In The Know: Mistakenly posted legislation sends shock waves through Capitol

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

Mistakenly posted legislation sends shock waves through Capitol: What is being described as an “honest mistake” ratcheted up the tension in a state Capitol already on edge Tuesday. Speaker Jeff Hickman, R-Fairview, said two bills released Tuesday morning that call for boosting teacher pay by up to $10,000 a year while cutting benefits and raising the state sales tax, were early drafts of legislation that has been worked on this session, and he said final versions may or may not be heard in the coming days [Tulsa World]. The Oklahoma Education Association came out strongly against the legislation [KFOR].

As oil boom goes bust, Oklahoma protects drillers and squeezes schools: After intense lobbying, Oklahoma’s oilmen scored a victory two years ago. State lawmakers voted to keep in place some of the lowest taxes on oil and gas production in the United States – a break worth $470 million in fiscal year 2015 alone. The state’s schools haven’t been so fortunate. In Newcastle, 23 miles from the capital of Oklahoma City, John Cerny recently learned that the school attended by his five-year-old granddaughter, Adelynn, will open just four days a week next year [Reuters]. Oklahoma leads the nation in per student general state funding cuts since 2008 [Center on Budget and Policy Priorities]. Tax breaks for oil and gas production in Oklahoma continue to exceed $400 million a year [OK Policy]

Oklahoma governor signs online Internet tax proposal: Gov. Mary Fallin has signed legislation that supporters say will help the state collect more revenue from online purchases. Fallin signed legislation Tuesday that requires retailers to notify their Oklahoma customers they may owe taxes on their online purchases when filing state tax returns. Tdhe bill would also require retailers to provide Oklahomans with an annual report of how much they spent on online purchases [Associated Press].

Proposed federal legislation could yank free school meals from 51,000 Oklahoma students: The Community Eligibility Provision (CEP) of the 2010 Healthy, Hunger Free Kids Act allows high-poverty schools to provide breakfast and lunch to all students. Access to free, healthy meals helps low-income children and families by improving child nutrition and behavior, relieving administrative burdens, and taking some strain off tight family budgets. Unfortunately, a proposal in the U.S. House of Representatives seeks to dramatically limit CEP’s scope, with potentially devastating consequences for low-income families [OK Policy].

Bid to end last wind power credit early fails: Lawmakers nearly flipped the switch on the wind industry’s last tax credit. A proposal to move up the end date on the zero-emission tax credit narrowly failed in committee Monday night. The bill can be re-heard before the end of session next week, however. House Speaker Jeff Hickman, R-Fairview, said ending the credit two years early in 2018 would save the state $306 million [Journal Record].

Oklahoma Committee Downs Tax Increase On Low-Point Beer: A proposal to increase taxes on low-point beer in Oklahoma has failed to pass a state Senate committee after members expressed concern it appeared to target a specific product. The Senate Joint Committee on Appropriations and Budget on Tuesday voted 27-16 against the bill. The proposal would quadruple the excise tax rate on low-point beer to $45 per barrel and apportion part of the proceeds to the state’s general revenue fund [Associated Press].

New license plates bill passes Oklahoma House, would cost drivers: Oklahoma drivers could soon need to find a new home for their license plates, perhaps a dumpster. The legislature passed House Bill 3208 this week, requiring the executive director of the Oklahoma Tax Commission to initiate the replacement of state vehicle license plates with a new design [Fox 25].

Cutting OK higher ed funding wouldn’t be prudent: Oklahoma is facing a budget shortfall and there are many ideas being floated to help bridge the gap. One of them would include further budget cuts to the state’s higher education system. But this is the kind of short-term thinking that Oklahoma cannot afford. At a time when our workforce needs more teachers, engineers, doctors and nurses, we can’t neglect the colleges and universities that train them [Jennifer Lepard / NewsOK].

Report: Tulsa has nation’s lowest Hispanic employment rate; Oklahoma City ties for lowest black unemployment: The National Urban League’s “State of Black America” report released Tuesday stated that unemployment was low for Hispanics in Tulsa, and blacks in Oklahoma City. The report, “Locked Out: Education, Jobs & Justice,” looks at how blacks and Hispanics have been doing in the United States over the last few years and how they were doing in 1976, the year the National Urban League began issuing its annual report [Tulsa World]. Read the full report [National Urban League].

Corporate agribusiness and the right to harm: State Question 777 is a proposed amendment to the Oklahoma Constitution, voted on by the Oklahoma State Legislature to appear on the general election ballot on Nov. 8. But this idea didn’t originate in Oklahoma; it’s part of a national push by corporate farming interests rolling across America. Which is ironic because most of Oklahoma’s largest corporate animal processors are Chinese, Japanese and Brazilian [Jim Roth / Journal Record].

Tulsa City Commission Issues Action Plan to Address Female Incarceration: A City of Tulsa commission releases its action plan after a three-year study of female incarceration. The Mayor’s Commission on the Status of Women came up with a road map nonviolent female offenders follow from before they commit a crime to after their release from prison. Commission member Betsy Jackson said services are hard to come by before women are arrested [Public Radio Tulsa].

Quote of the Day

“Oil and gas has a ton of weight, and by darn they wanted their credit. By golly they got their credit.”

-Rep. Mark McCullough, on the horizontal drilling tax credit extension that he opposed in 2014 (Source)

Number of the Day


Percentage of adults 18 and over involved in social, civic, sports, and religious groups in Oklahoma, below the national average of 39.8%.

Source: Opportunity Index

See previous Numbers of the Day here.

Policy Note

Fast Facts on Who Has Access to Paid Time Off and Flexibility: All workers, regardless of their job type or family structure, have the potential need for paid leave and flexibility. Whether it is waiting at home for a repair person to fix the refrigerator, picking up a child when after-school arrangements fall through, or simply being too sick to work, nearly all employees need time away from work at some point. While the need to occasionally take time away from work is nearly universal, the ability to do so is not. Nearly 40 million workers—39 percent of all employees—still lack access to a single paid sick day [Center for American Progress].

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Ryan Gentzler worked at OK Policy from January 2016 until November 2022. He last served as the organization's Reserach Director and oversaw Open Justice Oklahoma. He began at OK Policy as an analyst focusing on criminal justice issues, including sentencing, incarceration, court fines and fees, and pretrial detention. Open Justice Oklahoma grew out of Ryan’s groundbreaking analysis of court records, which was used to inform critical policy debates. A native Nebraskan, he holds a Master of Public Administration degree from the University of Oklahoma and a BA in Institutions and Policy from William Jewell College. He served as an OK Policy Research Fellow in 2014-2015.

One thought on “In The Know: Mistakenly posted legislation sends shock waves through Capitol

  1. Well legislation declined to raise taxes on low point beer here stating it would appear to target a certain product but isn’t that the same thing they are doing when talking about raising cigarette taxes? What is wrong with these people’s thought patterns? Both products are not definite revenue and raising the taxes on either product will be targeting a certain product! These people are crazy lol.

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