoma area of Washington organizing compensation campaigns for teachers for the Washington Education Association. Kandis has a proven track record of increasing community engagement, public awareness and media exposure around the most pressing issues that impact citizens. She is a graduate of the University of Oklahoma Gaylord College of Journalism.