The Two-Way
1:44 pm
Thu January 29, 2015

Senate Prepares To OK Keystone XL Oil Pipeline Despite Obama Veto Threat

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., joined by Majority Whip John Cornyn of Texas, speaks with reporters on Capitol Hill in Washington on Tuesday.
J. Scott Applewhite AP

Originally published on Thu January 29, 2015 1:52 pm

The Senate could vote as early as today on a bipartisan measure to approve the Keystone XL oil pipeline despite a veto threat from President Obama.

"The past few weeks have been a whirlwind. But the Keystone jobs debate has been important for the Senate and for our country," Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said before the vote. "The Keystone infrastructure project has been studied endlessly, from almost every possible angle, and the same general conclusion keeps becoming clear: Build it."

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12:24 pm
Thu January 29, 2015

Bill Would Repeal Requirement For End Of Instruction Exams

Credit timlewisnm / Flickr Creative Commons

An Oklahoma lawmaker has filed legislation to replace time-consuming end-of-instruction testing in public schools.

The bill by Rep. David Perryman of Chickasha would repeal the requirement that Oklahoma secondary-school students take an end-of-instruction exam to demonstrate their knowledge of academic subjects in order to graduate from a public high school. Instead, students would take the nationally accepted American College Test to demonstrate their proficiency.

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StateImpact Oklahoma
11:50 am
Thu January 29, 2015

Why Oklahoma Ranchers Are Getting More Federal Drought Aid Than Any Other State

AgriLife Today Flickr

Since the current drought in western Oklahoma began, ranchers have collected more than $800 million in federal drought relief payments that aid livestock producers. That’s more than any other state, including California and Texas, which have larger cattle industries, The Oklahoman‘s Silas Allen reports.

Here’s why:

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9:07 am
Thu January 29, 2015

Oklahoma Moves Up To Fourth Place In U.S. Wind Capacity

A wind farm in Ellis County in western Oklahoma.
Logan Layden StateImpact Oklahoma

The American Wind Energy Association says Oklahoma ranks fourth in the nation for wind capacity.

The Oklahoman reports the state moved up two spots in the rankings after adding 648 megawatts of wind capacity in 2014. Oklahoma now has 3,782 megawatts of wind capacity.

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StateImpact Oklahoma
7:59 am
Thu January 29, 2015

Bills Filed To Stop Local Bans On Oil And Gas Production

Hundreds gathered at a public meeting in Oklahoma City to hear about an oil company's proposal to drill near Lake Hefner.
Credit Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

Several bills filed for the upcoming 2015 legislate session rein in the power cities and counties have to regulate drilling and oil and gas production.

The Oklahoman‘s Paul Monies reports:

At least eight bills have been filed that would stop cities and counties from banning drilling operations, including proposals from top leaders in the House and Senate.

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7:36 am
Thu January 29, 2015

For Long-Haul Drivers, Cheap Gas Means A Sweeter Commute

Jed Brown drives 100 miles each day to work between Pennsylvania and West Virginia. Cheaper gas is making his commute more manageable, but he doesn't expect the low prices to last.
Uri Berliner NPR

Originally published on Thu January 29, 2015 7:21 am

With wages still stuck for many Americans, the big drop in gasoline prices is the equivalent of an unexpected cash bonus for the nation's drivers.

The average American household is expected to save $750 this year from lower gas prices, according to the Energy Department.

But Thomas Kinnaman, an economist at Bucknell University in Lewisburg, Pa., says it's instructive to look beyond the word "average."

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Politics and Government
8:27 pm
Wed January 28, 2015

Proposed Legislation Would Require Increased Race And Diversity Training For Law Enforcement

Oklahoma Representative George Young, District 99, D-Oklahoma City
Credit Oklahoma House of Representatives

State police officers would go through increased racial sensitivity and diversity training if a bill filed for this session is approved by lawmakers.

HB2047, by Rep. George Young, D-Oklahoma City, would require the Council on Law Enforcement Education and Training to, by Jan. 1, 2016, to include a number of requirements.

The bill requires basic training courses for law enforcement certification to include a minimum of four hours of diversity training and racial sensitivity education.

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Politics and Government
6:59 pm
Wed January 28, 2015

Senator Shortey Files Bill To Allow For-Profit Organizations To Pursue Religious-Based Purposes

Senator Ralph Shortey - District 44, R-Oklahoma City
Credit Oklahoma Senate

A recently proposed bill would allow for-profit companies to pursue religious-based purposes.

Currently, all organizations incorporated for religious purposes must be registered nonprofit organizations.

SB0729, by Sen. Ralph Shortey, would allow any domestic corporations, limited partnership or limited liability company to establish itself as a religious-based entity if certain requirements are the met.

“What it’s doing is extending the same liberties that a nonprofit has and extending it to corporations,” said Shortey, R-Oklahoma City.

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Politics and Government
6:46 pm
Wed January 28, 2015

Democratic Leaders Back Funding For American Indian Cultural Center

The incomplete American Indian Cultural Center & Museum.
Credit American Indian Cultural Center & Museum

Democratic leaders at the Oklahoma Capitol say they support the completion of the American Indian Cultural Center and Museum near downtown Oklahoma City, but have different ideas on how to pay for it.

House Democratic Leader Scott Inman said at a Wednesday forum sponsored by The Associated Press that his 29-member caucus would support a $40 million bond issue to complete the museum.

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Politics and Government
6:32 pm
Wed January 28, 2015

Fallin Says State Budget Should Be Legislature's Priority, Doesn't Comment On Anti-Gay Bills

Gov. Mary Fallin enters the House chamber of the state capitol shortly before delivering her State of the State address February 3, 2014.
Credit Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

Updated at 6:30 p.m.  

Gov. Mary Fallin says the state budget for the fiscal year that begins July 1 should be the Legislature's top priority, and she wants lawmakers to closely examine tax credits and other policies that drain available revenue.

Fallin made the comments Wednesday during a speech to reporters and editors at The Associated Press' annual legislative forum.

Fallin also gave some hints on policies she would endorse for the session that begins on Monday, including a ban on texting while driving in Oklahoma.

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