In The Know: Tax cut bills adding up in the Oklahoma House | Homelessness and affordable housing | Policy Matters | 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

Policy Matters: The ‘small ball’ approach to economic development: Oklahoma has swung for the fences to land major economic development in recent years with Amazon, Tesla, Panasonic and Volkswagen. Despite considerable efforts, our state struck out on all of those pitches. Others already have explored the possible role that controversial state legislation and culture war attacks have played in hurting our economic development efforts. While I believe current events work at cross purposes to Oklahoma’s efforts for major manufacturing investments, I also think we need to reexamine our approach. [Shiloh Kantz / Journal Record]

Oklahoma News

Oklahoma House of Representatives passes another tax cut ‘option’: The Oklahoma House of Representatives passed another nine-figure tax cut on Wednesday, this one pegged at $465 million when fully implemented, bringing its three-day total to over $1 billion. [Tulsa World]

Outside monitoring of Oklahoma’s troubled child welfare system may soon end: A new report from the three-person monitoring team said the Oklahoma Department of Human Services had achieved “substantial and sustained” progress on 23 of the 30 performance measures established as part of the “Pinnacle Plan” in 2012. Monitoring of these areas will no longer be necessary, the team said. But progress in seven areas where monitoring was temporarily suspended during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic will need to continue. [The Oklahoman]

  • Reforms are giving Oklahoma a ‘model child-welfare system,’ officials say [Tulsa World]
  • Oklahoma earns praise for strengthening foster care system [Journal Record]

These Oklahoma Communities Need Childcare. City Rules Could Make It Harder to Find: Almost half of Oklahoma’s 77 counties, including Tulsa, are defined as childcare deserts, according to the Center for American Progress, which studies social issues including childcare. [Oklahoma Watch]

Tulsa’s homeless population growing as shortage of affordable housing continues: Tulsa’s homeless population grew 6.6% last year to reach the highest numbers since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to data released Wednesday morning. Local officials found 1,133 homeless individuals during the city’s annual “point in time” count earlier this year, according to Housing Solutions, the organization that oversees many of the city’s efforts to address homelessness. [Tulsa World]

  • Bynum’s proposed capital improvements program includes $75 million for housing, $47.5 million for public safety center [Tulsa World]

Abortion ruling lands as bill proposing rape, incest exception nears deadline: In its current form, SB 834 would codify an Oklahoma abortion ban exception for instances when rape or incest result in pregnancy, but its Senate author says her Republican Caucus colleagues have not decided whether to grant it a hearing before Thursday’s floor-work deadline. [NonDoc]

State Government News

Sports betting measure passes in Oklahoma House: House Bill 1027, authored by state Rep. Ken Luttrell, R-Ponca City, would add in-person and mobile sports betting to a gaming compact that gives Native American tribes exclusive authority to run casino operations in the state in exchange for a percentage of gaming revenue. If passed, tribes that implement sports betting would pay the state a 4% fee for the first $5 million made per month, a 5% fee on the next $5 million and a 6% fee for additional monies. The sliding fee system would restart each month. [Journal Record]

Oklahoma Senate advance tribal regalia at graduation bill: A bill that would require schools to allow Native students to wear tribal regalia during graduation ceremonies passed unanimously in the state Senate Wednesday. Senate Bill 429, would prevent public and charter schools from banning students from wearing their tribal regalia during graduation or other school functions. [KOSU]

Walters eyeing teachers’ association dues as target of new rulemaking: State Superintendent Ryan Walters has announced his intention to use administrative rulemaking through the Oklahoma State Department of Education to crack down on teachers’ association dues. In a memo to the state Board of Education posted online Wednesday, Walters said he intends to send a notice to every public school teacher stating that they are free to not join dues-collecting professional associations. [Tulsa World]

Oklahoma Veterans Commission requests emergency declaration: ODVA Interim Executive Director Admiral Greg Slavonic requested approval from the OVC to declare an emergency to prevent endangerment of public health, prevent further damage to state property, and approve an increase in the cost of construction. The anticipated increase is $21 million. [KTUL]

  • Oklahoma board asks lawmakers for $21.7M to complete Sallisaw veterans home [Tulsa World]

Oklahoma New Motor Vehicle Commission legislation passes House: A bill that would update automobile dealer franchise laws in Oklahoma has garnered strong support at the Oklahoma Capitol. [Journal Record]

Column: Oklahoma Turnpike Authority is misusing eminent domain. Legislators need to act: Few of us had considered having our homes forcibly taken by a government exercising its police power under the threat of violence, driven not by a public outcry to solve a true public need, but by private commerce and development moguls seeking personal enrichment, taking the private property of those less powerful than they. [Dave Moore Guest Column / The Oklahoman]

  • Gatz: Turnpike plan must press forward, despite opposition [Journal Record]

Tribal Nations News

Three Ottawa County tribes sue state of Oklahoma over reservation status: Three Ottawa County tribes have gone to court to try to force a ruling on whether their nations’ reservations continue to exist for criminal jurisdiction purposes. The Miami, Ottawa and Eastern Shawnee tribes filed separate lawsuits in Tulsa federal court late Tuesday seeking both declaratory and injunctive relief in light of the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2020 McGirt ruling. [Tulsa World]

Health News

State board approves health information exchange rules despite pushback: The Oklahoma Health Care Authority board on Wednesday approved rules to implement a statewide health information exchange despite pushback from some health care providers. The board unanimously adopted permanent agency rules to carry out a state law that requires all health care providers to join the exchange by July 1. [Tulsa World]

Criminal Justice News

Only woman on Oklahoma death row, Brenda Andrew, loses latest appeal in 2-1 decision: Death row inmate Brenda Andrew moved a step closer to execution Tuesday when a federal appeals court upheld her murder conviction despite misgivings about “sexual” evidence admitted at her 2004 trial. [The Oklahoman]

Education News

Oklahoma lawmakers debate civil rights curriculum to be developed by State Dept of Ed: A bill requiring the State Department of Education to develop coursework focused on Martin Luther King Jr. sparked debate on the House Floor on Wednesday. While supporters said this is a step to unite people, some are concerned it’s a task that could fall into the wrong hands. [KTUL]

OKC Mayor David Holt a finalist for job as dean of this Oklahoma college of law: Oklahoma City University is hiring a new dean for its law school, and Oklahoma City Mayor David Holt is one of four finalists for the job. [The Oklahoman]

Quote of the Day

“Sometimes, we should try throwing money at a problem. We throw guns at problems. We throw bans at problems. We throw dictates and mandates. Let’s try throwing money at it.”

– Rep. Forrest Bennett, D-Oklahoma City, warning that tax cuts could quickly turn the state’s $4 billion in reserves into the sort of gaping deficits seen less than a decade ago, and that some sort of rebate plan is a better long-term tax strategy. [Tulsa World]

Number of the Day


The health insurance coverage gap between Black and white adults in the U.S. in 2021 was 5.3 percentage points, down from 9.9 percentage points in 2013. The gap between Hispanic and white adults dropped from 25.7 to 16.3 points. [Commonwealth Fund]

Policy Note

13 Years Later: The Affordable Care Act’s Enduring Legacy: On March 23, 2010, President Barack Obama signed the Affordable Care Act (ACA) into law. Prior to the ACA’s enactment, more than 50 million Americans were uninsured, up to 129 million Americans with preexisting conditions could be denied coverage, and hundreds of thousands could not switch jobs for fear of losing access to health care. Thirteen years later, despite enduring countless legal attacks and the threat of repeal, the ACA has more enrollments than ever before and continues to provide affordable, reliable health care insurance to more than 16 million Americans. [Center for American Progress]

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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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