In The Know: Muslim Day at the capitol | VW passes on Oklahoma as location for new EV battery plant | Capitol Update | 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

Child leave bill (SB 193) could mark progress for maternity, childcare for state employees (Capitol Update)

Sen. Jessica Garvin, R-Duncan, appears to be making some progress on her goal to make Oklahoma a “top 10 state for women.” She obtained passage last week of her Senate Bill 193 that would grant a six-week maternity leave to any state employee with a new birth or adopted child if the employee had been employed by the state for at least two years prior to requesting the leave. The bill also provides that the service of the employee will be considered uninterrupted for purposes of determining seniority, pay or pay advancement, and performance awards, and for the receipt of any benefit that may be affected by a leave of absence. The bill passed, with the title stricken, by a vote of 33-14 after some lively and perhaps unfortunate debate. [Steve Lewis / Capitol Update]

Oklahoma News

Bill would reduce governor’s power over state tourism agency: The Senate passed a measure Monday that would remove some of Gov. Kevin Stitt’s power over the Oklahoma Department of Tourism and Recreation. The agency recently has been rocked by a contracting scandal that resulted in lawsuits. [Tulsa World]

Veteran Affairs director fired amid spat with Gov. Kevin Stitt: The executive director of the Oklahoma Department of Veteran Affairs was fired late last week following a long history of tension between him and Governor Kevin Stitt. The Oklahoma Veterans Commission voted 5-1 to remove Joel Kintsel from his position as executive director of the Oklahoma Department of Veterans Affairs on Friday. [KGOU]

  • Ousted Oklahoma Veterans Affairs director disputes firing: ‘There was no legal authority’ [Tulsa World]

Oklahoma rejects EPA plan to transfer contaminated soil from East Palestine to hazardous waste facility: Gov. Kevin Stitt tweeted that he stopped a shipment of contaminated soil from East Palestine, Ohio, to a waste disposal facility in northwestern Oklahoma. According to an email obtained by The Frontier, the Environmental Protection Agency notified the governor’s office on Saturday that it planned to send 3,640 tons of waste to the Clean Harbors Lone Mountain facility near Waynoka. [KOSU]

  • EPA: Stitt ‘playing politics’ by rejecting toxic waste shipment [Tulsa World]
  • EPA calls Gov. Stitt’s refusal of toxic waste shipment “unlawful” [Black Wall Street Times]

State Government News

Muslim Day at the Capitol in Oklahoma City crowd urged to be ‘civically courageous’: The importance of engaging with elected leaders in an era of increased polarization came to the forefront time and time again as Muslim Oklahomans gathered in Oklahoma City on Monday for an annual advocacy event. [The Oklahoman]

Oklahoma Lawmakers Seeking Change In State Liquor Law Restrictions: State lawmakers are considering a measure which would allow grocery stores to sell hard liquor. House Bill 2354 would require stores to purchase a grocery retail spirits license, after which they would be allowed to purchase spirits from a wholesaler and sell to customers. [News 9]

Bill barring citizen-controlled police review boards passes Oklahoma House of Representatives: House Bill 2161, by Rep. Ross Ford, R-Broken Arrow, requires that any “citizen review board” with authority to investigate “an allegation of misconduct by a law enforcement officer” and any body with the power to recommend or impose disciplinary action be made up of at least two-thirds certified law officers. [Tulsa World]

Bill that would require documentation of families moving off DHS waitlist advances: A bill that would require the Oklahoma Department of Human Services to report families moving off the Department of Developmental Disability Services waiting list and document services those families are receiving recently passed the House floor. [OKC Fox]

Editorial: Anti-drag show legislation based on assumptions, ignorance: The recent legislative embarrassment targets drag shows based on ignorance of this form of entertainment. Drag shows are over-the-top performances where men impersonate women and women impersonate men through costumes and talent. [Tulsa World]

Criminal Justice News

OKC Police captain booked for DUI in unmarked police vehicle: A captain in the Oklahoma City Police Department is on administrative leave and out of jail on bond Monday after being arrested by another OKCPD officer. Captain James French was booked into the Oklahoma County Detention Center (Jail) at 4:19 a.m. Sunday on the complaint of Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol or DUI. He bonded out a few hours later. [Oklahoma City Free Press]

Economy & Business News

VW bypasses Oklahoma, to build EV battery plant in Canada: Oklahoma lawmakers recently passed Project Connect, a bill offering tax incentives to encourage a large business to build a manufacturing plant in the state. While it wasn’t explicitly stated to be Volkswagen, it was rumored that the German company was considering the Sooner State, and Gov. Kevin Stitt issued a statement Monday following the announcement. [Journal Record]

  • Volkswagen battery plant goes to Canada over Pryor [2 News Oklahoma]
  • Volkswagen picks Canada after Oklahoma offered $700M incentive package for plant in Pryor [Tulsa World]

Column: Public utilities and private retailers should stay in their lane on EV stations: Businesses need certainty when deciding where to invest for the future, and Oklahoma’s EV charging marketplace is filled with uncertainty right now. Current state law allows for the possibility of our state’s public utilities entering the EV charging marketplace and enjoying near monopolistic power. [Candace McGinnis Guest columnist / The Oklahoman]

Education News

Editorial: Oklahomans should demand Ryan Walters end disparaging rhetoric: There’s a poison spreading in Oklahoma, and it needs an antidote. It was let loose when 57% of Oklahomans who voted elected Ryan Walters as superintendent of public instruction. Four months later, it may be time to acknowledge we erred in our judgment and not set the bar any lower for Oklahoma’s kids. [The Oklahoman]

Oklahoma supports restoring financial aid to incarcerated students: In a rare move strengthening education, the Oklahoma state Senate overwhelmingly supported a bill to restore access to financial aid to incarcerated students. Co-authured by Senator Dave Rader (R-Tulsa) and state Rep. Daniel Pae (R-Lawton), Senate Bill 11 would repeal a ban on access to the Oklahoma Tuition Aid Grant Program (OTAG) for incarcerated students. [Black Wall Street Times]

Oklahoma Local News

  • With poor EMSA response times, Edmond leaders ponder another service provider [NonDoc]
  • Tulsans weigh in on city’s plan for new $13.8 million animal shelter [Tulsa World]

Quote of the Day

“This place is literally yours. We’re literally in the building that everybody in here is here to serve you. Your tax dollars literally pay for this place so never let somebody tell you that you don’t belong and never allow anyone to make you feel other than.”

Number of the Day


Percentage of Oklahoma households with children birth to age 17 with at least one household member who experienced a loss of employment income in the past four weeks (Nov 2022). [KIDS COUNT]

Policy Note

Robust COVID Relief Bolstered Economy and Reduced Hardship for Millions: Various data indicate that relief measures reduced poverty, helped people access health coverage, and reduced hardships such as inability to afford food and housing or to meet other basic needs. [Center on Budget and Policy Priorities]

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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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