In The Know: Major policy moves through the #OKLeg in the final week of the session | State boycott on financial institutions is “inconsistent” | Capitol Update

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

Budget special session points to lack of trust between legislature, governor (Capitol Update): Because of the protracted fight over education funding and tax credits for people sending their children to private schools, the legislature was pushed to the brink in getting its appropriations measures passed before the constitutionally-required end of legislative session this Friday. Appropriations negotiations and bills for all other state agency budgets — along with many substantive policy bills — were held up while the education issues and funding were discussed behind closed doors. When the agreement finally came, there was little remaining time or money to address other major issues. [Steve Lewis / Capitol Update

WATCH: Conversation w/Becky Gligo: More affordable housing supports quality of life, economic development: Becky Gligo, Executive Director of Housing Solutions, talks with OK Policy’s Emma Morris about the need for state and local investments to address Oklahoma’s housing shortage. Increasing affordable housing would bolster quality of life in the state and support economic development efforts. [OK Policy]

WATCH: InDepth: Title 42 & Immigration: Gabriela Ramirez-Perez, OK Policy’s Immigration Policy Analyst, appeared in a panel discussion on OETA’s Oklahoma News Report to talk about immigration issues in our state. [OETA via YouTube]

Oklahoma News

Oklahoma lawmakers propose major policy changes in final week: A proposed $13.2 billion budget was officially proposed in the Oklahoma Legislature Monday, a bill that will be debated in days to come in appropriations committees and on the House and Senate floors. But along with House Bill 1004X, the expected general appropriations bill, dozens of other bills were introduced as well, some of them policy proposals that would involve significant changes to current state law. [The Oklahoman]

  • Lawmakers close to budget, not there yet [Tulsa World]

State Government News

Most companies on Oklahoma’s blacklist aren’t actually subject to a state law banning ‘woke’ investing. The State Treasurer added them anyway: The Frontier found the Oklahoma State Treasurer’s office applied criteria for blacklisting companies inconsistently, leaving some companies, including some of the largest banks in the world, claiming they have been arbitrarily and wrongly banned from doing business with the state. The blacklist could have far-reaching effects on everything from financing for public works projects to how state payroll checks are processed. [The Frontier]

Lawmakers introduce maternity leave for state employees: Senate Bill 16X covers both births and adoptions. The bill was introduced in a special session that was convened last week to give lawmakers more time to adopt the state budget. This legislation follows the introduction of paid maternity leave for teachers, which appeared in the Legislature’s education policy and teacher pay package that has reached the governor’s desk. [The Oklahoman]

Stitt vetoes bill that would reduce his influence on Oklahoma Turnpike Authority: Gov. Kevin Stitt vetoed a bill on Monday that would let state lawmakers pick two-thirds of the Oklahoma Turnpike Authority members, saying the Legislature can’t control the oversight of executive branch duties. [The Oklahoman]

  • Bill addressing Oklahoma Turnpike Authority appointments may be revived [Journal Record]
  • Stitt vetoes bill to reduce his control of Oklahoma Turnpike Authority board [Tulsa World]

Oklahoma legislative committee picks projects for the last of the state’s ARPA pandemic relief funds: Two years and nearly $2 billion later, the Oklahoma Legislature is set to assign the last of its money from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA). President Joe Biden signed ARPA into law in early 2021, earmarking money for state, tribal and local governments to help their communities in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. [KOSU]

Podcast: ‘Focus: Black Oklahoma’: education funding disparities, Oklahoma County jail grand jury report, Tulsa Jazz Fest: This episode of Focus: Black Oklahoma features reports on Tulsa education leaders advocating for more equitable funding, a grand jury released a report detailing conditions at the Oklahoma County jail, and the 2023 Tulsa Jazz Fest. [KOSU]

Editorial: Education plan offers plenty to like but provides tax support to private schools: To end the acrimonious standoff over education funding, lawmakers have agreed on big investments but created a door to pay for private schools. [Editorial / Tulsa World]

Health News

Oklahomans with disabilities face long waitlists for home and community-based services: More than half a million Americans are on waiting lists to receive long-term care in their homes. Most people on these lists have intellectual and developmental disabilities and sometimes need help with daily activities like cooking, maintaining a job or getting around town. Judy Woodruff spoke with families in Oklahoma waiting for the help they need. It’s part of our series, Disability Reframed. [PBS]

Criminal Justice News

Man with reduced sentence for killing abusive dad advocates for Oklahoma abuse survivors: House Bill 1639 would give added protection to men or women who fight back against an intimate partner who is abusing them. However, a mechanism in the bill that would allow Oklahomans already behind bars to apply for sentencing relief was removed before it passed the House. [KTUL]

Jesse Jackson says the McCurtain County sheriff should resign. No one is certain he will.: Renowned civil rights leader the Rev. Jesse L. Jackson Sr. is calling for the resignation of McCurtain County officials at the heart of a scandal in Idabel after a local newspaper accused them of making racist comments and plotting to kill journalists. The “hateful and violent” remarks — allegedly made on March 6 by the McCurtain County sheriff and other county officials in secret recordings released by the McCurtain Gazette-News last month — are “a reminder of the unfinished business of tackling racism,” Jackson told The Oklahoman. [The Oklahoman]

Economy & Business News

Enel to build $1B solar cell manufacturing site in Oklahoma: An investment of more than $1 billion by a green energy company in Oklahoma will establish one of the largest solar power production facilities in the country in Inola, about 25 miles east of Tulsa in Rogers County. [Journal Record]

  • Italy’s Enel to invest more than $1 bln in Oklahoma solar panel factory [Reuters]

Oklahoma Local News

  • $1 million grant to kick-off repairs at Jewel Theater, state’s only surviving Black cinema [The Oklahoman]
  • New Right to Counsel Eviction Help program launched in Oklahoma City [KOKH]
  • Tulsa’s OKPOP museum might get a funding match in new proposal at the Legislature [Tulsa World]

Quote of the Day

“While these bills provide elected officials a short-term political victory, they are also giving their constituents a loss that will cost them dearly for years to come.”

– Adrian Beverage, president and CEO of the Oklahoma Bankers Association, in a public statement condemning policies contained in Oklahoma’s Energy Discrimination Act, the language of which was copied from a Texas law passed in June 2021. [The Frontier]

Number of the Day


Percentage of renting households in Oklahoma that are cost-burdened, which means expenses such as rent, utility costs and other housing fees exceed 30% of household income. [Prosperity Now]

Policy Note

Will States Force Localities to Build Affordable Housing?: The need for more housing in America is undeniable. But with localities unlikely to change zoning laws to create more, states are stepping in. Typically, [localities] hew to the principle that zoning in whatever way they choose is a bedrock principle of local control. But as the housing shortage gets worse, a growing number of states are threatening to alter that long-standing principle. [Route Fifty]

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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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