In The Know: Will recent incentive package affect proposed tax cuts? | Public Health Lab clears inspection | 2022 Day of Action

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

Viewpoint: Tax cuts’ drain on revenues would stifle Oklahoma’s economic growth: Bills the Oklahoma House has passed to cut corporate and individual taxes wouldn’t boost state economic growth or stimulate new business investment as intended. Even if lower taxes were the economic driver the bills’ authors seem to think they are, the state is already well situated from that perspective, and it’s likelier the bills’ drain on revenues would harm Oklahoma’s schools, services and workforce quality and thereby discourage investment.  [Emma Morris and Michael Mazerov / The Oklahoman

Together OK’s Day of Action will be held on Monday, May 2, 2022, on the second floor rotunda of the Oklahoma State Capitol in Oklahoma City. The free event will begin at 11 a.m. with a short program, including brief remarks and a Legislative update from Oklahoma Policy Institute staff. Check-in will begin at 10 a.m. During the event, attendees will receive resources to help make effective contact with lawmakers. In addition to sharing tools and resources, Together Oklahoma will also assist in scheduling appointments with legislators to spark conversations. [Register Today]

Oklahoma News

Top Oklahoma lawmakers are pushing for tax relief. How much could it cost? Citing high inflation, top Republican legislators are looking to cut taxes or provide other tax relief to Oklahomans this legislative session. Hundreds of millions of dollars in relief proposals have been introduced, but they are likely to become intertwined with state budget negotiations as lawmakers finalize a spending plan for the upcoming fiscal year. [The Oklahoman

  • Incentive package could affect tax cuts in Oklahoma [Tulsa World

Recently published by OK Policy: Cuts to the individual income tax rate are unfair to low- and middle-class families since they return the largest benefit to the wealthiest Oklahomans. Tax cuts now can devastate state revenue and funding for services like public education in future years. The majority of proposed cuts to the personal income tax rate would benefit the richest Oklahomans and leave the state scrounging for revenue to provide services that support us all. [Read More]

Federal Inspectors Clear Oklahoma’s Public Health Lab of Major Infractions: Federal lab inspectors have resolved their major concerns with Oklahoma’s relocated public health lab in Stillwater after re-inspecting the facility, although many types of tests remain outsourced more than a year after the new lab opened. [Oklahoma Watch

State Government News

A struggle for diagnosis helps prompt bill updating Oklahoma newborn screening: It was on the campaign trail that Colin McEwen met current state Sen. Carri Hicks. Running in her first election, Hicks was eager to learn from constituents, and McEwen had a story to tell about a painful and difficult life-long problem. Now, in the form of Senate Bill 1464, legislation is moving to bring Oklahoma in line with federal testing standards. [The Oklahoman

ACCESS Turnpike engineers provide timeline for environmental impact studies, address water pollution concerns for Oklahoma Turnpike Authority project: As Cleveland and Oklahoma county residents raise concerns about the environmental impact of two ACCESS Oklahoma Turnpike routes, the engineering firms involved in the project explained the timeline of environmental impact studies, how those studies have affected past projects and the process for addressing water pollution. [StateImpact Oklahoma

Newly signed law provides expecting parents with life-saving infant medical training: Gov. Kevin Stitt signed ‘Ava’s Law’ Friday to educate new parents on infant cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and other life-saving first aid. Senate Bill 1462, by Sen. Jessica Garvin, R-Duncan, is named in memory of Ava Frizzell. Ava was the infant daughter of Garvin’s close friend who passed away a few weeks after her birth. [KFOR

Tribal Nations News

Oklahoma tribes chastise Republican candidate over plan to disestablish reservation: After calling for the disestablishment of a tribal reservation in eastern Oklahoma and criticizing the lingering impacts of the U.S. Supreme Court’s McGirt decision, a candidate for the state’s 2nd Congressional District is receiving pushback from tribal leaders. [The Oklahoman

Shorthanded feds declining many felonies on Oklahoma reservations:  Federal prosecutors can’t keep up with exploding caseloads caused by the McGirt decision, and eastern Oklahoma towns may see a surge in nonviolent crimes as perpetrators go unpunished, the U.S. Justice Department told Congress this month. [The Oklahoman

Oklahoma Rep. Tom Cole honored as longest serving Native American in U.S. House history: U.S. Interior Secretary Deb Haaland and congressional colleagues paid tribute to Rep. Tom Cole on Friday as he became the longest serving Native American in the history of the House of Representatives. [The Oklahoman

Voting and Election News

Democracy Watch: As Uncontested Races are on the Rise, How Can Voters Have a Greater Voice: Oklahoma’s campaign season is underway. The filing period for statewide, legislative and judicial offices closed earlier this month and the full candidate roster will be finalized when the State Election Board holds its contest of candidacy hearings today. [Oklahoma Watch

  • ‘New’ legislator wins state House seat just by filing [Tulsa World

Republican candidates in 3rd Congressional District work to gain favor of OKC constituents: As he mounts a primary challenge to incumbent Rep. Frank Lucas, Enid Republican Wade Burleson has a campaign worker focusing on the urban Oklahoma City neighborhoods added to the sprawling rural district that spans much of western Oklahoma. [The Oklahoman

16 candidates comprise the field in dash for eastern Oklahoma congressional seat: A crowded field of contenders seeking to represent a huge swath of eastern Oklahoma in Congress includes former and current elected officials, many Republicans and a few political newcomers. [The Oklahoman

Health News

COVID-19 in Oklahoma by the numbers: Where we’ve been and where experts say we’re headed: In the two years since COVID-19 arrived in Oklahoma, we’ve lost more than 15,000 Oklahomans. Thousands have been hospitalized with the disease, hundreds of thousands have tested positive, and many have long-term complications from COVID or lingering symptoms. [The Oklahoman

Column: We may be done with the pandemic, but the pandemic isn’t done with us: Nothing would please me more than to go back to the way things were. Those were more reasonable times. More than two years into COVID-19, the pre-pandemic days seem quaint. So sure, count me among those who are done with this. Except there’s one problem. The pandemic isn’t done with me. [Bob Doucette Column / Tulsa World

Op-Ed: Continuous coverage is a continuous challenge in U.S. health care: Last week the Biden administration renewed the COVID-19 public health emergency, which had been set to expire April 16, for another three months. The extension keeps in place a number of health-related benefits and protections, including free tests, vaccines, and treatments. [David Blatt Op-Ed / Tulsa World]

Viewpoint: Oklahoma’s behavioral health crisis deepens; industry needs help keeping up: There is no “return to normal” when it comes to professionals in the health care industry. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, health care providers in Oklahoma were already facing a workforce shortfall in the double digits. The pandemic stretched our systems and professionals beyond capacity. [Opinion / The Oklahoman

  • Community health workers play critical role in keeping lines of communication open [The Oklahoman

Criminal Justice News

Local officials want $5 million wing added to new juvenile justice center after federal policy change adds more aggressive population: Citing safety concerns, local officials on Friday floated the need for a roughly $5 million extension of the new Tulsa County Family Center for Juvenile Justice and funding for more staffing to solve a problem created by a federal policy change. [Tulsa World

Domestic violence prevention organization wants to help after spate of attacks on women in Tulsa: A local nonprofit dedicated to rebuilding the lives of domestic violence survivors wants you to know they’re here to help. [Public Radio Tulsa

Julius Jones Coalition receives civil rights award from ACLU of Oklahoma: The ACLU of Oklahoma announced this week that the Julius Jones Coalition will be the recipients of the prestigious Angie Debo Civil Libertarian Award. This award is given in recognition and celebration of the coalition’s courage and tenacity in challenging the systemic biases and injustices of Oklahoma’s capital punishment laws, according to a press release. [The Black Wall Street Times

Economy & Business News

Survey: Tulsa again has lowest average gasoline prices in U.S.: The national average retail price of regular-grade gasoline dropped 3 cents in the past two weeks to $4.24 a gallon, the Lundberg Survey reported Sunday. [Tulsa World

‘Land of opportunity’: Pryor builds on foundation for growth with new wave of investors, jobs: Dave Miller feels a buzz around Pryor these days, and it’s not just from the beer he brews as an entrepreneur. Pryor has been riding an economic development wave the past 10 months. [Tulsa World

Education News

Oklahoma schools are stepping up to support mental health for students in crisis: Oklahoma children were already dealing with rising rates of mental health challenges before the pandemic hit, upending education and daily life. Some of the top national pediatric health organizations declared children’s mental health a national emergency in 2021, calling for policymakers to take “swift and deliberate action” to address the crisis. [The Oklahoman

Hofmeister requests legal opinion from AG on transgender student bathroom policies: State Superintendent Joy Hofmeister has formally requested an attorney general’s opinion on how local schools should interpret federal discrimination prohibitions on sexual orientation and gender identity as it pertains to their bathroom policies. [Tulsa World

In Our Schools: Encouraging student achievement: Students from McClain School of Science and Technology and other Tulsa Public Schools received citations and awards of up to $300 for scholastic achievement in a March 27 event at the Greenwood Cultural Center. [Oklahoma Eagle

Quote of the Day

“We haven’t even seen the impact of last year’s cuts yet, so I think it is premature and dangerous (to cut taxes this session), and it’s an election year tactic that will impact us for years to come.”

-Sen. Julia Kirt, D-Oklahoma City, said lawmakers should wait to see the long-term financial impact of last year’s tax cuts before pursuing more cuts [The Oklahoman]

Number of the Day


Average number of Oklahomans receiving SNAP benefits (food security) each month in FY 2020 [Source: Center on Budget and Policy Priorities]

Policy Note

Does the Safety Net Help Prevent Family and Youth Violence?: Taking advantage of policy changes and differences in policies across states, researchers have generally found that changes to family economic security policies that increase monetary benefits reduce official reports of child maltreatment, intimate partner violence and violent behaviors among youth. These policies have also been credited with decreasing risk factors for violence by reducing stress associated with economic instability and improving mental health and relationships among family members. [Econfact]

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Kristin Wells served as the Communications and Operations Fellow for OK Policy from October 2021 to July 2022. She previously worked as a digital content producer for News On 6. A native Kansas Citian, Kristin graduated with a B.A. in Media Studies and a B.A. in Spanish from the University of Tulsa in 2020. While there, she was accepted into the Global Scholars program, spurring her interests in policy, social movements, global identities, and the importance of education and advocacy. She hopes to use her skills to continue to learn and create a more equitable future for Oklahomans. An avid sports fan, Kristin lives in Tulsa with her rescue dog and is passionate about college basketball, documentaries, and coffee.

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