Health
11:49 am
Sat January 18, 2014

Surgeon General Adds New Risks To Long List Of Smoking's Harms

John Hartigan, proprietor of Vapeology LA, a store selling electronic cigarettes and related items, takes a puff from an electronic cigarette in Los Angeles.
Reed Saxon AP

Originally published on Fri January 17, 2014 12:39 pm

Acting Surgeon General Boris Lushniak is the latest in a long line of surgeons general who have tried to pound the final nails into the coffin of America's smoking habit.

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Could Cut State Revenue By $125 Million
6:19 pm
Fri January 17, 2014

Bills Filed To Lower Personal Income Tax Rate

Credit 201(k) 2013 / Flickr.com

A group of House and Senate Republicans have introduced a plan to deeply slash Oklahoma's top personal income tax rate over the next four years.

Bills filed this week in the House and Senate would slash the rate from 5.25 percent to 4.75 percent in January, with additional cuts of one quarter of 1 percent each year until the rate reaches 4 percent in 2018. Each quarter-percent cut costs the state about $125 million in revenue annually, but supporters say the cuts will ultimately lead to increased revenues.

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Robert Patton Is From Arizona
4:37 pm
Fri January 17, 2014

New Director For Oklahoma's Prison System

Credit geezaweezer / Flickr.com

Oklahoma's Board of Corrections has picked an official from Arizona as the Oklahoma prison system's new director.

The board voted Friday to hire Robert Patton, who runs the operations division in the Arizona prison system. Patton's salary was set at $160,000 annually.

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Elections
3:48 pm
Fri January 17, 2014

Fallin Sets Election To Fill Coburn's Senate Seat

U.S. Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.)
Credit Tom Coburn / Facebook

Gov. Mary Fallin says the special election to fill U.S. Sen. Tom Coburn's seat in the Senate will be held on the same dates as Oklahoma's primary and general elections in 2014.

Fallin said Friday the election dates will include a June 24 primary, a potential runoff election on Aug. 26, and a general election on Nov. 4.

Coburn already had said he wouldn't run after his term expired in 2016, but announced late Thursday that he planned to finish the current year in office and then step down.

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U.S. Senate
2:58 pm
Fri January 17, 2014

Coburn Earns Praise From Obama, Oklahoma Colleagues

U.S. Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) announced his retirement Thursday night after 9 years in the Senate. Coburn was also elected to the U.S. House in 1994.
Credit Medill DC / Flickr Creative Commons

President Obama called U.S. Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) a personal friend who was willing to work in a bipartisan manner to fight wasteful spending and cut down on earmarks.

In a statement released by the White House on Friday, Obama noted that he and Coburn were both elected to the Senate in 2004 and quickly became friends after their wives struck up a conversation. Obama said the people of Oklahoma have been "well-served by this 'country doctor from Muskogee' over the past nine years."

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World Views
1:29 pm
Fri January 17, 2014

SLIDESHOW: On The Road – UAE A Country Of Contradictions

Adding to the skyline of Abu Dhabi.
Suzette Grillot KGOU

World Views host Suzette Grillot and contributor Rebecca Cruise continue producing the program from the road as they travel around the world for their day jobs as the Deans of the University of Oklahoma’s College of International Studies. The two visited the United Arab Emirates this week to meet with higher education officials in Dubai and Abu Dhabi.

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StateImpact Oklahoma
11:05 am
Fri January 17, 2014

20 Oklahoma Counties Designated Natural Disaster Areas Because Of Drought

The latest update of the U.S. Drought Monitor as of Jan. 14, 2014.
Credit Provided / U.S. Drought Monitor

Oklahoma got a reminder this week that — despite a wet year for many parts of the state — drought continues to rage in other areas, mainly the south and southwest.

On Wednesday, the U.S. Department of Agriculture designated counties in 11 states as primary natural disaster areas because of the drought, including 20 counties in Oklahoma.

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The Two-Way
10:17 am
Fri January 17, 2014

Obama Calls For Limits On NSA's Collection Of Phone Data

President Obama speaks about the National Security Agency and intelligence agencies surveillance techniques during a speech Friday at the Department of Justice in Washington, D.C.
Jim Watson AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri January 17, 2014 1:20 pm

  • LISTEN: President Obama's national security address

(This post was most recently updated at 1:30 p.m. ET.)

Saying that "critics are right to point out that without proper safeguards, this type of program could be used to yield more information about our private lives," President Obama said Friday that he wants the National Security Agency to stop holding on to massive amounts of "metadata" about the phone calls and electronic communications of millions of people around the world.

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Gay Marriage
8:45 am
Fri January 17, 2014

Tulsa County Official Challenging Gay Marriage Ruling

A sign supporting gay marriage in California on the first day same-gender couples could legally marry there.
Credit Marc Love / flickr.com Creative Commons

Lawyers for the Tulsa County court clerk are appealing a federal judge's ruling that Oklahoma's ban on gay marriage is unconstitutional.

A notice of appeal for Court Clerk Sally Howe was filed Thursday with the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver. The three-page notice did not raise any arguments.

Howe was named as a defendant in the case after she refused to issue a marriage license to a gay couple.

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U.S. Senate
10:09 pm
Thu January 16, 2014

VIDEO: Coburn To Leave Senate Seat

Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) greeting President Barack Obama.
Credit Tom Coburn / Facebook

U.S. Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) announced Thursday evening he will leave behind his Senate seat at the end of this Congress. That will leave two years remaining in his term.

The end of the current session is January 2015.

An email from Coburn's office said the decision to leave was not because of his health. He is a cancer survivor and was recently diagnosed with cancer again.

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