In The Know: Proposed ‘mega legislation’ to lure company | Fact check on SQ 780 | Window of opportunity for justice reform | 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

Reopening window of opportunity for justice reform (Capitol Update): It goes without saying that in a democracy, significant change in public policy happens slowly. That’s why, when the legislature gets a chance to pass something, it’s best not to miss the opportunity. The tide of events can turn, and another opportunity may be a long time in coming. It’s difficult to maintain momentum on important change issues. [Steve Lewis / OK Policy

Oklahoma News

Crafting new incentive, Oklahoma tries to lure $4 billion Panasonic battery plant: Days ahead of a potentially monumental vote by Panasonic’s board of directors regarding the location of a $4 billion North American battery plant, Gov. Kevin Stitt requested and legislators advanced a proposal today creating a new business incentive rebate program aimed at bringing the Japanese company and 4,000 jobs to Oklahoma. [NonDoc

  • Gov. Stitt seeks ‘mega legislation’ to land ‘humongous factory’ with ‘billions and billions’ in investment [Tulsa World
  • Stitt asks Legislature to entice mystery manufacturer [The Journal Record] [CNHI via The Woodward News]
  • To lure Fortune 500 company, Oklahoma lawmakers pursue $700M incentive package [The Oklahoman
  • Panasonic Considers Oklahoma, Kansas for Multi-billion Dollar Factory [Thomas]  [The Kansas City Star
  • (Audio) Headlines: Stitt’s “Mega Legislation”, abortions on reservations & Tulsa Mayfest 2022 [KOSU

Twitter Thread from OK Policy: Gov. Stitt on Monday began ramrodding through the Legislature at least $700 million in incentives for an unnamed company with virtually no time for lawmakers – and the general public – to evaluate how these taxpayer dollars are being spent and who benefits from them. Read the full thread on Twitter or Facebook.

Fact Check: Oklahomans are safer due to SQ 780: Oklahomans for Criminal Justice Reform published a fact check in response to one of the recent media reports that spread misrepresented claims that public safety is in question due to State Question Q780 reforms that recategorized low-level drug & property crimes from felonies to misdemeanors. [OK Justice Reform]

Previously from OK Policy (2021): Voters still waiting for SQ 781’s investments in mental health, substance use disorders

State Government News

Gov. Kevin Stitt vows to get to the bottom of Swadley’s scandal, recoup any misspent money: More than three weeks after the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation opened an inquiry into a deal between Swadley’s Bar-B-Q and the Oklahoma Department of Tourism and Recreation, Gov. Kevin Stitt finally made his first public comments on the matter. [The Oklahoman

A guide to the Oklahoma Legislature’s newest round of cannabis bills: Oklahoma lawmakers are whittling down the list of medical marijuana bills that will ultimately get passed during this session. The focus of the remaining bills ranges from increased regulations on cannabis businesses, altering the licensure process, bolstering the OMMA and changing the structure of where cannabis revenue dollars go. [State Impact Oklahoma

Governor signs bill allowing police to keep videos secret: Gov. Kevin Stitt signed legislation Monday to allow law enforcement to keep from the public audio or video recordings showing an officer’s line-of-duty death. The measure was drafted after Tulsa police were required under Oklahoma law to release a video of a suspect shooting two officers, one of whom later died.  [Tulsa World

Voting and Election News

‘An obvious contrast’: Gubernatorial candidates in Oklahoma Democratic primary offer spectrum: When Joy Hofmeister switched parties last year to run for governor as a Democrat, the party’s state chair was quick to point out that it now meant Democrats had one statewide seat — state superintendent of public instruction, Hofmeister’s current position that she had won twice as a Republican. [The Oklahoman

Social issues at forefront of Oklahoma state superintendent race: A crowded Republican ticket and a lone Democrat are vying to become Oklahoma’s top education official in a race already steeped in cultural debate. All five candidates aim to succeed Joy Hofmeister as state superintendent of public instruction. [The Oklahoman

Oklahoma officials discuss how voters can prepare for election season: Oklahoma officials discussed how voters can prepare for election season. Oklahomans are starting to get the first look at some of the candidates who could be running for local and statewide offices following last week’s candidate filing. Some of them appear to be running unopposed or could run unopposed in the general election because no candidates have filed to run for office under another party. [KOCO]

Health News

Oklahoma Blood Institute declares statewide blood shortage emergency: The Oklahoma Blood Institute has declared a blood shortage emergency across the state. According to OBI, they have less than half the blood supply needed right now, so they are encouraging anyone who is healthy and able to give blood. [KXII]

Kickback scheme involved state physicians, prosecutors say: Two men connected to a kickback scheme that prosecutors allege involved Oklahoma physicians have been sentenced to probation and ordered to pay restitution amounting to almost $1 million. [The Journal Record]

Criminal Justice News

Former Oklahoma jail officer convicted of allowing white supremacists’ attack on Black detainees: A former Kay County corrections officer faces up to 10 years in prison after a federal jury in Oklahoma City convicted him of excessive force and placing Black detainees in harm’s way by moving them into the same cell row as white supremacist inmates. [The Oklahoman

  • Oklahoma prison supervisor convicted for racist attack on Black inmates [The Black Wall Street Times
  • Former Oklahoma corrections officer convicted in federal court of ‘facilitating white supremacist assault’ [Public Radio Tulsa

Oklahoma County Jail employee: Inmate’s in-cell water supply cut off for days before hospitalization: An Oklahoma County Detention Center employee, wishing to remain anonymous out of fear of retaliation, claims an inmate nearly died because the water supply to his cell was shut off for five days. [KFOR]

Group provides Muslims incarcerated in Oklahoma with Ramadan resources, support: As Ramadan enters its third week, an Oklahoma ministry organization says they’re helping the state’s incarcerated Muslims get access to items and resources they need to faithfully practice their religion throughout the holy month. [Public Radio Tulsa]

Economy & Business News

State attracting more film, TV production, officials say: Oklahoma’s film and television industry has witnessed growth following passage of legislation to enhance production incentives, according to the state’s Department of Commerce. [The Journal Record

Education News

Stillwater schools to keep bathroom policy unless state gives ‘no choice,’ board says: Still under pressure from certain state officials, the Stillwater Board of Education asked the state on Monday to issue emergency rules governing school bathroom policies for transgender students. [The Oklahoman]

Public library cancels sexual assault awareness programming, display due to ban: April is sexual assault awareness month, but an Oklahoma library has cancelled a display and programming on the subject due to a ban. Last week the Public Library of Enid and Garfield County’s board voted 3-2 to forbid educational displays on sexuality in the library. Chairman Joseph Fletcher wrote the policy. [Public Radio Tulsa

General News

‘It’s an honor’: Why working the OKC Memorial Marathon has special meaning for three police officers: For three Oklahoma City police officers, providing security during the Memorial Marathon has added meaning. Lt. Cody Koelsch was 12 years old when the bombing happened, but he is an Oklahoma City police officer today because of it. His cousin, Valerie Koelsch, was one of the 168 lives lost in the explosion. [The Oklahoman

  • Remembrance ceremony honors lives lost, survivors of Oklahoma City bombing 27 years later [KOCO]
  • Lawmakers, law enforcement commemorate Oklahoma City bombing anniversary [FOX 25]
  • Oklahoma City Bombing connection to Tulsa Race Massacre investigation [KTUL]

Oklahoma Local News

Commissioners vote to sell Krowse Bldg, construct new Sheriff’s HQ: The Oklahoma County Board of County Commissioners (BoCC) met on Monday morning with all Commissioners present. In addition to honoring the Millwood Boys Basketball Team on their Class 3A State Championship, the BoCC approved a series of Memoranda of Understanding to provide School Resource Officers (SROs) at several local private schools. [OKC Free Press]

Quote of the Day

“How am I supposed to go back to my constituents and say, ‘I gave away three-quarters of a billion dollars to a company that I don’t even know their name?’ Is that responsible?”

– Rep. Collin Walke, D-OKC, speaking about a proposed bill that would provide an estimated $700 million in business incentives to an undisclosed company. [NonDoc

Number of the Day


The number of hours members of the Joint Committee on Appropriations and Budget (JCAB) — and the general public — were provided to evaluate a proposed $700 million business incentive bill (HB 4455) before the committee meeting started Monday afternoon

[Source: Oklahoma Legislature]

Twitter Thread from OK Policy: Gov. Stitt on Monday began ramrodding through the Legislature at least $700 million in incentives for an unnamed company with virtually no time for lawmakers – and the general public – to evaluate how these taxpayer dollars are being spent and who benefits from them. Read the full thread on Twitter or Facebook.

Policy Note

Public Problems Demand Public Solutions: A year ago, the prospects for vast improvements to tax policy seemed right around the corner. The American Rescue Plan expanded the Child Tax Credit (CTC) and the Earned Income Tax Credit, using the tax code to directly reduce inequality and help families weather an incredibly volatile economy. That law also provided expansive funding for health, local government, and communities, signaling a shift in the way we as a country were thinking about government’s role in solving problems. [Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy]

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Kristin Wells served as the Communications and Operations Fellow for OK Policy from October 2021 to July 2022. She previously worked as a digital content producer for News On 6. A native Kansas Citian, Kristin graduated with a B.A. in Media Studies and a B.A. in Spanish from the University of Tulsa in 2020. While there, she was accepted into the Global Scholars program, spurring her interests in policy, social movements, global identities, and the importance of education and advocacy. She hopes to use her skills to continue to learn and create a more equitable future for Oklahomans. An avid sports fan, Kristin lives in Tulsa with her rescue dog and is passionate about college basketball, documentaries, and coffee.

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