In The Know: Libertarian candidates exceed expectations

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

Libertarian candidates exceed expectations: Despite losing in every race, Oklahoma Libertarians are in a celebratory mood. For the first time in more than a dozen years, the Libertarian Party appeared in federal, state and local races. With Oklahoma’s new ballot access laws, the party will be able to remain a recognized political party at least until the next statewide election in 2018. The party had to secure at least 2.5 percent of the electorate for its presidential nominee, Gary Johnson [Journal Record].

Big Ag Had A Very Bad Election Night: On a tense election night, when most eyes were fixed on the volatile presidential race, an unlikely coalition of environmentalists, animal welfare advocates and a spectrum of other organizations won a quiet, hard-fought victory in Oklahoma. In a major setback for industrialized agriculture in the Great Plains, Oklahoma voters resoundingly rejected a “right-to-farm” question that opponents say would have made it difficult to approve any new regulations of the state’s farmers going forward [Huffington Post]. Our fact sheet on SQ 777 is available here.

Defeat of SQ 779 sends clear message to Oklahoma lawmakers: In overwhelmingly rejecting a permanent 1-cent increase in the state sales tax to fund teacher pay raises and other education concerns, Oklahoma voters sent a clear message to the members of the Republican-controlled Legislature: Do your jobs. They haven’t shown much of a willingness to do so, which is how State Question 779 wound up on the ballot Tuesday. But that resistance must end in 2017, because the teacher pay raise issue isn’t going anywhere until it does [Editorial Board / The Oklahoman]. Our fact sheet on SQ 779 is available here.

Lots of lip service, no action on teacher pay hike: So what’s next for supporters of Oklahoma’s public schools? The latest effort to bypass a gridlocked Legislature was derailed this week at the ballot box – voters giving thumbs down to a penny sales tax hike to increase teacher pay and education funding. So, it’s back to the Capitol where, undoubtedly, many in the Republican supermajority will spin State Question 779’s defeat as proof taxpayers are content with current levels of investment in teachers and classrooms [Arnold Hamilton].

Oklahoma City Public Schools Passes $180M Bond Issue For Operations, Infrastructure: Oklahoma City Public Schools superintendent Aurora Lora thanked voters yesterday for approving a $180 million bond issue. Much of the money will be used for air conditioning units, new plumbing, and other repairs to the district’s aging infrastructure [KGOU].

Gov. Fallin Looks Forward With Her Education Goals: In a News 9 exclusive, Governor Mary Fallin sat down with reporter Justin Dougherty to discuss her reaction to the results of the state questions. When asked about the failure of the one-percent sales tax for teacher raises, she brought up her feelings about four-day school weeks. A growing number of schools have made the switch to save money but Governor Fallin feels the four-day system is a bad image for the state [News9]. Four-day school weeks could leave thousands of kids hungry [OK Policy].

Hofmeister indictment highlights need for better campaign finance laws: Almost everyone seems to agree that excessive money has fouled our politics in this country, but no one can figure out what to do about it. The latest manifestation of the problem is the surprise filing of felony counts by Oklahoma County DA David Prater against State Superintendent Joy Hofmeister, the leaders of two respected Oklahoma education organizations, and two Republican political operatives [OK Policy].

Hofmeister continues busy public schedule despite charges: Just days after Joy Hofmeister pleaded not guilty to charges that she had illegal contact with a dark money campaign, the state superintendent will step out into the public to lead a town hall on education. Hofmeister said there wasn’t any hesitation in deciding whether to stay in the public eye during her path through the state court system. The town hall, part of a series of meetings with community members, will be Monday in south Oklahoma City [Journal Record].

Senate chairman urges elimination of wind tax credit: A state senator from Tulsa says a tax credit for the wind industry that is costing the state more than $100 million annually poses a threat to the state budget and should be ended. Outgoing Senate Finance Chairman Mike Mazzei made the comments Thursday during a meeting of the Incentive Evaluation Commission. The panel is exploring the costs and benefits of various tax credits and making suggestions to lawmakers on how they should be changed [News9].

Hamm Vows to Stay Put at Continental Resources—–Won’t take Cabinet Job if Offered by Trump: He was Donald Trump’s key energy adviser during the presidential campaign and many thought Harold Hamm would be in line to be named Energy Secretary. But the day after Trump pulled off an upset win for the White House, Hamm said he would remain at the company he founded, Continental Resources Inc [OKEnergyToday].

Why you won’t see a Muslim veterans group in this year’s Veterans Day parade: In 1918, the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month marked the end of the hostilities in The Great War. Originally designated Armistice Day, it became the day we set aside to honor the sacrifices of the men and women who, over the centuries, made immeasurable sacrifices to preserve the liberties and ideals we hold dear. No amount of thanks, celebration, or pageantry can repay these brave souls for the unimaginable hardships they endured on our behalf, yet each of us owes a personal debt of gratitude that demands whatever demonstrations of thankfulness we can muster. In that endeavor we should be united [Adam Soltani / Tulsa World].

Quote of the Day

“The fact that we got almost 6 (percent) is an incredible success. Right now our problem is just trying to get so much enthusiasm and activists organized into something that can be effective.”

– Oklahoma Libertarian party chairwoman Tina Kelly, on relatively high turnout for her party’s presidential candidate in Oklahoma. As a result, the party will be able to remain a recognized political party until at least the 2018 statewide elections (Source

Number of the Day


Percent of Oklahoma parents who indicated reading to their child every day, 2011-2012. This outpaces the the national rate of 47.9%.

Source: Child and Adolescent Health Measurement Initiative

See previous Numbers of the Day here.

Policy Note

Seven things you should know about childhood poverty: Presidential candidates and pundits rarely talk about tackling poverty, and when they do, they’re not usually talking about children. But they should be: for millions of poor children, the United States is not the land of opportunity. Childhood poverty can have lifelong consequences, affecting future health, education, earnings, and more. These consequences can even stretch into future generations. Many poor children grow up to become poor adults, and as they have children of their own, the cycle of poverty continues [Urban Institute].

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Carly Putnam joined OK Policy in 2013. As Policy Director, she supervises policy research and strategy. She previously worked as an OK Policy intern, and she was OK Policy's health care policy analyst through July 2020. She graduated from the University of Tulsa in 2013. As a student, she was a participant in the National Education for Women (N.E.W.) Leadership Institute and interned with Planned Parenthood. Carly is a graduate of the Oklahoma Center for Nonprofits Nonprofit Management Certification; the Oklahoma Developmental Disabilities Council’s Partners in Policymaking; The Mine, a social entrepreneurship fellowship in Tulsa; and Leadership Tulsa Class 62. She currently serves on the boards of Restore Hope Ministries and The Arc of Oklahoma. In her free time, she enjoys reading, cooking, and doing battle with her hundred year-old house.

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