In The Know: Oklahoma House adjourns Special Session | Creating a more transparent state budget process | It’s time to quit our Lone Star envy | 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.

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Policy Matters: It’s time to quit our Lone Star envy: Many Oklahomans will be watching the Red River Rivalry this Saturday. However, many of our state officials won’t be able to tear their eyes away from the Texas state Capitol, which they’ve long seen as a role model. But Oklahoma isn’t Texas, and it’s time to call it quits on this Texas-sized envy. [Shiloh Kantz / Journal Record]

State Government News

Oklahoma’s special legislative session fizzles out in disappointment. What’s next?: Oklahoma’s special legislative session, called by Gov. Kevin Stitt in part to trim the state’s income tax, has fizzled out in frustration and disappointment. The Oklahoma House of Representatives met only briefly Wednesday morning before adjourning — at least temporarily. The Oklahoma Senate had adjourned its session permanently the day before. [The Oklahoman]

  • Oklahoma House speaker disappointed in Senate’s inaction on tax cuts [Oklahoma Voice]
  • State House leader on tax cuts: ‘Put it up for a vote’ [Tulsa World]
  • Oklahoma governor’s tax-cut push in limbo after legislative impasse [Journal Record]
  • Oklahoma House temporarily adjourns amid Senate’s refusal to vote on tax reform, escalating policy standoff [KOKH]
  • Oklahomans will not see tax cuts in the near future [KOCO]

Top Oklahoma lawmakers mull ways to make state budget process more transparent: Facing criticism that their state budget process is secretive, legislative leaders pledged to increase the transparency surrounding how lawmakers craft a massive spending plan appropriating billions of taxpayer dollars. [Oklahoma Voice]

Education Watch: Tax Commission Outlines Plans for Private School Tax Credits: The state Tax Commission has outlined its proposed rules for the state’s new private school and homeschool tax credits, and the public has until Oct. 12 to comment. [Oklahoma Watch]

Oklahoma Supreme Court rejects challenge to state marijuana regulator: The Oklahoma Supreme Court has rejected a challenge to the state’s top marijuana regulator, ruling that a Moore dispensary owner isn’t permitted to contest the qualifications of the state officer. [The Oklahoman]

Federal Government News

Rep. Kevin Hern, from Tulsa, gauging interest in run to replace Kevin McCarthy as speaker: Rep. Kevin Hern, R-Tulsa, who received votes for speaker in January during the marathon balloting that led to McCarthy’s victory, told Capitol Hill reporters on Wednesday that he was meeting with Republicans to pitch himself as a candidate to succeed McCarthy. [The Oklahoman]

  • Hern in the mix to be next U.S. House speaker [Tulsa World]

Oklahoma invested $10 million in ARPA funds to rebuild the arts: Here’s how the grants work: Nonprofit organizations that were affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and offer arts programming that serve their communities now can submit to the Oklahoma Arts Council the required documents for eligibility verification for Oklahoma Arts Sector ARPA Grants. Eligibility verification is open through the end of October. [The Oklahoman]

Health News

Oklahoma State University receives $10 million to research Indigenous health disparities: The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services awarded $10 million over five years to OSU’s Center for Health Sciences to address Indigenous health disparities and advance equity. [KOSU]

Criminal Justice News

Inmate Deaths Raise Questions About Temperatures in Oklahoma Prisons: On one particularly hot day, the temperature inside a cell at Dick Conner reached as high as 97 degrees Fahrenheit. Dick Conner is one of several Oklahoma prisons that does not have universal air conditioning. [Oklahoma Watch]

‘Really upsetting’: Former Wetumka councilwoman out of prison 258 days into 4-year sentence: Despite initially sentencing former Wetumka Councilwoman Rebecca Jackson to four years in prison for her role in a child pornography and sexual abuse conspiracy with her husband, District Judge Timothy Olsen slashed the former pharmacist’s sentence in May to release her from prison after only 258 days of incarceration. [NonDoc]

Economy & Business News

Midwest City Starbucks workers file petition to unionize: Employees at a Starbucks location in Midwest City have joined a nationwide movement of Starbucks workers to unionize. The employees at the store at 29th Street and Air Depot Boulevard filed a petition this week with the National Labor Relations Board, stating plans to join Starbucks Workers United. [Journal Record]

Oklahoma’s permit system ushered in new wave of industrial poultry farm growth: The number of birds licensed by the state to be raised at any given time in industrial poultry barns has doubled to more than 60 million since 2013. Without notice, some Oklahomans find new farms next door that bring flies, feathers, odors and water pollution. [Investigate Midwest]

Education News

The mystery of Walters: How a beloved history teacher became Oklahoma’s culture-warrior-in-chief: Ryan Walters was one of the most well-liked teachers at McAlester High School. A history teacher and 2016 finalist for Oklahoma teacher of the year, he encouraged vigorous debates on pivotal moments like Roe v. Wade and, closer to home, the forced relocation of Native Americans known as the “Trail of Tears.” [The 74 via Oklahoma Voice]

General News

Weather events cause Oklahoma insurance rates to climb: Some have reported insurance rate increases in the range of 5% or more this year, following a statewide jump of about 10% recorded last year. [Journal Record]

How to Make Healthy Choices in a Food Desert: A major agricultural problem that America is facing is food deserts. These are areas where people lack access to fresh food, and unfortunately, we are seeing this predominantly in Black communities. In the U.S. alone, 6.1% of our population is dealing with this. Until this problem is resolved, there are a few steps you can take to ensure the health and well-being of your family. [The Black Wall Street Times]

Oklahoma Local News

  • Officials say a new NBA arena is worth every penny. Economists disagree [The Oklahoman]
  • Broken Arrow to be site of $93M amphitheater project [Tulsa World]
  • Turkey Mountain wilderness area to add nearly 90 acres; $2 million grant will fund trails, amenities [Tulsa World]

Quote of the Day

“Even if the public doesn’t follow the budget process, we are all affected by it because it funds the core services of our government. There’s not really an opportunity for the public to comment on the budget itself once it’s been revealed and before it’s been voted on.”

– Andy Moore, founder and CEO of Let’s Fix This, a civic engagement nonprofit. [Oklahoma Voice]

Number of the Day


The weekly wages for Oklahoma teachers are 31.8% lower than college graduates working in other professions in the state. Oklahoma has the nation’s fourth highest teacher pay penalty. [Economic Policy Institute]

Policy Note

Teacher pay penalty still looms large: Teacher pay has suffered a sharp decline compared with the pay of other college-educated workers. On average, teachers made 26.4% less than other similarly educated professionals in 2022—the lowest level since 1960. [Economic Policy Institute]

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Annie Taylor joined OK Policy as a Digital Communications Associate/Storybanker in April 2022. She studied journalism and mass communication at the University of Oklahoma, and was a member of the Native American Journalists Association. She earned her bachelor’s degree in Strategic Communications from the University of Central Oklahoma. While pursuing her degree, she worked in restaurant and retail management, as well as freelance copywriting and digital content production. Annie is an enrolled member of the Choctaw Nation, and holds a deep reverence for storytelling in the digital age. She was born and raised in southeast Oklahoma, and now lives in Oklahoma City with her dog, Melvin.

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