In The Know: Which education bills are still alive in the OKLeg? | Walters, districts at odds over ‘pornographic’ books in schools | 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

A closer look at House, Senate proposals to spend public dollars for private schools (Capitol Update)

With just under $1 billion in new recurring revenue potentially on the table for appropriation this session, the leaders of the House and Senate have directed their attention to increased education funding. But the conversation has taken unexpected twists and turns with both leaders having dueling proposals. [Steve Lewis / OK Policy]

Oklahoma News

‘Dead on arrival’ education bills show new life in Oklahoma Legislature: Some of the bills Speaker Charles McCall warned would be “dead on arrival” in the Oklahoma House of Representatives are still alive after being advanced from a House subcommittee on Monday. The bills include the Senate’s version of a teacher pay raise. Senate Bill 482 would increase a teacher’s annual pay by $3,000 to $6,000, depending on experience. [The Oklahoman]

State Government News

Ryan Walters targets list of explicit books, LGBTQ+ titles to ‘protect our children from demented ideologies’; Oklahoma’s top education official called for lawmakers to review 190 books with LGBTQ+ themes and five books he called “pornographic.” State schools Superintendent Ryan Walters sent a letter to state lawmakers on Monday, claiming some books with sexual material have been found in public schools. [The Oklahoman]

  • Ryan Walters says five ‘pornographic’ books found in Oklahoma schools. Districts say otherwise [Tulsa World]

Millions of dollars meant to boost broadband access in Oklahoma has gone to emergency responders instead: Large parts of the state lack access to high-speed broadband. A state office tasked with fixing the problem has diverted some federal relief money for upgrades to public safety communications systems. [The Frontier]

College athletes’ name, image, likeness bill is first Senate measure passed by Oklahoma House: Senate Bill 840, by Sen. Greg McCortney, R-Ada, was described by House author Jon Echols, R-Oklahoma City, as high-priority because it deals with name, image, likeness — the new endorsements phenomenon known as NIL — and Oklahoma colleges and universities will be at a serious disadvantage if the Legislature doesn’t act quickly. [Tulsa World]

Voting and Election News

Vote to in OKC Ward 5 city council, OK County elections: Residents in the Oklahoma City area will have the chance to vote in local races for city council and county clerk Tuesday. [The Oklahoman]

Tulsa School Board to elect new district one member: FOX23 spoke to both candidates up for the available district one seat on Monday to find out what issue they want to tackle first if elected. [Fox23 News]

Hern, Pinnell deny Bixby school board endorsements: Two leading Oklahoma Republicans said Monday they had no knowledge of a quote attributed to them in campaign materials that hit mailboxes in the Bixby Public Schools district on Monday. [Tulsa World]

Economy & Business News

Oklahoma’s tax burden is (relatively) light: Tax burden measures the proportion of personal income that residents pay toward state and local taxes. And it varies greatly across the U.S. Oklahoma fares well in the comparison, ranked 41st with a total tax burden of 7.12%. The state’s property tax burden (1.76%) is fourth lowest, while its individual income tax burden (1.69%) is nearly in the bottom quarter. [Journal Record]

Education News

Teacher who supported whistleblowers let go. Latest in small-town Oklahoma football saga: Weeks after suspending their Hall of Fame football coach accused of harassment, school officials in the southern Oklahoma town of Ringling have decided not to rehire a teacher who publicly backed the teenage whistleblowers. [The Oklahoman]

Saint Francis, Rogers State to partner on new hospital-based extended campus for nursing students: In another move to help address a statewide nursing shortage, Saint Francis Hospital in Tulsa will soon begin having Rogers State University nursing students on site as part of an extended-campus partnership. [Tulsa World]

Oklahoma Local News

  • Tulsa school board approves raises for teachers, support staff [Tulsa World]
  • TPS board authorizes lawyers to investigate litigation options [Tulsa World]

Quote of the Day

“There are literally zero adults in our schools arguing against students having access to age-appropriate books. This is a debate Ryan Walters is having with himself.”

–  Emma Garrett Nelson, Tulsa Public Schools spokeswoman, commenting on State Supt. Ryan Walter’s assertions that there are books containing explicit materials in districts across the state, despite the fact that most districts accused said the titles are not available in their schools. [Tulsa World]

Number of the Day


Number of people who are incarcerated by the Oklahoma Department of Corrections, as of April 3, 2023 [ODOC]

Policy Note

Mass Incarceration: The Whole Pie 2023: The U.S. doesn’t have one “criminal justice system;” instead, we have thousands of federal, state, local, and tribal systems. Together, these systems hold almost 2 million people in 1,566 state prisons, 98 federal prisons, 3,116 local jails, 1,323 juvenile correctional facilities, 181 immigration detention facilities, and 80 Indian country jails, as well as in military prisons, civil commitment centers, state psychiatric hospitals, and prisons in the U.S. territories. This report offers some much-needed clarity by piecing together the data about this country’s disparate systems of confinement. It provides a detailed look at where and why people are locked up in the U.S., and dispels some modern myths to focus attention on the real drivers of mass incarceration and overlooked issues that call for reform. [Prison Policy Initiative]

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


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.

Leave a Reply

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