29 States Already Have Similar Requirements
5:01 pm
Wed February 19, 2014

Back Seat Riders Better Buckle Up Too

Credit goodgerster / Flickr.com

An Oklahoma House committee has approved legislation that would require passengers in the back seat of vehicles to wear seat belts.

The House Public Safety Committee voted 7-5 for the measure Wednesday and sent it to the full House for a vote.

The bill would expand existing requirements that the operators of vehicles and their front seat passengers be restrained by seat belts to include all passengers, including those in the back seat.

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StateImpact Oklahoma
2:32 pm
Wed February 19, 2014

Why An Oil Boom Is Sometimes Bad For Business

Credit Sarah Nichols / Flickr Creative Commons

The shale gas drilling boom has been a blessing to energy states like Oklahoma, which has low unemployment and an economy that, thanks in part to oil and gas production, was insulated from the worst effects of the Great Recession.

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Native American
1:51 pm
Wed February 19, 2014

Senate Committee Advances Plan To Fund Unfinished Oklahoma Museum

Credit American Indian Cultural Center and Museum

A plan to tap $40 million from the state's Unclaimed Property Fund to fund the completion of a Native American museum in Oklahoma City has cleared a Senate panel.

The Senate Appropriations Committee voted 21-3 Wednesday morning for the bill to finish the American Indian Cultural Center and Museum along the banks of the Oklahoma River.

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Affordable Care Act
1:12 pm
Wed February 19, 2014

Pruitt Asks Judge To Strike Health Care Law Rule

Credit Oklahoma Attorney General E. Scott Pruitt / Facebook

Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt has asked a federal judge to strike down a regulation that is part of the federal health care overhaul law.

Pruitt made the request in a motion he filed late Tuesday in a lawsuit he filed in U.S. District Court in Muskogee that challenges implementation of the Affordable Care Act.

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State Employee Pay
12:28 pm
Wed February 19, 2014

Oklahoma Senate Panel Approves Trooper Pay Hike

Oklahoma Highway Patrol cadets lining up during academy training.
Credit Oklahoma Highway Patrol

Oklahoma Highway Patrol troopers would get a pay increase under a bill that has unanimously cleared a Senate committee.

The Senate Appropriations Committee voted 22-0 on Wednesday for the bill by Edmond Republican state Sen. Clark Jolley.

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World Views
11:22 am
Wed February 19, 2014

Night Alight: Ramifications Of Using Artificial Illumination

The brightest areas of Earth are the most urbanized, but not necessarily the most populated (compare Western Europe with China and India). The United States Interstate Highway System appears as a lattice connecting the brighter dots of city centers.
Craig Mayhew and Robert Simmon NASA GSFC

Listen to Suzette Grillot's conversation with author Paul Bogard.

Growing up in northern Minnesota, Paul Bogard grew to love the darkness as he watched the Milky Way at night. Moved by these early experiences and motivated to understand the consequences of artificial light pollution, Bogard explores the human, environmental, and economic consequences of artificially lighting the night sky in his book The End of Night: Searching for Darkness in an Age of Artificial Light.

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Transportation
9:47 am
Wed February 19, 2014

Lexington-Purcell Bridge Opening Faces Delay

Gov. Mary Fallin tours the closed James C. Nance Bridge over the Canadian River Feb. 7.
Credit Governor Mary Fallin / Facebook

The Oklahoma Department of Transportation says additional potential cracks have been found in the bridge connecting Lexington to Purcell, which could delay the planned reopening of the bridge.

Head engineer Casey Shell told residents of the two towns Tuesday that the James C. Nance bridge over the Canadian River may not open within 45 days as originally planned. The bridge was shut down Jan. 31 after cracks were discovered in structural beams of the bridge.

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State Capitol
9:32 am
Wed February 19, 2014

Open Meeting Act Violations Could Gain Legal Teeth

Credit zrim / Flickr.com

A bill making its way through the state Senate could make violations of the Oklahoma Open Meeting Act more expensive for government entities.

Sen. David Holt (R-Oklahoma City) is the sponsor of Senate Bill 1497. It would allow those suing local governments over violations of the open meeting law to collect attorney fees. The new law would also allow the collection of those fees from the plaintiff if the suit is frivolous.

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The Two-Way
6:05 am
Wed February 19, 2014

Negotiations In Ukraine Under Close Scrutiny After Bloodshed

Riot police officers stand in Kiev's Independence Square on Wednesday as smoke rises from protesters' burning barricades.
Alexey Furman EPA/Landov

Originally published on Wed February 19, 2014 10:13 pm

  • On 'Morning Edition': David Stern of the BBC speaks from Kiev
This post was updated at 10:15 p.m. ET

The U.S. and the European Union are closely watching Ukraine amid news that the government was starting negotiations with opposition leaders to end the violence, which has left more than two dozen people dead since Tuesday.

A statement on the Ukrainian presidential website said:

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The Edge
7:59 pm
Tue February 18, 2014

Does The U.S. Lead The Winter Olympics — Or Does Germany?

As of late Tuesday, with the final stretch of the Sochi Winter Games ahead, Germany had collected more gold medals than any other nation. Here, German gold medalists Severin Freund, Andreas Wellinger, Andreas Wank and Marinus Kraus celebrate their win in Team Ski Jumping.
Paul Gilham Getty Images

Originally published on Wed February 19, 2014 8:03 am

The countries that send large contingents to the Olympics love to watch the "medal count" tally. But as of late Tuesday at the Sochi Winter Games, the countries with the most medals didn't have the most gold medals. That's why by some counts, Germany and Norway were leading the way, while the Netherlands, U.S. and Russia all trailed.

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