Gov. Mary Fallin enters the House chamber to deliver her "State of the State" address on Feb. 1. Political observers say she will need to work intensely behind the scenes to succeed in pushing through the revenue-raising measures she proposed.
Michael Willmus / Oklahoma Watch

One By One, A Closer Look At Fallin’s Proposals To Fix Oklahoma's Budget Hole

Gov. Mary Fallin to Oklahoma lawmakers: We need hundreds of millions of dollars, fast. Here are my ideas. What have you got? That’s not exactly how Fallin put it in her State of the State address to the Legislature on Feb. 1. But it’s the essence of what she said, according to several officials and analysts asked to assess the governor’s response to Oklahoma’s fiscal crisis. “Mary Fallin is doing precisely what good governors have to do in circumstances like this,” said former Gov. Frank...
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Chai at Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle.
Ryan Hawk/Woodland Park Zoo. / Creative Commons/Google Images

Following the death of a 37 year old female elephant at the Oklahoma City Zoo, the Friends of the Woodland Park Zoo Elephants requested a United States Department of Agriculture investigation of the zoo and the conditions surrounding the animals’ wellbeing on Tuesday. Chai, one of two elephants transferred eight months ago from the Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle, was found dead by zookeepers on Saturday morning.

Gov. Mary Fallin delivers her 2016 State of the State address Feb. 1, 2016.
Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

In her State of the State address on Monday, Gov. Mary Fallin called for shortened prison sentences, higher taxes on cigarettes and a $3,000 a year pay hike for all teachers.

Fallin also proposed a 6 percent cut for most state agencies in Fiscal Year 2017, with certain exceptions, and generating more revenue by eliminating some of the $8 billion in annual sales tax exemptions. Fallin's proposals come amid a budget crisis in which the state must offset a nearly $1 billion budget hole caused mainly by a plunge in oil prices. Income tax cuts have contributed to the revenue drop.

Donald Trump thought he could upend Iowa caucus traditions. The gamble didn't pay off.

Hillary Clinton hoped she could wipe away her campaign nightmares of eight years ago by posting a solid win over an insurgent Bernie Sanders.

Instead, her margin of victory over Sanders was vanishingly small.

Those were just some of the surprise twists from Monday night's results. Here's what the numbers and results tell us about how and why they happened, according to our analysis of the entrance/exit polling and the county-by-county results.

The World Health Organization has declared the cluster of microcephaly associated with the spread of the Zika virus to be a public health emergency of international concern — a designation reserved for an"extraordinary event" that is "serious, unusual or unexpected."

Dr. Margaret Chan, the WHO's director-general, said during a press briefing Monday that an international coordinated response was needed to improve mosquito control as well as to expedite the development of tests that detect the Zika virus.

Gov. Mary Fallin delivers her 2016 State of the State address before Monday's joint session of the Oklahoma House and Senate.
Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

Gov. Mary Fallin proposed bold changes to Oklahoma's budget, the criminal justice system, and said she wants lawmakers to get behind a $3,000 pay raise for teachers during her 2016 State of the State address.

The $900 million-and-counting budget shortfall lawmakers will have to deal with hangs over everything this session, but Fallin remained optimistic even as she cited a two-year, 70 percent drop in oil prices that's affected state revenue.

"We can do it," the governor repeated.

word cloud of Governor Mary Fallin's 2016 state of the state address
KGOU / Worldle

Below is Gov. Mary Fallin's 2016 State of the State address, as prepared for delivery.

Lieutenant Governor Lamb, statewide elected officials, Speaker Hickman, President Pro Tem Bingman, members of the court, honorable senators and representatives, Cabinet members, tribal leaders, distinguished guests, and citizens of Oklahoma:

It is my duty as well as my great honor to be here today to discuss the state of our state.

Author of Fire In Beulah, Rilla Askew
Provided

One of the country’s worst acts of violence against a minority community happened in Oklahoma. The 1921 Tulsa Race Riot led to the destruction of Greenwood, a wealthy all-black area due north of downtown known as “Black Wall Street.”

For years, history books glossed over accounts of the event. In 1996, state lawmakers commissioned an official historical account of what happened. Seven years earlier, award-winning novelist Rilla Askew began researching the Tulsa Race Riot for a book after realizing she had never heard of the historic event.

Karen Burston, of Oklahoma City, is tearful as she talks about what she believes is the discrimination she and her son have faced at Sequoyah Elementary School. Burston’s son is in a special education program.
Victor Henderson / Oklahoma Watch

A federal civil rights agency has opened its fourth investigation into Oklahoma City Public Schools, this time focused on claims that school officials discriminated against special education students.

Officials with the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights said the newest investigation, filed on Dec. 3, examines whether the district applied different treatment, exclusion or denial of benefits to students with disabilities.

Oklahoma Capitol
Drew Tarvin / Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

Oklahoma lawmakers will face at least a $900 million budget shortfall, spending cuts, and a teacher shortage when it convenes Monday.

State Sen. David Holt, R-Oklahoma City, state Rep. Emily Virgin, D-Norman, and University of Oklahoma political scientist Keith Gaddie joined KGOU’s Jacob McCleland to talk about issues the legislature will address in its 2016 session.

 


If there’s one bit of conventional wisdom when to comes to oil prices it’s this: What goes down, must go up. The boom-bust cycle of the oil markets means that the cheap gas you’re enjoying now will cost you more sometime in the future. But what if low oil prices are actually the new normal? Some people are saying just that.

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