In The Know: #OKLeg returns for special session | Audit: Secretary of State’s office made unlawful payments for Stitt’s legal counsel | Tax cuts won’t help state through economic uncertainty

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

Economic uncertainty calls for fiscal responsibility from Oklahoma leaders, not tax cuts (Capitol Update): This week legislators will arrive at the Capitol to respond to Governor Stitt’s call for a special session on tax cuts. It’s difficult for elected legislators to fight calls for lowering taxes, especially when the governor is using his megaphone to say the state doesn’t need the revenue. Many, both in and out of the legislature would like to make sure the state doesn’t set itself up for long term mediocrity or another fiscal crisis in the future. [Steve Lewis / Capitol Update]

Oklahoma News

Stitt seeks tax cuts in special Oklahoma legislative session starting Tuesday: The Oklahoma Legislature will begin on Tuesday a special legislative session on tax cuts and budget transparency as Gov. Kevin Stitt ramps up pressure on lawmakers to decrease state income taxes. The looming question is what, if anything, will lawmakers accomplish as House and Senate Republicans appear to differ on whether the time is right for tax cuts. [Oklahoma Voice]

State Government News

Secretary of State’s office spending on attorney for tribal issues broke the law, state audit finds: The Oklahoma Secretary of State’s office exceeded its authority when it paid $90,000 to an attorney Gov. Kevin Stitt hired to examine tribal issues, an audit has found. [The Frontier]

ODOT approves plans for $9 billion in road and bridge improvements by 2031: The newly approved plans also call for thousands of miles of pavement resurfacing, construction of road shoulders on two-lane highways and other safety improvements. In total, those projects are expected to cost about $9 billion. [KOSU]

  • New traffic headaches coming as ODOT announces major interstate bridge repair projects [Oklahoma Voice]

Bill would remove sales tax on motor vehicle purchases: Rep. Justin Humphrey, R-Lane, has filed a bill for the upcoming special session that would remove the 1.25% sales tax on motor vehicle purchases. The move would leave in place the 3.25% excise tax paid on such purchases. [The Lawton Constitution]

Oklahoma lawmaker fights for-profit mugshot publications: Some Oklahoma state lawmakers met at the Capitol for a State Senate Public Safety Committee meeting on Monday to discuss the issue of for-profit mugshot publications. [Fox 23]

Tribal Nations News

Muscogee Nation AG “intimidated” judge in Creek Freedmen trial: Creek Freedmen descendants who recently won their lawsuit against the Muscogee (Creek) Nation are waiting for their citizenship to be granted, but one part of the case that hasn’t gotten much attention is coming to light. [The Black Wall Street Times]

Chickasaw Nation Governor Bill Anoatubby inaugurated to historic 10th term: Chickasaw Nation Governor Bill Anoatubby took the oath of office for an unprecedented 10th consecutive term during an Oct. 2 inauguration ceremony conducted at Ataloa Theatre on East Central University’s campus. [The Duncan Banner]

Voting and Election News

State senate candidate’s business vandalized in suspected political attack in Lawton: Following a State Senate debate, a candidate’s small business was vandalized, causing thousands of dollars in damage in Lawton. [KOKH]

Health News

CMS approves delivery system reform in first step towards SoonerSelect program: The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has approved the first step in Oklahoma’s transition to the SoonerSelect program. CMS approved the state’s proposed delivery system reform as well as a proposal to increase supplemental payments to hospitals. [KSWO]

Criminal Justice News

Commissioners pick location to secure for new Oklahoma County jail: Oklahoma County commissioners said Monday they hope to use a 192-acre property near Will Rogers World Airport as the location for a new county jail. [The Oklahoman]

  • Commissioners select potential location for new Oklahoma County jail [KGOU]
  • BOCC greenlights potential jail site near airport, awaits final approval from OKC City Council and Airport Trust [KOKH]

Housing & Economic Opportunity

Oklahoma’s child welfare system needs more resources, says report to governor: A report ordered by Gov. Kevin Stitt says Oklahoma’s child welfare system needs more people, more supports and better pay to meet its objectives. [Tulsa World]

OKC hopes federal grant can transform this poor, high crime neighborhood: A $500,000 federal Choice Neighborhoods grant will fund the creation of a plan to transform an area of town centered around the city’s oldest public housing, Will Rogers Courts. [The Oklahoman]

Economy & Business News

Canoo makes deal with foreign investor: Electric vehicle startup company Canoo, with plans for EV production in Oklahoma City and battery production in Pryor, announced on Monday an agreement to raise millions of dollars through a sale of stock with advantageous terms offered to an unnamed foreign strategic institutional investor. [Journal Record]

Education News

In Oklahoma, School Educators Hit Native, Black and Students with Disabilities the Most: Native American, Black and disabled students are overrepresented in the number of children subjected to corporal punishment in Oklahoma’s public schools, according to a new report by the Tulsa-based nonprofit Oklahoma Appleseed Center for Law and Justice. [Oklahoma Watch]

Proposed Oklahoma education budget includes $61M for teacher, tutor bonuses: The state Department of Education’s next budget ask includes a $61 million proposal to entice new teachers and reward teachers and tutors with bonuses. [Journal Record]

Libs of TikTok scrutiny puts unwanted national spotlight on Oklahoma schools: Some Oklahomans are concerned a right-wing social media account run by an out-of-state conservative figure is politicizing Oklahoma schools, harming districts, educators and students in the process. [Oklahoma Voice]

‘False impression’: Lawmakers weigh strengths, drawbacks of school report card accountability system: On Monday afternoon, State Reps. Ronny Johns (R-Ada), John Waldron (D-Tulsa), and Meloyde Blancett (D-Tulsa) conducted a study on Oklahoma’s accountability system for public schools. [KOKH]

Opinion: Ryan Walters explores new math with budget request: When Superintendent of Public Instruction Ryan Walters revealed his Fiscal Year 2025 budget request for the State Department of Education last week, more than a few people were puzzled by the numbers. [Mike Allen / NonDoc]

General News

Remains exhumed in search for race massacre victims: The latest search for the remains of victims of the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre has ended with 59 graves found and seven sets of remains exhumed, according to Oklahoma state archaeologist Kary Stackelbeck. [AP via Journal Record]

Quote of the Day

“We talk a lot about tax credits for corporations and big industries but it’s time we take action and increase tax credits for the families that need it the most.”

– Rep. Andy Fugate, D-Oklahoma City  [The Lawton Constitution]

Number of the Day

> 5%

Oklahoma is projected to see its total revenue decrease by more than 5% for Fiscal Year 2024, which ends on June 30, 2024. [Tax Policy Center]

Policy Note

Navigating Fiscal Uncertainty: Weak State Revenue Forecasts for Fiscal Year 2024: With more fiscal data coming in, the long-term health of state budgets looks murky. After a run up in 2022, preliminary data show a substantial weakness in state tax revenues for the first 11 months of fiscal year 2023 (July 2022 through May 2023). Overall, state tax revenues declined 5.3 percent in nominal terms, largely driven by declines in personal and corporate income tax revenues, while sales tax revenues increased in nominal terms. [Tax Policy Center]

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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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