In The Know: Budget bill with no new revenue advances

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. Click here to subscribe to In The Know and see past editions.

In The News

Budget bill with no new revenue advances: The Oklahoma Legislature began its second special legislative session seeking to build a budget without cuts, but it looks as though that is improbable…On Monday, the House of Representatives passed a bill that will solve the budget hole with nearly $50 million in cuts, more borrowing and no new revenue measures. [Journal Record] House adopts $45.7 million in agency spending cuts to finish out current budget year [Tulsa World] Frequently asked questions about Oklahoma’s special sessions [OK Policy]

Food-stamp boxes distract from program’s real challenges: Trump’s budget plan is bringing back the old chestnut of beating up on the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP), once known as food stamps. This time, the twist is to replace the benefits with an “America’s Harvest” food box. [Ginnie Graham/Tulsa World] Food Security Resources [OK Policy]

Is a Teachers Strike Imminent?: Budget cuts to education are mounting. And on Monday, the Oklahoma House moved to reduce funding for state agencies for the current fiscal year. The state Education Department stands to lose $16.2 million. Combined with higher education and other education agencies, the losses would be nearly $22 million. Many Oklahoma teachers say they are fed up, and there is talk of a strike. But could it happen? [Oklahoma Watch] Another year goes by, and Oklahoma still leads the nation for cuts to education [OK Policy] 2018 Policy Priority: Increase Teacher Pay [OK Policy]

SQ 780 is already reshaping Oklahoma’s justice system: Oklahoma has long been among the most punitive states in the country for drug crimes. In 2016, fed-up Oklahomans passed SQ 780, reclassifying simple drug possession as a misdemeanor and taking away the possibility of prison time for those whose most serious crime was having a controlled substance for personal use. [OK Policy]

Oklahoma Takes Opioid Makers to Court: Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter says when it comes to The Sooner State, drug makers are largely to blame for the opioid crisis that has hit his state and so many others. Oklahoma is one of a number of states that have filed lawsuits against opioid manufacturers, alleging misleading marketing. But it’s the only state to see its suit move ahead, with a trial date set for 2019. [KOSU] Oklahoma’s biggest drug problem isn’t what you think [OK Policy]

Legislature Kills Bill to Let Oklahoma Cities and Towns Set Their Own Minimum Wage: A state lawmaker’s effort to let Oklahoma cities and towns raise their minimum wages was snuffed out in committee on Monday…Dunnington’s House Bill 1939 would have repealed the state preemption statute for minimum wage and paid leave. A subcommittee approved a motion not to pass the bill 5–3, meaning HB1939 is done for the entire session. [Public Radio Tulsa] Minimum wage isn’t what it used to be – it’s worse [OK Policy]

Not a boom, but more Sooners, census says: Over the last seven years, Oklahomans did more welcoming than waving goodbye. From 2010 to 2017, the Sooner State saw a net population gain of 179,266 people, ranking No. 21 in state population growth, according to figures released by the U.S. Census Bureau. [The Oklahoman]

Bill would keep state on daylight saving time all year: A state senator introduced a bill that would keep the state on daylight saving time all year. He said several studies have shown setting the clocks back causes traffic accidents and other negative health effects. However, some members raised concerns that the shift could lose money for the Department of Transportation and hurt the state’s ability to maintain its highways. [Journal Record]

Time is running out for Dreamer fix: The deadline President Trump set for Congress to come up with an alternative to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which he is canceling, is now less than two weeks away — March 5. Based on last week’s events, it’s time to wonder whether a fix will happen. [Editorial Board/The Oklahoman] Congress must pass the Dream Act to protect young Oklahomans and our economy [OK Policy]

Cleanup Continues After Oil Spill In NW OKC: Crews continue to remove oil from a Northwest Oklahoma City pond following a pipeline leak. The EPA says crews will most likely continue emergency response throughout today – as they finish draining the oil from the pond. [News9]

Quote of the Day

“We really are at a tipping point. In addition to the five teachers we lost to Kansas last year, we have 12 teachers who are emergency certified. We are hiring people we wouldn’t have even interviewed just a few years ago because there aren’t more qualified applicants. Bottom line, that’s impacting kids and it’s below the standard of what’s expected in our community.”

– Chuck McCauley, Superintendent of Bartlesville Public Schools (Source)

Number of the Day


Average percentage of Oklahoma legislators who are women from 1975 to 2018.

Source: Center for American Women and Politics

See previous Numbers of the Day here.

Policy Note

How SNAP Benefits Seniors—and Health Care’s Bottom Line: The fresh fruit, frozen vegetables and salad Karen Seabolt eats help her “do more of what I need to do to live a better life,” she says. The 66-year-old from Tulsa, Oklahoma, has diabetes and is paralyzed on her right side from a stroke. As a diabetic, Karen needs to eat the fresh fruits and vegetables her doctors recommend, and the $15 dollars per month she gets from SNAP—the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program—help her do that. “It really comes in handy towards the end of the month. You may run out of money, but you always have your SNAP benefits. They’re for food only, so you’re not tempted to do without medicine to get food,” she told us. [Robert Wood Johnson Foundation]

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Courtney Cullison worked for OK Policy from 2017 to 2020 as a policy analyst focused on issues of economic opportunity and financial security. Before coming to OK Policy, Courtney worked in higher education, holding faculty positions at the University of Texas at Tyler and at Connors State College in eastern Oklahoma. A native Oklahoman, she received an Honors B.A. in Political Science from Oklahoma State University, and an M.A. and Ph.D. with emphasis in congressional politics and public policy from the University of Oklahoma. While at OU, Courtney was a fellow at the Carl Albert Congressional Research and Studies Center. As a professor she taught classes in American politics, public policy, and research methods and conducted original research with a focus on the relationship between representatives and the constituents they serve.

One thought on “In The Know: Budget bill with no new revenue advances

  1. The criminal justice reform numbers are promising, but the history of these reforms since MN went with sentencing guidelines in the early 1980s tends to be initial change followed by the system players learning how to game the results they used to get. And professional evaluators know that it takes 3-5 years before you can start to talk about the real impacts of any changes. That said, what’s promising about the changes is how they took the major beneficiaries of the old system–DAs–out of the policy loop and avoided the old problems always inherent in policy school mantras about “bringing in the stakeholders” who hold stakes over the hearts of every real change that could hurt their status quo. The path to reforms that could last is through initiatives and other means to diminish DA input into the decisions, as these changes seem to promise at this point. CA certainly has seen the kinds of changes that are needed by doing so, and TX’s changes only came when the House Speaker there told his charges to find ways to get prison pops down because he wasn’t building more prisons and the DAs better be good with that. We hope former Speaker Steele and his colleague reformers are listening.

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