In The Know: OK Senate alters education bills after threats from the House | New panel to examine Oklahoma’s economic development shortcomings | 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

Change requires patience and persistence: SB 706 provides great example of representative government (Capitol Update): SB 706 would bring about a fundamental change in legal rights between parents, children, and the state. What caught my attention about SB 706 was not the bill itself — as significant as it is — but the author. Sen. Pederson, in explaining the bill, said this kind of legislation was “totally out of my wheelhouse” when he joined the legislature seven years ago, but he was persuaded by advocates from his district that something needed to be done to speed up the process of terminating some parents’ parental rights. [Steve Lewis / OK Policy]

Oklahoma News

Legislative Session Reaches Unofficial Halfway Point: With nine weeks to go until the sine die adjournment of the legislative session, the clock is ticking for Oklahoma lawmakers to advance bills to the governor’s desk and craft a state budget proposal.  Thursday, March 23 was the cut-off date for bills to pass off the floor in their chamber of origin. Aware of the deadline looming, lawmakers spent most of the week on the House and Senate floors whittling down hundreds of proposals. [Oklahoma Watch]

Oklahoma is expanding Medicaid access for mothers in the wake of childbirth: Oklahoma has the federal sign off it needs to expand postpartum Medicaid coverage. The policy is expected to help bring down the state’s high maternal mortality rate. [KOSU]

  • Post-pregnancy SoonerCare coverage expanded from 2 to 12 months [The Oklahoman]

State Government News

Oklahoma Senate tinkers with tax credit, teacher pay raise bills despite McCall’s warning: Despite Oklahoma’s House speaker threatening against it, three Senate committees approved changes to two key education bills that would increase public school funding, give teacher pay raises, and offer tax credits to families of private-school and home-school children.  [The Oklahoman]

  • Oklahoma Senate alters education bills after threats from the House [The Frontier]
  • ‘Make it workable’: Bucking McCall, Senate amends massive education package [NonDoc]
  • Education bills targeting school choice, teacher pay pass through Senate committees [KFOR Oklahoma City]
  • Senate dramatically alters House bills on teacher pay raises, private-schooler tax credits [Tulsa World]

Oklahoma lawmakers vote to tighten regulations on medical marijuana businesses: A handful of bills passed in the Oklahoma State Senate last week that would tighten the rules for medical marijuana businesses. [KRMG]

Editorial: Lawmakers find agreement to help domestic violence victims and to honor civil rights sites: In a rare show of unanimous agreement, chambers of the Oklahoma Legislature recently passed measures to help domestic abuse victims and to establish a statewide Civil Rights Trail. [Editorial / Tulsa World]

High-demand home day care centers face rule challenges: Data shows that child care providers are already scarce, as 55% of the state’s population lives in what has been termed a child care desert. Zoning codes play a role in that scarcity, regulating where in-home child care can and cannot be offered. [Journal Record]

Capitol calls for more transparency, accountability from OTA: Dozens of Oklahomans converged on the state Capitol Monday to press for increased transparency and accountability from the Oklahoma Turnpike Authority. [CNHI News]

Oklahoma House censures Broken Arrow rep arrested on public intoxication charge: The Oklahoma House of Representatives issued its second censure of the session on Monday, this time with Republican leadership coming down on one of its own members, Rep. Dean Davis, R-Broken Arrow. [Tulsa World]

  • Oklahoma Rep. Dean Davis claimed ‘legislative immunity’ during his arrest. Are state officials really exempt? [The Oklahoman]
  • House Rep. Dean Davis censured for arrest, ‘debate’ with officers [NonDoc]

Federal Government News

USDA makes home repair grants available to Oklahomans affected by severe weather last year: The U.S. Department of Agriculture has announced it will make grants available to help rural Oklahoman’s repair whose houses were damaged by severe weather last year. In order to qualify, homes must be located within the seven counties that were federally declared disaster areas, including Adair, Cherokee, Muskogee, Okmulgee, Pottawatomie, Seminole and Tulsa. [The Oklahoman]

Supreme Court declines to hear case of unarmed teen killed in Edmond: The U.S. Supreme Court declined on Monday to take up an appeal claiming an Edmond police officer could be held liable for violating the constitutional rights of an unarmed teenager he shot and killed in 2019. Without comment, the justices let stand the ruling by the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals that the officer, Denton Scherman, was protected by the doctrine of “qualified immunity” in the case brought by the family of Isaiah Lewis. [The Oklahoman]

Health News

Oklahomans die of COVID at higher rates than much of the US. What set us up for failure?: After more than three years of the COVID-19 pandemic, Oklahoma finds itself near the top of the list of states with the highest death rates. CDC data updated as of March 24 shows Oklahoma ranks 14th in the nation for COVID-19 death rates per capita. There have been 15,845 deaths from COVID-19 in Oklahoma, or 400 per 100,000 people. [The Oklahoman]

After a Decade of Waiting, Oklahomans With Disabilities Still Aren’t Receiving Care They Need: In May, lawmakers finally approved $32.5 million to clear a 13-year waitlist for help that had grown to more than 5,000 Oklahomans. About 2,000 of them were children. Since then, fewer than 10% have been approved for a Medicaid waiver to fund a range of services for low-income Oklahomans with intellectual and developmental disabilities. [Oklahoma Watch]

Criminal Justice News

Spiritual adviser to death row inmates sues Oklahoma Corrections Department over statement: The spiritual adviser to the last inmate executed in Oklahoma is alleging in a $10 million federal lawsuit that the Oklahoma Department of Corrections defamed him in a statement to the media. [The Oklahoman]

Oklahoma death row inmate Richard Glossip expected to get new execution date, in 2024: Oklahoma’s new attorney general on Monday asked for another delay in death row inmate Richard Glossip’s execution − until August 2024. Glossip now is set to be executed May 18 at the Oklahoma State Penitentiary in McAlester. [The Oklahoman]

Economic Opportunity

Oklahoma adds jobs; unemployment rate among nation’s lowest: Oklahoma added more than 45,000 people to the ranks of the employed between February of 2022 and February of this year and continued to post an impressively low percentage of unemployed people in its workforce, even as the country’s unemployment rate remained at historically low levels. [Journal Record]

Economy & Business News

Why three major companies have passed on expanding in Oklahoma: Some officials blame a combination of a lack of qualified workers, infrastructure and incentives that haven’t kept pace with other states. Others say Oklahoma’s conservative politics are holding the state back. A new committee will look for answers. [The Frontier]

  • Panel to examine Oklahoma’s economic development strengths, weaknesses [Journal Record]

Pratt & Whitney plans $255M investment in OKC Sustainment Center: Plans announced by Pratt & Whitney to invest $255 million over the next five years in a new 845,000-square-foot facility in Oklahoma City will strengthen the state’s position as a global hub for aerospace maintenance, repair and overhaul, officials say. [Journal Record]

Energy Transfer acquires Lotus Midstream pipeline to Cushing: A major acquisition of one Texas energy company’s assets by another for $1.45 billion involves about 3,000 miles of crude gathering and transportation pipelines extending from southeast New Mexico to Cushing, Oklahoma. [Journal Record]

Education News

Column: Education tax credits will not benefit our most vulnerable students: Public education is under attack in Oklahoma. For years, state leaders have prioritized private schools over our state’s public education system, openly advocating for private school vouchers despite opposition from education experts. Supporters claim that school choice bills will improve educational outcomes, but these measures offer little meaningful change for the 700,000 public school students in the state. [Alec Camacho and Andy Wilburn Guest Column / The Oklahoman]

Oklahoma Local News

  • Community-led discussions on possible reparations, repairs for 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre begin April 11 [Tulsa World]
  • Incumbent, challenger to face off in Tulsa school board candidate forum [Tulsa World]

Quote of the Day

“Those jobs aren’t valued because the people they’re caring for aren’t valued. We aren’t looking at our most vulnerable, those that don’t have a voice at all in the community because their parents are too tired. We don’t have the help we need and we’re too tired to fight for it.”

-Andee Cooper, whose teenage son Kannon lives with a rare intellectual disability and life-threatening seizures, on the persistent shortage of available in-home caregivers for Oklahomans with disabilities even after lawmakers approved $32.5 million to clear a 13-year waitlist for help. [Oklahoma Watch]

Number of the Day


State and local taxes account for just 2.3 percent of the expenses paid by business owners, with the other 98 percent is  dominated by payroll, equipment, and real estate costs. [Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy]

Policy Note

The Pitfalls of Flat Income Taxes: While most states have a graduated rate income tax, some state lawmakers have recently become enamored with the idea of moving toward flat rate taxes instead. A flat tax is one where each taxpayer pays the same percentage of their income whereas a graduated tax applies higher rates to higher incomes. Flat taxes have some surface appeal but come with significant disadvantages. Critically, a flat tax guarantees that wealthy families’ total state and local tax bill will be a lower share of their income than that paid by families of more modest means. [Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy]

You can sign up here to receive In The Know by e-mail.


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.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.