In The Know: Senate education chair unveils education plan | AG requests more time between executions | Budget transparency | 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

Policy Matters: Lawmakers should make budget process transparent: Oklahoma’s state budget process should be fully transparent so that Oklahomans can monitor how their tax dollars are spent. This would help residents have informed discussions with lawmakers when those decisions fall short of our needs. While lawmakers make public some elements of the budget process, the real decision-making happens outside the public’s view. [Journal Record]

Oklahoma News

GOP senator unveils $541M education plan that includes teacher pay raises: A leading state senator wants to allocate an additional $541 million for K-12 education to fund a slate of new initiatives, including pay raises and paid maternity leave for educators and financial incentives to get more qualified teachers into classrooms. [Tulsa World]

  • Pugh education agenda: Teacher pay raise, maternity leave, reforms [NonDoc]

Oklahoma Attorney General requests more time in between executions: Oklahoma Attorney General Gentner Drummond has filed a motion with the Department of Corrections to request the next seven execution dates be pushed back by 60 days, changing the current schedule from one execution every month to one every two months. [KGOU]

  • Oklahoma AG seeks more time between executions, citing ‘unsustainable’ pace [Tulsa World]
  • Attorney general wants to slow down the pace of executions in Oklahoma [The Oklahoman]

Relief is Coming for Families of the Incarcerated, but Will Oklahomans Feel It?: On Jan. 5, President Joe Biden signed a law to limit charges by communication providers to correctional and detention facilities. The bipartisan Martha Wright-Reed Just and Reasonable Communications Act allows the Federal Communication Commission to address intrastate and interstate rates. [Oklahoma Watch]

State Government News

Oklahoma lawmaker’s bill would require fathers to pay child support for unborn babies: Oklahoma legislators could vote this year on whether to make fathers responsible for financially supporting the mother and child — before birth. Senate Bill 656 requires that “the father or second parent of an unborn child” is liable for necessary and appropriate medical costs during pregnancy. The measure was introduced this week, and has to clear several hurdles before being signed into law. [The Oklahoman]

After 18 years, ‘a home run’ for Oklahoma as judge rules in poultry-pollution lawsuit: A federal judge ruled in favor of the state of Oklahoma on Wednesday, nearly 18 years into a lawsuit that blames the poultry industry for pollution in the Illinois River watershed and 13 years after a lengthy trial in the case. [Tulsa World]

Lawyers allege improper handling of ACCESS turnpike project payments, OTA appeals Open Meeting Act violation: A new suit filed in Cleveland County District Court alleges the Oklahoma Turnpike Authority improperly remedied its Open Meeting Act violation and owes about $42 million. [KOSU]

With an eye on boosting rural businesses, Oklahoma picks investment firms: Five investment firms have been tapped to inject millions of dollars into Oklahoma’s rural economy while receiving state tax credits on a portion of their investment. [The Oklahoman]

Federal Government News

Enid receives federal money to brace water supply against future growth and drought: Enid currently relies solely on groundwater, but it takes more than 100 wells to support its 50,000 residents. In response to current demand and anticipated population growth, the city is working to shore up existing water infrastructure and secure an alternative water source. [KOSU]

Voting and Election News

Republican share of Oklahoma voter registrations continues to grow: The number of registered Republicans, Libertarians and independents in Oklahoma continued to grow in the past year while the number of registered Democrats continued to shrink, according to the Oklahoma State Election Board’s annual Jan. 15 voter registration count. [Tulsa World]

OK Supreme Court to decide Chris Cowden’s quest for OKC Ward 2 ballot: Chris Cowden’s plea to get on the Feb. 14 ballot as a candidate for OKC City Council Ward 2 will be determined by the Oklahoma Supreme Court in conference over the coming days or weeks. [NonDoc]

Health News

A collaborative in Tulsa models how Oklahoma communities can fight the methamphetamine epidemic: Methamphetamine is killing more Oklahomans than any illicit drug. Nonprofits, treatment centers, policy analysts and law enforcement in Tulsa created a program to broaden access to recovery from it. [StateImpact Oklahoma]

Criminal Justice News

New Tulsa program offers help navigating legal system for those released from jail: Originally launched in October 2022, JusticeLink strives to help people with navigating the criminal legal system and finding “life-stabilizing, community-based resources,” according to a news release. [Tulsa World]

Economy & Business News

Willams’ CEO: Complex permitting, lack of infrastructure block nation’s natural gas potential: Mitigating the United States’ carbon emissions in the near term is no pipe dream. Far from it, said Alan Armstrong, president and CEO of Williams. [Tulsa World]

Egg prices won’t come down anytime soon: Federal Reserve Economic Data indicates that in U.S. cities, the average price of large, grade A white eggs more than doubled from $1.79 a dozen in December 2021 to $4.25 in December 2022. Prices are expected to remain high for months to come as producers have battled a bird flu outbreak that began in early 2022 as well as soaring feed and transportation costs. [Journal Record]

Wheat farmers face a tougher future as climate change ramps up dry, hot, windy weather: A new study from Kansas State University researchers is the first to measure how a changing climate is hurting wheat production in the Great Plains. And it points to a future with more extreme heat, drought and wind. [KOSU]

Education News

Oklahoma Gov. Stitt Replaces Carlisha Williams Bradley, The Only African American and Educator on State Board of Education: Williams Bradley’s removal means the state board overseeing Oklahoma’s 509 public school districts will not have African American representation. More than half (55 percent) of Oklahoma’s public schoolchildren are nonwhite. [The Oklahoma Eagle]

Column: Lifting up public education bolsters desegregation: Segregation is alive and well in Tulsa-area schools. Though no longer enforced by law, the shameful history of Jim Crow continues to take a heavy toll on our city’s marginalized groups. [Alec Camacho / Tulsa World]

Quote of the Day

“Government budgets are often called moral documents that reflect what a society truly values. For Oklahomans who see misalignment between our state budget and our state’s needs, I encourage you to contact your legislator and ask why. The annual state budget really is the people’s budget, and Oklahomans should demand more input as part of the process.”

– Shiloh Kantz, Executive Director of OK Policy, speaking on the importance of a transparent budget process [Journal Record]

Number of the Day

$1.2-$1.3 million

Estimated cost of the March 7 statewide special election, which will only have SQ 820 (recreational marijuana) on the statewide ballot. Petitioners aimed to include the question during the November 2022 general election, but state delays and legal challeges prevented it. Gov. Stitt selected the March 7 special election date, and the Oklahoma State Election Board will have to ask the Legislature for supplemental appropriations to help cover the additional expense. County election boards also will shoulder some of the cost. [The Frontier]

Policy Note

Focus on Transparency: This February 2022 report outlines how Oklahoma stacks up against other states on transparency in the budget process. It also suggests reforms that lawmakers can enact to improve citizen engagement and public discussion about expenditures of taxpayer dollars. These include holding budget hearings, introducing budget bills at the beginning of session, requiring agencies to submit current services budgets before sessions begin, encouraging agencies to submit ambitious agency requests that can address the state’s greatest needs, and more. [OK Policy

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


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.

Leave a Reply

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