KGOU
Rep. Steve Russell
Jacob McCleland / KGOU

Rep. Steve Russell To Run For House Oversight Chairman

U.S. Representative Steve Russell has announced he is seeking the chairmanship of the Oversight and Government Reform Committee of the House of Representatives. Representative Jason Chaffetz will vacate the chairmanship when he leaves office at the end of June. The Republican announced on May 18 that he would resign from his position representing the Third District of Utah to spend more time with his family. Chaffetz has been chairman of the committee since January 2015, and has served in the...

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In this Monday, April 17, 2017 file photo, state Rep. Mike Ritze, R-Broken Arrow is pictured on the House floor in Oklahoma City.
Sue Ogracki / AP

 

Lawmakers are nearing the deadline to propose revenue-raising measures to fill Oklahoma’s $878 million budget hole. All budget and appropriations bills must be introduced before May 19.

Volunteers start on a new home at 7308 Park Meadow in Oklahoma City’s Legacy Estates addition as part of Central Oklahoma Habitat for Humanity’s annual Women Build.
Central Oklahoma Habitat for Humanity

Update May 5, 2017 at 1:44 p.m.

On Friday, the Senate Joint Committee on Appropriations and Budget passed an amended version of the bill, now called HB 2403. It now excludes charitable giving from the $17,000 cap on itemized tax deductions. 

Jacob McCleland / KGOU

 

Ukraine has been in conflict since 2014, when President Viktor Yanukovych fled the country, and Russian troops annexed the Crimea region. Fighting has been off-and-on ever since, with Russian-armed separatists in the eastern Ukraine region of Donbass fighting against pro-government forces. The Council on Foreign Relations estimates over 9,600 people have been killed in the violence, and 1.1 million Ukrainians have become migrants or refugees.

A long line of cattle are herded into a semi-trailer at Oklahoma National Stockyards in Oklahoma City.
Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

A former accountant and compliance officer for the Oklahoma Beef Council faces federal bank fraud and false tax return charges after an probe into suspected embezzlement of more than $2.6 million.

Pete Brown of Kingfisher oil company Brown & Borelli and former Tulsa mayor Dewey Bartlett of Keener Oil and Gas speak out against legislation to expand horizontal drilling at a Oklahoma Energy Producers Alliance media event.
Joe Wertz / State Impact Oklahoma

Oklahoma oil executives have argued for years over a new law that would let companies drill and frack longer horizontal wells in new areas.

Right now, companies with leases in non-shale rock formations can’t drill horizontal wells more than a mile long. This one-mile limit is frustrating many of the most active drillers in Oklahoma, who say companies, shareholders, mineral owners and the state’s tax coffers are missing out on millions in new development from booming oil fields. The potential is a promising political incentive, given the state’s nearly $900 million budget hole.

Michael Cross / KOSU

Criminal justice reform supporters rallied at the Capitol on Wednesday in a final push for bills to reduce prison populations.

The group Oklahomans for Criminal Justice Reform says about ten bills from the Governor's Justice Reform Initiative are still alive in conference committee and could pass before the end of session on May 26th.

Former House Speaker Kris Steele says fixing the broken justice system is absolutely a budget issue.

Oklahoma State Highway 9
Logan Layden / StateImpact Oklahoma

Driving on poorly maintained roads is costing Oklahoma drivers $5 billion dollars each year, according to a report released Wednesday.

U.S. Rep. Tom Cole, R-Okla., attends an organizational meeting of the House Rules Committee, January 7, 2015.
J. Scott Applewhite / AP

An Oklahoma congressman says he agrees with President Donald Trump’s decision to fire FBI Director James Comey.

Republican Rep. Tom Cole criticized Comey for his handling last summer of the investigation into Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s emails.

Oklahoma is suffering through severe cuts to public services. But the city of Tulsa is making do. The Economist reports that increased donations from philanthropists, as well as a sales tax increase with revenues dedicated to police, museums and public transportation have kept Tulsa running while a budget crisis ravages the rest of the state.

Sherry Laskey stands near land she bought in a north Tulsa neighborhood. Laskey is hoping to turn the empty lot into a profitable community garden that provides healthy food for the area.
Logan Layden / StateImpact Oklahoma

Low-income areas of rural Oklahoma are blotched with food deserts, where fresh, healthy food options are scarce. It’s a problem in cities, too, but entrepreneurs, educators and legislators say newly signed legislation could help fill grocery gaps with community gardens.

School just let out at Walt Whitman Elementary in north Tulsa and a group of third and fifth graders is eager to brag about the garden they helped plant on a hillside behind the school.

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