StateImpact Oklahoma
11:50 am
Thu January 29, 2015

Why Oklahoma Ranchers Are Getting More Federal Drought Aid Than Any Other State

AgriLife Today Flickr

Since the current drought in western Oklahoma began, ranchers have collected more than $800 million in federal drought relief payments that aid livestock producers. That’s more than any other state, including California and Texas, which have larger cattle industries, The Oklahoman‘s Silas Allen reports.

Here’s why:

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Energy
9:07 am
Thu January 29, 2015

Oklahoma Moves Up To Fourth Place In U.S. Wind Capacity

A wind farm in Ellis County in western Oklahoma.
Logan Layden StateImpact Oklahoma

The American Wind Energy Association says Oklahoma ranks fourth in the nation for wind capacity.

The Oklahoman reports the state moved up two spots in the rankings after adding 648 megawatts of wind capacity in 2014. Oklahoma now has 3,782 megawatts of wind capacity.

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StateImpact Oklahoma
7:59 am
Thu January 29, 2015

Bills Filed To Stop Local Bans On Oil And Gas Production

Hundreds gathered at a public meeting in Oklahoma City to hear about an oil company's proposal to drill near Lake Hefner.
Credit Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

Several bills filed for the upcoming 2015 legislate session rein in the power cities and counties have to regulate drilling and oil and gas production.

The Oklahoman‘s Paul Monies reports:

At least eight bills have been filed that would stop cities and counties from banning drilling operations, including proposals from top leaders in the House and Senate.

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Economy
7:36 am
Thu January 29, 2015

For Long-Haul Drivers, Cheap Gas Means A Sweeter Commute

Jed Brown drives 100 miles each day to work between Pennsylvania and West Virginia. Cheaper gas is making his commute more manageable, but he doesn't expect the low prices to last.
Uri Berliner NPR

Originally published on Thu January 29, 2015 7:21 am

With wages still stuck for many Americans, the big drop in gasoline prices is the equivalent of an unexpected cash bonus for the nation's drivers.

The average American household is expected to save $750 this year from lower gas prices, according to the Energy Department.

But Thomas Kinnaman, an economist at Bucknell University in Lewisburg, Pa., says it's instructive to look beyond the word "average."

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Politics and Government
8:27 pm
Wed January 28, 2015

Proposed Legislation Would Require Increased Race And Diversity Training For Law Enforcement

Oklahoma Representative George Young, District 99, D-Oklahoma City
Credit Oklahoma House of Representatives

State police officers would go through increased racial sensitivity and diversity training if a bill filed for this session is approved by lawmakers.

HB2047, by Rep. George Young, D-Oklahoma City, would require the Council on Law Enforcement Education and Training to, by Jan. 1, 2016, to include a number of requirements.

The bill requires basic training courses for law enforcement certification to include a minimum of four hours of diversity training and racial sensitivity education.

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Politics and Government
6:59 pm
Wed January 28, 2015

Senator Shortey Files Bill To Allow For-Profit Organizations To Pursue Religious-Based Purposes

Senator Ralph Shortey - District 44, R-Oklahoma City
Credit Oklahoma Senate

A recently proposed bill would allow for-profit companies to pursue religious-based purposes.

Currently, all organizations incorporated for religious purposes must be registered nonprofit organizations.

SB0729, by Sen. Ralph Shortey, would allow any domestic corporations, limited partnership or limited liability company to establish itself as a religious-based entity if certain requirements are the met.

“What it’s doing is extending the same liberties that a nonprofit has and extending it to corporations,” said Shortey, R-Oklahoma City.

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Politics and Government
6:46 pm
Wed January 28, 2015

Democratic Leaders Back Funding For American Indian Cultural Center

The incomplete American Indian Cultural Center & Museum.
Credit American Indian Cultural Center & Museum

Democratic leaders at the Oklahoma Capitol say they support the completion of the American Indian Cultural Center and Museum near downtown Oklahoma City, but have different ideas on how to pay for it.

House Democratic Leader Scott Inman said at a Wednesday forum sponsored by The Associated Press that his 29-member caucus would support a $40 million bond issue to complete the museum.

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Politics and Government
6:32 pm
Wed January 28, 2015

Fallin Says State Budget Should Be Legislature's Priority, Doesn't Comment On Anti-Gay Bills

Gov. Mary Fallin enters the House chamber of the state capitol shortly before delivering her State of the State address February 3, 2014.
Credit Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

Updated at 6:30 p.m.  

Gov. Mary Fallin says the state budget for the fiscal year that begins July 1 should be the Legislature's top priority, and she wants lawmakers to closely examine tax credits and other policies that drain available revenue.

Fallin made the comments Wednesday during a speech to reporters and editors at The Associated Press' annual legislative forum.

Fallin also gave some hints on policies she would endorse for the session that begins on Monday, including a ban on texting while driving in Oklahoma.

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Politics and Government
4:41 pm
Wed January 28, 2015

Rep. Bridenstine Named To House Armed Services Subcommittees

Rep. Jim Bridenstine (R-OK)
Credit americanmajority.org

Republican U.S. Rep. Jim Bridenstine has been named to serve on the House Armed Services Subcommittees on Strategic Forces and Seapower and Projection Forces.

The Oklahoma lawmaker's office in Washington made the announcement on Wednesday.

Strategic Forces oversees the country's nuclear arsenal, missile defense and space programs. Seapower and Projection Forces cover Navy and Marine Corps purchasing and research and development programs. 

The HASC authorizes funding for national security and sets Department of Defense policy. 

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Parallels
3:46 pm
Wed January 28, 2015

Where Is All That Excess Oil Going?

Tankers are berthed beside the Fawley oil refinery on Jan. 7, in Southampton, England. With low oil prices, some traders are buying oil and storing it in tankers, hoping the price will rise soon so they can sell it at a profit.
Matt Cardy Getty Images

Originally published on Wed January 28, 2015 7:57 pm

There's a term traders use when the price of a commodity like oil has fallen because of oversupply but seems guaranteed to rise again.

It's a market that's "in contango," says Brenda Shaffer, an energy specialist at Georgetown University. "It almost sounds like a sort of great oil dance or something."

And Shaffer says that some oil speculators see an oil market that is in contango in a major way.

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