In The Know: As State Finances Stumble, Oil and Gas Leaders Rally to End Tax Credits For Wind

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

As State Finances Stumble, Oil and Gas Leaders Rally to End Tax Credits For Wind: Oklahoma legislators are considering eliminating some tax credits and incentives for businesses to help plug a $1.3 billion budget gap. The state’s fiscal crisis has led some oil and gas leaders to push lawmakers to end incentives for the wind industry [StateImpact Oklahoma]. Wind power is a growing source of energy production in Oklahoma that is drawing close scrutiny at the state Capitol [OK Policy].

Mayor looking into “paying for rank” at Tulsa Police Department; practice draws public criticism: Tulsa Mayor Dewey Bartlett says he’s looking into a reportedly longtime practice involving police officers’ paying superiors to retire so they can move up the ranks before their eligibility for promotion expires. We the People Oklahoma spoke out against the practice Thursday morning, with the activist group’s leader saying the act brings an illusion of “paying for rank” [Tulsa World]. 

Driving prices: New turnpikes can raise land values for some, lower them for others: The debate over 30 new miles of toll roads comes fraught with divisive arguments about fairness and property rights. Another aspect of the debate is the effect on nearby property values. Academic and government researchers haven’t produced many studies on the subject, but there is a consensus among those who have examined the rise and fall of land values near highways: At this early stage, it’s hard to predict [Journal Record].

State Supreme Court asked to toss law requiring admitting privileges for abortion doctors: A Norman abortion provider on Thursday asked the Oklahoma Supreme Court to toss out a 2014 law requiring him to obtain admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles. Dr. Larry A. Burns is appealing a Feb. 18 finding by Oklahoma County District Judge Don Andrews that Senate Bill 1848 did not violate various provisions of law [Tulsa World].

State audit of Dove Science Academy charter schools questions operating foundation’s management: An investigative audit into Dove Science Academy’s charter schools and the foundation that operates them shows the foundation collected $1.2 million more in rent from the schools in a 2-year period than it spent on the lease agreements for the buildings. The audit report, released Wednesday, also shows that Sky Foundation, which operates the schools, spent $175,000 to sponsor an out-of-state event that no Dove students attended [Tulsa World].

A hand up: TEEM offers three professional certifications to prisoners: Darrin Brewer has been in prison for 23 years. This is his second stint of incarceration. He previously served three years, starting when he was 21 years old. When he left prison at 24 years old, he went back to the same illegal activities that he and his friends did the first time. Within two years, he was back again. This time, getting out of prison will be different, he said. Brewer is learning culinary arts at The Employment and Educational Ministry [Journal Record]. In numerous ways, Oklahoma continues to punish ex-felons long after they have paid their debt to society [OK Policy].

Point of View: Juveniles, Oklahoma would benefit from legislative proposal: Every year, our elected officials deal with major pieces of legislation, as well as small technical bills. Recently the state Senate unanimously passed Senate Bill 1233. This small change in the law will make a life-changing difference for the juveniles who will be affected by it. Oklahoma has a Youthful Offender Act that allows for rehabilitative treatment within the juvenile justice system for 13-to-17-year-olds who are accused of committing serious crimes [Terri Smith / NewsOK]. This year, a new, inclusive approach to criminal justice reform is bearing fruit [OK Policy].

Tulsa Food Bank Takes Spring Break Meals On The Road: The Community Food Bank in Tulsa is taking food on the road to help feed hungry families during Spring Break. Spring Break means no school for most kids but for some children it also means no meals. So, the Community Food Bank of Eastern Oklahoma is taking meals on the road this week to help feed hungry families [NewsOn6]. More than 600,000 Oklahomans are food-insecure, meaning they don’t have consistent access to enough food for an active, healthy lifestyle [OK Policy].

Why Lie, Mr. Bushey? According to its webpage, the Oklahoma Public School Resource Center (OPSRC) is a school service organization dedicated to the development of services for public schools and is “particularly focused on meeting the needs of smaller schools and districts.” Apparently, OPSRC also has a lobbying arm to advocate for various legislation they believe would benefit their member schools. A notable piece of legislation they’re pushing this session is Senate Bill 1187, the “Empowered Schools and School District Act” [A View From The Edge].

School vouchers, revisionist history and a Trojan horse: Supporters of public education headed into spring break celebrating the demise of vouchers this legislative session. The party didn’t last long. School doors barely were locked for the holiday week when news broke that the governor’s fiscal guru, Preston Doerflinger, trashed the Legislature’s Republican majority for failing to force a vote on “school choice” [Arnold Hamilton / Journal Record].

New Department of Corrections ‘Strike Force’ unit nets large-scale contraband seizure: The state Department of Corrections’ new search unit discovered a large amount of contraband, including cellphones, drugs and alcohol, at a prison in southeast Oklahoma this week, the DOC announced Thursday. A special operations unit known as Strike Force conducted a surprise search at Mack Alford Correctional Center in Stringtown for four hours Wednesday and found 19 cellphones, 23 phone chargers, 15 lighters, 10 hands-free devices, about six grams of marijuana, two screwdrivers, three syringes, four mP3 players, about eight grams of tobacco and 100 ounces of alcohol inside five 20-ounce bottles, according to a DOC news release [Tulsa World].

Economic impact study shows big possibilities for Vision’s river project: The possible economic impact of Vision Tulsa’s plan to add low-water dams and improve the Arkansas River corridor could reach $122 million per year, according to a long-anticipated study released Thursday. “In all the town hall meetings we’ve held for two years, people have always asked what the anticipated return on investment is,” said Councilor G.T. Bynum, who led the Arkansas River Infrastructure Task Force [Tulsa World].

Quote of the Day

“We’re trying to put people that have made mistakes in the past into an honorable place of work. We want to get them into a career and not just a job. We want to find people that have a passion to make people happy and we want to be successful.”

– Chett Abramson, chief operating officer for 21C Hotels, a company that hires ex-felons with professional certifications acquired through The Employment and Education Ministry (Source)

Number of the Day


Percent of Oklahoma students in high-poverty schools, where more than 75% of students qualified for free- or reduced-price lunches, in 2014, 8th highest in the nation

Source: National Equity Atlas

See previous Numbers of the Day here.

Policy Note

Partnered But Poor: People living in single-parent families are much more likely to have low incomes and experience economic hardships than those living in both married and unmarried partnered families with children. At the same time, however, the vast majority of people in low-income families with children are in families headed by married or unmarried partners, as are most people in families with children that receive means-tested benefits. This fact flies in the face of claims that marriage is a panacea for poverty [Center for American Progress].

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


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.

Leave a Reply

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