In The Know: Lawsuit cap struck down; Legislature considers coverage expansion; Stitt opposes Medicaid on ballot…

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

Changes to scholarship tax credit bill would divert even more dollars from public education: While intended to address concerns with the original version, the latest changes to the scholarship tax credit legislation are even more harmful. The new bill increases the Oklahoma Equal Opportunity Scholarship tax credit limit from $5 million to $30 million, which means an additional $25 million public dollars could be taken out of our revenue base as tax credits for private donations. [OK Policy]

OK PolicyCast 46: A sanctuary for immigrants and their families (with Linda Allegro): Our guest today is Linda Allegro, the Project Director of New Sanctuary Network Tulsa. Linda speaks eloquently about how current approaches to immigration enforcement are breaking apart families, hurting public safety, and wasting tax dollars. [OK Policy]

In The News

Oklahoma Supreme Court strikes down lawsuit cap: In a 5-3 opinion that has far-reaching implications for personal injury litigants, the Oklahoma Supreme Court ruled today that a $350,000 cap on the recovery of non-economic damages — commonly referred to as damages for pain and suffering — is unconstitutional. [NonDoc]

Stitt marks 100 days in office, ‘frustrated’ by pace of government: People like round numbers, and today marks 100 days in office for Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt. In celebration, the political newcomer’s staff released a report of accomplishments and a brief letter from the governor that offers insight into his term so far. “Some people warned me that I would get frustrated at the slow pace of government. They were right; I have,” Stitt said in the report. [NonDoc]

Oklahoma Legislature Considering Expansion Of Medicaid Ahead Of Rally: The Oklahoma legislature is considering an expansion of Medicaid, or at least some expansion of federal coverage in Oklahoma, as an initiative petition starts that could put the question before voters. As the political tide is changing, lawmakers see small hospitals and ambulance services closing and are hearing from constituents about the cost of having so many people without coverage. [NewsOn6]

Stitt would ‘absolutely’ oppose Medicaid expansion ballot measure: Gov. Kevin Stitt said Tuesday he will actively discourage Oklahomans from voting for Medicaid expansion if the question goes before voters in the 2020 general election. “I’m going to tell Oklahomans that’s the wrong approach, but I understand I’ve got to give them plan B,” Stitt told The Oklahoman. [NewsOK] Today Oklahomans are rallying at the Capitol to urge lawmakers to expand coverage. Learn more and take action at

New state law prohibits local tax on plastic bags: Gov. Kevin Stitt signed a new law on Tuesday prohibiting towns and counties in Oklahoma from enacting local taxes on plastic bags and other “auxiliary containers” like foam boxes used for restaurant to-go orders. The measure was in response to a plan proposed in Norman to collect a nickel fee for every plastic bag used by grocery stores and other stores. [Journal Record ????]

Controversial environmental ‘audit’ bill heads to governor: An environmental and safety “self audit” program for chemical plants, public utilities, agriculture and other regulated industries is on its way to Gov. Kevin Stitt’s desk after acceptance by the Oklahoma House of Representatives on Tuesday. The House also passed a slew of criminal justice reform measures and a hotly contested bill intended to reverse some recent changes in the state’s alcohol laws. [Tulsa World]

Lawmakers ditch legislation to tax aggregate producers: A bill that would have allowed counties to adopt a gross production tax on aggregates like sand and gravel mined in the state and used in road and other construction projects won’t advance to become law this year. House Bill 1404 was cut from a list of bills scheduled to be heard before a recent deadline set for action by the Senate Finance Committee. [Journal Record ????

More Oklahomans Could Face Presentence Investigations — and Pay More for Them: State lawmakers are moving to increase the fee Oklahoma courts can levy for presentence investigations. Senate Bill 186 would set the fee range at $50 to $500, up from the current $5 to $500. Rep. Randy Worthen said that still doesn’t cover what the work costs the Department of Corrections. [Public Radio Tulsa]

Oklahoma voting rose last year among all age groups: Voting in Oklahoma rose dramatically last year compared to the 2014 midterm elections, and the youngest age groups showed up at the polls at nearly twice the rate, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. With competitive races for governor, the Oklahoma City-area congressional seat and numerous legislative seats, Oklahoma’s citizen voting rate jumped to 49% in November, up from 34% in November 2014. [NewsOK]

Lawsuit Settled Over ‘Muslim-Free’ Gun Range: A lawsuit filed on behalf of a Muslim U.S. Army reservist asked to leave a gun range in eastern Oklahoma was dropped on Tuesday, with both sides declaring victory in the case. Court records show both sides agreed to the dismissal order filed in federal court in Muskogee. [Associated Press]

State education officials deny clearing Epic Charter Schools in investigation, despite school’s new claims: Epic Charter Schools on Tuesday issued a news release and social media posts for their teachers and parents declaring that a newly issued audit by state education officials proved they are in “full federal compliance” with requirements for low-income and special education students. But officials at the Oklahoma State Department of Education said it was only “routine monitoring,” not an audit, that did not cover the topic of special education. [Tulsa World]

State test results available by late May according to Hofmeister: Parents and teachers will be able to review students’ state test scores as early as May according to the Oklahoma State Department of Education (OSDE). OSDE said this will give families access to the scores before summer break begins for many districts. The individual test results will be posted on the Oklahoma School Testing Program (OTSP) Student/Family Portal on the Oklahoma School Report Card dashboard at [Fox 25]

Working on Oklahoma education funding: We’re getting close to the end of the legislative session, and we’re in the final stages of state budget negotiations. As chairman of the Education Appropriations & Budget Subcommittee, it’s been my job to help prioritize spending for common education, higher education and CareerTech as well as other areas under the education umbrella. My requests for common education so far total about a $140 million increase over last year’s record $2.9 billion appropriation. [Rep. Mark McBride / NewsOK]

Quote of the Day

“We want our federal tax dollars to return to Oklahoma, to invest in our infrastructure, to decrease our uninsured, and to increase access for all patients in Oklahoma.”

-Dr. Larry Bookman, President of the Oklahoma State Medical Association, which is part of the Coalition to Expand Health Coverage holding a rally at the Capitol today [Source: NewsOn6]

Number of the Day

$1.1 billion

Projected shortfall in funding to maintain existing state services by FY 2030 under Oklahoma’s current tax system.

[Source: OK Policy]

See previous Numbers of the Day here.

Policy Note

‘Someone To Speak For You’: Low-Income Tenants Get Lawyers For Housing Court: Jacqueline Davis walked into the Bronx’s housing court hoping to stop her landlord from evicting her from the one-bedroom apartment she has lived in for nearly 30 years. The 74-year-old retiree says her landlord moved to kick her out after she deducted part of her rent when a pipe burst and the ceiling collapsed, damaging her kitchen. Worried about becoming homeless, Davis unexpectedly found some good news in the crowded hallways of New York City’s busiest housing court, where more than 80,000 eviction proceedings were filed last fiscal year. [NPR]

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Gene Perry worked for OK Policy from 2011 to 2019. He is a native Oklahoman and a citizen of the Cherokee Nation. He graduated from the University of Oklahoma with a B.A. in history and an M.A. in journalism.

One thought on “In The Know: Lawsuit cap struck down; Legislature considers coverage expansion; Stitt opposes Medicaid on ballot…

  1. I’m not a usual blogger, but I’m really concerned about Oklahoma and my future. Oklahoma has been known to be kinda laid-back and astute at the same time. This gun-carry bill and our mental health condition of the state has me really concerned, feel like I’m being forced to get a gun.

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