In The Know: Speaker McCall to Senate: ‘Hands off’ the House’s education package | Faith leaders ask Ryan Walters to keep religion out of public education | 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.

Oklahoma News

McCall tells Senate ‘hands off’ the House’s education package: House Speaker Charles McCall gave a stern warning to the Senate on Thursday: Hear the House’s education package “as is,” or any Senate education bills will be dead on arrival when they come to the House. In a press conference on Thursday, McCall, R-Atoka, said if the Senate votes to change his chamber’s education package, House Bill 1935 and House Bill 2775, they are voting to “kill the legislation.” [The Frontier]

  • ‘That’s asinine’: Greg Treat annoyed by Charles McCall’s claim on education debate [NonDoc]
  • No bill changes or else: Oklahoma House speaker challenges Senate over education plan, school choice tax credit [Tulsa World]
  • Oklahoma House speaker Charles McCall gives ultimatum to Senate on school funding, tax credit bills [The Oklahoman]

Oklahoma court dismisses case to narrow McGirt ruling: The Oklahoma Court of Criminals Appeals on Thursday granted a request by Attorney General Gentner Drummond to dismiss a case that might have further narrowed the impact of the McGirt ruling on criminal jurisdiction in the state. [The Oklahoman]

Faith leaders ask Ryan Walters to keep religion out of public education: Hoping to weigh in on the role of faith in public schools, a statewide faith coalition recently sent state schools Superintendent Ryan Walters a letter encouraging separation of church and state in public education. [The Oklahoman]

Bills target tighter regulation of medical marijuana industry: The defeat in all 77 of Oklahoma’s counties of a proposal to legalize adult recreational use of marijuana reflects a broader desire to tighten regulation of the state’s medical marijuana industry, according to some lawmakers. [Journal Record]

State Government News

Oklahoma Legislature Discussing Possible Change To Self-Defense Gun Law: Oklahoma legislators are discussing a change to the state’s gun laws that would redefine what constitutes as self-defense. There are already multiple protections for gun owners in the state, such as the castle doctrine and so-called “stand your ground” laws, allow Oklahomans to use physical and even deadly force in self-defense. [News 9]

  • Oklahoma House Republicans vote to expand a person’s right to self-defense with a firearm [The Oklahoman]

State employee paid maternity bill stirs debate between men and women in Oklahoma Senate: Some female senators on Thursday took issue with comments their male colleagues made about a bill that would provide six weeks of paid maternity leave to state employees. [The Oklahoman]

Oklahoma House advances psilocybin research program: Oklahoma soon could authorize medical research into psilocybin, the psychedelic compound found in so-called “magic mushrooms.” [The Oklahoman]

These bills could help Oklahomans access period products: Three bills sponsored by Oklahoma lawmakers could improve accessibility to menstrual products this year. The bills being considered would help fight period poverty via providing period supplies in school bathrooms and by eliminating the “tampon tax.” [The Oklahoman]

Group wants cockfighting donations sent to humane societies: The Kirkpatrick Policy Group says lawmakers who received funds from a cockfighting Political Action Committee should either return the funds or re-gift them to humane societies. [KFOR Oklahoma City]

Podcast: State Question 820, Mauree Turner, Nathan Dahm and more: This Week in Oklahoma Politics, KOSU’s Michael Cross talks with Republican Political Consultant Neva Hill and Civil Right Attorney Ryan Kiesel about State Question 820 to legalize recreational marijuana in the state failing to get enough votes for passage, a new poll showing Oklahomans are virtually split on the legalization of sports betting and House Republicans censure the state’s openly non-binary lawmaker, Oklahoma City Democratic Representative Mauree Turner. [This Week in Oklahoma Politics / KOSU]

Seven proposals were submitted to run the state park restaurants. Here’s what we know.: The Oklahoma Tourism and Recreation Department officially closed its request for proposal (RFP) to operate the restaurants at six state parks on March 3 and announced Wednesday that it had received seven responses. The restaurants at the six state parks have been closed since April, when the contract for their operation previously awarded to Swadley’s Bar-B-Q, which ran them under the name Swadley’s Foggy Bottom Kitchen, was terminated. [The Oklahoman]

Federal Government News

Union leader calls Mullin ‘greedy CEO’ during heated Senate hearing exchange: U.S. Sen. Markwayne Mullin got into a heated confrontation at a Senate hearing this week that was reminiscent of one he had in the U.S. House, with both involving the Republican lawmaker telling someone to shut up. [The Oklahoman]

Voting and Election News

Report: Oklahoma’s elections secure due to uniform voting, absentee ballot laws: State laws surrounding absentee ballots and implementing uniform election procedures across all 77 counties have kept Oklahoma’s elections secure, according to a report from a state fiscal watchdog office. [Tulsa World]

Economy & Business News

Food prices will rise again in 2023, putting more pressure on families: The U.S. Department of Agriculture predicts food prices will continue their climb in 2023. All food prices are projected to increase about 8% over 2022 rates, with at-home food costs slightly higher than restaurant rates. Economists see eggs continuing to lead the pack with a 37.8% increase this year, while beef and pork prices decrease about 1%. [KOSU]

Employment remains strong in Oklahoma, across nation, despite bumps: Economic data related to employment has been a mixed bag recently in Oklahoma and across the country. In Oklahoma, latest numbers reported by the Oklahoma Employment Security Commission (OESC) showed continuing strength in state employment. [Journal Record]

Education News

Oklahoma Legislative Black Caucus discusses diversity, inclusion in public schools: On Thursday, the Oklahoma Legislative Black Caucus discussed diversity and inclusion in Oklahoma’s public schools. The Caucus spoke about how legislation approved in the state affects diversity and inclusion in Oklahoma and its schools. They also discussed school choice in Oklahoma, saying it would unfairly hurt public schools. [OKC Fox 25]

General News

  • Interactive: Precinct Map Shows Rural, Suburban Opposition to Recreational Marijuana [Oklahoma Watch]

Oklahoma Local News

  • North Tulsa leaders push for Greenwood monument status in D.C. [Public Radio Tulsa]
  • Status of downtown parking? How to rank development projects? Your OKC questions answered [The Oklahoman]

Quote of the Day

“Oklahoma is a beautiful and diverse state, filled with a multitude of religious and spiritual practices, and through this diversity, we are honored to live with an eye towards tolerance, acceptance, and understanding of our neighbor in ways we would not if we were all of the same faith.”

Number of the Day


The national child poverty rate fell from 9.7% in 2020 to 5.2% in 2021, largely due to the expanded Child Tax Credit that was part of the American Rescue Plan federal pandemic relief. The expanded CTC has since expired. [Economic Policy Institute]

Policy Note

Child Tax Credit expansions were instrumental in reducing poverty rates to historic lows in 2021: Government policies enacted in the wake of the pandemic have proven critical for reducing child poverty in the United States. Child poverty reached its lowest level on record, as calculated by the Supplemental Poverty Measure (a measure that includes both cash and noncash benefits). This new historic low is largely thanks to the expanded Child Tax Credit (CTC), a key component of the 2021 American Rescue Plan (ARP) that has since expired. [Economic Policy 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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