In The Know: T.W. Shannon steps down as House Speaker

In The KnowIn The Know is a daily synopsis of Oklahoma policy-related news and blogs. Inclusion of a story does not necessarily mean endorsement by the Oklahoma Policy Institute. You can sign up here to receive In The Know by e-mail or subscribe to the podcast on iTunes.

Download today’s In The Know podcast here or play it in your browser:

Today you should know that T.W. Shannon has resigned as House Speaker to run for U.S. Senate. Representatives Mike Jackson, Jeff Hickman, and Jason Nelson have been lobbying to replace him. Rep. Joe Dorman, D-Rush Springs, announced his candidacy for governor. The Oklahoma City Council discussed redrawing council districts and increasing the number of seats to improve representation.

Oklahoma ranked last out of all fifty states for long-term budget planning, according to a new report from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. You can see the full report here and the Oklahoma fact sheet here. The OK Policy Blog shared how the Affordable Care has helped self-employed businesswoman in Oklahoma become insured for the first time in 18 years.

State education officials said if too many parents opt their children out of high-stakes testing, schools could receive an automatic F on the A-F grading system. The Oklahoma City school board is considering turning Edgemere Elementary into a community school, with additional support for students and their parents including health care, before and after school programs, and early childhood learning. Extending the community schools model is one of OK Policy’s proposed Action Items for Education.

The Number of the Day is how many people are employed by Indian Tribes in Oklahoma. In today’s Policy Note, Wonkblog discussed a report showing that state pension obligations cost less than tax breaks to corporations in many states. In Oklahoma, Good Jobs First calculated that annual state pension costs were less than half the cost of seven corporate tax breaks.

In The News

T.W. Shannon steps down as House Speaker

Oklahoma House Speaker T.W. Shannon announced Tuesday morning he immediately will resign his position as speaker so he can pursue the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Sen. Tom Coburn. Shannon, a Republican, will continue to serve as a state representative from Lawton. Shannon’s announcement means a three-way race to succeed him as speaker will now shift into high gear. House Speaker Pro Tem Mike Jackson, R-Enid; state Rep. Jeff Hickman, R-Dacoma; and state Rep. Jason Nelson, R-Oklahoma City, have been lobbying fellow House members for their votes behind the scenes.

Read more from NewsOK.

Democratic lawmaker announces candidacy in Oklahoma Governor’s race

Rep. Joe Dorman, D-Rush Springs, announced his candidacy in the Oklahoma governor’s race Tuesday. Dorman, who reaches his term limit in the House at the end of the 2014 session, went public Dec. 17 with his establishment of an exploratory committee to evaluate stepping into the race. Dorman said at a news conference Tuesday that after several weeks of speaking with Oklahomans of all walks of life about his possible run for office, one theme became clear: voters want a new direction for the state.

Read more from NewsOK.

Oklahoma City Council examines ways to improve representation

Oklahoma City Council members agreed Tuesday to see how the electoral map would look if boundaries were redrawn to make Capitol Hill the focus of its own ward. The current boundaries, adopted after the 2010 census, divide the area traditionally known as Capitol Hill among Wards 4, 6 and 7. White has proposed adding two wards to the city. That would increase the number of city council seats from eight to 10, plus the mayor, who is elected at-large. Council members reviewed a proposed 10-ward map from 2011 and a new 12-ward map in Tuesday afternoon’s discussion, but talk quickly turned to other concerns.

Read more from NewsOK.

Oklahoma ranks worst in the nation for long-term budget planning

Oklahoma ranked last out of all fifty states for long-term budget planning, according to a major new report from the Washington, DC-based Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. The report ranks the states according to how well they make use of ten key fiscal planning tools. Oklahoma scored full points for having a well-designed rainy day fund and regular budget status reports, but the state scored “Needs Improvement” or lower on all eight other metrics.

Read more from Oklahoma Policy Institute.

See the full report here.

See the Oklahoma fact sheet here.

18 years uninsured, but no more

Beth is a home renovator and woodworker who lives north of Edmond. For the last 18 years, she has operated her own small business. For 18 years, she also went without health insurance. This finally changed January 1st, when the Affordable Care Act took effect and Beth became one of the first 15,000 Oklahomans who gained coverage through the new health insurance marketplaces. Beth’s story is similar to that of many self-employed small businesspeople.

Read more from the OK Policy Blog.

Parents opting kids out of state testing could put system in a bind

If too many parents opt their children out of state testing this spring, public school districts are at risk of not only getting a lower grade, but an F, state education officials said. Several area school districts have reported that parents are contacting school officials about opting their children out of state testing. Parents who feel their children are over-tested are behind a growing national opt-out movement. If a district tests less than 95 percent of eligible students, it will drop one grade lower. If test participation dips below 90 percent, the district receives an automatic F, according to the A-F school grade law.

Read more from the Tulsa World.

Oklahoma City school board considers community school for Edgemere elementary

The Oklahoma City School Board is considering a community school for Edgemere Elementary that would offer students and their parents additional services and support, including health care, before- and after-school art and science programs, and early childhood learning. A spokeswoman for a support group backing the proposal told the board Monday night that community schools offer improved student learning, stronger families and healthier communities. Interim Superintendent Dave Lopez said the pilot program could be implemented at other schools.

Read more from NewsOK.

See also: Action Items for Oklahoma: Education from Oklahoma Policy Institute

Quote of the Day

Better planning encourages policymakers to take the long view, one that considers a state’s future workforce, population, and infrastructure needs. A state’s budget decisions today on services like education and infrastructure affect both the state and the nation for years to come.

-Elizabeth McNichol, senior fellow at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities and co-author of a report that found Oklahoma ranks worst in the nation for long-term budget planning (Source:

Number of the Day


Number of people employed by Indian Tribes in Oklahoma.

Source: Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

See previous Numbers of the Day here.

Policy Note

State pension obligations can be crushing. But corporate welfare costs more.

When Louise Jordan walked through the doors of Abraham Lincoln High School in North Philadelphia 34 years ago, after landing her dream job as a special education teacher right out of college, she didn’t worry about her tiny salary — just $10,770 per year back then. It wasn’t a lot to live on, but if she kept contributing 7.5 percent of every paycheck into Pennsylvania’s pension fund, the state would support her when the time came to retire.

Read more from Wonkblog.

See also: Putting Oklahoma state pensions into context from Good Jobs First

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


Gene Perry worked for OK Policy from 2011 to 2019. He is a native Oklahoman and a citizen of the Cherokee Nation. He graduated from the University of Oklahoma with a B.A. in history and an M.A. in journalism.

3 thoughts on “In The Know: T.W. Shannon steps down as House Speaker

  1. I don’t even know how I ended up here, but I thought this post was good.

    I do not know who you are but definitely you are going to a famous blogger
    if you aren’t already 😉 Cheers!

    My blog post; google

  2. You will often get carried away when you’re in search of a mortgage, and will accept a home loan with high rates of interest
    or even complicated conditions. Article Source:
    How To Budget is the first step in saving money.
    You will most likely need to have 30 percent equity in your
    current home if you.

    my blog … mortgages for self employed contractors (Mattie)

  3. VA home loans are available not just to veterans and the unmmarried spouse of an eligible veteran, but also to
    active duty, rrserve personnel, and some civilians. An effective solution to this
    problem can be of mortgage refinance. A: VA guaranteed loans are made by private lenders,
    such as banks, savings & loans, or mortgage companies to eligible veterans for the
    purchase of a home whih must be for their own personal occupancy.
    The syorter the repayment period, the higher the repayments will be, but the less you will have
    to pay back in total. Essentiually you can do everything right,
    butt still be stuck with the property for a
    year unless you can fin a cash or noon conventional buyer.

Leave a Reply

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