In The Know: McCurtain Co. officials resist resignation calls | Sports betting bill fails | Oklahoma educator named National Teacher of the Year | 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.

Oklahoma News

McCurtain County officials suspended from Oklahoma Sheriffs’ Association: The Oklahoma Sheriff’s Association on Tuesday suspended three McCurtain County law enforcement officials following troubling accusations that the officials participated in a discussion about killing local journalists and the hanging of Black people. [The Oklahoman]

  • McCurtain County officials were already sued in federal court by the Gazette-News. Why? [The Oklahoman]
  • McCurtain County officials resist resignation calls [Tulsa World]
  • McCurtain County “good ole boy” system validated by former official [The Black Wall Street Times]
  • McCurtain Memorial Hospital evacuates for bomb threat Tuesday, unclear if related to recent controversy [The Oklahoman]

Stitt vetoes first bill of session as lawmakers seek input on $600M surplus: Gov. Kevin Stitt issued his first veto of the legislative session on Monday as lawmakers and the executive branch wrestle for control of $600 million in surplus cash at a state agency. Stitt vetoed Senate Bill 1130, which would have blocked the Oklahoma Health Care Authority from spending $600 million in unused cash in the current fiscal year, which ends June 30. [Tulsa World]

Sports betting bill fails to advance in Oklahoma legislature: House Bill 1027 would’ve allowed in person and mobile sports betting under the state-tribal model gaming compact. But it failed to advance in the Senate before an April 13 legislative deadline. [KOSU]

  • Sports betting bill fails to advance in Oklahoma Senate [The Oklahoman]
  • Oklahoma sports betting bill appears dead for the session [Tulsa World]

State Government News

Oklahoma has a deal to bring Panasonic battery plant to Pryor, but details need to be ironed out: Oklahoma has reportedly signed a contract with Panasonic to build an electric vehicle battery plant in Pryor. But there may be some complications with the agreement. Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt says the state has inked a contract to open a battery plant at the MidAmerica Industrial Park in Pryor. It’s been widely reported to be with Japanese manufacturer Panasonic. [KGOU]

A Northeast Oklahoma grassroots group suing for more say on poultry farms will have its day in court: A grassroots group representing residents of the Spring Creek Watershed in Northeast Oklahoma has sued the state for more public input on new poultry megafarms. Although the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food and Forestry (ODAFF) said the group lacked the standing to sue, a judge ruled that the case should be heard in court. [KOSU]

100 days in: AG Gentner Drummond touts fighting government corruption, scandal: In his first months in office, newly elected Attorney General Gentner Drummond has taken aim at what he calls a culture of corruption and scandal in state government. [Tulsa World]

Oklahoma House Rejects Amendments Senate Made To Education Plan: The debate over education in Oklahoma is back to square one after the House rejected amendments the Senate made to the House’s education plan. House Speaker Charles McCall warned that any amendments made to the bills would be dead on arrival in his chamber. [News On 6]

Bill protecting internal combustion engines and gas stoves putters along: SB 202, which passed the House on Tuesday and was sent back to the Senate to sign off on a relatively minor amendment, essentially guarantees the right of Oklahomans to use internal combustion engines and gas-fueled stoves — as long as the federal government doesn’t say otherwise. [Tulsa World]

Federal Government News

What different court rulings mean for the abortion pill mifepristone and for Oklahomans: Multiple federal judges and the country’s highest court have gotten involved in determining whether a medication used to induce abortions will remain available. Right now, nothing will change until the Supreme Court makes a decision, after it issued a temporary stay on rulings from a federal judge in Texas and a three federal appeals judges in New Orleans. [The Oklahoman]

Education News

Union’s Rebecka Peterson named National Teacher of the Year: Union High School calculus teacher Rebecka Peterson is the National Teacher of the Year. Announced on “CBS Mornings” Wednesday, Peterson is the first Oklahoma teacher to win the award since Charles Page High School’s Lawana Trout in 1964. [Tulsa World]

  • Oklahoma teacher named 2023 National Teacher of the Year [CBS News]

General News

Chilling new report shows white supremacy spreading in the US: A new report on the “State of Black America” details the alarming rise in white supremacy across the nation. The 2023 report, authored by the National Urban League, outlines how hate crimes, extremism and racism are spreading rapidly. [The Black Wall Street Times]

GOP control leads to major fundraising haul for Oklahoma congressmen: Being in the majority has its rewards. For some Oklahoma members of the U.S. House, gaining leadership roles in the new Republican majority was followed by major increases in fundraising. [The Oklahoman]

Oklahoma Local News

  • Update: Two die from shootings at Tulsa library, convenience store [Tulsa World]

Quote of the Day

“What they did was intimidate and threaten the citizens that if you complain, this is what can happen to you. That’s a dangerous thing.”

– Anthony Douglas, the head of the Oklahoma chapter of the NCAAP, commenting on the recent controversy surrounding McCurtain County officials caught on tape reminiscing about lynching Black people and discussing the assassination of a local journalist. [CNHI News]

Number of the Day

$100 billion

Surplus generated by undocumented immigrants in the Social Security program during the last decade as they paid into the program but were ineligible to participate in it. [New American Economy]

Policy Note

Tax Day Highlights States’ Promise and Peril: Strong tax systems are a foundation for states to expand opportunity, promote fairness and equity, and foster broadly shared success. When policymakers prioritize efforts to protect and raise revenue, especially from wealthy taxpayers and corporations that don’t pay their fair share, it enables them to support essential investments such as high-quality schools and health services, clean water and reliable transportation, income support programs, and strong democratic institutions. Unfortunately, many states this year are choosing to cut taxes — often deeply — at an enormous cost in lost revenue and little to no benefit for families, communities, small businesses, and local economies. [CBPP]

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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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