The Two-Way
12:43 pm
Tue January 27, 2015

Obama Meets New Saudi King, Balancing Human Rights, U.S. Interests

President Obama meets Saudi King Salman bin Abdul Aziz in Riyadh on Tuesday.
Carolyn Kaster AP

Originally published on Tue January 27, 2015 1:39 pm

President Obama arrived in Saudi Arabia today to meet newly crowned King Salman and said in an interview that the U.S. needs to balance its concerns about Saudi human rights with "immediate concerns" such as counterterrorism and regional stability.

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Business and Economy
12:08 pm
Tue January 27, 2015

State Unemployment Rate Falls To 4.4 Percent

Credit Kate Hiscock / Flickr Creative Commons

The Oklahoma Employment Security Commission says the state's unemployment rate declined by two-tenths of a percentage point in December, from 4.4 percent in November to 4.2 percent.

State officials said Tuesday that five of the state's nine seasonally adjusted business sectors added jobs in December. Professional and business services led the way with an over-the-month increase of 2,000 jobs. The construction, educational and health services and government sectors also posted sizeable gains for the month.

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The Two-Way
10:09 am
Tue January 27, 2015

Holocaust Survivors Mark 70th Anniversary Of Auschwitz's Liberation

Holocaust survivors walk outside the gate of the of the Auschwitz Nazi death camp in Oswiecim, Poland, on Tuesday.
Alik Keplicz AP

Originally published on Tue January 27, 2015 12:07 pm

Holocaust survivors gathered along with several world leaders today to mark the 70th anniversary of the liberation by the Soviet Red Army of the Auschwitz-Birkenau camp in Poland where more than 1 million people, mostly Jews, were killed.

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Shots - Health News
8:58 am
Tue January 27, 2015

Child Abuse And Neglect Laws Aren't Being Enforced, Report Finds

Will Crocker Getty Images

Originally published on Tue January 27, 2015 10:27 am

Laws intended to protect children from abuse and neglect are not being properly enforced, and the federal government is to blame. That's according to a study by the Children's Advocacy Institute at the University of San Diego School of Law, which says children are suffering as a result.

The numbers are grim. Almost 680,000 children in the United States were the victims of abuse and neglect in 2013. More than 1,500 of them died.

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Oklahoma News
7:42 am
Tue January 27, 2015

VIDEO: Teen Marks 1-Year Anniversary Of Oklahoma Skydiving Accident

A North Texas teenager says she's thankful for the life she has after surviving a more than 3,000-foot fall last year in an Oklahoma skydiving accident.

Sunday marked the one-year anniversary of 17-year-old Makenzie Wethington's skydiving mishap in which her parachute became tangled and she said she blacked out during the descent.

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Politics and Government
9:04 pm
Mon January 26, 2015

Senate Health, Human Services Subcommittee Hears Agency Budget Requests

Oklahoma State Senator Kimberly David, R-Porter
Credit Oklahoma State Senate

The Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Health and Human Services heard from four agencies during budget hearings Monday, three of which asked for budget increases.

Subcommittee Chair Sen. Kimberly David said the decrease in the state’s budget would impact the appropriated funds to the agencies.

“The ongoing conversation that we’re going to have is the fact that we have a budget deficit this year. I would be surprised if there were any increases and wouldn’t be surprised if there were any decreases,” she said.

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Politics and Government
8:30 pm
Mon January 26, 2015

Legislative Proposal Calls For Review Of Business Tax Breaks

House Speaker Jeff Hickman (R-Fairview) at Gov. Mary Fallin's State of the State address - February 3, 2014.
Joe Wertz StateImpact Oklahoma

Oklahoma House and Senate leaders have introduced legislation that would require thorough reviews every four years of several dozen business incentives that are costing the state as much as $300 million annually.

Companion bills authored by House Speaker Jeff Hickman, R-Fairview, and Senate President Pro Tem Brian Bingman, R-Sapulpa, would create a seven-member Incentive Evaluation Commission to conduct the quadrennial reviews.

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Education
8:00 pm
Mon January 26, 2015

Hofmeister Unveils Five-Year Education Plan

Joy Hofmeister, Oklahoma State Schools Superintendent
Credit Provided

Oklahoma's newly elected Superintendent of Public Instruction is unveiling a new five-year plan to give Oklahoma teachers a $5,000 pay raise over the next five years, along with an additional five days of instruction to the school year, also added over five years.

Republican Joy Hofmeister announced the plan on Monday, saying increased teacher pay is critically important in addressing a significant teacher shortage in Oklahoma. The first year of the proposal would cost the state about $150 million.

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Politics and Government
7:47 pm
Mon January 26, 2015

LGBT Advocacy Groups Merge, Promise To Fight ‘Hate-Filled’ Legislation

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

Two of Oklahoma’s most prominent lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender advocacy groups announced Monday they are merging to form a united voice to fight what they called a number of “hate-filled” measures pre-filed for the 2015 session.

“The LGBT community of Oklahoma is under attack and we’re here to tell you we plan on fighting back, Troy Stevenson, executive director of Freedom Oklahoma, said during a Capitol press conference Monday.

Freedom Oklahoma brings together The Equality Network, a Tulsa-based LGBT political advocacy organization, and the Cimarron Alliance Foundation, the Oklahoma City-based LGBT public education organization.

Stevenson said the group will hold town hall meetings across the state and deploy citizen lobbyists to address issues of concern. “We will be here. We will be present. We will make sure legislators that know: If you’re going to legislative against our rights, you are going to have to do it while you look us in the eye,” Stevenson said.

“A handful of vitriolic Oklahoma legislators, which do not represent the entire Legislature and they do not represent the state of Oklahoma, have put 10 hate-filled bills before this body,” said Stevenson.

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Oklahoma News
5:13 pm
Mon January 26, 2015

OK Democratic Party Executive Director Stepping Down

Credit okdemocrats.org

The executive director of the Oklahoma Democratic Party has stepped down from the post he'd held for more than three years.

Party officials announced Monday that Trav Robertson has taken a "leave of absence to explore another opportunity."

The party's Central Committee voted unanimously to promote David Scott of Ada to the position of interim executive director. Scott has worked for the last few years as the party's director of information technology.

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