Corn, Okla., Mayor Barbara Nurnberg outside city hall in January 2016.
Logan Layden / StateImpact Oklahoma

Budget Crisis Could Leave Small Towns With Big Infrastructure Problems ‘Dead In The Water’

It costs a lot of money to clean, transport and dispose of water. Big cities can spread the cost of multi-million dollar sewer or treatment projects across thousands of customers. But many small Oklahoma towns don’t have that option, and often rely on a state-funded grant program that’s being squeezed by budget cuts. Crumbling Infrastructure Tiny Corn, Oklahoma, has a big problem. A proper town needs a reliable sewer system, but the lagoon that’s supposed to hold the town’s wastewater has hol...
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Workers erect scaffolding outside the First National Center building in downtown Oklahoma City.
Brent Fuchs / The Journal Record

On Tuesday, the Oklahoma City Council discussed making changes to the tax increment finance district, or TIF, for the area affected by MAPS projects.

The council wants to increase the budget for the downtown MAPS district – adding $40 million to bring the total to $165 million.

“The says that the investment so far has already brought in $1.8 billion in private money, and adding the $40 million would bring in another $1 billion,” said The Journal Record’s managing editor Adam Brooks.

The death chamber at the Oklahoma State Penitentiary in McAlester.
Oklahoma Department of Corrections

A third high-ranking official associated with Oklahoma’s death penalty protocols stepped down Thursday. Governor Mary Fallin's legal counsel Steve Mullins announced his resignation after working for the governor since February 2012.  

Corn, Okla., Mayor Barbara Nurnberg outside city hall in January 2016.
Logan Layden / StateImpact Oklahoma

It costs a lot of money to clean, transport and dispose of water. Big cities can spread the cost of multi-million dollar sewer or treatment projects across thousands of customers. But many small Oklahoma towns don’t have that option, and often rely on a state-funded grant program that’s being squeezed by budget cuts.

 

Crumbling Infrastructure

Joe Allbaugh
Greg Schaler / FEMA

State agency heads went before the Budget and Appropriations’ Public Safety Subcommittee meeting Thursday to argue their case as lawmakers try to close a huge budget hole. 

Department of Corrections Interim Director Joe Allbaugh spoke candidly about many of the challenges his department faces. The state prison system is currently at 122 percent capacity, and he said DOC might need to convert current classrooms to open-bay dorms to house offenders.

clock
Brian Hardzinski / KGOU

On Wednesday a House committee passed a bill that eliminates Daylight Saving Time in Oklahoma.

Native American DJ Session: From Traditional To Rap

19 hours ago

For this week’s edition of the Here & Now DJ Sessions, host Jeremy Hobson talks with Rhonda LeValdo, host of Native Spirit at KKFI community radio in Kansas City, Missouri. She plays music from Native American artists, ranging from traditional music to rock and rap.

Ronny Richert / Flickr

Justices on Oklahoma's highest appellate courts would be elected, not appointed, under a plan narrowly approved by the state House Elections and Ethics Committee Wednesday.

State Rep. Kevin Calvey, R-Oklahoma City, wants judges to run for election every six years. He’s upset about recent Supreme Court decisions on

Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt shakes hands at the state Capitol after the annual State of the State address.
Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

The Clean Power Plan — President Barack Obama’s push to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from power plants — won’t be implemented until after a lawsuit from 27 states, including Oklahoma, is resolved.

State Superintendent Joy Hofmeister testifies Wednesday before the House Subcommittee on Early Childhood, Elementary, and Secondary Education.
Edworkforce Committee / Flickr (Public Domain)

State Superintendent Joy Hofmeister went to Washington on Wednesday to testify before the House Subcommittee on Early Childhood, Elementary and Secondary Education.

Last year President Obama signed a replacement for the federal No Child Left Behind Act, which starts in the 2016/2017 school year.

Lawmakers wanted to know what teachers and administrators need from the U.S. Department of Education as the law goes into effect, and Hofmeister said local control is key.

State Representative Pam Peterson
okhouse.gov

The House Criminal Justice and Corrections Committee passed legislation this morning that would increase the value of some property crimes before they could be prosecuted as felonies. The measure is part of a package of bills Governor Mary Fallin proposed. 

Under the legislation by State Representative Pam Peterson, the threshold for property theft crimes would be raised to $1,000 for a felony.

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