Oklahoma News
1:22 pm
Tue March 3, 2015

House Passes Bill Allowing Online Gun Safety Courses

Credit Emily Allen / Flickr.com

Oklahomans who want to carry a firearm will be able to take the required gun safety course online under a bill approved by the House of Representatives.

The House voted 88-7 on Tuesday for the bill by Republican Rep. Casey Murdock of Felt, who says he expects it will lead to an increase in the number of Oklahomans who get a license to carry a gun.

Felt says the Oklahoma Council on Law Enforcement Education and Training would be responsible for setting up the online course and would use voice-recognition technology to ensure the right person is taking it.

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StateImpact Oklahoma
1:20 pm
Tue March 3, 2015

State Geological Survey Stayed Silent After Linking Oklahoma Quakes to Oil Industry

Austin Holland with the Oklahoma Geological Survey briefs Corporation Commissioners on new earthquake research.
Joe Wertz StateImpact Oklahoma

Despite long-held suspicions that the state’s earthquake surge was linked to oil and gas activity, the Oklahoma Geological Survey stayed silent amid pressure from oil company executives, EnergyWire reports.

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Capital Punishment
12:11 pm
Tue March 3, 2015

House Passes Bill Authorizing Nitrogen Gas Executions

State Rep. Mike Christian (R-OKC)
Credit okhouse.gov

Oklahoma would become the first state to allow the execution of inmates using nitrogen gas under a bill that overwhelmingly passed the House of Representatives.

The House voted 85-10 on Tuesday for the bill by Oklahoma City Republican Rep. Mike Christian, who described the method as humane, painless and easy to administer. There was no debate against the bill, which now heads to the Senate.

Christian says the nitrogen would be administered to the inmate either by a "tent or some kind of secure mask."

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The Two-Way
12:06 pm
Tue March 3, 2015

In Speech To Congress, Netanyahu Blasts 'A Very Bad Deal' With Iran

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks before a joint meeting of Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington on Tuesday. He called the deal the U.S. and its allies are negotiating with Iran "very bad."
Susan Walsh AP

Originally published on Tue March 3, 2015 1:28 pm

Updated at 2:09 p.m. ET

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said a deal the U.S. and its allies are pursuing with Iran over its nuclear program is "very bad" because, according to him, it doesn't take away the Islamic republic's ability to ultimately obtain nuclear weapons.

"This is a bad deal — a very bad deal," Netanyahu told a joint meeting of Congress today. "We're better off without it."

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Weather and Climate
8:53 am
Tue March 3, 2015

Oklahoma Prepares For One More Winter Storm Before A Sunny, Warmer Weekend

Norman Forecast Office National Weather Service

Updated 11:19 a.m.

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U.S.
2:41 am
Tue March 3, 2015

States Face Correctional Officer Shortage Amid A Cultural Stigma

Corrections officer Sgt. Charles Galaviz secures an inmate for transfer with handcuffs and shackles Jan. 24 at the Lexington Assessment and Reception Center, in Lexington, Okla. Overtime is mandatory for correctional officers in the state's prisons, which have a manpower shortage of about 33 percent and the highest inmate homicide rate in the country.
Sue Ogrocki AP

Originally published on Tue March 3, 2015 1:40 pm

More than 1.3 million people are incarcerated in state prisons in this country, and keeping those prisons running requires tens of thousands of corrections officers. But right now, some states are facing major staffing shortages.

Much of this shortfall is because of the strong economy, but recruiters also are struggling with the job's cultural stigma.

Cadets at Wyoming's Department of Corrections Training Academy are practicing how they'll handcuff prisoners. In a few weeks this scenario will be very real, but right now everyone is pretty relaxed.

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Oklahoma News
5:59 pm
Mon March 2, 2015

House Passes Bill Reducing Wind Industry Tax Subsidies

A wind farm in Ellis County in western Oklahoma.
Credit Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

A bill that would reduce the amount of tax subsidies paid to wind producers in Oklahoma has been unanimously approved by the House of Representatives.

The House voted 89-0 on Monday for the bill by Bartlesville Republican Rep. Earl Sears. It now heads to the full Senate for consideration.

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Politics and Government
5:12 pm
Mon March 2, 2015

Senate Committee Approves Bill Giving Governor New Appointment Powers

State Sen. Nathan Dahm (R-Broken Arrow)
Credit oksenate.gov

Oklahoma's governor would have broad new powers to appoint the directors of ten different state entities under a bill narrowly passed by a Senate committee.

The Senate General Government Committee voted 5-4 on Monday for the bill by Broken Arrow Republican Sen. Nathan Dahm, despite concerns it gives the governor too much power. Dahm says he expects the bill to be rewritten.

The bill calls for the heads of ten different state agencies and boards to be fired effective Jan. 1 and allows the governor to name their replacement.

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Law
5:02 pm
Mon March 2, 2015

Supreme Court Seems Divided Over Independent Redistricting Commissions

Arizona commission attorney Mary O'Grady (left) and Stephen Miller, a city council member, point to a possible redistricted map in 2011.
Ross D. Franklin AP

Originally published on Tue March 3, 2015 11:49 am

The U.S. Supreme Court seemed closely divided Monday as it heard arguments testing how far states may go to prevent political parties from drawing congressional district lines to maximize partisan advantage.

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Oklahoma News
4:42 pm
Mon March 2, 2015

Ardmore Company Awarded $9.5 Million Contract For Weigh Station

Credit Mitch Groff / Flickr Creative Commons

An Ardmore company has been awarded a $9.5 million contract to build a new weigh and inspection station on Interstate 35 just north of the Texas border.

The Oklahoma Transportation Commission voted Monday to award the contract to Overland Corporation of Ardmore. Construction on the new station 12 miles north of the Oklahoma-Texas border is expected to begin the spring and take a little more than a year to complete.

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