In The Know: Statewide calls for resignations in McCurtain County | Negotiations continue over education bills | Capitol Update | 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

Checking status of major Senate education bills (Capitol Update): The House and Senate leadership dispute and closed-door negotiations on education policy and appropriations has sucked nearly all the air out of the Capitol in the past few weeks. Appropriations discussions on other areas of government have ceased pending a determination of how much money will be available after the education appropriation is settled. Several bills containing substantive law changes with a fiscal impact are also caught up in the dispute. [Steve Lewis / OK Policy]

Oklahoma News

‘You can’t take things like this lightly.’ State officials call for resignations in McCurtain County: The state representative from McCurtain County has joined the growing chorus of those saying officials there who reportedly discussed murdering journalists and reminiscing about racist policing should resign immediately. Eddy Dempsey, R-Valliant, said the comments published by the McCurtain Gazette-News don’t reflect how the county really is. [The Oklahoman]

  • McCurtain County officials face multiple calls to step down over racist, threatening remarks [KGOU]
  • McCurtain Sheriff’s Office claims recordings are false, illegally obtained [Public Radio Tulsa]
  • Oklahoma governor says McCurtain County officials caught on audio should resign [Tulsa World]
  • McCurtain County community in turmoil after sheriff, commission accused of hateful speech [The Oklahoman]

Oklahoma House of Representatives sets up negotiations on education bills: The Oklahoma Senate’s and House of Representatives’ differing views of public education spending entered the formal negotiations stage on Monday with the House’s rejection of Senate amendments to House Bills 2775 and 1935. [Tulsa World]

State Government News

Oklahoma has a deal to bring Panasonic battery plant to Pryor, but details need to be ironed out: Oklahoma has reportedly signed a contract with Panasonic to build an electric vehicle battery plant in Pryor. But there may be some complications with the agreement. Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt says the state has inked a contract to open a battery plant at the MidAmerica Industrial Park in Pryor. It’s been widely reported to be with Japanese manufacturer Panasonic. [KOSU]

OTA contractors ask judge to recuse: Seminole County District Judge Timothy L. Olsen has refused to recuse himself from hearing a lawsuit filed in January by Norman area residents who claim Oklahoma Turnpike Authority contractors were unlawfully paid $50 million last year. OTA lost a separate lawsuit in December, after Olsen found the agency willfully violated the Open Meeting Act in January and February of 2022 when it announced plans to build toll roads in Norman. [Norman Transcript]

Tribal Nations News

Cherokee Nation has $3 billion economic impact in northeast Oklahoma, report shows: The Cherokee Nation provided $3.04 billion in economic impact in fiscal 2021 and over $2 billion in COVID-21 relief impact to the region, according to a report released Monday. [Tulsa World]

Criminal Justice News

AG says Oklahoma labor commissioner’s killer should stay locked up in mental hospital: Oklahoma’s attorney general on Monday told an independent board that the killer of Oklahoma’s labor commissioner should remain confined to a state mental hospital. [The Oklahoman]

Education News

GOP states targeting diversity, equity efforts in higher ed: The Martin Center and Goldwater Institute released model legislation last year describing mandatory DEI statements from students and staff as a prohibited “political test.” Lawmakers in Georgia, Florida, Oklahoma and Texas all filed bills this year using the suggested wording. [Associated Press via The Oklahoman]

From drone piloting to drilling wells, university ‘microcredential’ programs offer variety of options: One of over 180 microcredential programs approved so far as part of UpskillOK, an initiative of the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education, Allen and the other graduates of the program will become the first students to earn a microcredential from RSU. And with the school adding other such programs, they should be followed by many more. [Tulsa World]

Column: Prison education is a formula for success, and Oklahoma has all the right parts: In recent years, Oklahoma has been among the nation’s leaders in its high rate of incarceration, and a big part of the reason is repeat offenders and a high rate of prison recidivism. Today, an opportunity to change the situation dramatically is available. This formula for success includes broad access to higher education, proven in virtually every study to be the leading cure for prison recidivism. Now is the time for all of Oklahoma to seize the opportunity. [Jeff McCormack Guest Column / The Oklahoman]

Oklahoma Local News

  • As OKC pursues a ‘housing first’ strategy, Gov. Kevin Stitt offers opposite rhetoric on homelessness [NonDoc]

Quote of the Day

“Because history shows that when the Cherokee people are allowed to exercise the rights endowed by their creator to govern themselves to self-identify, to chart their own course, great things happen.”

– Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr., during Monday’s announcement about the Cherokee Nation’s $3.04 billion economic impact in northeast Oklahoma. [Tulsa World]

Number of the Day


The wealthiest 1% of Oklahomans pay about 6.2% of their family income towards state and local taxes, less than half of the 13.2% share that the lowest 20% of Oklahomans pay. The middle 20% of Oklahomans pay about a 10.7% share. [Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy]


Policy Note

States Feel Budget Pinch Amid Darkening Revenue Projections: After two years of record tax collections, budget writers in some states are starting to feel a revenue pinch created by a slumping stock market, banking and tech layoffs, slower consumer spending and lower energy prices. Buoyed by higher revenues and federal aid during the pandemic, officials in many states had been promising to cut taxes and expand services next fiscal year. That could all come crashing down as high-flying revenue expectations collide with the new economic reality, which has shrunk some state projections for income and sales taxes. [Pew]

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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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