In The Know: Oklahoma Supreme Court invalidates retail liquor proposal

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

Oklahoma Supreme Court invalidates retail liquor proposal: The Oklahoma Supreme Court has invalidated an initiative petition that calls for a statewide vote on whether to allow wine to be sold in grocery stores. The Supreme Court handed down the ruling Tuesday and ordered the petition stricken from the November general election ballot. The petition, filed by the Retail Liquor Association of Oklahoma, was challenged by the Oklahoma Grocers Association, which alleged it unconstitutionally delegates legislative authority and is insufficient and misleading [Associated Press].

Oklahoma Legislature Attempts to Cap At-Risk Energy Tax Credit with Newly Filed Senate Bill 1577: A new bill filed Monday with the Oklahoma Legislature would limit claims for economically at-risk oil and gas leases to 2014 production and prohibit rebates after the end of the year. Senate Bill 1577 was filed by Senate President Pro Tempore Brian Bingman, R-Sapulpa, and House Speaker Jeff Hickman, R-Fairview. The bill limits the gross production tax exemption for economically at-risk oil and natural gas leases to production for calendar year 2014 and provides no refunds will be paid on or after December 31, 2016 [OK Energy Today].

Oklahoma nursing home residents, health workers rally at Capitol for Medicaid: Hundreds of health care workers, nursing home residents and other Medicaid recipients are rallying at the state Capitol in support of a plan to draw down hundreds of millions of federal dollars offered to states for Medicaid expansion. About 300 people rallied Tuesday on the south steps of the Capitol and then flooded into the building to ask their legislators to back a proposal for a $1.50-per-pack tax increase on cigarettes to pay for the “Medicaid Rebalancing Act of 2020” [Associated Press]. The rally highlighted the human cost of cutting SoonerCare [NonDoc]. Here’s what we know about Oklahoma’s plan to extend health coverage [OK Policy].

In South Dakota, a Test Case for Online Sales Taxes: In a lawsuit that could have taxing consequences nationwide, online retailers are suing South Dakota for trying to collect a sales tax from them. If the suit makes it to the U.S. Supreme Court — as many believe it will — governments would finally get an answer to their long-awaited question of whether they can collect a sales tax from online purchases. South Dakota lawmakers essentially provoked the suit by passing a law they knew would be challenged by retailers [Governing]. Improving collection of online sales taxes is one of our balanced solutions to the budget crisis [OK Policy].

Rep. John Paul Jordan’s alternative certification measure on Gov. Fallin’s desk: Legislation to improve the alternative teaching certification process was approved Monday by the Oklahoma House of Representatives has landed on Gov. Mary Fallin’s desk. House Bill 3025, by state Rep. John Paul Jordan, would allow for additional entry points for those wishing to pursue a teaching certificate through the alternative certification process. The measure directs the state education department to develop a matrix or rubric by which an alternative certification candidate’s work experience would be evaluated and aligned with a specific certification area [CapitolBeatOK].

ImpactTulsa, chamber, others discuss dire future from school budget cuts: Tulsa-area leaders and education officials banded together Tuesday morning to put pressure on state-elected officials to ease cuts on public schools. ImpactTulsa, a group that seeks better education for Tulsa-area students, painted a dramatic picture of proposed education cuts that could result in a loss of 667 positions from 15 school districts in the ImpactTulsa partnership. Mark Graham, Tulsa Area United Way president, said with only about three weeks left in the state’s legislative session, the time is now to “demand solutions” [Tulsa World].

Cuts to Indigent Defense System have left our justice system deeply unbalanced: Add this to the list of potential fallout from the state’s unprecedented budget disaster: Oklahoma may soon be forced to release people accused of violent crimes because the state can’t afford to pay for their legal representation. This nearly came to pass in 2002 when a District Court judge ordered that the director of the Oklahoma Indigent Defense System (OIDS) be held in contempt of court because the agency had not provided a lawyer for several defendants charged with serious crimes [OK Policy].

District attorney tries to play with judicial boundaries: An area prosecutor has been quietly toying with one of his judge’s district boundaries and using some legislative buddies to do his work for him. Rex Duncan, district attorney for Pawnee and Osage counties and a former legislator, convinced some of his friends in the state Capitol to quietly strip out a bill that had to do with reauthorizing the state Board of Examiners of Certified Shorthand Reporters and insert language to move Pawnee County from the 14th judicial district to Osage County’s 10th district [Tulsa World Editorial Board].

Oklahoma Turnpike Authority has history of inflated projections: Over the past 55 years, the Oklahoma Turnpike Authority has consistently missed the mark with the traffic and revenue studies it has commissioned to justify and market bonds for new turnpikes, an investigation by The Oklahoman has revealed. The Turnpike Authority has built nine turnpikes since 1961. Actual revenues have failed to meet projections for every one of those nine turnpikes during their first five years of operations. On average, revenues came up to less than 63 percent of projections [NewsOK].

Oklahoma Transportation Commission approves $81 million widening project for I-235: A record-setting $81 million construction project that promises to widen Interstate 235 and rebuild three bridges that span the highway was approved Monday by the Oklahoma Transportation Commission. The project is expected to cost closer to $88 million once resurfacing work and incentives are added, officials said. While the bulk of the project will begin in the fall, it will be preceded by resurfacing work on I-235 between NW 36 and NW 63 which will require I-235 to be narrowed to one lane in each direction during nights and on weekends beginning next month [NewsOK].

Broader coverage: Bill would make CBD oil available for adults and more conditions: The evidence of Katie Dodson’s progress with Dravet syndrome over the past year can be seen on a single piece of paper. At the top of the page, posted last week on a Facebook group dedicated to the 11-year-old, are two sentences of jagged, nearly unreadable writing dated April 10, 2015. A year later and seemingly free from many of the epileptic symptoms that characterize the disease, she wrote in crisp letters – “This is how I write now” [Journal Record].

Oklahoma treasurers: This policy decision is working as intended: As word of the national tobacco Master Settlement Agreement came down to states in 1998, many states hoped for a windfall — a pot of money that could immediately be put into state coffers to pay for pressing and immediate needs. Oklahoma voters endorsed a different idea and, today, the Tobacco Settlement Endowment Trust (TSET) continues to be an example of a wise choice to make provision for long-term funding to combat health problems that cost our state money and take lives [NewsOK].

Cherokee Nation donates $455,000 to volunteer firefighters: The Cherokee Nation is donating $455,000 to firefighters in 130 volunteer and rural departments throughout northeastern Oklahoma. The Tahlequah-based tribe presented the money at a ceremony honoring more than 500 firefighters on Tuesday. Tribal officials say the money will help fire stations buy equipment, fuel and other necessities [Associated Press].

Quote of the Day

“We now lose $14 per day for every Medicaid resident. A 25 percent cut, which is on the table, would mean 93 percent of nursing homes would have to close their doors. That is 16,800 elders that would have nowhere to go. The right cut is zero percent.”

-Kimberly Green, of assisted-living company Diakonos Group, warning of dire consequences of Medicaid-provider cuts (Source)

Number of the Day


Personal income growth rate over the past year for Oklahoma, one of just six states with negative personal income growth.

Source: Pew Charitable Trusts

See previous Numbers of the Day here.

Policy Note

Alone on the Range, Seniors Often Lack Access to Health Care: What’s it like to grow old in rural America?  Millie Goolsby is a retired nurse, so when she experienced chest pain five years ago, she recognized the signs of a potential heart attack. But her family didn’t call 911. The drive from her home to the hospital in Klamath Falls, Ore., requires at least half an hour. “It takes a while for an ambulance to get here, and then you hope the ambulance can find you” on an unpaved country road, said Mrs. Goolsby, who is 83 [New York Times].

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


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: Oklahoma Supreme Court invalidates retail liquor proposal

Leave a Reply

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