In The Know: Cherokee Chief Bill John Baker wins reelection

In The KnowIn The Know is a daily synopsis of Oklahoma policy-related news and blogs. 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.

Today In The News

Cherokee Chief Bill John Baker wins reelection: Cherokee Principal Chief Bill John Baker appeared to have won a second term according to unofficial results posted at 6:30 a.m. by the tribal election commission. With a little over 700 ballots left to be counted, Baker had 53 percent of the vote against three challengers, including former Chief Chad Smith [Tulsa World].

What the same-sex marriage ruling means for Oklahoma: Gay marriage already has been legal in all of Oklahoma’s 77 counties, but the latest ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court expands the rights of married gay couples, especially when traveling to neighboring states [Associated Press]. The ruling will simplify a lot of financial and personnel policy decisions for businesses, but it may be a while before previous legal conflicts are untangled [Journal Record]. A study says same-sex marriage will boost Oklahoma income tax revenue [OK Policy Blog].

Oklahoma’s black clergy talk security in wake of Charleston shootings: Several clergy leaders said there’s a fine balance between the usual hospitality offered by their churches and operating with a sense of caution that has been heightened by the Charleston killings [NewsOK].

Federal fracking rules delayed: Long-anticipated new rules for hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, on federal lands were delayed this week when a federal judge in Wyoming said he needed more time to decide whether the changes should be implemented. The new rules would apply to oil and gas operations on federal and tribal land, which would include less than two percent of the land in Oklahoma [NewsOK].

OU President Boren pushes back against allegations of conflict of interest in earthquake research: University of Oklahoma President David Boren says a recent story questioning the integrity of the university is “a bald-faced lie and some of the most inaccurate reporting I’ve ever seen in my life.” [Tulsa World] The story said a state agency administered by the university waffled on its findings concerning the link between earthquakes and the oil and gas industry while OU fundraisers pitched a $25 million construction project to oil billionaire Harold Hamm [EnergyWire].

State meddling too much in local issues?: When Kyle Gillum was drawing up plans for a dog day care business in downtown Oklahoma City, he was shocked to discover state lawmakers had passed a measure banning what he had in mind — just one of many bills approved in recent years that impinge on the ability of local officials to regulate activities within their jurisdictions [NewsOK].

State Auditor pushing to abolish half of Legislature: No one ever went bankrupt betting on popular disdain for the Oklahoma Legislature, and state auditor Gary Jones is ready to up the ante. Jones wants a constitutional amendment to give Oklahoma a unicameral legislature. Instead of a House and a Senate, we’d just have a House or a Senate, and roughly 70 state lawmakers would become ordinary citizens again [Tulsa World].

Responsibility to fund Oklahoma services rests with “we the people”: Oklahoma’s State Question 640 essentially removed the power to tax from the legislature. If government is to act, we have to do it ourselves [OK Policy Blog].

Oklahoma leads the nation in uninsured drivers: Oklahoma leads the nation in the percentage of uninsured drivers, with an estimated 600,000 of them on the roads. That’s more than one in four, according to Insurance Commissioner John Doak, who says he’s been waging battle for five years to try and cut into that number [KRMG].

Stabilizing rocks on I-35 may take all summer: It could take all summer to stabilize the Arbuckle Mountains where Interstate 35 cuts through the range in southern Oklahoma. Motorists can expect more congestion and slow traffic on I-35 in Murray County and southern Oklahoma [Tulsa World].

Gov. Fallin balks at leaving mansion for major repair project: The Oklahoma Governor’s Mansion needs major work. Plans were drawn up for a six-month repair project that would include rebuilding rotting windows, replacing the heating and cooling system and waterproofing the basement. The required work was so extensive that plans were drawn up for Gov. Fallin to move to state-owned housing elsewhere, but she says now is not a good time [NewsOK].

Quote of the Day

“The governor’s office is as guilty as the Legislature of pre-empting our ability to run the city as we have for years. You would hope that people in the Legislature would try to make our job easier and better for the citizens of Oklahoma City rather than the special interests that seem to control their votes with regard to pre-emption.”

-Oklahoma City Councilman Pete White, speaking about a growing number of state laws that prevent municipal officials from determining what goes on in their cities (Source)

Number of the Day


FY 2014 turnover rate for classified state employees in Oklahoma.

Source: Oklahoma Office of Management and Enterprise Services

See previous Numbers of the Day here.

Policy Note

New momentum on paid leave, in business and politics: Oregon this month became the fourth state to require companies give workers paid sick days. Chipotle said this month that it would begin offering hourly workers paid sick days and vacation days, joining McDonald’s, Microsoft and other companies that have recently given paid leave to more workers. And in a speech meant to preview her presidential campaign, Hillary Rodham Clinton put paid leave at the center of her platform [New York Times].

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


Gene Perry worked for OK Policy from 2011 to 2019. He is a native Oklahoman and a citizen of the Cherokee Nation. He graduated from the University of Oklahoma with a B.A. in history and an M.A. in journalism.

Leave a Reply

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