8:30 am
Wed April 24, 2013

Inside the Arguments in Oklahoma’s Supreme Court Water Case

Lead in text: 
On Tuesday, the U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments in Tarrant v. Herrmann, an Oklahoma-Texas water fight with national implications. The justices grappled with the 30-year-old Red River Compact, and whether a region of Texas can reach across state lines to access water in southeastern Oklahoma.
The two states have different interpretations of some language in the agreement. The compact gives Oklahoma and Texas “equal rights” to some of the water in southeastern Oklahoma. But “equal rights” means different things to each state.
The Salt
2:24 am
Wed April 24, 2013

How Coffee Influenced The Course Of History

An overseer sits in the shade while workers collect coffee beans on a Brazilian plantation, circa 1750.
Hulton Archive Getty Images

Originally published on Thu January 9, 2014 2:49 pm

Coffee is a powerful beverage. On a personal level, it helps keep us awake and active. On a much broader level, it has helped shape our history and continues to shape our culture.

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9:10 pm
Tue April 23, 2013

Fallin, Oklahoma legislative leaders announce trifecta of agreements

Lead in text: 
"The income tax cut plan now calls for lowering the top income tax rate from 5.25 percent to 5 percent on Jan. 1, 2015. The rate would be cut to 4.85 percent on Jan. 1, 2016, if total revenue growth for the state is equal to or greater than the previous fiscal year."
Republican Governor Mary Fallin and GOP legislative leaders have agreed on proposals to reduce the state's top personal income tax rate, overhaul the workers' compensation system and develop a long-range plan for maintaining state buildings.
7:09 pm
Tue April 23, 2013

Transcript of Arguments in Oklahoma’s Supreme Court Water Case

Lead in text: 
The Supreme Court of the United States heard testimony today in the case of the Tarrant Regional Water District v. Herrmann, In better terms... Texas vs. Oklahoma.
Attorneys representing Oklahoma and Texas argued Tarrant v. Herrmann at the U.S. Supreme Court. The case concerns water in the Red River, and experts say it's a regional water fight that could impact national water-sharing agreements. The Supreme Court has released a transcript of today's arguments. The above transcript is preliminary.
6:32 pm
Tue April 23, 2013

Fees Attacked By Legislature, But Is It Smart To Cut Off Another Revenue Source?

Lead in text: 
House Speaker T.W. Shannon (R-Lawton) says the moratorium is necessary because Oklahoma has raised fees by more than $100 million since 2007. During the recession, it was the easiest way Oklahoma had to raise revenues to fill budget gaps. Increasing taxes in Oklahoma requires a three-fourths supermajority in both houses of the legislature, or a vote of the people.
It's already nearly impossible to raise taxes in Oklahoma. Now, the legislature is poised to ban raising fees for drivers' licenses, state parks and other state services, too. A bill placing a moratorium on fee increases through 2016 has passed both houses of the state legislature.
Business
4:09 pm
Tue April 23, 2013

Online Retailers Take Opposite Sides On Sales Tax Bill

Humberto Manzano Jr. moves a pallet of goods at an Amazon.com fulfillment center in Phoenix in 2010. Amazon has endorsed a bill making its way through the Senate that would require more online retailers to collect sales tax.
Ross D. Franklin AP

Originally published on Tue April 23, 2013 7:04 pm

More online retailers would have to collect sales tax under a bill making its way through the U.S. Senate this week. The measure won strong bipartisan backing on a procedural vote Monday, and President Obama has said he would sign it.

The political battle over the bill pits online retailers against brick-and-mortar stores — and, in some cases, against other online sellers.

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Smoking Ban
3:23 pm
Tue April 23, 2013

State Property Smoking Ban Approved

Credit Brian Hardzinski / KGOU

The Oklahoma House has approved a bill that puts into state law Gov. Mary Fallin's executive order banning smoking on state property.

Fallin signed the executive order against smoking in state buildings last year. The House passed a bill 76-14 Tuesday that would expand the ban to properties that aren't buildings and would allow cities and counties to ban smoking on their properties.

The bill now goes to the governor for her signature.

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Texting Ban
2:01 pm
Tue April 23, 2013

Okla. House Kills Texting and Driving Ban Again

Credit Brian Hardzinski / KGOU

The Oklahoma House for the third time this session has derailed a proposal to ban texting while driving.  

The latest text ban attempt came in the form of an amendment by State Rep. Curtis McDaniel (D-Smithville) on a bill dealing with reckless driving penalties.

The amendment was tabled Tuesday with a 49-37 vote.  

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Business and Economy
6:15 pm
Mon April 22, 2013

Fertilizer Plant Inspections Limited in OK

TULSA, Okla. (AP) - Two state agencies say they only regulate fertilizer manufacturers in Oklahoma if there is a spill or emission, and do not inspect the plants for general safety.

Oklahoma is home to several fertilizer manufacturing plants, including one of the largest of its type in the nation just northeast of Tulsa. Lance Kunneman, fertilizer program administrator for the state Department of Agriculture, Food and Forestry, says the agency's regulatory power over manufacturers is limited to spill response.

Teach-In
2:52 pm
Mon April 22, 2013

Steinbeck, Oklahoma Can Get Along

David Wrobel
Credit University of Oklahoma

John Steinbeck does not often rise to the list of universally revered authors among Oklahomans. His book, The Grapes of Wrath, is widely viewed as presenting a negative view of the state's residents.

But University of Oklahoma history professor David Wrobel says the state's reputation has not been cursed by the book.

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