In The Know: #OKLeg session’s first tax bill passes out of committee | New bill to restrict teens’ access to social media | Oklahoma is charging women for using medical marijuana while pregnant | 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.

Oklahoma News

Oklahoma bill would restrict teenagers’ access to Facebook, Snapchat and Instagram: The House Government Modernization and Technology Committee passed House Bill 3914 that would prevent companies such as Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and X — formerly known as Twitter — from allowing minors under age 16 to have an account. [Oklahoma Voice]

  • ‘A conversation starter’: Oklahoma lawmaker proposes age limit on social media [KOKH]

State Government News

Session’s first tax cut bill passes House committee: The legislative session’s first tax cut proposal, a phase out (sort of) of the corporate income tax, made its bow in the House of Representatives Rules Committee on Tuesday with predictable results. [Tulsa World]

House committee passes bill to restore Educators Hall of Fame portraits to state building: Last year, Walters ordered the first-floor hallway leading to the Oklahoma State Board of Education meeting room cleared of its portraits of hall of fame inductees. At that time, Walters told The Oklahoman that he didn’t want the Oklahoma State Department of Education to celebrate “union bosses.” [The Oklahoman]

Intellectually disabled Oklahomans seek support from lawmakers: Oklahoma adults with intellectual disabilities, their families and caretakers gathered at the Capitol on Tuesday to speak with lawmakers and advocate for additional support. [Journal Record]

GRF January collections slightly above monthly, YTD estimates: General Revenue Fund collections in January totaled $878.5 million, which is $8.2 million, or 0.9%, above the monthly estimate. This is $25.2 million, or 2.8%, below collections in January 2023. Total GRF collections for the first seven months of fiscal year 2024 are $4.9 billion, which is $204.2 million, or 4.3%, above the estimate and $226.6 million, or 4.4%, below prior year collections for the same period. [Oklahoma Office of Management & Enterprise Services]

Tribal Nations News

Oklahoma governor signs latest deal with a tribal nation. Here’s what to know: Oklahoma’s governor signed on to the state’s latest tobacco tax compact with a tribal nation Monday. The deal with the Wichita and Affiliated Tribes is the fifth tobacco compact reached by Gov. Kevin Stitt since the start of the year. [The Oklahoman]

Cherokee Nation to build cell towers to service parts of rural Oklahoma: The Cherokee Nation plans to build 15 new cell towers to provide service to 16 of its rural communities in eastern Oklahoma. The tribe is creating a network for areas where cell service and broadband are lacking or nonexistent. [Oklahoma Voice]

Voting and Election News

  • Tulsa area voters approve school bond packages worth millions [Public Radio Tulsa]
  • Dana Meister wins open OKCPS District 4 seat [NonDoc]
  • Republican Erick Harris elected to Edmond House seat in special election [Oklahoma Voice]
  • Edmond approves $147 million school bond package, Erick Harris wins House District 39 and more Oklahoma election results [KGOU]
  • Election results: Erick Harris elected to Edmond’s House District 39 seat [The Oklahoman]
  • Erick Harris wins House District 39, EPS bonds pass [NonDoc]
  • Election results: Edmond voters approve bond to build new elementary and middle school [The Oklahoman]
  • Dixon, Grant, Hinkle win Norman Council seats, Ward 2 heads to runoff [NonDoc]
  • Election 2024: Mark Hamm elected mayor of Moore, will take office in April [The Oklahoman]
  • Oklahoma City Metro voters weigh in on bonds, Moore mayor [The Oklahoman]
  • Election results: Oklahoma voters approve $3M bond for Western Heights schools [The Oklahoman]
  • Durant voters approve sales tax extension; other election returns [KTEN]

Health News

Northeastern Health System Board of Trustees meets, discusses legal actions during executive session: After opening of the meeting and approval of minutes, Chair Stephen Highers asked for a motion and vote to go into executive session. The members filled plates with food and headed into a side room to discuss several legal matters. Listed on the agenda for that session were: Legal issues related to the finance/compliance committee; legal issues of the personnel/strategic planning committee; and legal issues for peer review for medical staff and/or medical staff credentialing. [Tahlequah Daily Press]

Criminal Justice News

Medical Marijuana Is Legal, But Oklahoma Is Charging Women for Using It While Pregnant: A state lawmaker has proposed legislation to address a growing number of women in Oklahoma who face criminal charges for substance use during pregnancy. The bills would set up a new alternative court program for pregnant and postpartum people, and provide more government funding for treatment. [The Frontier]

Lengthy wait for competency reviews increasing jail times and costing taxpayers, trustees told: An Oklahoma County jail detainee whose delayed acceptance into a treatment program at the Oklahoma Forensic Center in Vinita prompted a judge’s contempt order in late January is just one of several hundred who needed competency evaluations before standing trial in Oklahoma County District Court during the past several years. [The Oklahoman]

As OKC appoints new members to police oversight board, transparency concerns remain: Oklahoma City’s revamped police oversight board now has appointed members, but concerns remain about issues of transparency and clarity over how residents could submit complaints. [The Oklahoman]

Two of three men indicted in Swadley’s contract case turn themselves in: Ronald ‘Brent’ Swadley and Timothy Hooper both turned themselves in after being indicted, along with Curtis Breuklander, on one felony count of conspiracy to defraud the state and five felony counts of presenting false or fraudulent claims against the state last week. [KFOR]

Housing & Economic Opportunity

Senate Bill 1917 aims toward protecting homeowners from insurers: A new bill could help protect you from spikes in your insurance. In a state like Oklahoma, where natural disasters can happen any time, insurance coverage is a must. Senate Bill 1917 would help protect your coverage and your bank account. After today, it is one step closer to becoming law. [KFOR]

Opinion: It’s time for Oklahomans to reframe discussions on poverty: In a series of guest columns in 2022 and 2023, Justin Brown, then Oklahoma’s secretary of Human Services, said bold and innovative approaches are needed to reframe discussions on poverty. The series of columns pointed to not only how to handle existing poverty but the need to address conditions for those most at risk to prevent them from sinking into poverty. [Former Oklahoma Secretary of Human Services Justin Brown / The Oklahoman]

Economy & Business News

Why are gas prices going up in Oklahoma and the U.S.? What to expect as spring comes: Despite having one of the lowest average price of gas in the country, Oklahomans are steadily starting to pay more at the pump. As spring barrels towards us, here’s what we know about why gas prices are rising and what to expect this spring while you’re filling up the tank. [The Oklahoman]

‘Corporate amnesia’: Class-action lawsuit criticizes INTEGRIS Health cyberattack response: Several lawsuits have been filed against INTEGRIS Health, the largest not-for-profit Oklahoma-owned health system in the state, after a hacker claims to have obtained names, dates of birth, Social Security numbers, and contact and demographic information from more than 2.2 million patients during a November cyberattack. [NonDoc]

New $100 million data center planned for Port Muskogee: Polaris Technologies Inc. is investing $100 million to construct a 200 megawatt data center at Port Muskogee’s John T. Griffin Industrial Park, becoming Muskogee’s first data center, Polaris officials announced Tuesday. [Tulsa World]

Education News

Watchdog agency to restart health and safety checks at Oklahoma School of Science and Mathematics: A state watchdog agency will restart health and safety inspections at the Oklahoma School for Science and Mathematics, a 2-year residential high school for academically advanced students, after a 16-year hiatus. [Oklahoma Watch]

Oklahoma bills would give full tuition scholarships to students with intellectual disabilities: Opportunities for students with intellectual or developmental disabilities are growing in Oklahoma. Four universities in the past five years have created degree- or certificate-granting programs for these students that also assist with independent living on a college campus. [Oklahoma Voice]

Should cellphones be allowed in schools? New Oklahoma bill would encourage districts to enact bans: By an 8-3 vote, the Oklahoma Senate’s Education Committee approved Tuesday a bill to create an incentive program for school districts that adopt a cellphone-free campus policy. A few senators suggested they’d be willing to go a step further and implement an absolute ban on cellphones in schools. [The Oklahoman]

Three Oklahoma public school foundations honored for their programs’ impact: Public school foundation programs in Edmond, Tulsa and Cheyenne have been selected as recipients of the 2024 Outstanding Program Awards for Oklahoma School Foundations, which are presented by the Oklahoma Foundation for Excellence and its Oklahoma School Foundations Network. [The Oklahoman]

General News

Tulsa City Council given ideas for Race Massacre reparations: Through feedback sessions last year, 83 Tulsans shared their perspectives on the race massacre.Financial compensation, community and economic development, and housing and home ownership were the most widely mentioned solutions for descendants of massacre survivors, or people affected by the event. [KOSU]

Oklahoma Local News

  • OAK to include $1 million stage, performance venue that will host festivals, ice skating [The Oklahoman]
  • OKC passes sign ordinance in attempt to improve city’s appearance [Journal Record]
  • State lawmaker files bill to prevent Oklahoma Co. jail from being rebuilt at current location [News 9]

Quote of the Day

“The idea is to scare people straight. But over and over and over again, not only does it fail, the system itself harms children and families.”

– Wendy Bach, a law professor at the University of Tennessee, who has studied women who were prosecuted for substance use during pregnancy. [The Frontier]

Number of the Day


A nationwide survey of state legislators showed that 38% reported the amount of abuse they experience has increased since first taking public office, while only 16 percent reported that it has decreased. [Brennan Center for Justice]

Policy Note

Intimidation of State and Local Officeholders: The January 6 insurrection at the Capitol seemed to mark a new peak in extremist intimidation targeting public officials. Yet over the same period, with far less attention and often little recourse, officeholders serving in local and state government across the country have faced a barrage of intimidating abuse. Threats and attacks constrain how freely officeholders interact with constituents, narrow the spectrum of policy positions they feel safe to support, and make them less willing to continue in public service. Unaddressed, the problem stands to endanger not just individual politicians but, more broadly, the free and fair functioning of representative democracy — at every level of government. [Brennan Center for Justice]

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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.