Oklahoma News
5:08 pm
Tue March 24, 2015

Six Arrested Following Synthetic Marijuana Busts

Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt
Credit Oklahoma Attorney General E. Scott Pruitt / Facebook

Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt says authorities have dismantled a criminal operation involving three metro stores for allegedly selling and distributing synthetic marijuana, known as K2 or Spice.

Pruitt's office announced the bust-up Tuesday, saying 18 arrest and search warrants had been executed across four Oklahoma counties that netted six arrests.

Authorities say the investigation of the three Mr. Coolz stores followed complaints from citizens about the danger of the narcotics allegedly sold at the stores.

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Science, Technology and Environment
1:25 pm
Tue March 24, 2015

Oklahoma Ranks Second In Protecting Waterways From Harmful Nutrients

Bird Creek In Northeast Oklahoma
Credit Granger Meador / Flickr Creative Commons

The Oklahoma Conservation Commission says the state ranks second in the nation for protecting its waterways from harmful nutrients.

New Environmental Protection Agency data indicates the state ranks second for phosphorous reduction and third for nitrogen reduction to streams. Those nutrients are major contributors to algae blooms in the state's reservoirs that can challenge water treatment plants, kill fish and even pose a risk to human health.

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Capital Punishment
12:23 pm
Tue March 24, 2015

Senate Judiciary Committee Approves Bill Authorizing Nitrogen Gas For Executions

The death chamber at the Oklahoma State Penitentiary in McAlester.
Credit Oklahoma Department of Corrections

Legislation that authorizes the use of nitrogen gas to execute Oklahoma death row inmates has been approved by a state Senate committee.

The Senate Judiciary Committee voted 8-0 Tuesday for the House-passed measure and sent it to the full Senate for a vote.

Under the bill, lethal injection would remain the primary method of execution, but nitrogen gas would be an alternative if lethal injection is declared unconstitutional or if the drugs are unavailable.

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Oklahoma News
8:16 am
Tue March 24, 2015

Veterans Investigator Charged With Impersonation, Perjury, Firearms Possession

Former Oklahoma Department of Veterans Affairs investigator Steven Pancoast
Canadian County Jail

Formal charges were filed Monday against a fired Oklahoma Department of Veterans Affairs investigator accused of impersonating a law officer, perjury and felony possession of a firearm.

41-year-old Steven Pancoast was arrested Saturday, but denied any wrongdoing as early as Wednesday to The Oklahoman.

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Shots - Health News
2:38 am
Tue March 24, 2015

How 2 Children With Leukemia Helped Transform Its Treatment

Both James Eversull (left) and Pat Patchell were treated with experimental chemotherapy and radiation for leukemia as children in the 1960s. Together, they're now some of the country's oldest leukemia survivors..
Courtesy of James Eversull; Courtesy of Pat Patchell

Originally published on Wed March 25, 2015 8:50 am

When children are diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia now, they have more than a 90 percent chance of survival.

But when James Eversull was told he had leukemia in 1964, there wasn't much hope.

He was just 18 months old when his parents discovered what was wrong.

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Politics and Government
7:24 pm
Mon March 23, 2015

Senate Committee Amends And Passes 'Erin's Law' Legislation

The Oklahoma Senate
Credit Becky McCray / Flickr Creative Commons

Legislation that authorizes public schools to implement programs intended to help prevent child sexual abuse has been approved by an Oklahoma Senate committee.

The bill that originated in the House was first amended in ways that raises some concerns by the bill’s original House authors.

The Senate Committee on Education voted 12-1 for the House-passed bill Monday and sent it to the full Senate for a vote.

Republican Sen. A.J. Griffin of Guthrie says her bill is designed to empower children and young adults by giving them the skills to identify dangerous situations and avoid them. But Griffin also noted that the bill approved by the Senate committee “looked nothing like nothing like Erin’s law.”

HB1684, by Rep. Lee Denney, R-Cushing, and Griffin, modifies the requirements for teacher training on child sexual abuse matters. The bill, Griffin explained, does not change the already established requirements but goes into more detailed as to what that training must encompass. The bill clarifies appropriate reporting for child abuse claims because many school districts are not properly reporting claims, Griffin said.

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Politics and Government
6:54 pm
Mon March 23, 2015

'Right To Farm' Overview

State Impact reporter Logan Layden discusses controversial Right-to-Farm legislation. A bill making its way through the legislature calls for a constitutional amendment to prohibit the state from making certain regulations concerning farming and ranching practices. The U.S. Humane Society argues the regulations are needed to protect animals and the environment.

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StateImpact Oklahoma
6:42 pm
Mon March 23, 2015

Now Showing: Oil Downturn’s Effect On Oklahoma Employment Numbers

Credit Richard Masoner / Flickr.com

Oklahoma lost about 500 mining industry jobs between December and January, data from the Oklahoma Employment Securities Commission show.

Almost all in-state “mining” jobs are actually in oil and gas drilling, The Journal Record‘s Sarah Terry-Cobo reports. And while the job losses haven’t yet affected the state’s unemployment rate, currently 3.9 percent, oil sector employment will likely take a big hit in the months to come, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City’s bulletin The Oklahoma Economist.

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Politics and Government
5:38 pm
Mon March 23, 2015

Senate Committee Passes Prescription Drug Monitoring Bill

Credit madpoet_one / Flickr Creative Commons

Prescription drug monitoring legislation that is one of Gov. Mary Fallin's top priorities for the 2015 Legislature has been sent to the Oklahoma Senate.

The Senate Committee on Health and Human Services voted 8-1 for the measure Monday and sent it to the full Senate for a vote. The bill was previously approved by the Oklahoma House.

The measure by Republican Sen. A.J. Griffin of Guthrie requires health care providers to consult a prescription drug repository before prescribing or refilling opiates and a variety of other narcotics.

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It's All Politics
5:35 pm
Mon March 23, 2015

Justices Debate Place Of Offensive Language On License Plates

R. James George Jr., attorney for Sons of Confederate Veterans, meets with reporters outside the Supreme Court Monday.
Molly Riley AP

Originally published on Mon March 23, 2015 5:58 pm

Nazis, jihadis, racial slurs and even "Mighty Fine Burgers" all made cameo appearances at the U.S. Supreme Court Monday as the justices tackled a case of great interest to America's auto-loving public. The question before the court: When, if ever, can the state veto the message on a specialty license plate?

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