THE LATEST IN OKLAHOMA – May 2023
May 17th, 2023
Update from NASL Members, A&A Advocates
Here are the latest news and updates in Oklahoma:
THE LATEST IN OKLAHOMA
BUDGET NEGOTIATIONS: Broader talks about tax cuts and overall state agency funding have stalled because Republicans have yet to finalize a comprehensive public school-funding plan.
With only two weeks left in session, Gov. Kevin Stitt is warning that “time is of the essence” for Republicans to stop bickering and reach a compromise. He also continues to champion broad tax cuts amid Oklahoma’s $1.2 billion budget surplus.
The House and Senate remained at a stalemate Friday, about $100 million apart on how much they’d like to see invested in public schools.
OK BUSINESS: Current Oklahoma Department of Commerce Director Brent Kisling has submitted a letter announcing he will resign on June 8. Kisling’s resignation comes as negotiations over a proposed Panasonic EV battery plant have hit a legislative stalemate. While the Panasonic deal undergoes review, a different incentive program seems to be moving forward.
Lawmakers in a joint appropriations committee gave initial approval to a package that would give Enel North America up to $180 million worth of taxpayer incentives to build a solar panel factory at the Tulsa Port of Inola, according to a deal unveiled this week. The package requires Enel to hire at least 1,400 employees to receive the total amount of incentives. The money would come out of leftover cash from last year’s budget. SB 1177 and two companion bills now head to the House and Senate floors for a final vote.
OIL & GAS: This week, officials with Blackrock, Inc., met with Gov. Stitt to plead their case, following the State’s announcement that BlackRock is one of 13 financial institutions the state will no longer do business with under the “Energy Discrimination Elimination Act of 2022, which requires the state to conduct a review of investment firms and identify those that boycott investments in oil-and-gas companies.
“We had a good conversation. Blackrock doesn’t want to turn into the next Bud Light, that’s for sure,” Stitt said.
The governor noted BlackRock and other companies can be removed from the state’s blacklist by reforming their practices to comply with Oklahoma’s anti-discrimination law.
NEED TO KNOW NEWS
The Journal Record: Despite health care demand, many hospitals losing money
Four in 10 hospitals lost money in 2019 and that figure is projected to be 68% this year, Jim Gebhart, president of Mercy Hospital Oklahoma City, said Wednesday.
“(Meanwhile) the demand for health care services is at an all-time high,” Gebhart said during a panel discussion on the State of Health sponsored by the Greater Oklahoma City Chamber. “That impacts our ability to serve Oklahomans.”
The hospital leadership panel also featured Dr. Richard Lofgren, president and CEO of OU Health; Timothy Pehrson, president and CEO of Integris Health; and Stacy Coleman, president of SSM Health St. Anthony-Midwest.
The Oklahoman: ‘Dr. Phil’ speaks at Oklahoma City rally to release Richard Glossip from death row
At the state Capitol on Tuesday, Phil McGraw, host of the highly popular syndicated daytime show, “Dr. Phil,” spoke at a rally calling for the retrial of high-profile death row inmate Richard Glossip.
“We are here today to make sure Richard Glossip at least gets a fair trial,” McGraw said on the steps of the Capitol. “I think that he should be set free, personally.”
About 100 people showed up to support Glossip and hear impassioned speeches from McGraw, Glossip’s wife and defense team, and state legislators who have called for Glossip to be removed from death row.
The rally came just days after the U.S. Supreme Court halted Glossip’s execution after Oklahoma Attorney Gentner Drummond told the high court Glossip didn’t receive a fair trial
Oklahoma Watch: Oklahoma Takes Steps To Address Childcare Scarcity
A bill aimed at streamlining local rules for in-home daycares was signed into law by Gov. Kevin Stitt this week.
Freshman legislator Rep. Suzanne Schreiber, D-Tulsa, authored the bill requiring local governments to follow Department of Human Services capacity limits instead of creating their own. Studies show 55% of Oklahomans live in areas where childcare is scarce.
States like California and Colorado have passed similar laws that define in-home childcares as residential property uses and ban local governments from creating rules for those childcares that don’t apply to other residential properties.