In The Know: Paid teacher maternity leave advances in senate | Gov. Stitt urges lawmakers to choose between school vouchers and sweeping tax cuts | Capitol Update | 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

Two bills that could be valuable justice reform measures (Capitol Update)

Continuing the criminal justice work he began last session, Rep. Brian Hill, R-Mustang, last week filed committee substitutes in the House Rules Committee for House Bill 2477 and HB 2490 that were introduced earlier as shell bills. The two bills were passed out of the Rules committee unanimously and, if enacted into law, would be valuable criminal justice reform measures. [Steve Lewis / OK Policy]

Oklahoma News

‘Most pro-life’ legislation: Paid teacher maternity leave bill advances through committees: Part of Sen. Adam Pugh’s education agenda, SB 364 would require districts to provide 12 weeks of paid maternity leave for teachers, the bill and Pugh’s education agenda come as the House has already passed its own education plan that does not include a maternity leave requirement for teachers. [NonDoc]

Stitt: Lawmakers must choose between tax relief proposals: Legislators may not be able to afford to pay for school vouchers or private school tax credits and still give residents tax relief on groceries or income taxes, the state’s governor said. Of the three proposals, Gov. Kevin Stitt said he’ll prioritize House Republicans’ Parental Choice Tax Credit Act. It would give tax relief to the families of about 60,000 private and home-schooled students at an estimated price tag of up to $300 million. [Tahlequah Daily Press]

State Government News

‘We are going to keep showing up.’ Activists rally at Oklahoma Capitol for gun reforms: Members and volunteers of the Oklahoma chapter of Moms Demand Action ― a nationwide movement that started after the Sandy Hook elementary school shooting more than 10 years ago ― and the parent nonprofit Everytown for Gun Safety gathered on the steps of the Capitol to call for tightening gun loopholes and passing commonsense gun reform. [The Oklahoman]

Oklahoma lawmakers will decide whether to give the governor more authority over doctors’ licenses: Sen. Julie Daniels, R-Bartlesville, is pushing for changes to the state’s medical licensing board. She argues the current structure lacks transparency and accountability, and it gives an unfair, anti-competitive advantage to a small group of people in the state’s medical industry. [KOSU]

Why is a county clerk candidate drawing donations from a cockfighting group?: Maressa Treat’s campaign for Oklahoma County clerk has drawn donations from a pro-cockfighting group, two wealthy brothers who live 100 miles away, and several political action committees that typically focus on state-level issues. [The Oklahoman]

Bill To Restore Financial Aid For Incarcerated Students Moves To State House: In 1995, Oklahoma banned incarcerated students from accessing the largest source of state financial aid. Now, a new bill aims to restore that opportunity for the state’s incarcerated population. Senate Bill 11 wants to repeal that ban and allow incarcerated students access to state financial aid. [News On 6]

Oklahoma corporation commissioner wants AG to look into potential ‘manipulation’ by natural gas marketers during ’21 winter storm: An Oklahoma corporation commissioner asked Oklahoma Attorney General Gentner Drummond on Monday to investigate “possible market manipulation and violation of the federal Commodity Exchange Act by natural gas marketers during Winter Storm Uri,” a prolonged bitter-cold spell in February 2021 that left Oklahomans on the hook for billions of dollars in electric and natural gas utility hikes. [Tulsa World]

Federal Government News

Congressional committee hearing will focus on Oklahoma economy: The U.S. House Ways and Means Committee is set to hold a field hearing on Tuesday in Yukon about the Oklahoma economy, with Republicans aiming to portray President Joe Biden’s policies as failing many Americans. [The Oklahoman]

Voting and Election News

Oklahoma SQ 820: Get live results for the recreational marijuana vote: Polls will be open Tuesday from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., after which results will be available from The Oklahoman’s live election tool. [The Oklahoman]

Health News

Walgreens bans abortion pill as women are arrested in GOP states: Last week, the national pharmacy chain said it would not distribute mifepristone in 20 states after conservative attorneys general threatened legal action. Their decision has drawn national outrage and condemnation. [Black Wall Street Times]

Criminal Justice News

Oklahoma County jail trust moves toward hiring Maj. Brandi Garner as new CEO: Oklahoma County jail trust members unanimously approved a resolution to interview Maj. Brandi Garner as the jail’s next CEO, appointing trustees Steven Buck, M.T. Berry and Sheriff Tommie Johnson III to handle that responsibility. [The Oklahoman]

  • Garner poised to become permanent OK County Jail CEO [NonDoc]

Oklahoma County’s new DA Vicki Behenna gets first guilty verdict at murder trial: An Oklahoma City man was convicted Friday night of first-degree murder in a 2021 case handled personally by Oklahoma County’s new district attorney. [The Oklahoman]

Education News

Column: Don’t listen to the hype; public schools have civics: It takes a 20-second Google search to find the Oklahoma Department of Education standards for public high school graduation. Students must complete a year of U.S. history and a semester each of Oklahoma history and U.S. government. They also must pass a 100-question citizenship test. [Ginnie Graham / Tulsa World]

Oklahoma Local News

  • Opinion: Recent City Council resolution prompts robust discussion, good start [Tulsa World]

Quote of the Day

“I honestly can’t think of a more pro-life thing that we can do in this body than support moms who just had a baby. When I start to look at what most civilized nations around the world are doing, they’re doing significantly more than 12 weeks.”

– Sen. Adam Pugh, R-Edmond, chairman of the Senate Education Committee and author of SB 364, which would provide paid maternity leave to teachers. [NonDoc]

Number of the Day


Estimated rate of working-age people in the U.S. who remained outside the labor force due to home or family responsibilities. [Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis]

Policy Note

Paid Family Leave: A Benefit Helpful to Just About Everyone—So Why So Slow In Coming?: In terms of federal law, there is a guarantee of the right to unpaid family leave. The 1993 Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) mandates that if you’re an employee at any company or organization—whether private-sector or public-sector—of 50 or more employees, it is illegal for that employer to fire you for taking up to 12 weeks of unpaid family leave.  Still, that’s a far cry from the 37 other advanced countries, with their much more robust leave guarantees. [Government Executive]

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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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