StateImpact Oklahoma
8:17 am
Thu February 6, 2014

Mining Companies Might Find It’s Not Impossible To Raise Taxes In Oklahoma

Piles of crushed limestone along railroad tracks near Mill Creek, Okla.
Credit Logan Layden / StateImpact Oklahoma

Last week, StateImpact reported on what the passage of State Question 640 in 1992 did to tax policy in Oklahoma.

“You need to have a supermajority in the House and the Senate and the governor has to sign it,” Alexander Holmes, a Regent’s Professor of Economics at the University of Oklahoma, said. “I’m still betting that if you reduce the taxes, you can never make them go up again.”

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Rep. Jason Nelson Withdraws
6:18 pm
Wed February 5, 2014

One Republican Down, Two Left In Race For Speaker Of The House

Rep. Jason Nelson
Credit Oklahoma State House of Representatives

A Republican House member from Oklahoma City says he's withdrawing from the race to become the next speaker of the House.

Rep. Jason Nelson said Wednesday he is no longer in the running to replace T.W. Shannon as the next speaker. Shannon resigned from his position on Tuesday to focus his attention on his race for the U.S. Senate.

Nelson's withdrawal leaves Republican Reps. Jeff Hickman of Dacoma and Mike Jackson of Enid in the race for one of the most powerful positions in state government.

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Judge Rejects Probation Request
4:59 pm
Wed February 5, 2014

Police Captain Sentenced To Four Years In Prison

Credit Del City Police Department

A former Oklahoma police captain convicted of manslaughter in the shooting death of a teenager has been sentenced to four years in prison.

District Judge Donald Deason sentenced former Del City Police Capt. Randy Trent Harrison on Wednesday. Jurors had recommended the four-year sentence and Deason rejected a defense request for probation.

An Oklahoma County jury convicted Harrison for the March 14, 2012, shooting death of Dane Scott Jr. Scott was shot in the back following a high-speed chase that began when Harrison tried to pull over Scott's car.

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StateImpact Oklahoma
3:57 pm
Wed February 5, 2014

How Oklahoma’s Grassland Will Help U.S. Farmers And Foresters React To Climate Change

In an experimental pasture at the Grazinglands Research Laboratory near El Reno, Okla., ecologist Brian Northup collects samples to describe availability and quality of forage.
Credit Stephen Ausmus / U.S. Department of Agriculture

The federal government will use a grassland laboratory near El Reno to research the regional effects of climate change for U.S. farmers, ranchers and foresters, the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced Wednesday.

The Grazinglands Research Laboratory was picked to be one of the country’s seven “climate hubs,” where federal and state agencies, university scientists and other researchers will generate data to help landowners “adapt and adjust their resource management,” federal officials said in a statement.

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Here & Now
2:32 pm
Wed February 5, 2014

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack Explains New ‘Climate Hubs’

Credit The Italian Voice / Flickr Creative Commons

The Obama administration is proposing today to create seven regional “climate hubs” with the goal of helping farmers and rural communities combat the most serious effects of climate change: drought, floods, pests and fires.

The move is taking place by executive action and will not go to Congress for approval. The hubs will represent a broad swath of the country’s rural regions and will include Iowa, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Colorado, Oklahoma, Oregon and New Mexico.

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Business and Economy
1:28 pm
Wed February 5, 2014

Unemployment Rises In 64 Of 77 Oklahoma Counties

Credit Kate Hiscock / Flickr Creative Commons

The Oklahoma Employment Security Commission reports that the jobless rate rose in 64 of the state's 77 counties from November to December.

The commission said Wednesday that the highest rates are in southeastern Oklahoma where Latimer County has a 9.2 percent jobless figure, McCurtain County an 8.2 percent rate and Hughes County is at 8.1 percent.

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Oklahoma News
12:12 pm
Wed February 5, 2014

ODOT: Fix To Cleveland County Bridge May Take Months

Credit J. Stephen Conn / Flickr Creative Commons

The Oklahoma Department of Transportation says a damaged bridge in Cleveland County will likely remain closed for several months, creating commuting nightmares for residents of Purcell and Lexington.

The James C. Nance bridge over the Canadian River connecting Lexington to Purcell was closed last week after the discovery of several cracks in the truss beams.

Department officials told the Oklahoma Transportation Commission this week that the repairs could take several months.

The closure isn't welcome news to many residents of Purcell and Lexington.

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OneSix8
11:37 am
Wed February 5, 2014

Entertaining The Hours Of Your Week With Free Dental Care And A Gala For Ralph Ellison

Complimentary dental care is provided by Oklahoma Mission of Mercy.
Credit Jaromír Chalabala / Flickr Creative Commons

The Oklahoma Mission of Mercy, aka OkMOM, is in Enid February 7 and 8 at the Chisholm Trail Expo Center to provide Oklahomans complimentary dental care. OkMOM Enid marks the fifth-annual OkMOM event.

“We see a fair number of people down here who have abscessed teeth. All we can do is give them antibiotics,” said Enid Community Clinic Coordinator Janet Cordell according to Mission of Mercy’s website.

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The Two-Way
11:30 am
Wed February 5, 2014

Employers Added 175,000 Jobs Last Month, Survey Signals

The scene last November at a jobs fair in New York City.
Andrew Burton Getty Images

Originally published on Wed February 5, 2014 11:00 am

The first of two reports this week about how many jobs were added to U.S. payrolls in January indicates that growth was slow but solid.

The ADP National Employment Report estimates that there were 175,000 more jobs in the private sector last month than in December.

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Climate Change
8:44 am
Wed February 5, 2014

Oklahoma Gets One Of Seven Regional Climate Change Hubs

The Grazinglands Research Center in El Reno, Okla. is one of seven national climate change hubs.
Credit U.S. Dept. of Agriculture / Agricultural Research Service

Some federal research centers around the country will be focusing on helping farmers and foresters deal with climate change, including one in El Reno, Okla.

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack is to announce Wednesday designation of seven regional climate hubs.

The hubs will be at U.S. Department of Agriculture facilities, such as the U.S. Forest Service Pacific Northwest Research Station in Corvallis., Ore. Others will be in Iowa, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Colorado, Oklahoma, and New Mexico.

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