Politics and Government
1:02 pm
Wed January 28, 2015

Gov. Fallin Says State Budget Should Be Legislature's Top Priority

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

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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The Two-Way
12:32 pm
Wed January 28, 2015

Judge Throws Out Friendship 9's Civil Rights-Era Conviction

Five members of the Friendship Nine (from left), Willie Thomas Massey, Willie McCleod, James Wells, Clarence Graham and David Williamson Jr., sit at the counter at the Five & Dine restaurant in Rock Hill, S.C., on Dec. 17. A judge in South Carolina has thrown out the convictions of the nine black men who integrated a whites-only lunch counter in 1961.
Jason Miczek Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Wed January 28, 2015 1:39 pm

Updated at 2:28 p.m. ET

A judge in South Carolina has thrown out the convictions of the Friendship Nine, nine black men who integrated a whites-only lunch counter in 1961, at the peak of the civil rights movement.

"We cannot rewrite history, but we can right history," Judge John C. Hayes III said before signing the order that vacated their trespassing convictions. (Hayes is the nephew of the judge who handed down the original sentence.) The prosecutor apologized to the eight surviving members of the Friendship Nine who were in the courtroom.

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World Views
10:25 am
Wed January 28, 2015

From Florence Nightingale To Rosie The Riveter: Women’s Roles In 20th Century Conflict

Two nurses tend to wounded inside an ambulance-train ward, France, during World War I. Ambulance trains were used in the main to transport large groups of soldiers to the French coast so that they could return to England for treatment.
David McLellan National Library of Scotland

The demands of two world wars and changing gender roles opened the way for women to gain more rights as citizens in the United States and Britain.

Before the 20th century, women in the United States and Britain couldn’t vote in national elections and generally weren’t seen as key players in war efforts. With the professionalization of military nursing during the Crimean War, women’s participation in war efforts grew and paved the way for women’s heavy involvement between 1914 and 1918.

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The Two-Way
8:43 am
Wed January 28, 2015

As Nor'Easter Lifts, Life Slowly Gets Back To Normal In Hard-Hit Areas

Students play football at the Quad, on the campus of Harvard University on Tuesday in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
Maddie Meyer Getty Images

Originally published on Wed January 28, 2015 6:11 am

A day after a monstrous winter storm spun its way across the Northeast, life is slowly getting back to normal.

Some residents of Massachusetts are digging out of almost 3 feet of snow. The AP reports that a travel ban has been lifted and Boston's highways are filling up with traffic.

Still, the AP adds:

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Shots - Health News
5:52 am
Wed January 28, 2015

VA Steps Up Programs As More Veterans Enter Hospice Care

A hospital bed is draped with a flag after a veteran died in the hospice ward at St. Albans VA in Queens, N.Y.
Quil Lawrence NPR

Originally published on Wed January 28, 2015 10:25 am

Ask Americans if someone in their family served in the military, and the answer is probably no. After all, fewer than 1 percent of Americans serve these days.

But ask if one of their grandfathers served, and you'll likely get a different answer. Between World War II and the wars in Korea and Vietnam, millions of men were drafted into service — and both men and women volunteered.

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Politics and Government
7:17 pm
Tue January 27, 2015

Public Safety Agencies Make Pitch For FY16 Funding

Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics
Credit Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics

The Council on Law Enforcement Education and Training said Tuesday during a Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Public Safety and Judiciary that its training track is in desperate need for repair.

CLEET requested $3,809,401 in appropriations for FY2016. In FY2015 they were given $3,554,474.

Director Steven Emmons said their 1.8 mile training track is plagued by deep, hazardous ditches that have formed along the side of the road as a result of soil erosion that is a problem for the area they are located.

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Politics and Government
7:07 pm
Tue January 27, 2015

Agencies Discuss Budgets With Senate General Government, Transportation Subcommittee

State Auditor Gary Jones, who testified to the FY16 budget needs.
Credit State Auditor's Office

A series of state agencies met Tuesday with the Senate Appropriation Subcommittee on General Government and Transportation seeking increases or decreases in their budgets, maintaining their facilities to hiring on additional staff.

The Military Department requested an increase from the $11,868,249 it received in fiscal year 2015 to $15,753,000. The department primarily focused their budget priorities for the new year on maintaining its armories across the state, increasing the facilities’ maintenance budget, and increasing the energy budget.

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Politics and Government
6:52 pm
Tue January 27, 2015

Department Of Corrections Asks For 18% Increase For Staff And Salaries

Oklahoma Department of Corrections badge.
Credit Oklahoma Department of Corrections

The Department of Corrections defended its fiscal year 2016 appropriation requests Tuesday during a Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Public Safety and the Judiciary budget hearing.

The department is requesting appropriations that would be nearly 18 percent more than what they were given for the current fiscal year.

Director of Communications Terri Watkins said the agency wants to eventually get back to levels of funding it saw six or seven years ago.

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Politics and Government
6:43 pm
Tue January 27, 2015

Budget Requests Continue To Increase In Health, Human Services Subcommittee Hearings

The Oklahoma School for the Deaf in Sulphur, Oklahoma, one of the agencies requesting a budget increase for FY16 by the Oklahoma Department of Rehabilitation Services.
Credit The Oklahoma School for the Deaf

The trend in requesting budget increases continued into the second day of budget hearings presented to the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Health and Human Services.

All four agencies presenting Tuesday requested significant increases to their fiscal year 2016 budgets.

The Oklahoma State University Medical Authority requested a $4.9 million increase, $4 million of which would be a one-time appropriation to replenish funds for the Rural Residency Expansion Act.

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Oklahoma News
4:51 pm
Tue January 27, 2015

Gay Rights Group Say Many Bills Are Anti-Gay

The Freedom Oklahoma press conference on January 26, 2015.
Credit Freedom Oklahoma / Facebook

Gay rights supporters say Oklahoma is at the forefront of a wave of anti-gay legislation that is unfairly discriminatory and they plan to launch a campaign in the state to oppose more than a dozen bills introduced for the session that begins next week.

Some measures would give broad authority to businesses and corporations to discriminate against gay people. Others would ensure court clerks would not have to issue marriage licenses to gay couples.

Another would allow for so-called conversion therapy to help gay children end "unwanted sexual attraction."

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