In The Know: Oklahoma Treasury Announces Two Revenue Records Set in June

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. Click here to subscribe to In The Know and see past editions.

In The News

Oklahoma Treasury Announces Two Revenue Records Set in June: The Oklahoma Treasury had its best June on record, with $1.1 billion in gross receipts. That wasn’t the only record set last month. “During fiscal year 2018, the fiscal year that ended on June 30, gross receipts to the treasury were at an all-time high for any 12-month period in the state of Oklahoma. Gross receipts totaled almost $12.2 billion,” said Deputy Treasurer for Communications Tim Allen [Public Radio Tulsa].

While Officials Work to Implement New Medical Marijuana Law, Activists Gathering Signatures to Bring Recreational Use up for a Vote: Amid efforts to establish a new medical marijuana industry in Oklahoma, activists want to enshrine the right to use marijuana — both for medical purposes and recreationally — in the state constitution. Green the Vote, headed by Tulsan Isaac Caviness, is promoting two state questions — 796 and 797 — of which it filed notice on April 3 with the Oklahoma secretary of state [Tulsa World]. Amid a minefield of federal regulations that prohibit marijuana products from crossing state lines, some Oklahomans are questioning just how pot growers are going to get the initial start-up seed into the state legally [Claremore Daily Progress]. Some members of Oklahoma’s legal community said State Question 788’s passage will likely raise demand for their services, but existing rules might render that demand difficult to meet [Journal Record]. OSBI’s toxicology lab processes nearly all of the blood samples collected across the state, and they are expecting to see a significant increase in workload with the passage of State Question 788. [News9].

Oklahoma’s 4.0 earthquakes up significantly in 2018, but overall seismicity still in downward trajectory: Two earthquake swarms in Garfield County contributed to Oklahoma’s six quakes of at least magnitude 4.0 halfway through 2018, which is one more than all of 2017. Also notable, a magnitude 4.6 on April 7 near Perry in Garfield County is the 12th largest in state history. But overall, the rate of earthquakes continues to decline. There were 96 of magnitude 3.0 or greater through June 30, compared to 144 at this point in 2017 and 302 by the end of that year [Tulsa World].

Supreme Court Change Could Lead to Indian Country Upheaval: U.S. Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy’s retirement could create an upheaval in Indian Country. When the court was deciding whether to hear the Murphy v. Royal case, Justice Neil Gorsuch recused himself from the decision. While he didn’t give a specific reason, the existing court ruling on the case came from the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals, where Gorsuch had served since 2006. Ethics among judges dictate they don’t rule on a case that they were involved with in a lower court [Journal Record].

Prosperity Policy: Voters Send a Message: The message from last week’s primary election is clear: Oklahomans are paying much closer attention to state politics, and they are unhappy with how the state is being governed. More precisely, Oklahoma Republicans are unhappy with how their party is governing the state. Participation in this year’s primaries was at historic levels. More than twice as many people voted in the 2018 primary as in the 2014 primary [David Blatt / Journal Record].

Tulsa World Editorial: Oklahoma Leaders Must Go Beyond Platitudes and Show Real Support for Family Values, Children’s Welfare: Oklahoma children are, again, near the bottom in indicators for quality of life. The annual Kids Count Data Book released by the Annie E. Casey Foundation last week puts Oklahoma at 44th out of 50 states in overall child well-being. The comprehensive set of data considers aspects in school achievement, teen pregnancy, poverty and health insurance access [Tulsa World]. New KIDS COUNT Data Book ranks Oklahoma near the worst in the nation for child well-being [OKPolicy].

McDaniel takes over as OKC district leader: Oklahoma City Public Schools has embarked on a large-scale facilities assessment for the first time in two decades, officials said Monday night. It was the first school board meeting for new Superintendent Sean McDaniel, whose first official workday was Monday. “I am really looking forward to my time here, which I hope is long and productive,” McDaniel said. The lightly attended meeting at Northeast Academy featured a presentation by ADG, the Oklahoma City firm hired by the district in May to complete a physical assessment and demographic study [NewsOK].

School’s out and Teachers Run for Office over Summer Break: With school out, a lot of teachers are thinking about a wave of protests that had them walking off the job, demanding things like better pay and benefits and more funding for public education. Some of those educators are now running for public office and are on the ballot in North Carolina, Kentucky, Oklahoma, Arizona, Colorado and in West Virginia where those strikes began [KOSU].

Oklahoma Teachers Sell Fireworks for School Supply Funds: Teachers from a small-town school near Stillwater are at work during what should be summer break, all to raise money for classroom supplies. The teachers are putting in long hours selling fireworks. Ripley is a primarily low-income area and a lot of kids don’t have money for school supplies. Teachers said they’ve gone door to door in their community for years, and just couldn’t make enough. Now that they’ve started selling firecrackers, their sales are exploding right along with them [FOX25].

Corrections Chief Q&A: Legislative Session, Executions, Closing and Building Prisons, Oklahoma Nation’s Top Incarcerator: The Oklahoma Department of Corrections was a frequent topic for lawmakers during this year’s legislative session. The department was given an additional $8.75 million to balance its books for fiscal year 2018 and more than $517 million for fiscal year 2019 that began July 1. Lawmakers also approved seven criminal justice reform bills meant to reduce the state’s prison population and relieve overcrowded prisons  [StateImpact Oklahoma].

Why Oklahoma Has the Highest Incarceration Rate in the U.S.: Oklahoma has now overtaken Louisiana as the state with the highest incarceration rate in the country, according to data from the Prison Policy Initiative. Here & Now’s Jeremy Hobson speaks with John Carl, a professor of sociology and criminology at the University of Oklahoma, about how the rate got so high and what kind of overhaul is in motion [KGOU]. What’s driving Oklahoma’s prison population growth [OKPolicy].

Getting out of Jail Can Be Costly, but Pretrial Services Offer Assistance: Jails hold one out of every three people incarcerated nationwide, and Oklahoma leads the nation in incarceration rates, according to data gathered by the Prison Policy Initiative ( Often, people are in jail because they either can’t afford to pay court fines or they can’t afford to post bond, but Cleveland County is working to lower those numbers [Norman Transcript]. Oklahoma’s debtors’ prisons aren’t just a nuisance – they’re an epidemic [OKPolicy].

Data Show Jobs, Economy Top Concerns for People in Southeastern Oklahoma: Data from a survey commissioned by stations for the Oklahoma Engaged project suggest many residents throughout the region have similar concerns. Sixty-six percent of respondents in southeastern Oklahoma listed jobs and the economy as their top concerns when it comes to political issues that affect their families, compared to just over 50 percent in the counties surrounding the Oklahoma City metro [KGOU].

Governor Names New Member to State Agriculture Board: A new member of the Oklahoma State Board of Agriculture was named this week by Gov. Mary Fallin. Britt Hilton, owner and manager of a cow-calf and stocker operation at Gate was appointed to serve the remaining term of Joe Mayer who died in May. While Hilton will serve immediately on the board, his final confirmation is required by the state Senate and his term will expire in April 2022 [OK Energy Today].

Oklahoma DOT Announces $7 Million Available for Small Community Improvements: The Oklahoma Department of Transportation has announced the availability of $7 million in federal grant money for Oklahoma communities through the Transportation Alternative Program. The DOT calls it a chance for smaller communities to turn their transportation improvement ideas into reality. The TAP program aims at helping communities with a population of less than 5,000 to develop projects which can help other forms of transportation [OK Energy Today].

Quote of the Day

“The truth of the matter is that, one of the reasons that our [state] budget is so tight is that we spend a disproportionately large amount of our tax revenue on locking up our fellow citizens.”

-John Carl, a professor of sociology and criminology at the University of Oklahoma [KGOU]

Number of the Day


Oklahoma’s compound annual population growth rate from 2007 to 2017, the 23rd highest out of all 50 states.

[The Pew Charitable Trusts]

See previous Numbers of the Day here.

Policy Note

Why the Middle Class Can’t Afford Life in America Anymore: “Middle-class life is now 30 percent more expensive than it was 20 years ago,” Quart writes, citing the costs of housing, education, health care and child care in particular. “In some cases the cost of daily life over the last 20 years has doubled.” In one of her book’s many striking findings, Quart writes that according to a Pew study, “Before the 2008 crash, only one-quarter of Americans viewed themselves as lower class or lower-middle class. No longer. After the recession of 2008 . . . a full 40 percent of Americans viewed themselves as being at the bottom of the pyramid” [NY Post].

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Jessica joined OK Policy as a Communications Associate in January 2018. A Mexican immigrant, she was a Clara Luper Scholar at Oklahoma City University where she obtained a B.A. in Political Science and Philosophy. Prior to joining OK Policy, Jessica worked at a digital marketing agency in Oklahoma City. She is an alumna of both the National Education for Women (N.E.W.) Leadership Institute (2013) and OK Policy's Summer Policy Institute (2015). In addition to her role at OK Policy, Jessica serves as a board member for Dream Action Oklahoma in OKC and communications director for Dream Alliance Oklahoma in Tulsa.

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