In The Know: Senate passes private school credits bill | This session’s tax proposals don’t deliver inflation relief | State Budget Update 2023

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.

Tax proposals this session fail to deliver inflation relief, jeopardize state’s long-term fiscal health: With $10.8 billion in recurring revenue and at least $1.6 billion in one-time funds, the Oklahoma Legislature has significant fiscal decisions to make this session. Oklahoma leaders have repeatedly stated their intentions, including House Speaker Charles McCall who wants to provide “inflation relief” and Gov. Kevin Stitt who heralds a commitment to “fiscal discipline.” However, most of the legislative proposals made public so far do not meet either goal. [Emma Morris / OK Policy]

Oklahoma News

Senate passes private school tax credits; House leader open to negotiate: The Oklahoma Senate on Thursday approved tax credits for families of private-school and home-school students, a major goal of school choice supporters but legislation the leader of the House said will require more negotiation. Senators also approved a public school funding increase and a teacher pay raise in a separate bill. [The Oklahoman]

  • ‘Game-changing opportunity for education’: OK Democrats call for clean teacher pay bill [OKC Fox 25]
  • Stitt, McCall speak at school choice rally at state Capitol [Tulsa World]
  • After Senate OKs gutted education bills, speaker vows the House shall not pass [Tulsa World]
  • Oklahoma Senate approves education spending, reform bill [CNHI via McAlester News-Capital]

Oklahoma’s only secure-care facility for youth faces 42% staff vacancy rate, growing overtime costs: Administrators say staff are frequently working 12-hour shifts, and though they try to avoid them, 16-hour shifts are sometimes necessary. Forty-eight out of 115 front-line positions are currently open. [The Frontier]

State Government News

Oklahoma Lawmakers Are Watering Down a Bill That’s Supposed to Help Domestic Violence Survivors: Given the Oklahoma House’s unanimous support for the Domestic Abuse Survivorship Act, Oklahoma justice advocates are now trying to convince state Senators to revert back to the original language allowing for retroactive resentencing. [Mother Jones]

Oklahoma House passes 4 bills easing alcohol laws: Oklahoma’s pending updated alcohol laws have been met with a lot of praise, with a few things slipping through the cracks. Four bills, HB 1392, HB 2178, HB 2843, and SB 809, are working through the Oklahoma House and Senate and could change distribution laws, lower the age restriction for sealed alcohol, and clarify what wineries and small brewers are allowed to sell. [KTUL]

Podcast: Dean Davis censure, education bills, Superintendent Ryan Walters and more: KOSU’s Michael Cross talks with Republican Political Consultant Neva Hill and Civil Rights Attorney Ryan Kiesel about the censure of Representative Dean Davis after the Broken Arrow Republican was arrested on charges of public intoxication and the State Senate amending and passing education bills from the House causing a stalemate between the chambers. [This Week in Oklahoma Politics / KOSU]

Federal Government News

Republican energy bill clears House, but dead on arrival in Senate. Here’s how Oklahoma reps voted: The U.S. House approved energy legislation on Thursday that was a top priority for the new Republican majority seeking more oil and gas production on public land and fewer obstacles for pipelines. [The Oklahoman]

EPA proposes new Superfund site in northeastern Oklahoma: The EPA announced a proposed new Superfund site at Oklahoma’s Fansteel Metals, Inc. Covering 105 acres in Muskogee on Cherokee Nation land, the facility contains radioactive and toxic materials that could threaten the health and safety of people living nearby if not properly contained. [KOSU]

Tribal Nations News

Cherokee Nation delegate Kimberly Teehee to speak at Tulsa Press Club PageOne luncheon: Tim Landes, TPC board member and Tulsa People digital editor, will moderate a conversation with Kimberly Teehee on the state of Native American affairs at the local and federal level. Guests are encouraged to participate in the question and answer portion of the luncheon. [Tulsa World]

Voting and Election News

OKC City Council, county clerk elections April 4. Where to vote. Who are the candidates?: Residents in the Oklahoma City area will have the chance to vote in local races for city council and county clerk Tuesday. [The Oklahoman]

Health News

City, state leaders break ground on ‘historic’ psychiatric hospital in Tulsa: A symbolic groundbreaking ceremony was held Thursday for a new psychiatric hospital that is expected to reduce mental health-related emergency room visits, incarcerations and homelessness across the Tulsa area. [Tulsa World]

Education News

Oklahoma legislative action take toll on trans kids, parents, teachers: Transgender and nonbinary Oklahomans say the political front against them — with schools at the epicenter — has taken a toll, and even graver possibilities lie ahead with legislation that could limit access to gender-affirming health care. [The Oklahoman]

  • The forces behind anti-trans bills across the U.S. [Axios]

Edmond parents respond to ruling that quarantine protocols violated students’ rights: Parents responded Thursday to the state Supreme Court saying Edmond Public Schools violated students’ rights with quarantine rules. In 2021, parents filed a lawsuit against the superintendent and school board saying their kids were excluded because of COVID-19 protocols. [KOCO Oklahoma City]

General News

Buttigieg visits OKC to highlight focus on airspace safety, reliability: The aviation industry is facing its most transformative decade since the introduction of the jet engine, Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said Thursday on a visit to Oklahoma City. [The Oklahoman]

  • U.S. Secretary of Transportation visits Oklahoma City, highlights aviation industry [KOSU]

Oklahoma Local News

  • Matt Hinkle, Thuan Nguyen vying for OKC Ward 5 in hotly contested runoff [NonDoc]
  • Tulsa airport working to fight human trafficking through federal Blue Lightning Initiative [Tulsa World]

“I think that the schools are the front lines of a lot of these battlegrounds because the schools are where we build community. The schools are where we are able to have these conversations, and they’re facilitated in a way that really allows for everyone to have their voices heard, even those who are spoken over.”

– Ramona Diaz, an Oklahoma educator, commenting on the multiple Oklahoman laws that are curtailing the ways transgender people can express their identity in schools and everyday life. [The Oklahoman]


Oklahoma is ranked 25th nationally for its effective real-estate tax rate, but the state’s annual tax collections would be the nation’s 10th lowest based on annual taxes on a home priced at the state’s median value. [WalletHub]

Texas Is On The Cusp Of Trouble: A secret to Texas’ success has been, without question, its lack of an income tax. A zero-rate income tax is a business magnet. States with no income taxes can have other forms of taxes that are on the large side. The property tax is the big tax in Texas. It has gotten large enough to become a clear problem. If Texas does not address itself to this problem and, crucially, solve it correctly, the Texas miracle will be in jeopardy. [Forbes]

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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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