In The Know: Local elections today | Response to State of the State | Gov. unveils flat budget | More

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

OK Policy’s State of the State Response, 2022: While we heard a lot of rhetoric in today’s State of the State address, we heard precious little that builds bipartisan solutions helping Oklahomans live healthier lives, raise thriving families, and make our communities safer. Increasingly, too many Oklahomans face daily hardships when it comes to putting food on their table or a roof over their heads. This clearly shows the need for our elected officials and policymakers to focus intently on removing obstacles that keep our fellow Oklahomans from reaching their full potential. [Full Statement / OK Policy

Oklahoma News

Stitt pitches higher teacher pay and vouchers, says ‘justice’ jeopardized by reservation jurisdiction: With Principal Chief David Hill and two other Muscogee Nation elected leaders watching from the gallery of the Oklahoma House of Representatives, Gov. Kevin Stitt delivered his fourth State of the State address this afternoon and said the U.S. Supreme Court decision that functionally affirmed six tribal reservations in the eastern part of the state “jeopardizes justice.” [NonDoc

New from OK Policy: If Oklahoma lawmakers leverage the Sales Tax Relief Credit to reduce or eliminate the impact of grocery taxes, this would represent a fiscally prudent way to deliver meaningful support to our friends and neighbors who most need tax relief.

Gov. Kevin Stitt unveils nearly standstill budget: Gov. Kevin Stitt on Monday proposed a relatively flat budget for the upcoming 2023 fiscal year. Stitt’s $9 billion state budget proposal is just the starting point. Lawmakers and Stitt will craft a final budget, which is usually unveiled in May. [Tulsa World

Report from OK Policy: A Better Path Forward: During the past two decades, Oklahoma lawmakers have reduced state government spending by 22 percent (adjusted for inflation and population growth). This means that each year our elected officials and policymakers have fewer dollars to answer today’s needs or to invest in our state’s future success

Mayor, city council, school board seats to be decided across Oklahoma on Tuesday: 65 of Oklahoma’s 77 counties are holding special elections and primaries on Tuesday, Feb. 8 for mayor, school boards, city council and other local races. [KGOU

  • A list of Oklahoma City area elections as voters head to polls for first time in 2022 [The Oklahoman]
  • Editorial: Vote today in school, municipal elections [Editorial / Tulsa World

State Government News

Bristow Republican nominated to be House speaker pro tem: State Rep. Kyle Hilbert, a Republican from Bristow, has been nominated by colleagues in the Oklahoma House of Representatives to serve as the next speaker pro tempore. Previously, the position was held by state Rep. Terry O’Donnell, R-Catoosa, who resigned recently after he and his wife were charged with conspiracy against the state and other counts. [The Journal Record

Bill would let voters decide status of unopposed incumbents: The 2022 Oklahoma Legislature may consider a bill that would allow voters to decide whether incumbents who are unopposed in their bid for another term should stay in office. [Southwest Ledger]

Federal Government News

The RNC says the Jan. 6 insurrection was ‘legitimate political discourse.’ We asked Oklahoma’s all-GOP delegation if they agree: In a resolution passed by voice vote Friday, the Republican National Committee declared the deadly insurrection of Jan. 6, 2021, to be “legitimate political discourse.”  Public Radio Tulsa on Friday reached out to each member of Oklahoma’s all-Republican federal delegation — Sens. Jim Inhofe and James Lankford, and Reps. Kevin Hern, Markwayne Mullin, Frank Lucas, Tom Cole, and Stephanie Bice — to ask if they agreed with their party’s assessment of the attack on the Capitol. [Public Radio Tulsa

Criminal Justice News

Oklahoma Pardon and Parole Board denies parole for former OKC cop, convicted rapist Daniel Holtzclaw: In a 5-0 vote Monday, the Oklahoma Pardon and Parole Board denied parole for Daniel Holtzclaw, the fired Oklahoma City police officer who is serving a 263-year prison sentence for multiple rapes and other sex crimes. [The Oklahoman

Oklahoma County Jail reduces triple celling, COVID cases and state inmates: The Oklahoma County jail has made progress in several ongoing areas of concern, including the reduction of triple-celled detainees, COVID-19 cases and inmates awaiting transfer, according to a report by administrators during Monday’s jail trust meeting. [The Oklahoman]

  • Jail Trust takes no action on Citizens’ Advisory Board – hears jail reports [OKC Free Press]
  • Commissioners take action on recovery, CARES Act, and ODOT funds [OKC Free Press]

Mayor, police chief to visit Las Vegas to look at real-time crime information center: A group of city leaders is headed to Las Vegas, Nevada, later this month to take a look at that desert community’s real-time crime information center. [Tulsa World]

Economic Opportunity

‘Cybersecurity command center’ planned in Tulsa: A “cybersecurity command center” planned in Tulsa will be a place for companies to learn how to harden systems and defend against hacks and other outsider intrusions on computers and integrated networks. [The Journal Record

Economy & Business News

Oil prices spike… good for the state, not so good for drivers: Gasoline prices in Tulsa have not been this high since 2014. The average price for regular unleaded is $3.18 per gallon. That is an increase of 15.2 cents in the last week. Prices are over a dollar per gallon higher than this time last year, according to the energy website, [Public Radio Tulsa

Education News

Oklahoma school board member slams gender identities, implies parents should kill themselves: A man who appears to be school board member Andy McGuire with Velma-Alma Public Schools issued what he called a “public service announcement” on Tik Tok, implying parents who believe in more than two genders should kill themselves. [The Oklahoman]

Oklahoma Local News

  • Arrests made after scuffle with Tulsa police officer at Leonard Peltier protest outside federal courthouse [Tulsa World]

Quote of the Day

Now more than ever, it’s vital for our state’s leadership to unite rather than divide. Only working together can we tackle the issues that matter most to everyday Oklahomans.

– From Oklahoma Policy Institute’s response to the 2022 State of the State address [OK Policy]

Number of the Day


Number of Black lawmakers out of 149 seats in the Oklahoma House and Senate.

[Source: Governing]

Policy Note

New rules are limiting how teachers can teach Black History Month: Schools and universities are marking Black History Month in February, but this is the first time it will be celebrated under new restrictions on diversity education imposed by some states. The constraints — under the guise of banning the teaching of critical race theory — limit what some state-supported institutions can discuss about the nation’s racial past. Educators embracing Black history have received death threats. Since last year, 14 states (including Oklahoma) have imposed restrictions through legislation, executive actions, or commission votes, an Education Week analysis found. [Axios]

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NOTE: February is National Black History Month, a time to honor the contributions and sacrifices of African Americans who have helped shape the nation, and celebrate the rich cultural heritage, triumphs and adversities that are an indelible part of our country’s history.


Kristin Wells served as the Communications and Operations Fellow for OK Policy from October 2021 to July 2022. She previously worked as a digital content producer for News On 6. A native Kansas Citian, Kristin graduated with a B.A. in Media Studies and a B.A. in Spanish from the University of Tulsa in 2020. While there, she was accepted into the Global Scholars program, spurring her interests in policy, social movements, global identities, and the importance of education and advocacy. She hopes to use her skills to continue to learn and create a more equitable future for Oklahomans. An avid sports fan, Kristin lives in Tulsa with her rescue dog and is passionate about college basketball, documentaries, and coffee.

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