In The Know: Stitt sworn in for second term as governor | Oklahoma Turnpike Authority faces new lawsuits | 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

Sworn in for second term, Gov. Kevin Stitt vows to shake up education, shrink government: Touting successes from his first stint in political office and casting a vision for his second term, Gov. Kevin Stitt on Monday was sworn in for four more years as the state’s top elected official. In a 19-minute speech giving a high-level overview of his priorities, Stitt advocated for greater school choice, promised to shrink government and make it more accountable, and swore to defend Oklahomans’ individual freedoms. [Tulsa World]

  • Oklahoma officials, supporters, students present as Stitt is sworn in for second term as governor [KOCO]
  • At inaugural, questionable claims by Stitt [Journal Record]
  • Stitt pledges ‘march to the top’ for Oklahoma during inauguration [Norman Transcript]
  • Kevin Stitt invokes Lincoln during second inaugural speech [The Oklahoman]
  • Oklahoma leaders react as Stitt starts second term as governor [KOCO]
  • ‘It’s a new day’: Gov. Kevin Stitt starts his second term [NonDoc]

State Government News

Ryan Walters says he plans to ‘hold folks accountable’ at the Education Department: State schools Superintendent Ryan Walters said purging the state’s education agency of “liberal indoctrination” will be a top priority during his first weeks in office, which could include changes to some of the nearly 400 people who work at the Oklahoma State Department of Education. [The Oklahoman] |[Tulsa World]

Two proposed bills would keep closer tabs on Oklahoma marijuana growers’ water use: Adair Senator Michael Bergrstrom’s Senate Bill 117 would update the application for medical marijuana growers and processors, requiring them to get permission for water use. Growers using groundwater or streams would need a permit from the Oklahoma Water Resources Board; growers using a public water supplier would need official permission from the county or municipality that manages it. [KOSU]

Oklahoma lawmaker files bill to ban fluoride from being added to public water supplies: An Oklahoma lawmaker has filed a bill to ban fluoride from being added to any public water supply. Sen. Nathan Dahm, R-Broken Arrow, authored Senate Bill 165. [Fox 23 Tulsa]

Lawsuit accuses Oklahoma Turnpike Authority commissioners of being ‘rubber stamp’ body: A lawsuit filed Monday against Oklahoma Turnpike Authority commissioners accuses them of being a “rubber stamp” body that has abdicated its oversight role. The lawsuit also alleges authority commissioners are violating a court order that ruled $60 million in contracts were invalid when they “willfully” violated the state’s open meetings act. [The Oklahoman]

Voting and Election News

Lawmaker Proposes End-of-Year Deadline for Oklahoma Online Voter Registration: After another general election cycle came and went without the state’s long-awaited online voter registration system, one lawmaker hopes to set a firm deadline. [Oklahoma Watch]

Criminal Justice News

Scott Eizember scheduled for execution, Oklahoma denies minister access to chamber: Convicted killer Scott Eizember, 62, is scheduled to be executed by lethal injection Thursday at the Oklahoma State Penitentiary in McAlester. The state recently denied a minister connected to Eizember access to the chambers during his execution. [The Oklahoman]

Economy & Business News

JackBe Grocery seeks to change OKC shopping with opening of first store, second to follow: A homegrown grocery start-up seeking to reinvent shopping is set to open its first store Tuesday in northwest Oklahoma City with construction underway on a second store in Edmond. [The Oklahoman]

OKC industrial reserve seeks to attract battery, pharmaceutical manufacturers as anchors: Developers Richard Tanenbaum and Mark Beffort were selected by the Industries Authority after it acquired the 577 acres of land from the Commissioner of the Land Office. The developers will start an $88.9 million first phase of construction later this year. [The Oklahoman]

Education News

Tulsa-area schools get state funding boost in midyear adjustments due to enrollment, other needs: Every school district and brick-and-mortar charter school in Tulsa County is receiving additional state funding, according to figures released in late 2022 by the Oklahoma State Department of Education. [Tulsa World]

OSDE releases information on teacher salaries for 2022-23 school year: The Oklahoma State Department of Education recently released information about local salary schedules for Oklahoma school districts for the 2022-23 school year. OSDE reported that all districts developed local salary plans which meet or exceed the State Minimum Teacher Salary Schedule, according to the press release. [Stillwater News Press]

Tulsa school board accepts member’s resignation: It’s official: come Jan. 23, the Tulsa Public Schools Board of Education will have a vacant seat. By a 5-1 count with one abstention, the board formally accepted the resignation of District 2 representative Judith Barba Perez, effective Jan. 23, at Monday night’s meeting. [Tulsa World]

‘They’re pissed’: Chattanooga Public Schools faces turmoil after coach altercation, assault report: Two separate incidents causing harm to students in the final quarter of 2022 have left some members of this southwest Oklahoma community on edge, and the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation is looking into one of the events, which involved members of the Chattanooga junior high boys basketball team allegedly attacking a teammate with the handle of a toilet plunger in December. [NonDoc]

Oklahoma Local News

  • Additional funding secured for Tulsa veterans’ hospital [Journal Record]

Quote of the Day

“We still strive to have a level of respect, collaboration and diplomacy with our partners because we all share the same duty. That duty is to better the lives of all people in our reservation and in the state. If we work together, Oklahoma as a top-10 state can be a reality, and not just an aspirational goal.”

– Muscogee Nation Principal Chief David Hill, in a statement Monday afternoon about the inauguration of Oklahoma officials. [NonDoc]

Number of the Day

17 in 30

On average, 17 of the 30 most common professions in Oklahoma —  including teacher assistants, home health aides, and customer service representatives — pay less than the $16.61 per hour needed to afford a two-bedroom rental home. [National Low Income Housing Coalition]

Policy Note

Americans Want More Affordable Housing — Just Not Nearby: Generally, Americans support tackling housing insecurity, with 71 percent saying that it should be at least an important priority for Congress to pass legislation growing the housing supply and improving housing affordability. But research also suggests that while Americans want more kinds of infrastructure to reduce homelessness, far fewer want those resources close to where they themselves live. [FiveThirtyEight]

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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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