9:16 am
Fri January 30, 2015

New Education Budget Proposal Trims Millions, Hofmeister Joins Standards Panel

Joy Hofmeister speaks during an Oct. 19, 2014 state superintendent debate in Norman.
Credit Kate Carlton Greer / KGOU

The State Board of Education approved a revised fiscal year 2016 budget Thursday that reflects a reduction of nearly $75 million from the previously approved budget under the leadership of former State Superintendent Janet Barresi.

The new proposed budget includes a $5,000 teacher pay raise over a five year period as well as an addition of five instructional days to the school year. The proposal, branded as #OKHigh5, was brought forward by new State Superintendent Joy Hofmeister.

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Politics and Government
8:01 am
Fri January 30, 2015

House Bill Designed To Raise Awareness Of Earthquake Insurance

Credit Great Beyond / Flickr Creative Commons

State Rep. Cory Williams (D-Stillwater) has filed legislation requiring Oklahoma insurers to offer earthquake coverage to their customers.

Under House Bill 1571, carriers would have to notify their residential customers that a typical homeowners policy does not cover loss from earthquakes, and that a separate earthquake policy could provide less protection than a standard homeowners policy.

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Business Intelligence Report
5:15 am
Fri January 30, 2015

Oklahoma City Council Considers Two New TIFs, No Closer To Native Cultural Center Solution

The proposed Core to Shore tax increment financing district boundary.
The Journal Record

This week the Oklahoma City Council voted 8-1 to authorize Mayor Mick Cornett explore the idea of creating two new tax increment financing, or TIF, districts in downtown Oklahoma City.

These subsidies for redevelopment and community improvement projects embody the idea of “public-private partnerships” between cities and businesses.

Oklahoma City Councilman Ed Shadid cast the lone “no” vote.

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Politics and Government
7:22 pm
Thu January 29, 2015

Health, Human Services Subcommittee Hears Agency Needs For Budget Increase

Terry L. Cline, Oklahoma Commissioner of Health

The Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Health and Human Services met Thursday for the last of its initial budget hearings.

All state agencies continue to request increases despite a forecast $300 million reduction in state revenue.

The Oklahoma Commission on Children and Youth requested an additional $75,000 to hire one full-time employee to manage their new foster parent grievance and complaint system as part of the Post-adjudication Review Board.

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Politics and Government
7:10 pm
Thu January 29, 2015

Allowing Guns On College Campuses To Be Considered This Legislative Session

Credit Scott Beale /

Several bills have been filed this legislative session targeting the current firearms ban on the state’s college campuses.

At least four bills have been filed, all by Republican lawmakers, taking different approaches on creating measures that would allow those with open and/or concealed carry permits to walk the grounds of the state’s institutions for higher education while armed.

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Science, Technology and Environment
6:43 pm
Thu January 29, 2015

US Senate Rejects Amendment To Remove Lesser Prairie Chicken From 'Threatened' Status

The Lesser Prairie Chicken
Credit USDAgov / Flickr Creative Commons

The U.S. Senate has rejected an amendment by Sen. Jerry Moran of Kansas that would have removed the lesser prairie chicken from the federal government's threatened species act.

The Kansas City Star reports Moran's amendment to a bill intended to expedite construction of the Keystone XL pipeline fell short of the 60 votes needed to be added to the measure.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service last year designated the lesser prairie chicken as threatened, which is one step below endangered under the Endangered Species Act.

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Oklahoma News
6:34 pm
Thu January 29, 2015

Cheyenne, Arapaho Launching Anti-Methamphetamine Campaign

Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes
Credit Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes

The Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes are launching a new anti-methamphetamine campaign in Oklahoma.

The tribe, along with the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics, Bureau of Indian Affairs, local law enforcement and area leaders, announced the new initiative Thursday at Concho Community Hall.

The public service campaign is called Meth: Not On Our Land.

Information about the campaign and other resources can be found at or 1-800-NEW-START.

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Oklahoma News
6:20 pm
Thu January 29, 2015

US Agriculture Secretary Meets With Choctaw Tribe Leaders

Credit Choctaw Nation website

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack is in Oklahoma to meet with leaders of the Choctaw Nation.

Vilsack plans to tour the Choctaw Nation's Food Distribution Center in Durant on Thursday before speaking about the Agricultural Act of 2014 and Promise Zones Initiative that he says have helped to create economic growth in southern Oklahoma.

Last year, President Barack Obama designated the Choctaw Nation as the first tribal promise zone.

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Oklahoma News
5:16 pm
Thu January 29, 2015

State Rep. Sally Kern Withdraws Anti-Gay Bill

State Rep. Sally Kern (R-OKC)
Credit Oklahoma State Legislature

An Oklahoma legislator who has introduced several anti-gay bills for the upcoming session is withdrawing one measure because she says it didn't accomplish what she intended.

State Rep. Sally Kern said Thursday she has decided to withdraw her bill that would have allowed Oklahoma businesses to refuse service to any lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender person or group. Kern says her intention was to provide immunity from civil liability to business owners who refuse to provide a product or service to a gay person, like a baker who refuses to make a cake for a gay wedding.

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Campaign Finance
4:27 pm
Thu January 29, 2015

Report Shows Some Candidates Donated Big To Their Own Campaigns

Former State Superintendent of Public Instruction Janet Barresi
Credit Oklahoma Department of Education

While national groups like governors' associations were among the top donors for state-level elections across the country in 2014, in Oklahoma it was candidates themselves who spent the most money trying to win elections last year.

A new analysis from the Washington-based Center for Public Integrity shows the top single donor to a state-level election in Oklahoma was former Republican State Superintendent Janet Barresi, who gave $1.3 million to her own unsuccessful re-election campaign.

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