Around the Nation
4:35 pm
Tue December 16, 2014

On Nebraska's Farmland, Keystone XL Pipeline Debate Is Personal

Susan and Bill Dunavan own 80 acres of land in York County.
Melissa Block NPR

Originally published on Wed December 17, 2014 1:46 pm

Drive down gravel Road 22 in Nebraska's York County, past weathered farmhouses and corn cut to stubble in rich, black loam soil, and you'll find a small barn by the side of the road.

Built of native ponderosa pine, the barn is topped with solar panels. A windmill spins furiously out front.

Known as the Energy Barn, it's a symbol of renewable energy, standing smack on the proposed route of the controversial Keystone XL oil pipeline — a project of the energy giant TransCanada.

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Politics and Government
3:58 pm
Tue December 16, 2014

OK Supreme Court Rules Governors Can Use Executive Privilege To Protect Advice

Credit Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

The state's highest court says Oklahoma governors have a privilege to protect confidential advice from top officials while deliberating policy and making executive decisions.

The Oklahoma Supreme Court said in a ruling released Tuesday the governor has a unique executive privilege that can't be encroached by the Legislature.

The decision was handed down Tuesday in a case filed by the American Civil Liberties Union of Oklahoma on behalf of the owners of a satirical website that pokes fun at Gov. Mary Fallin and other public officials.

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The Two-Way
11:13 am
Tue December 16, 2014

Jeb Bush Announces He Will 'Actively Explore' Presidential Run

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush talks to supporters after speaking at the U.S. Cuba Democracy PAC's annual luncheon in Coral Gables, Fla., on Dec. 2.
J Pat Carter AP

Originally published on Tue December 16, 2014 11:06 am

Jeb Bush, the former Republican governor of Florida and the brother and son of two former U.S. presidents, has essentially kicked off the 2016 presidential campaign with a pre-announcement announcement on Facebook.

Saying he had conversations with his family about the future of the country, Bush said he had decided to "actively explore" a presidential run.

He went on:

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Washington
9:03 am
Tue December 16, 2014

Lankford Announces Committee Assignments As He Prepares To Join Senate

OversightAndReform Flickr Creative Commons

On Monday Oklahoma U.S. Sen.-elect James Lankford announced four committees he'll join when he moves across the U.S. Capitol from the House to the Senate next month.

Lankford has been appointed to the Senate Committees on Appropriation, Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, the Select Committee on Intelligence, and the Committee on Indian Affairs.

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Code Switch
7:42 am
Tue December 16, 2014

150 Years Later, A Formal Apology For The Sand Creek Massacre

As part of their annual remembrance, descendants of massacre survivors erected teepees at the historic site over the weekend of Dec. 13. Some were for public visitors, while others were used in closed ceremonies.
Megan Verlee Colorado Public Radio

Originally published on Tue December 16, 2014 9:16 am

A stretch of dry, empty prairie where the Sand Creek Massacre took place in Colorado has hardly changed in a century and a half.

Back in December 1864, America was still months from the end of the Civil War. Gen. William Sherman was making his infamous march across Georgia. And from the Western Frontier, word of the shocking Sand Creek Massacre was starting to trickle out. A regiment of volunteer troops in Colorado had attacked a peaceful camp of Native Americans, slaughtering nearly 200 of them — mostly women and children.

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U.S.
6:08 am
Tue December 16, 2014

President's Task Force To Re-Examine How Police Interact With Public

President Obama announces the creation of a policing task force Dec. 1 as Philadelphia Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey (left) and George Mason University criminology professor Laurie Robinson look on.
Mandel Ngan AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed December 17, 2014 2:09 pm

Earlier this month, after the events in Ferguson, Mo., and Staten Island, N.Y, the White House announced the creation of what it's calling a Task Force on 21st Century Policing.

The group's job is to find ways to strengthen the relationship between police and the public, and to share recommendations with the president by late February.

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9:07 pm
Mon December 15, 2014

Botched Execution Described As 'A Bloody Mess,' Court Filing Shows

Although the prison lacked the right needles and had no backup drugs, the doctor attempted another femoral IV. No one was sure why. Blood backed up into the IV line, and the paramedic told the doctor he’d hit the artery, noting the doctor seemed anxious. “We’ve got blood everywhere,” the paramedic recalled to investigators. The warden described the scene inside the chamber as “a bloody mess.” The paramedic didn’t know whether a stay had been issued at this point.
In a federal court filing Friday, Department of Corrections officials and others recount the political pressure and mishaps leading up to the April 29 botched execution of Clayton Lockett.
Politics and Government
7:29 pm
Mon December 15, 2014

Ethics Commission Delays Action On "Educational" Gifts Reporting Requirements

Commissioner Tom Walker (Democrat, 4th Congressional District) Appointed in September 2011 by the Chief Justice Steven Taylor.
Credit Oklahoma Ethics Commission

The Ethics Commission decided Friday to look at rewording a proposal concerning reporting of scholarships and payments for trips and conferences and to consider the revised language in January.

Commission Thomas Walker led the charge against the proposed Ethics Rules amendment, saying the language presented Friday would open a “Pandora’s box.”

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Weather and Climate
7:10 pm
Mon December 15, 2014

As Beef Industry Deals With Drought, Researchers Eye Less-Thirsty Cattle

Credit SoonerPA / Flickr Creative Commons

The ongoing drought in Oklahoma affects everyone in the country. Well, everyone who likes to eat beef, that is. Beef and veal prices will have risen by about 11.5 percent in 2014, and, as Reuters reports, “will increase significantly again in 2015″ because of drought in the Southern Plains.

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StateImpact Oklahoma
7:04 pm
Mon December 15, 2014

Lawmaker to Propose Legislation Changing Tax Incentives For New Wind Farms

A wind farm in Ellis County in western Oklahoma.
Credit Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

Oklahoma Representative Earl Sears, is planning to file legislation modifying tax credits and incentives used by wind energy developers.

The legislation by Sears, R-Bartlesville, would only affect new wind projects and would target three tax credits used by the wind industry: Zero Emission Energy Generation, the five-year ad valorem exemption for manufacturers and other firms, and investment tax credits,  eCapitol’s Shawn Ashley reports:

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