In The Know: Political rivals strike deal on wind power tax

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

Political rivals strike deal on wind power tax: Oklahoma House leaders have reached a deal with Democrats for a new tax on wind power. The agreement came after a morning of closed-door meetings on both sides of the aisle. [The Oklahoman] Lawmakers Close To Deal On Wind Energy Tax [News on 6]

In Edmond, SQ 788 debaters try to cut through the haze on medical marijuana: Several minutes into his opening remarks, August Rivera grabbed a dozen bags containing 72 ounces of gummy bears — the quantity of edible marijuana that would be allowed under State Question 788 — and dumped them on the floor in front of his lectern to show the amount residents may soon possess. [The Oklahoman] State Question 788: Medical Marijuana Legalization Initiative [OK Policy]

Sanctuary cities standoff sidetracks OKC police grant: Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ crusade against so-called sanctuary cities is jeopardizing crime-fighting funds that Oklahoma City has relied on for years. Bogged down by a lawsuit with the city of Chicago, the U.S. Justice Department has delayed the release of federal grants that normally would have been awarded last fall. [The Oklahoman]

The U.S. Supreme Court has a chance to fix the commercial injustice it created in internet sales: The U.S. Supreme Court is reconsidering a half-century-old ruling that has given internet merchants a free ride on state use tax collection. In 1967, the court ruled that retailers that didn’t have a physical presence in a state couldn’t be required to collect use taxes on goods sold to consumers there. [Editorial Writers/Tulsa World] Oklahoma makes progress on collecting taxes from online sales [OK Policy]

Is the Oklahoma Legislature feeling political fatigue?: It’s hard to find an Oklahoma representative or senator willing to say they’re tired of being a legislator, but there are signs of fatigue at the Capitol after 15 months of near-constant session work. [The Oklahoman]

Lawmakers say needs, demands differ for rural, urban schools: Even as they presented unified calls for increased funding, rural and urban educators had starkly different ideas of how to accomplish it, lawmakers said. Teachers were allied in their calls for increased pay, additional classroom spending and reduced class sizes. Still, some lawmakers said they couldn’t help but notice some stark disagreement and mixed messages about how to solve those issues. [CNHI]

House panel moves to curb food stamps, renew farm subsidies:  bitterly-divided House panel approved new work and job training requirements for food stamps as part of a five-year renewal of federal farm and nutrition policy. The GOP-run Agriculture Committee last week approved the measure strictly along party lines after a contentious, five-hour hearing in which Democrats blasted the legislation, charging it would toss up to 2 million people off of food stamps and warning that it will never pass Congress. [AP] SNAP is working to feed Oklahoma’s Children [OK Policy]

Why Textbooks Are a Symbol of Teacher Frustration: One of the most iconic images of the teacher walkout and the cuts to education funding that drove the movement was of tattered, duct-taped, antiquated textbooks. There was the viral image of an Ada girl holding a class reader that apparently was once assigned to country music star Blake Shelton, now 41. And the photo of a crumbling history book from Owasso in which George W. Bush is the current president (the district later said that particular book wasn’t in use). [Oklahoma Watch]

Cherokees grow into an economic and cultural leader for Oklahoma: The Cherokee Nation, during a 30-year growth spurt initially sparked by gaming revenue, has grown into an economic and cultural behemoth. It is not a stretch to say the Cherokees have become one of northeast Oklahoma’s most powerful economic engines and a leading voice on issues ranging from education to health. It is not the first time the Cherokees, the nation’s largest Indian tribe with about 360,000 members, have used determination and savvy decisions to build a stirring success story. [Tulsa World]

Teachers union showed power, limitations during walkout: During the walkout, the Oklahoma Education Association said its membership had grown for the first time in years, yet it received a flood of criticism from teachers who felt the walkout had ended prematurely. Lawmakers had accused the organization of moving the goalposts on its demands and extending the walkout too long, while some teachers responded to their call for an end by dropping their membership. [The Oklahoman]

Where does the drive to fund Oklahoma education adequately go from here?: The end of the teacher walkout does not mark the end of the movement to restore funding to education. Whether or not they supported ending the walkout, teachers are resolved to be an active presence over the coming months in electing pro-education candidates. [David Blatt/Tulsa World] The education funding package is a major step forward. There’s more work to do. [OK Policy]

Senate Narrowly Confirms Republican Rep. Jim Bridenstine to Lead NASA: After additional hours of debate on the floor, the Senate narrowly confirmed Rep. Jim Bridenstine (R-Okla.) to be the 13th administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). Bridenstine, perhaps one of the more contentious nominees in the past few years, narrowly pushed through with a 50–49 vote Thursday evening. [IJR]

Quote of the Day

“I do have a great concern about the fact that we’re losing some good members out of frustration. It’s just sheer frustration; this process is so caustic it’s difficult to want to come back.”

Rep. Weldon Watson (R-Tulsa) on the political fatigue at the Capitol and the higher than usual number of legislators opting not to seek re-election this year (Source)

Number of the Day


Eviction filing rate in Tulsa County, the highest of any county in Oklahoma.

Source: Eviction Lab

See previous Numbers of the Day here.

Policy Note

100 years of tax brackets, in one chart: There is a proposal Republicans often make during presidential campaigns or tax debates, and it goes something like this: Taxes are confusing, so we should reduce the number of tax  brackets. And if you’re enraged by how confusing it is to do your taxes, this can sound like a good idea. It’s the exact argument House Speaker Paul Ryan made during the tax reform debate, while also saying we should be able to do our taxes on a postcard. It’s a proposal that Donald Trump made during the campaign, as did his competitors Marco Rubio, Ben Carson, and Jeb Bush, among others. But this interactive chart explains why that’s a red herring. [Vox]

You can sign up here to receive In The Know by e-mail.


Courtney Cullison worked for OK Policy from 2017 to 2020 as a policy analyst focused on issues of economic opportunity and financial security. Before coming to OK Policy, Courtney worked in higher education, holding faculty positions at the University of Texas at Tyler and at Connors State College in eastern Oklahoma. A native Oklahoman, she received an Honors B.A. in Political Science from Oklahoma State University, and an M.A. and Ph.D. with emphasis in congressional politics and public policy from the University of Oklahoma. While at OU, Courtney was a fellow at the Carl Albert Congressional Research and Studies Center. As a professor she taught classes in American politics, public policy, and research methods and conducted original research with a focus on the relationship between representatives and the constituents they serve.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.