Wesley Fryer / Flickr

New Prison Reform Law Creates 'Momentum,' But Limitations Could Lessen Impact

New legislation would give Oklahoma’s judges more discretion in sentencing certain nonviolent offenders. In some cases they will be able to depart from a mandatory minimum sentence. Previously, judges had no say in how long an offender would be behind bars. Prisons across Oklahoma are over capacity and understaffed. That’s one of the reasons former state Representative Kris Steele introduced prison reform legislation back in 2012. Both the state House and Senate passed the measure but it was...
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The U.S. Supreme Court ruled Monday that Abercrombie & Fitch violated the nation's laws against religious discrimination when it refused to hire a Muslim teenager because she wore a headscarf.

Samantha Elauf, 17, applied for a job selling clothes at the Abercrombie Kids store in Tulsa. She long had worn a hijab — a headscarf — for religious reasons, and she wore the black scarf when she was interviewed by the store's assistant manager.

Three controversial provisions of the Patriot Act expired Sunday night, ending — among other things — the government's ability to collect bulk metadata on Americans' phone calls and emails.

The fight pits Sen. Rand Paul and other legislators fighting for greater privacy against fellow Kentucky Sen. Mitch McConnell and others who are in favor of extending the legislation as is. But if the lawmakers are looking to their constituents for direction, they might not get much help.

Gov. Mary Fallin delivers her 2015 State of the State address on Feb. 2, 2015.
Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

Gov. Mary Fallin has signed a $7.1 billion budget bill to fund state government and services in the upcoming year. 

The general appropriations measure that Fallin signed Monday provides funding for state agencies for the fiscal year that begins July 1.

The measure was approved by the House and Senate in the final days of the 2015 Oklahoma Legislature, which adjourned on May 22. Fallin praised lawmakers for closing a $611 million shortfall without cutting funding for public education.

The Supreme Court this morning ruled in favor of a young Muslim woman after Abercrombie & Fitch refused to hire her for wearing a head scarf. The court also threw out the conviction of a Pennsylvania man, Anthony Elonis, who was prosecuted for making threats on Facebook.

Here & Now’s Jeremy Hobson talks with Emily Bazelon, staff writer at New York Times Magazine and Truman Capote Fellow for Creative Writing and Law at Yale Law School, about the impact of these decisions.

Tulsa County Sheriff's reserve deputy Robert Bates enters the Tulsa County Jail Tuesday.
Matt Trotter / KWGS Public Radio Tulsa

The Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation announced Monday morning it's opened an investigation into allegations of misconduct in the Tulsa County Sheriff's Office.

The move comes nearly two months after the shooting of a restrained suspect by a volunteer deputy. Eric Harris died when Robert Bates shot him after reportedly confusing his service revolver with his stun gun.

The memorial to the seven children who died May 20, 2013 at Plaza Towers Elementary School in Moore.
Brian Hardzinski / KGOU

Oklahomans are now finally starting to dry out after May brought as much as two feet of rain to some parts of the state. The tornadoes and flooding that have killed dozens in this state and its southern neighbor last month were a reminder of how cruel May can be when warming temperatures and moist Gulf air collide over the nation's midsection.

Updated at 1:30 p.m. ET

The Supreme Court has ruled 8-1 in favor of a young Muslim woman who was denied a job at Abercrombie & Fitch because she wore a headscarf.

Samantha Elauf had applied for the sales job in Tulsa, Okla., in 2008 and was recommended for hire by an interviewer. But Abercrombie has a "look policy" that bars the wearing of caps by its salespeople.

Wesley Fryer / Flickr

New legislation would give Oklahoma’s judges more discretion in sentencing certain nonviolent offenders. In some cases they will be able to depart from a mandatory minimum sentence. Previously, judges had no say in how long an offender would be behind bars.

Prisons across Oklahoma are over capacity and understaffed. That’s one of the reasons former state Representative Kris Steele introduced prison reform legislation back in 2012. Both the state House and Senate passed the measure but it was never fully funded, so most aspects of the bill went unimplemented.

30-day rainfall totals from Oklahoma Mesonet stations as of May 31, 2015.
Oklahoma Mesonet

No surprise here - May went down as the wettest month in Oklahoma history.

The final statewide average rainfall for May was 14.4 inches. State climatologist Gary McManus said that's nearly 9.6 inches above normal, and obliterated the 74-year-old previous record of 10.75 inches set in October 1941. The Oklahoma Climatological Survey has kept records since the 1890s.

We've come a long way since 1975, when a newspaper in Midland, Texas, featured an advertisement about a personal pocket computer wizard that had the broad mathematical abilities of a slide rule: a Sharp calculator.

But, are we smarter now that technology has put a lot more than a slide rule into our pockets? Or are we so dependent on technology to do things for us that we are losing the ability to make our own magic, mentally, socially and politically?

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