In The Know: Tax cut legislation advances in Oklahoma | Bill targeting transgender girls | New research team member | 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

New hire expands OK Policy’s research team: The Oklahoma Policy Institute is excited to announce the expansion of its research team through the hiring of data analyst Hunter McCans. At OK Policy, McCans will bring his expertise and knowledge directly helping those facing eviction access rental assistance to our OK Policy team. [OK Policy]

Oklahoma News

Tax legislation advances at Oklahoma Capitol: Several strategies for cutting taxes being considered by state lawmakers could lead to savings for Oklahomans and state businesses if they’re adopted. Majority Republicans in the Oklahoma House of Representatives said Thursday that they’re pursuing several options for providing tax relief as Oklahomans have lost ground financially to spiking inflation. [The Journal Record]

Report from OK Policy: A Better Path Forward: Oklahoma has cut its taxes and public services too much, and this has created real harms to the health, safety, and prosperity of all Oklahomans. Each year our elected officials and policymakers have fewer dollars to answer today’s needs or to invest in our state’s future success.

Oklahoma House committee unanimously passes grocery tax bill: A bill that would temporarily remove the state’s grocery tax passed with bipartisan support out of an Oklahoma House committee Thursday. House Bill 3349 would eliminate the state’s grocery tax for two years. The author said it will make sure the state can afford the revenue loss. [KOCO]

New from OK Policy: While the sales tax on groceries is regressive and should ultimately be addressed through comprehensive tax reform in Oklahoma, the state is not in a position to implement this change this year.  These cuts would harm the ability of both our state and local governments to deliver the shared public services all Oklahomans use.

Oklahoma House passes bill targeting transgender girls: An Oklahoma House panel passed a bill Thursday to prevent transgender girls from playing on female sports teams at Oklahoma schools. The House Rules Committee passed the bill on a 6-2 party-line vote with Republicans in support. The measure now heads to the full House for consideration. [AP News]  Oklahoma City Democrat Mauree Turner is one of the few openly LGBTQ people in the Oklahoma legislature. A member of the rules committee, they said the measure would hurt trans students. [KOSU]

  • Oklahoma House GOP advances new bill to ban transgender athletes from women’s sports [The Oklahoman]  [The Hill]

Data breach may have exposed personal information of Oklahomans on disability aid list: A data breach may have exposed the personal information of thousands of Oklahomans on the state’s disability aid waiting list. A state contractor that is conducting an assessment of the 13-year Developmental Disabilities Services waiting list had a data breach on Dec. 7 that may have resulted in the unauthorized access of some personal information. [The Oklahoman]

State Government News

The check may be in the mail: House committee votes to send most Oklahoma households ‘inflation relief’: Almost every household in Oklahoma would get a check from the state this fall — just 3½ weeks ahead of the Nov. 8 general election — under legislation sprung on the Legislature on Thursday by Speaker of the House Charles McCall, R-Atoka. House Bill 1358 would send “inflation relief” payments of $125 to single-filing households and $250 to joint filers, at a cost of $321 million to the state treasury, on Oct. 15. [Tulsa World]

At the Oklahoma Legislature, a new flood of bills on school curriculum: Oklahoma lawmakers have introduced a spate of bills this session to impose new restrictions on school curriculum and teacher training as well as introduce learning materials from conservative groups into classrooms. [The Frontier] Legislation to ease excessive professional development requirements for educators passed the House Common Education Committee on Tuesday. [The Lawton Constitution]

After banning ‘critical race theory,’ Oklahoma lawmakers seek further school curriculum restrictions: Last year, Oklahoma lawmakers enacted House Bill 1775, outlawing the teaching of some concepts about race in public schools. Many said the law was a ban on critical race theory. This election year, Republican lawmakers have tied critical race theory to other types of curriculum, seeking further restrictions on what students learn about race in the classroom. [The Frontier]

Bills targeting employee vaccination requirements advance through Senate panel: Two bills that seek to crack down on employee vaccine mandates cleared a Senate panel on Thursday. Sen. Lonnie Paxton, R-Tuttle, said he was concerned that the measure would result in federal funds being withheld from Oklahoma health care facilities by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services based on federal requirements. [Tulsa World]

Senate passes bill to give military families better access to child care: State lawmakers are trying to give military families greater access to child care for those stationed at Oklahoma bases. [Southwest Ledger]

Bill would give pay hike to court reporters, bailiffs: Court reporters and bailiffs working in state courts could see a substantial pay increase under a proposal working its way through the Oklahoma Legislature. [Southwest Ledger]

Report: First-time jobless claims decline nearly 24% in state: First-time jobless claims declined nearly 24% the week ending Saturday when compared to the prior week, according to a government report. The U.S. Department of Labor reported the number of initial claims for jobless benefits in Oklahoma declined from an upwardly revised total of 1,601 the week ending Feb. 19 to 1,220 claims the following week. [Tulsa World]

Transportation plan has eyes on Oklahoma’s future: If it seems like work has continued on I-235 and I-44 for decades, that’s because it has. “We’ve been working on that for 20 years,” Oklahoma Transportation Secretary Tim Gatz said Thursday. But the end product and other projects planned for the next decade are well preparing Oklahoma for the future, Gatz told members of the Greater Oklahoma City Chamber. [The Journal Record]

Federal Government News

Rep. Tom Cole introduces Prohibition on Imports of Russian Oil Act: Oklahoma Fourth District Congressman Tom Cole, a member of the House Energy Action Team, introduced the Prohibition on Imports of Russian Oil Act, which would immediately cease all U.S. imports of Russian oil and other petroleum-based energy products. [The Lawton Constitution]

Tribal Nations News

The long fight for Freedmen citizenship continues in Oklahoma tribal nations: In 2016, LeEtta Osborne-Sampson, a council representative of the Seminole Nation who is Black, approached some colleagues about a disturbing picture hung on the wall of the Mekusukey Mission, which is used as the Seminole Nation council house and courthouse. [NonDoc]

A glance at Indigenous state lawmakers: Oklahoma legislators have several bills of importance to Indigenous peoples in the state. Some include: recreating and modifying membership of the Oklahoma Advisory Council on Indian Education and legalizing sports betting by amending sections of a bill which includes state-tribal gaming. The state also has the only Native governor, who is Cherokee. [Indian Country Today]

Tribal nations, community organizations start nonpartisan voter initiative: There’s a new one-stop shop website for Oklahoma voters to get election information. Vote Your Values is part of an engagement initiative that a group of Tribal nations and community partners are endorsing. [KOSU]

Cherokee Nation celebrates 150th anniversary of Sequoyah Schools: In 1871, the Cherokee National Council passed a joint resolution signed by former Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Lewis Downing establishing a school for orphaned Cherokee and Native children. The school officially opened its doors on March 4, 1872. [Claremore Daily Progress]

Health News

Oklahoma Poison Center reports spike in suicide attempts among teen girls: The Oklahoma Center for Poison and Drug Information is sounding the alarm after staff saw a significant rise in suicide attempts in February, particularly among adolescent girls. [The Oklahoman]

OSDH: Expect less frequent COVID data reports as virus becomes ‘endemic’: The Oklahoma State Department of Health said Thursday that residents should prepare to see less frequent data updates pertaining to COVID-19. Officials cite a decline in new infections and hospitalizations, as well as new direction from federal partners. [Public Radio Tulsa]

Health department, others addressing HIV in rural Oklahoma: While health officials have worked to reduce HIV transmission throughout the country, some areas of the U.S. are still impacted more than others. In fact, Oklahoma was recently identified as one of seven states with the highest rural burden of HIV. [Tahlequah Daily Press]

Criminal Justice News

Oklahoma Pardon and Parole Board member Kelly Doyle resigns unexpectedly: Oklahoma Pardon and Parole Board member Kelly Doyle resigned abruptly Thursday, telling the governor it has been an honor to serve. It was the second resignation this year from the board, which meets once a month to consider requests from convicts for a second chance. The board next meets Monday. Doyle, 41, did not give a reason for leaving. She told Gov. Kevin Stitt her resignation was effective Thursday. The governor appointed her to the five-member board in February 2019. [The Oklahoman]

Appellate court rejects appeal by former gubernatorial candidate serving 32-year prison term for shooting: A state appellate court on Thursday rejected the appeal of a former gubernatorial candidate who was convicted of shooting a process server nearly three years ago. [Tulsa World]

Economic Opportunity

OKC’s annual count of people experiencing homelessness resumes after pandemic pause: For the first time in more than two years, an official count of people experiencing homelessness in Oklahoma City began early Thursday. [The Oklahoman]

Economy & Business News

War in Ukraine already affecting Oklahoma’s farmers: The crisis in Ukraine will have repercussions in agriculture markets worldwide, which have seen wheat prices increase 37% and corn prices increase 21% so far in 2022. Experts say the effect of the war – which began last week – already is being felt in Oklahoma. [The Journal Record]

The road to electric: Oklahoma navigates transition to embracing electric vehicles: The very large lake of barriers for EV-driving Oklahomans is filled with issues like accessibility, infrastructure and “range anxiety” — a term referring to the fear that EV drivers could be stranded due to a lack of charging options, especially in rural areas. The transition to greener alternatives isn’t without its bumps in the road, but Oklahoma is navigating the journey toward embracing EVs. [StateImpact Oklahoma]

Marijuana licensees have 90 days to become compliant with tracking system: A ruling last week by an Oklahoma County district judge gives all medical marijuana commercial licensees in Oklahoma until May 26 to become compliant with a “seed to sale” tracking system. [The Lawton Constitution] The provision has yielded mixed reactions from Norman dispensers. [The Norman Transcript]

Education News

High school math teacher wins Oklahoma Teacher of the Year: Oklahoma’s 2022 Teacher of the Year was born in Sweden, spent much of her childhood in the Sooner State and lived in two more countries by the age of 16 — Kazakhstan and Tajikistan. Coming from an immigrant family, Peterson grew up with the sense of being on the outside looking in, and there were few she observed more closely than her teachers. [The Oklahoman] Peterson is a math teacher at Union High School for grades 10-12. She teaches pre-calculus and Advanced Placement calculus. [Tulsa World] Peterson was recently named one of six state-level finalists for the Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching. [Public Radio Tulsa]

General News

ICE holds drop as immigrant communities, law enforcement balance policy changes: The number of people arrested locally and flagged for questionable immigration status fell 45% nationally and 38% in Oklahoma as of June 2020, according to data by Syracuse University’s Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse. The Syracuse organization — which bills itself as an independent and nonpartisan source of federal enforcement, staffing and spending information — obtains the data through litigation and public records requests. [Oklahoma Watch]

Oklahoma Local News

  • Amid sexual assault allegations among students, Mount St. Mary vice principal, counselor resign [The Oklahoman]
  • Norman Council, NEDC discuss allocating $1 million in ARPA funds for business incubator [The Norman Transcript]
  • On the take: residents demand answers from turnpike engineers [The Norman Transcript]  [OU Daily]

Quote of the Day

“There was a time when we had our infrastructure held together by Band-Aids and bailing wire, and that’s no kidding, folks. We had 20 years of a flat budget at the state level”

–Oklahoma Transportation Secretary Tim Gatz, speaking about Oklahoma’s progress in investing in infrastructure [The Journal Record]

Number of the Day


Percentage of uninsured U.S. adults with mental health conditions who did not seek treatment

[Source: Health Affairs]

Policy Note

Suicide risk and prevention in transgender people: Studies have found that around 40% of transgender adults have attempted suicide in their lifetimes and that 30% of transgender youth have attempted suicide in the past year.1 Yet, studies have found that certain experiences, like family and social support, are associated with reduced prevalence of suicide thoughts and attempts [Williams Institute]

You can sign up here to receive In The Know by e-mail.


Jessica joined OK Policy as a Communications Associate in January 2018. A Mexican immigrant, she was a Clara Luper Scholar at Oklahoma City University where she obtained a B.A. in Political Science and Philosophy. Prior to joining OK Policy, Jessica worked at a digital marketing agency in Oklahoma City. She is an alumna of both the National Education for Women (N.E.W.) Leadership Institute (2013) and OK Policy's Summer Policy Institute (2015). In addition to her role at OK Policy, Jessica serves as a board member for Dream Action Oklahoma in OKC and communications director for Dream Alliance Oklahoma in Tulsa.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.