In The Know: Senate leader criticizes governor’s special session tax plan | Tribal compacts dispute headed to court | Ranked-choice voting | Hispanic Heritage Month

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: Ways to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month: Immigrants have been integral in weaving our nation’s vibrant tapestry – a tradition that continues today as this week marks national Hispanic Heritage Month (Sept. 15-Oct. 15). Census data show more than 1 in 10 Oklahomans are Hispanic, the state’s fastest-growing demographic. This month, we can find many ways to celebrate and honor the contributions of our Hispanic friends and neighbors. [Shiloh Kantz / Journal Record]

Oklahoma News

Oklahoma Senate leader demands details from Stitt on ‘intensely vague’ special session: The head of the Oklahoma Senate wants lawmakers to grill Gov. Kevin Stitt on what he hopes to gain from a special legislative session next month. Calling the governor’s special session agenda “intensely vague,” Senate President Pro Tem Greg Treat, R-Oklahoma City, requested Stitt appear before a legislative panel to provide details on how he thinks the state can afford the tax cuts he proposed. [Oklahoma Voice]

  • ‘Are we going to close schools?’ Republican leader criticizes Stitt’s special session tax plan [The Oklahoman]
  • Axing income tax would cost the state $4B, Senate leader says as Stitt calls special session [Tulsa World]
  • Oklahoma Senate leader raises questions, wants Gov. Stitt to appear before committee [KOSU]
  • Full statement from Sen. Treat [Oklahoma Senate]
  • Editorial: Special session not place for tax cut discussions [Editorial / Enid News & Eagle]

State Government News

Dispute over Oklahoma tribal compacts is heading to state courts: The effort to block Oklahoma lawmakers from renewing state-tribal compacts will get its day in court, but it won’t be Gov. Kevin Stitt’s complaint at center stage. [The Oklahoman]

Oklahoma Supreme Court declines challenge to marijuana license fee increases: The Oklahoma Supreme Court declined this week to consider a challenge to a bill dramatically raising fees associated with medical marijuana licenses, kicking the lawsuit down to district court in Oklahoma County. [The Oklahoman]

Oklahoma Supreme Court rejects call for rehearing in Edmond schools quarantine case: The Oklahoma Supreme Court declined this week to reconsider its decision that the Edmond Public Schools’ quarantine policy violated a 2021 state law barring differential treatment of students based on vaccination status. [The Oklahoman]

Oklahoma Attorney General announces potential lawsuits over ‘forever chemicals’ pollution: As concerns mount about “forever chemicals” — also called PFAS — polluting the environment, Oklahoma Attorney General Gentner Drummond has announced potential litigation against companies that add them to the environment. [KOSU]

  • Oklahoma may sue over ‘forever chemicals,’ attorney general says [Tulsa World]

Federal Government News

Democrats push to extend child care grant program: Congressional Democrats introduced a bill Wednesday to extend funding for five years for a pandemic-era child care subsidy program set to expire at the end of the month. The legislation would extend the child care stabilization grant program, which Congress established in 2021 to help child care providers meet additional costs during the pandemic. [Oklahoma Voice]

Federal judge again declares that DACA is illegal: While a federal judge on Wednesday declared illegal a revised version of a federal policy that prevents the deportation of hundreds of thousands of immigrants brought to the U.S. as children, he declined to order an immediate end to the program and the protections it offers to recipients. [NPR]

Voting and Election News

Oklahoma Lawmakers Weigh Restrictions on Ranked-choice Voting: A coalition of voter advocacy groups and some elected officials say ranked-choice voting helps reduce negative campaigning and gives a greater voice to third-party and independent voters. But several Republican lawmakers, concerned about a potential switchover being costly and confusing to voters, remain skeptical.   [Oklahoma Watch]

  • Ranked choice voting could be costly in Oklahoma, state elections chief says [Oklahoma Voice]
  • Where have ranked-choice voting measures been on the ballot? 4 states and 45 localities since 1970 [Ballotpedia]

Health News

Women fight abortion bans in 3 more states with legal actions: Eight patients and four doctors are bringing new legal actions against three states with full abortion bans — Tennessee, Idaho and Oklahoma. In all three states, patients say that the abortion laws in effect since Roe v. Wade was overturned last year interfered with their care during dangerous pregnancies. The number of states with abortion bans in effect continues to tick up — the count is now at 17 states. [NPR]

Criminal Justice News

‘I am 100% innocent.’ Death row inmate Anthony Sanchez denied execution stay, asks Stitt for delay: A federal judge on Wednesday denied death row inmate Anthony Sanchez an execution stay. Sanchez, 44, is set to be executed Sept. 21 for the murder of University of Oklahoma ballerina Juli Busken. He claims he is innocent. [The Oklahoman]

Spiritual advisor of Oklahoma death row inmate walks from McAlester to State Capitol: The spiritual advisor for an Oklahoma death row inmate scheduled for execution next week completed a more than 120-mile walk to deliver a letter to Gov. Kevin Stitt asking for a 60-day reprieve. [KOSU]

Education News

Over 550 Oklahoma teachers to receive signing bonuses of $15,000 to $50,000: Hundreds of teachers from across nearly 200 school districts have joined a signing bonus program designed to attract new teachers into Oklahoma classrooms, state education officials said. The Oklahoma State Department of Education expects to make bonus payments ranging from $15,000 to $50,000 to 553 teachers by Oct. 12. [Oklahoma Voice]

State superintendent, Tulsa school board member visit right-wing group on heels of state takeover threat: A Tulsa School board member was invited to speak to a right-wing group State Superintendent Ryan Walters called the “tip of the spear and the spine“ in his fight against “woke indoctrination” in public schools. Walters’ and Tulsa school board member E’Lena Ashley’s appearances Wednesday at a meeting of the Oklahoma Conservative Political Action Committee Foundation comes on the heels of Walters’ recent threats to have the state take over Tulsa Public Schools. [Tulsa World]

Opinion, Oklahoma Chancellor Allison Garrett: Focused on the future of Oklahoma’s workforce: Making purposeful strides in workforce readiness now is important to the future health of Oklahoma’s workforce. A recent study by the U.S. Departments of Education, Commerce and Labor forecasts that 70% of U.S. jobs will require education and training beyond high school by 2027. [Allison D. Garrett / Journal Record]

Quote of the Day

“Are we going to close schools? Are we going to undo the recent teacher pay raises? Are we going to tax oil and gas and businesses more? Are we going to close hospitals? Are we going to raise property taxes? These are all questions the governor needs to answer directly to Oklahomans instead of just sending out an ambiguous special session call.”

-Senate Pro Tem Greg Treat, responding to the governor’s call for eliminating the personal income tax [Oklahoma Senate]

Number of the Day


Total number of Hispanic-owned and operated businesses in Oklahoma [Greater Oklahoma City Hispanic Chamber of Commerce]

Policy Note

Key facts about U.S. Latinos for National Hispanic Heritage Month: National Hispanic Heritage Month, which begins each year on Sept. 15, celebrates U.S. Latinos, their culture and their history. Started in 1968 by Congress as Hispanic Heritage Week, it was expanded to a month in 1988. The celebration begins in the middle rather than the start of September because it coincides with national independence days in several Latin American countries: Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, Nicaragua and Costa Rica celebrate theirs on Sept. 15, followed by Mexico on Sept. 16, Chile on Sept. 18 and Belize on Sept 21. Here are some key facts about the nation’s Latino population by geography, and by characteristics like language use and origin group. [Pew Research]

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David Hamby has more than 25 years of experience as an award-winning communicator, including overseeing communication programs for Oklahoma higher education institutions and other organizations. Before joining OK Policy, he was director of public relations for Rogers State University where he managed the school’s external communication programs and served as a member of the president’s leadership team. He served in a similar communications role for five years at the University of Tulsa. He also has worked in communications roles at Oklahoma State University and the Fort Smith Chamber of Commerce in Arkansas. He joined OK Policy in October 2019.

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