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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Abortion
8:18 am
Wed February 5, 2014

Oklahoma Anti-Abortion Activists Lobby Lawmakers On Rose Day

Credit LeahLikesLemon / Flickr Creative Commons

Hundreds of anti-abortion activists are expected inOklahoma City for the annual Rose Day at the state Capitol.

The event on Wednesday is sponsored by the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma. Hundreds of activists typically roam the halls, hand out red roses to lawmakers and urge them to support anti-abortion legislation.

This year's featured speaker is Russell Moore, president of the Southern Baptist Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission. He will address the group about 11:45 a.m. in the House chamber.

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The Two-Way
6:41 am
Wed February 5, 2014

CVS To Stop Selling Tobacco Products

Soon to be gone: Marlboro cigarettes on display at a CVS store in Pittsburgh last July.
Gene J. Puskar AP

Originally published on Tue February 11, 2014 10:43 am

Saying it is "the right thing for us to do for our customers and our company to help people on their path to better health," the CEO of CVS Caremark announced Wednesday that the company's 7,600 pharmacies will stop selling cigarettes and tobacco products by Oct. 1.

Larry Merlo also said CVS will try to help those who want to quit smoking with a "robust national smoking cessation program" at its locations.

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Parallels
2:28 am
Wed February 5, 2014

China Ends One Notorious Form Of Detention, But Keeps Others

Falun Gong practitioners watch a video at the Masanjia re-education through labor camp in northeast China's Liaoning province on May 22, 2001.
John Leicester AP

Originally published on Wed February 5, 2014 8:01 pm

After more than a half-century and the imprisonment of millions of people without trial, China officially moved to abolish its re-education through labor camp system at the end of last year.

When the Communist Party makes such sweeping policy statements, it pays to be a little skeptical. Last decade, the government abolished one detention system — and then secretly created another.

So, recently I headed out on a re-education through labor camp road trip to try to find out what the government is doing with its labor camps and what is happening to all those prisoners.

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Acknowledges Uphill Battle Against Fallin
6:23 pm
Tue February 4, 2014

Democrat State Rep. Joe Dorman Declares Candidacy For Governor

Credit bjmccray / Flickr Creative Commons

Democratic state Rep. Joe Dorman has announced his candidacy for Oklahoma governor.

The Rush Springs lawmaker made the declaration Tuesday during stops in OklahomaCity at the Petroleum Club and at the Tulsa Press Club.

Dorman, who described himself as a "pro-life" Oklahoma Democrat in an interview in December, acknowledged he would face an uphill battle against incumbent Republican Gov. Mary Fallin, but said he looked forward to such a challenge.

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Thought It Contained "Blanks"
6:14 pm
Tue February 4, 2014

Defendant Claims They Didn't Know Gun Was Loaded

Credit Gideon Tsang / Flickr.com

One of three boys accused in the fatal shooting of an Australian baseball player last summer says his friends believed the gun used in the crime contained only blanks.

James Francis Edwards Jr. agreed to testify against his co-defendants if prosecutors reduce charges against him. He told an Oklahoma judge Tuesday that 16-year-old Chancey Luna shot and killed Christopher Lane from a car driven by 18-year-old Michael Dewayne Jones.

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Agriculture Policy
3:09 pm
Tue February 4, 2014

Oklahoma Senators Vote Against Sending Five-Year Farm Bill To White House

U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.)
Credit Senator Jim Inhofe / Facebook

With a vote of 68-32, the Senate approved a sweeping farm bill Tuesday that will set rules and practices for American agriculture for five years.

Both of Oklahoma's U.S. Senators voted against the measure.

The bill does away with controversial direct cash payments made to farmers under a subsidy system, replacing it with crop insurance.

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StateImpact Oklahoma
2:25 pm
Tue February 4, 2014

Wind Energy Construction Boom Fueled By Threat Of Expiring Federal Tax Credit

Windmills near Weatherford, Okla.
Credit Wesley Fryer / Flickr Creative Commons

The looming Dec. 31 expiration of the federal production tax credit for renewable energy helped drive a last-minute rush to start construction on wind energy projects around the country and in Oklahoma.

Developers had to start construction by 2013 to qualify, The Oklahoman‘s Paul Monies reports, “but the wind industry fears another bust if the credit isn’t renewed.”

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StateImpact Oklahoma
1:11 pm
Tue February 4, 2014

Propane Crisis Prompts Oklahoma Dems To Ask Fallin For Relief From Rainy Day Fund

Credit zen / Flickr Creative Commons

For the 400,000 or so Oklahomans who rely on propane for home heating and food preparation, it’s been a rough few weeks.

Propane prices are skyrocketing — from a nationwide average of $2.76 in late December to more than $4 as of Friday, January 31.

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State Capitol
12:31 pm
Tue February 4, 2014

Most Oklahoma Agencies To Take 5 Percent Cut To Make Up Budget Shortfall

Gov. Mary Fallin enters the House chamber of the state capitol shortly before delivering her 2014 State of the State address Monday.
Credit Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

Five percent.

That’s how much the governor is asking most entities in state government to cut their budgets. The number should not be much of a surprise. The amount of money available for state lawmakers to spend for the next fiscal year was already down about $171 million over the current year’s figure.

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