In The Know: Oklahoma AG says Turnpike authority actions suggest unlawful misconduct | Renter protections against landlord retaliation | Policy Matters | 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

Renters need protection against landlord retaliation: Unlike most other states, Oklahoma does not protect tenants against landlord retaliation when they report health or safety violations to their landlord, a government agency, or when they organize other tenants to advocate with their landlord for needed repairs. Oklahoma renters risk higher rents or losing their lease simply for asking their landlord to address basic habitability standards. People shouldn’t be penalized when they request needed repairs or act as responsible tenants by reporting problems in their rental to their landlord or a government agency. Lawmakers have an opportunity this session to remedy this omission by adding anti-retaliation protections to our landlord tenant act by passing House Bill 2109. [Sabine Brown / OK Policy]

Policy Matters: Honoring women’s history starts with improving representation: Unfortunately, the data show significant disparities remain for women, including the gender wage gap where women earn about 82 cents for every dollar their male counterparts earn. Progress toward making pay more equal is moving at a glacial pace, improving only about 2% during the last 20 years. [Shiloh Kantz / Journal Record]

Oklahoma News

Proposals Would Restrict School Library Content and Limit Student Privacy at School; How You Can Weigh In: The Education Department is considering new rules restricting school library content and requiring school staff to inform parents of major changes to a student’s identity at school. [Oklahoma Watch]

AG Drummond: Turnpike authority actions suggest unlawful misconduct: Attorney General Gentner Drummond on Wednesday requested an investigative audit be launched into the Oklahoma Turnpike Authority after months of lawsuits and questions about its attempt to launch a $5 billion toll road expansion. [The Oklahoman]

  • Investigative audit of Oklahoma Turnpike Authority requested by state AG [Tulsa World]

State’s general revenue receipts set records; Rainy Day Fund likely to grow: Unexpectedly strong oil and gas tax collections continued to push Oklahoma’s General Revenue Fund receipts higher in February, the Office of Management and Enterprise Services said Wednesday. General revenue is the state government’s primary operating fund. OMES said general revenue for February totaled $501.4 million, 25% more than expected and 13.3% above February 2022’s collections. [Tulsa World]

State Government News

Teen vaping once again focus of legislation at Oklahoma Capitol: Teen vaping is once again the focus of legislation at the Oklahoma Capitol. The House has advanced a bill that would not only require education for minors caught vaping but levy a fine if they fail to enroll in such a program. [KOCO Oklahoma City]

  • Oklahoma House passes tobacco and vape law, now heads to the Senate [KFOR Oklahoma City]

‘That isn’t how this building works’: Senate Ed Chair comments on House Speaker’s proposal: Oklahoma lawmakers are out of the Capitol for spring break, and the standstill on education policies continues on. It was a short but busy week at 2300 N Lincoln Blvd. A handful of Senate Education Chair, Adam Pugh’s bills passed his chamber. [OKC Fox 25]

Podcast: House Speaker Charles McCall’s Time and Place Censure Distinction: Oklahoma state Rep. Mauree Turner has been stripped of committee assignments by the GOP House leadership, which alleges Turner impeded a law enforcement investigation at the Capitol. [Long Story Short / Oklahoma Watch]

Federal Government News

EPA proposes new limits for forever chemicals and sets aside money for Oklahoma to address them: The Environmental Protection Agency proposed a new rule to set legally enforceable limits for PFAS, also called “forever chemicals.” PFAS is short for polyfluoroalkyl substances—human made chemicals we use in non-stick cookware and waterproof clothes. They’re called forever chemicals because they don’t break down over time. Instead they build up in the environment and in our bodies, where their effects are still unclear. [KOSU]

Health News

OSU Center for Rural Health awarded $3 million grant: A $3 million federal grant awarded to the OSU Center for Rural Health in Tulsa will help fund scholarships, telemedicine vehicles and community programs in an effort to improve health care for rural and underserved Oklahomans, officials said. [Tulsa World]

Criminal Justice News

Oklahoma County jail in stalemate with city, will run out of money June 1, interim CEO predicts: Oklahoma County’s jail will run out of money on June 1 — in part, because Oklahoma City isn’t paying its bill. The bill in question is one for $492,000 that the Oklahoma County Criminal Justice Authority, which oversees the jail’s operations, wants the city to pay for housing arrestees brought into the jail on municipal complaints during the current fiscal year, which ends June 30. [The Oklahoman]

Tulsa district attorney’s daughter files for records expungement: Tulsa County District Attorney Steve Kunzwieler’s daughter Jennifer is seeking to have her criminal records expunged after being found not guilty of domestic assault. [KJRH]

Education News

Area school districts consider school meal changes if USDA proposals pass: Although pancakes and waffles are not leaving school breakfast menus any time soon, proposed changes to the National School Meal Program’s nutritional regulations may make some other cafeteria staples a thing of the past. [Tulsa World]

General News

Trans Oklahomans find community through music amid heightened anti-queer rhetoric in legislature: The Transgender Action Choir only a few months old and includes members of all ages. And amid a cacophony of lawmakers debating the validity and morality of their identities at the Capitol, this rehearsal space is where they can find solace and community. [KOSU]

Oklahoma Local News

  • Proposed TIF changes would support downtown OKC housing [Journal Record]

Quote of the Day

“As this rule is written, to force school educators and staff to potentially ‘out’ students based on any presumption about their gender identity, (it) could be really dangerous for a lot of vulnerable young people, whether or not they are transgender.

– Nicole McAfee, executive director of Freedom Oklahoma, speaking on a proposal that would require school staff to inform parents of major changes to a student’s identity at school. [Oklahoma Watch]

Number of the Day


Estimated lifetime earnings loss for women due to the gender pay gap that sees women making less than their male counterparts. [Payscale]

Policy Note

Voting Systems and Women’s Representation: Women’s political representation is vital to sustaining good governance worldwide. But while women comprise over half of the world’s population, men still hold the majority of seats in almost every legislature. Research has shown that diversity in political representation leads to more inclusive and effective lawmaking. This means that political processes and outcomes suffer when women are excluded from office. [Represent Women]

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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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