In The Know: Proposed revenue cuts advance in House | $700 million economic development package approved | Oklahoma as the new Texas?

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

Oklahomans could be one step closer to reduced grocery, income taxes: Proposals to eliminate the state sales tax on groceries and cut individual income taxes advanced to the full House on Thursday, as lawmakers took an early and bipartisan step toward giving a break to Oklahoma consumers hit hard by inflation. [The Oklahoman]

Tax break approved for a company that might be VW, but identity is still secret: Gov. Kevin Stitt has signed a bill offering hundreds of millions of dollars in tax incentives for a company code-named “Project Connect” to build a manufacturing facility in northeastern Oklahoma. [The Oklahoman]

Energy Trader Sued By Kansas AG Also Sold to Oklahoma Utilities: A natural gas trader sued by the Kansas attorney general over fuel sales during a winter storm in 2021 sold almost $154 million in gas to Oklahoma utilities during the same period. Oklahoma customers of the state’s largest regulated utilities are paying back billions in natural gas costs for the next several decades from a two-week period during Winter Storm Uri. [Oklahoma Watch]

  • Kansas AG sues energy company also active in Oklahoma for winter storm market manipulation [Public Radio Tulsa]

Oklahoma Wants to Be the ‘Next Texas.’ Imagine That: The wide shadow of Texas has long fallen over Oklahoma. Despite offering the same red-state promise of open land, a cowboy ethos and limited government regulations, Oklahoma has found itself a perennial also-ran, especially in recent decades as Texas cities became magnets for new companies and workers from around the country. [The New York Times]

State Government News

Stitt selects Katie Quebedeaux to replace Marla Hill on State Board of Education: Gov. Kevin Stitt announced a new member of the Oklahoma State Board of Education today, selecting Guymon resident Katie Quebedeaux to replace Marla Hill, a home-school parent who had not attended either of the board’s two meetings after Stitt appointed her in January. [NonDoc]

  • Governor replaces absent member of Oklahoma State Board of Education [The Oklahoman]
  • Education Watch: Board Appointee’s Absences Draw Questions [Oklahoma Watch]

The inside scoop on Oklahoma’s bills targeting transgender healthcare, gender identity instruction: Culture-war debates have reignited at the Oklahoma state Capitol with a slew of bills proposing further limits on health care for transgender people, and discussions of gender identity and sexual orientation in public schools. [The Oklahoman]

  • From OK Policy: Oklahoma in radical need of empathy [Journal Record]

Oklahoma Gov. Stitt creates task force to boost support for foster, biological parents: Gov. Kevin Stitt has formed a special child welfare task force to study ways to reduce the number of Oklahoma children in foster care. The governor said about 7 of every 1,000 children in the state are in an out-of-home placement, slightly higher than the national average of 6 per 1,000. [The Oklahoman]

Cockfighting opponents have claws out again: Animal rights activists are incensed that the Oklahoma Legislature is again considering lowering the penalties for cockfighting instead of pushing local sheriffs in southeastern Oklahoma to enforce the law as written. [Journal Record]

This Week In Oklahoma Politics (podcast): Recreational marijuana, gender-affirming care, death penalty moratorium and more [KOSU]

Federal Government News

Lankford makes another push for daylight saving time: U.S. Sen. James Lankford is taking another run at locking the United States into year-around daylight saving time. [Tulsa World]

Voting and Election News

Q&A may help voters undecided about recreational marijuana: Oklahoma voters will decide on March 7 if the state will join 22 others in legalizing the adult use of marijuana for recreation. Supporters of passage of State Question 820 want voters to approve an initiative that combines legal adult-use cannabis with criminal justice reforms to address past low-level convictions on marijuana-related offenses. Opponents say full legalization sends the wrong message to children and that the state hasn’t done enough to deal with unintended consequences of legalizing marijuana for medical uses in 2018. [Journal Record]

Why you should check your voter registration before casting a ballot in Oklahoma’s State Question 820 election: In the months leading up to Oklahoma’s election on the legalization of recreational cannabis, Oklahoma purged tens of thousands of voters from its rolls. In the state’s latest voter purge more than 86,000 voters were removed from the rolls, due to inactivity or duplicate registrations. [KOSU]

Health News

Report: Oklahoma among highest states for medical ID theft: Oklahomans were found to be especially vulnerable to medical identity fraud in a report released this week that concluded that more than 22 million Americans had personal information exposed in data breaches in the fourth quarter of 2022 alone. [Journal Record]

Economic Opportunity

Tulsa needs $2.5 billion in new housing over the next decade, study says: Tulsa needs to invest approximately $245 million a year into housing over the next decade if it hopes to meet the demand and provide for equitable growth, according to the Tulsa Citywide Housing Assessment released Friday. The much-anticipated document is intended to provide a comprehensive baseline of information for city leaders to mull over and analyze as they work to establish a housing strategy that addresses the needs of people of all income levels. [Tulsa World]

Economy & Business News

First-time jobless claims decline: First-time state unemployment claims declined by more than a third during the week ending Saturday when compared to the previous seven-day period, according to a government report. [Tulsa World]

General News

Scarlet Le-Cao: ‘Our community is like an extended family’: In this Q&A, President of the Greater Oklahoma City Asian Chamber of Commerce Scarlet Le-Cao discusses coming to America to be a businesswoman, the need for the new Asian Chamber of Commerce in OKC, and where she finds the energy to take care of herself and her family while running businesses and being active in the community. [NonDoc]

LGBTQ+ accounts of suicide, leaving state punctuate Tulsa City Council resolution passage: Following nearly an hour of testimonies from LGBTQ+ Tulsans who described suicidal ideations, bullying and trying to move out of state, city councilors on Wednesday night unanimously passed a resolution to be an inclusive city. [Public Radio Tulsa]

Oklahoma Local News

  • Poll: Will OKC residents support a new NBA arena if Thunder helps to pay for it? [The Oklahoman]
  • Vacant school board seat brings Tulsa school board back together on Friday [Tulsa World]

Quote of the Day

“We’re finding people moving here from the quote unquote liberal states because of their policies. It’s not for everybody. If this is not who you are, great, you don’t have to live in our state.”

– Gov. Kevin Stitt addressing whether efforts to attract new residents to Oklahoma would alter its political identity [New York Times]

Number of the Day

$2.5 billion

Amount of money Tulsa needs to invest in housing over the next decade to meet demand for housing across all economic spectrum to address housing equity. This include 12,900 housing units of all types and price points, with a current pent-up demand for 4,000 units. [Housing Solutions of Tulsa via Tulsa World] | [Tulsa Citywide Housing Assessment, PDF]

Policy Note

How Much Do You Know about Homelessness in America? (interactive): Homelessness is pervasive in communities across the United States. This interactive quiz will help determine how much you understand the causes of — and solutions to — one of the nation’s most pressing challenges. [Urban Institute]

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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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