A man enters the Skirvin Hilton Hotel in downtown Oklahoma City Tuesday.
Brent Fuchs / The Journal Record

Oklahoma City Hotel Tax Revenue Lower Than Expected; Budget Cuts Threaten Rural Firefighting Program

On Tuesday, the City of Oklahoma City announced hotel/motel tax collections fell for the first quarter of Fiscal Year 2017, and were down even below the most conservative estimates. The so-called “tourist tax” was down 5.9 percent compared to FY 16, but 2.7 percent below estimates. The Journal Record’s editor Ted Streuli says the effect was felt city-wide, but the downturn really differs based on geography. “The northeast quadrant of the city - hotels there have the greatest percentage change...
Read More

State Rep. John Bennett, R-Sallisaw, plans to file legislation next year that would prohibit terrorist organizations from operating in Oklahoma, but he didn't offer specifics on what that might look like.

The retired U.S. Marine and former police officer led an interim study Tuesday in the House Judiciary and Civil Procedure Committee to discuss Islam, Shariah Law, the Muslim Brotherhood, and the radicalization process, the study states:

State Rep. Steve Kouplen speaks during an interim legislative study at the Oklahoma state Capitol in Oklahoma City Tuesday.
Brent Fuchs / The Journal Record

A state lawmaker plans to reintroduce legislation that would allow terminally ill patients to receive a lethal dose of medicine.

State Rep. Steve Kouplen, D-Beggs, was partially inspired by 29-year-old Brittany Maynard, who sought help from doctors in Oregon to end her life two years ago.

Kouplen watched that public drama, with a painful memory fresh in his mind, The Journal Record’s Dale Denwalt reports:

Oklahoma County Republican Party Chairman Daren Ward
Kate Carlton Greer / KGOU

The Oklahoma County GOP is calling for Sheriff John Whetsel to suspend himself pending the results of an investigation.


Chairman Daren Ward says an investigative audit released last week shows possible instances of embezzlement, bribery and corruption. He argued the findings further mistrust citizens have in their officials and said, if true, Whetsel should self-suspend immediately.

Graphic showing stress change after the 5.1-magnitude earthquake that struck near Fairview in February 2016.
American Geophysical Union

Wastewater injection into clusters of high-rate disposal wells likely triggered a 5.1-magnitude earthquake that struck western Oklahoma in February 2016, new research suggests.

Attorney Chad Moody specializes in criminal defense cases involving drug charges.
Brent Fuchs / The Journal Record

Even though it'll likely be two years before Oklahoma voters can decide whether or not to legalize medical marijuana, supporters are already thinking about how to win.

Proponents will start trying to raise at least $500,000 after the presidential election. Chip Paul, the Tulsa-based chairman of Oklahomans for Health, said it could take three times that to make sure enough supporters get to the polls in support of the measure.

A combine crew from South Dakota harvests wheat near Altus in southwest Oklahoma.
Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

Support for State Question 777, which would make farming and ranching a constitutional right in Oklahoma, has slipped in recent weeks, according to a SoonerPoll survey commissioned by The Oklahoman.

Ryan LaCroix / Oklahoma Public Media Exchange

Just over a year ago—under the dark of night—a Ten Commandments monument was removed from the state Capitol grounds.

State Rep. Mike Ritze, R-Tulsa, paid for it. Gov. Mary Fallin supported it. But its placement prompted a public debate—and ultimately a lawsuit—that forced its removal.

The Oklahoma Supreme Court ruled it had to come down and based their decision on a section of the Oklahoma Constitution—Article 2, Section 5—that says public money and property may not be used to benefit religion.

Oklahoma Highway Patrol

Authorities across the state are in the middle of a manhunt for a suspect who shot six people, including two Wellston police officers, late Sunday and early Monday. He then fled west along Interstate 40.

Updated 12:36 p.m.


An Oklahoma County judge issued a warrant for Michael Vance’s arrest Monday morning.


classroom floor
Jacob McCleland / KGOU

Oklahoma leads the nation in education cuts based on per pupil spending, and those cuts are nearly double those of the next-closest state.

A report out last week by the Washington, D.C.-based Center on Budget and Policy Priorities shows Oklahoma's per-pupil funding fell by nearly 27 percent between fiscal years 2008 and 2017.

Chesapeake Energy Corp. CEO Aubrey McClendon speaks during the opening of a compressed natural gas filling station in Oklahoma City, Sept. 8, 2009.

Claims against the estate of Chesapeake Energy's founder and former CEO have topped $1 billion.

The creditors who filed claims against Aubrey McClendon’s estate include banks and other lenders. At least two of those claims stem from lawsuits. One of the lawsuits is ongoing, but the other claim involves a purported settlement agreement between McClendon and the company he founded, Chesapeake Energy, The Journal Record’s Dale Denwalt reports: