8:17 pm
Wed April 1, 2015

Bill To Prohibit Local Fracking Bans Clears Senate Panel

Joe Wertz StateImpact Oklahoma

A Senate panel has approved a bill that would limit cities and towns from passing local ordinances restricting oil and gas drilling and exploration.

The Senate Energy Committee voted 10-1 on Wednesday to advance the bill by Senate President Pro Tem Brian Bingman. The measure now heads to the full Senate.

Politics and Government
5:37 pm
Wed April 1, 2015

Head of Oklahoma Workers' Compensation Commission Retires

Chairman Troy Wilson Sr. of the Oklahoma Workers' Compensation Commission

The first-ever chairman of the Oklahoma Workers' Compensation Commission is resigning from his post and telling the governor he plans to return to retirement.

Gov. Mary Fallin announced Wednesday that she is accepting the resignation of Troy Wilson Sr., effective May 31.

Wilson was the first chairman of the three-member commission, an administrative panel that is replacing a previous court-based system.

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Weather and Climate
3:41 pm
Wed April 1, 2015

Fallin Seeks Federal Declaration For Cleveland, Tulsa Counties After Last Week's Storms

Gov. Mary Fallin speaks to members of the media March 26 morning after touring the damage at Southgate-Rippetoe Elementary School in Moore.
Credit Kate Carlton Greer / KGOU

Gov. Mary Fallin formally requested a federal disaster declaration Wednesday for two Oklahoma counties affected by last week’s tornadoes that damaged thousands of homes and businesses and claimed four lives.

The request for the designation for Cleveland and Tulsa counties is a step toward eligibility for repairs or temporary housing, low-interest loans from the U.S. Small Business Administration, as well as other grants and disaster unemployment assistance.

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The Two-Way
3:38 pm
Wed April 1, 2015

California Governor Issues 1st-Ever Statewide Mandatory Water Restrictions

Morning traffic makes its way toward downtown Los Angeles along the Hollywood Freeway, past an electronic sign warning of severe drought. California Gov. Jerry Brown introduced the state's first mandatory water reduction measure this week.
Richard Vogel AP

Originally published on Wed April 1, 2015 7:03 pm

Gov. Jerry Brown instituted California's first-ever statewide mandatory water reductions on Wednesday, as the state endures its fourth year of drought.

"This historic drought demands unprecedented action," Brown said, mandating several new conservation measures:

  • A reduction in water use by 25 percent for California cities and towns.
  • New pricing structures by local water agencies to encourage conservation.
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Business and Economy
12:57 pm
Wed April 1, 2015

Report Says Weak Growth Ahead For Oklahoma And Region

Credit Simon Cunningham / Flickr Creative Commons

A new report suggests slow economic growth is ahead for nine Midwestern and Plains states.

The survey report issued Wednesday says the overall Mid-America Business Conditions Index dropped to 51.4 in March from 57 in February. The January figure was 54.8.

Creighton University economist Ernie Goss oversees the survey, and he says manufacturers of nondurable goods reported that sales, production and employment have weakened over the past several months.

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World Views
12:03 pm
Wed April 1, 2015

Former Cold War Intel Officer Explains How To Deal With Russia In A Post-Soviet World

Michael Sulick, an American intelligence officer who served as Director of the U.S. National Clandestine Service from 2007-2010.
Sofarsogood2012 Wikimedia Commons

Ukrainian Prime Misnister Arsenily Yatsenyuk said Friday that he thinks Russia might carry out a new offensive in the east of Ukraine, in spite of the ceasefire agreement reached in February.

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Oklahoma News
6:47 am
Wed April 1, 2015

New University Of Oklahoma Diversity Chief Faces A Campus With Few Black Professors

Former state lawmaker Jabar Shumate speaks as the new Vice President for the University Community during a press conference March 31
Kate Carlton Greer KGOU

The University of Oklahoma announced it’s new vice president for diversity Tuesday. Former state lawmaker Jabar Shumate will be in charge of boosting OU’s low multicultural numbers at both the faculty and student level. OU is the last Big 12 school to add a high-level diversity position.

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Politics and Government
4:30 pm
Tue March 31, 2015

Gov. Fallin Signs Prescription Drug Database Bill

Gov. Fallin Signs HB 1948

Doctors in Oklahoma would be required to check a new prescription drug database before prescribing certain addictive drugs under a bill signed into law by Gov. Mary Fallin.

After the Senate voted 35-10 on Tuesday for the bill, Fallin held an impromptu signing ceremony for the measure that has been a priority of hers for several years. It the first bill she has signed this legislative session, and it will take effect Nov. 1.

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Higher Education
12:30 pm
Tue March 31, 2015

Former State Lawmaker Jabar Shumate Named University Of Oklahoma VP For Diversity

University of Oklahoma President David Boren announces the appointment of Jabar Shumate as OU's new Vice President for the University Community during a Tuesday press conference.
Kate Carlton Greer KGOU

University of Oklahoma President David Boren has named former state Senator and Representative Jabar Shumate as OU's Vice President for the University, a newly created role that will focus on diversity and outreach.

"I knew that this person had to be someone in whom I had complete trust. Complete trust in their actions, complete trust in their motives, complete trust in their good judgment," Boren said during a Tuesday press conference. 

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7:55 am
Tue March 31, 2015

Smaller-Than-Expected Crowd Gathers At State Capitol For Oklahoma Education Rally

Teachers and education supporters rally at the state Capitol in Oklahoma City Monday.
Emily Wendler Oklahoma Public Media Exchange

Nowhere near the 50,000 anticipated education supporters turned out Monday for a rally at the state Capitol - estimates indicate the crowd was closer to 5,000 - but the teachers that were there made their presence known.

Wearing T-shirts from their hometown schools, attendees wandered the halls of the Capitol and congregated outside legislators' offices to tell lawmakers that their shrinking budgets are making it difficult to give kids a quality education - and they need more funding.

A similar rally held last year drew an estimated 25,000 people.

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