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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State Capitol
11:21 am
Tue February 4, 2014

Oklahoma House Speaker Steps Down From Top Post

House Speaker T.W. Shannon (R-Lawton) shakes Gov. Mary Fallin's hand shortly before Monday's State of the State address.
Credit Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

Listen to House Speaker T.W. Shannon's entire announcement on the House floor Tuesday morning.

Oklahoma House Speaker T.W. Shannon is stepping down from one of the most powerful positions in state government as he runs for a U.S. Senate seat.

Shannon announced Tuesday on the House floor that he was stepping down from the speaker's post immediately.

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U.S. Senate
9:02 am
Tue February 4, 2014

Lankford Campaign Cash Exceeds $500,000

U.S. Rep. James Lankford (R-Okla.)
Credit OversightAndReform / Flickr Creative Commons

Republican U.S. Rep. James Lankford reported having more than $514,000 in his congressional campaign account at the end of 2013 before launching his campaign for the U.S. Senate.

End-of-year federal campaign finance reports due at the end of last week show Lankford raised nearly $430,000 in 2013.

After current U.S. Sen. Tom Coburn said last month he would give up the final two years of his term, Lankford said he would run for Coburn's seat. Lankford can use the funds in his House account for a U.S. Senate bid.

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State Capitol
8:27 am
Tue February 4, 2014

Oklahoma House Panel To Consider Fetal Hospice Bill

Credit Ben Ramsey / Flickr Creative Commons

An anti-abortion measure that would require caregivers to notify women that perinatal hospice services are available as an alternative to abortion is scheduled to be heard by members of a legislative panel.

The House Public Health Committee will consider the bill when it meets at the State Capitol Tuesday.

The measure filed by Republican Rep. Randy Grau of Edmond would require caregivers to notify women who are considering an abortion after their fetus has been diagnosed with a condition that is fatal.

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