Oklahoma Watch
7:13 am
Sat January 31, 2015

Lawmakers Face Budget Warnings For Opening Day Of Legislative Session

Oklahoma State Capitol
Credit KellyK / Flickr Creative Commons

Oklahoma lawmakers return to the state Capitol Monday, facing a $300 million budget hole, calls for prison reform and a renewed push to reduce the number of tax incentives offered by the state.

The session will open at noon, when both Houses of the Legislature meet jointly to hear Republican Gov. Mary Fallin’s state of the state address. Under the Oklahoma Constitution, lawmakers will have 90 days to complete their work.

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StateImpact Oklahoma
6:55 am
Sat January 31, 2015

State Seismologist To WaPo: Oil Industry Has Tried To Influence Earthquake Research

Oklahoma Geological Survey seismologist Austin Holland.
Credit Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

Washington Post reporter Lori Montgomery traveled central Oklahoma and filed a story about Oklahoma’s earthquake swarm, an examination that included interviews from concerned residents, politicians and Sandra Ladra, who was injured in the 5.7-magnitude November 2011 earthquake and 

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Politics and Government
6:34 am
Sat January 31, 2015

Bill Would Change Requirements For Officers To Transport Those Needing Mental Health Evaluations

Oklahoma City Police Car
Credit Paul L. McCord Jr. / Flickr Creative Commons

A recently proposed bill would allow law enforcement to contract a third party to provide transportation of individuals requiring mental health services.

Current law requires sheriffs and peace officers to transport individuals to and from designated sites or facilities for examination, emergency detention, protective custody and inpatient services.

SB0252, by Sen. Ron Sharp, would be the first step in fixing the inefficient process, said Sharp in a press release.

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6:09 am
Sat January 31, 2015

As Flu Deaths Rise, Oklahoma County Health Officials Offer More Services

Getting a flu shot is easy.
Credit NHSE / Flickr Creative Commons

In light of the heightened flu activity The Oklahoma City-County Health Department says it’s never too late to receive a flu vaccination.  In addition, OCCHD says the best way to protect yourself and others is prevention…hand washing and covering your cough.

The OCCHS is also providing a Blue Cross Blue Shield Caring Van  to all local school districts for scheduled visits, as a way to provide parents information and access, according to Patrick McGough, Divisional Director/Clinical Services.

Flu immunizations are also available at the following OCCHD clinic locations:

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Oklahoma News
4:52 pm
Fri January 30, 2015

Attorney General Pruitt Issues Phone Scam Warning

Oklahoma Attorney General E. Scott Pruitt
Credit Facebook

Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt has issued a scam warning after concerns were raised that someone may be calling residents claiming to be with Pruitt's office.

Complaints involve a caller falsely telling residents that they'll be arrested if money is not wired to the AG's office for various reasons, such as debt.

Pruitt says consumers should try to verify the caller's identity as well as the company represented; not to provide personal or financial information unless the resident has initiated the call to a verified reputable person, business or government agency.

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Business and Economy
3:40 pm
Fri January 30, 2015

Helmerich & Payne To Lay Off 2,000 Employees

Crews at work on a Helmerich & Payne drilling rig in western Oklahoma.
Credit Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

Oil drilling rig maker and operator Helmerich & Payne Inc. has announced plans to lay off 2,000 employees.

The Tulsa World reports that in a conference call with analysts Thursday, CEO John Lindsay said that the layoffs are due to the decrease in crude oil prices which has led to reduced rig use.

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The Two-Way
10:53 am
Fri January 30, 2015

Mitt Romney Won't Run For President In 2016

Mitt Romney, the former Massachusetts governor who has made two previous bids for the presidency, says he will not run in 2016.
Rogelio V. Solis AP

Originally published on Fri January 30, 2015 4:05 pm

Updated at 11:58 a.m.

Former Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney isn't running for president in 2016, he told supporters in a statement.

"After putting considerable thought into making another run for president, I've decided it is best to give other leaders in the Party the opportunity to become our next nominee," he said in the statement and in a conference call with supporters.

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9:16 am
Fri January 30, 2015

New Education Budget Proposal Trims Millions, Hofmeister Joins Standards Panel

Joy Hofmeister speaks during an Oct. 19, 2014 state superintendent debate in Norman.
Credit Kate Carlton Greer / KGOU

The State Board of Education approved a revised fiscal year 2016 budget Thursday that reflects a reduction of nearly $75 million from the previously approved budget under the leadership of former State Superintendent Janet Barresi.

The new proposed budget includes a $5,000 teacher pay raise over a five year period as well as an addition of five instructional days to the school year. The proposal, branded as #OKHigh5, was brought forward by new State Superintendent Joy Hofmeister.

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Politics and Government
8:01 am
Fri January 30, 2015

House Bill Designed To Raise Awareness Of Earthquake Insurance

Credit Great Beyond / Flickr Creative Commons

State Rep. Cory Williams (D-Stillwater) has filed legislation requiring Oklahoma insurers to offer earthquake coverage to their customers.

Under House Bill 1571, carriers would have to notify their residential customers that a typical homeowners policy does not cover loss from earthquakes, and that a separate earthquake policy could provide less protection than a standard homeowners policy.

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Business Intelligence Report
5:15 am
Fri January 30, 2015

Oklahoma City Council Considers Two New TIFs, No Closer To Native Cultural Center Solution

The proposed Core to Shore tax increment financing district boundary.
The Journal Record

This week the Oklahoma City Council voted 8-1 to authorize Mayor Mick Cornett explore the idea of creating two new tax increment financing, or TIF, districts in downtown Oklahoma City.

These subsidies for redevelopment and community improvement projects embody the idea of “public-private partnerships” between cities and businesses.

Oklahoma City Councilman Ed Shadid cast the lone “no” vote.

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