In The Know: Governor promises to veto any proposal with further cuts to state agencies

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.

Today In The News

Governor promises to veto any proposal with further cuts to state agencies: Governor Mary Fallin today issued the following statement on the upcoming special session of the Oklahoma Legislature, which is scheduled to get underway Monday: “This special session is an opportunity for lawmakers to solve lingering, critical structural problems in our state budget. I am hopeful lawmakers will consider thoughtful, realistic solutions in a timely manner. Many ideas have been fully vetted over the past couple of legislative sessions, so it really should be a matter of taking care of unfinished business. [Norman Transcript] The 5 things Gov. Mary Fallin wants legislators to do in the special session and how much it will cost taxpayers [Tulsa World] State Party leaders comment on upcoming Special Legislative Session [Sandite Pride News]

Special session has special process: The fall date won’t be the only deviation from the norm during Oklahoma’s special legislative session. The process will look pretty different as well. No bill is required to go through the committee process. Lawmakers can circumvent the initial hearings, where a dozen other members get to prod their colleagues for more information, voice their concerns or offer amendments. If the measures do go to committee, the window for amendments will be shorter. Instead of the normal two days, amendments will have to be filed on the same day as the committee hearing. [Journal Record]

Second Time’s a Charm? Budget Again Hinges on Tobacco Tax: If at first you don’t succeed … try the same thing again. When legislators return to the State Capitol Monday for a special session, they will face a familiar dilemma: Can they muster enough Republican and Democratic votes to pass a $1.50-per-pack cigarette tax? Or will an impasse lead to cuts in core state services? In either case, given previous votes and lawmakers’ statements, both parties could share responsibility.[Oklahoma Watch] Lawmakers have good revenue options for special session if they have the will to use them [OK Policy]

Education leaders hold out hope special session will produce teacher pay raise: The Legislature’s upcoming special session has rekindled hope among Tulsa-area school district leaders that 2017 may yet bring a teacher pay raise. It at least gives them another chance to call for one. “The best-case scenario for us is for our state legislators to make the necessary decisions to allow our school districts to provide our teachers with a competitive professional salary,” said Tulsa Public Schools Superintendent Deborah Gist. [Tulsa World] Time for teachers to use their outside voices [OK Policy]

Several reasons for my special session call: I gave lawmakers quite an assignment when I called them to return in special session next week. The Oklahoman’s editorial board believes I should have kept my special session call simple: Focus primarily on dealing with a $215 million budget hole that has developed since lawmakers adjourned in May. I appreciate the opportunity to further explain each point of my special session call. [Gov. Mary Fallin/Tulsa World]

Oklahoma’s ‘broken budget’ fuels community conversations: Amber England is the executive director for Oklahoma’s chapter of Stand for Children, a national advocacy organization that seeks a quality public education for all students. Stand for Children is a partner in the Save Our State coalition, which is launching a series of community conversations each Tuesday in October to discuss Oklahoma’s “broken budget” at the local level. [NonDoc]

A five-point agenda for the Oklahoma Legislature: The Legislature has a chance to get to the real work of state government starting Monday. Gov. Mary Fallin has called lawmakers back to the Capitol for a special session to deal with a state budget hole of more than $200 million, and to address other critical jobs left undone during the regular session. In the spirit of the priorities outlined by Fallin, the Tulsa World presents this agenda for the special session. [Editorial Writers/Tulsa World] The best vote a legislator can cast in special session [OK Policy]

David Boren wants to keep lawmakers reminded of their ‘No. 1 responsibility — the next generation’: David Boren may not be going quietly into the night. After giving his notice to the University of Oklahoma last week — he’s retiring as OU’s president, effective next June 30 — Boren said he still has things he wants to say. He laughed off a question about writing his memoirs, saying they probably couldn’t be published until after his death. But, he said, he might start a blog to keep his opinions circulating. [Tulsa World]

Oklahomans are increasingly absent from the workforce: As Oklahoma’s Legislature convenes in special session to address the budget and flagging state revenue, one thing not likely to attract much attention is this: An unusually large number of Oklahomans don’t work. This may seem to fly in the face of the state’s persistently low unemployment rates, but in fact it is just another side of the same statistical coin. About one-quarter of state residents between ages 25 and 54 — generally the prime employment years — do not have a job. [Tulsa World]

Oklahoma, Tulsa counties try to fight health problems with food, transportation: When you visit a doctor in Oklahoma County next spring, don’t be surprised if “Can you afford food?” follows “What brings you in today?” Oklahoma and Tulsa counties are part of the “accountable health community” grant program, which aims to reduce health care spending by connecting patients to social services. Hospitals and other providers will screen Medicare and Medicaid patients about whether they can afford food, housing, utilities and transportation, and whether they are at risk of violence. [The Oklahoman] At the intersection of hunger and health [OK Policy]

It’s time to update Oklahoma equal pay law: Since President John Kennedy signed the Equal Pay Act of 1963, it has been illegal in the United States to pay men and women working in the same place different salaries for similar work. While this groundbreaking law narrowed the wage gap during the past half century, progress has stalled in recent years, bringing to light the need for updates to this measure. [Rep. Jason Dunnington/The Oklahoman] Oklahoma women can’t afford wage discrimination [OK Policy]

State senator’s legal representation of pharmaceutical companies raises conflict of interest questions: Oklahoma Senate Minority Leader John Sparks is providing legal representation to several pharmaceutical companies that the state is suing for alleged fraudulent marketing practices — prompting some to question whether Sparks has a conflict of interest. [Tulsa World]

Oklahoma Gets Poor Grade on State Finances But Isn’t Alone: A nonprofit that analyzes state finances has given Oklahoma a D grade. Oklahoma was not alone — or even among just a few — to get a D for its finances. “A D may sound bad, but it’s about average for the 50 states,” Bergman said. “The position has deteriorated in Oklahoma in recent years with the challenge of declining energy prices.” [Public Radio Tulsa]

Lankford, other officials to attend north Tulsa ‘community conversation’ on Oct. 12: U.S. Sen. James Lankford will join Mayor G.T. Bynum, state Sen. Kevin Matthews, D-Tulsa, and state Rep. Regina Goodwin, D-Tulsa, for a “community conversation” at 6 p.m. Oct. 12 at the Big Ten Ballroom, 1632 E. Apache St. The event will include a town hall-style meeting and performances by local musicians and participants in the Pocket Full of Hope program. [Tulsa World]

Quote of the Day

“Additional cuts to agencies will further harm state services. I will veto a proposal that calls for cuts to state agencies. Also, sending the cigarette tax to a vote of the people is not an option. The earliest the issue could be decided by voters is June, the last month of the current fiscal year. It doesn’t fix the budget hole because it would not generate any revenue for this fiscal year.”

– Gov. Mary Fallin urging lawmakers to address the state’s structural budget deficit in the special session beginning today (Source)

Number of the Day


Percentage of Oklahoma households experiencing food insecurity in 2016

Source: USDA

See previous Numbers of the Day here.

Policy Note

The Biggest Misconception About Today’s College Students: You might think the typical college student lives in a state of bliss, spending each day moving among classes, parties and extracurricular activities. But the reality is that an increasingly small population of undergraduates enjoys that kind of life. Of the country’s nearly 18 million undergraduates, more than 40 percent go to community college, and of those, only 62 percent can afford to go to college full-time. By contrast, a mere 0.4 percent of students in the United States attend one of the Ivies [The New York Times].

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


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.

Leave a Reply

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