Cato Institute attorney Adam Bates testifies at a special hearing on civil asset forfeiture at the state Capitol, Sept. 1, 2015. State Sen. Kyle Loveless is seated to the right.
Ben Fenwick / Oklahoma Watch

Lawmakers, Law Enforcement Debate Civil Asset Forfeiture In Oklahoma City, Tulsa

On Tuesday, separate hearings in Oklahoma City and Tulsa examined civil asset forfeiture, and a bill that would make the practice more difficult to carry out. State Sen. Kyle Loveless has introduced legislation that would prevent the seizure of cash or property unless that person is convicted of a crime. Under current law, police, sheriffs, and state troopers only require evidence or suspicion the assets came from illegal activity. The American Civil Liberties Union of Oklahoma's legal...
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rooftop solar panels
Michael Coghlan / Flickr

Oklahoma Gas and Electric is proposing a new “demand charge” be levied on customers who install rooftop solar panels or small wind turbines.

Oklahoma Labor Commissioner Mark Costello
Oklahoma Labor Commission

Updated 1:01 p.m.

The family of slain Oklahoma Labor Commissioner Mark Costello issued a statement Monday afternoon addressing his son Christian's mental illness.

"Christian, like thousands of Oklahomans, struggles with a mental health disease and like many families we did our best to support him. Mark was committed to being there for his son and provided whatever help he could as a father," the statement reads.

Michael Lockhoff plays with his daughter in their backyard in Tulsa. The Lockhoffs struggled last year, when she was 6, to work with schools to meet their child's educational and emotional needs.
Nate Robson / Oklahoma Watch

Although the tracking of discipline at schools has increased in recent years, many disciplinary actions are not recorded.

Joy Turner, an attorney with the Oklahoma Disability Law Center, which handles special education law, said she is concerned about the number of students sent home early from school for misbehaving.

The action isn’t marked as a suspension, which means parents cannot formally appeal to the principal or district officials. It also isn’t reported to the U.S. Department of Education, which means federal measures of school discipline are incomplete.

KGOU

August 23, 2015

This is from the Manager's Desk.   

The last of the awards for work accomplished in 2014 were handed out last Friday at the Oklahoma Associated Press Broadcasters luncheon. Work by the KGOU staff was highly recognized.

For the third year in a row, and for six in seven years, KGOU’s news work was given the Sweepstakes award as the most decorated radio station in Oklahoma in this competition.

Kelly Freeman at home with her 7-year-old son while he assembles a puzzle.  The Freemans say their son still feels traumatized after being handcuffed at a Jenks school last school year.
Nate Robson / Oklahoma Watch

In Jenks Public Schools, campus police physically restrained and handcuffed a second-grade special education student.

His crime? He ran to the playground to escape a noisy classroom.

At Tulsa Public Schools, officials called a father and told him to pick up his 6-year-old daughter, who was having an emotional meltdown. He arrived to find four armed campus police officers holding her down, saying she assaulted one of them.

photo of slot machine
Frank Bonilla / Flickr

Leaders with the Muscogee (Creek) Nation are working to address an $18 million shortfall in the tribe's gaming budget for the 2016 fiscal year.

Principal Chief George Tiger addressed members of the tribe's National Council during an emergency meeting Thursday night. Tiger says he hopes the council takes the issue seriously because a budget must be approved before the federal fiscal year ends Sept. 30.

Medicinal marijuana in container.
Dank Depot / Flickr Creative Commons

A group seeking to legalize the use of medical marijuana in Oklahoma has taken the first step toward putting the issue to a vote of the people in 2016.

Isaac Caviness with the group Green the Vote filed paperwork Friday with the Oklahoma Secretary of State's Office indicating their plans to have the question placed on the ballot.

Once the proposed language is approved, the group will have 90 days to gather about 124,000 signatures in order to qualify the state question.

police sirens
Highway Patrol Images / Flickr

The Oklahoma Department of Corrections says a man on probation who disappeared after disabling his monitoring device has died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound following a police chase through rural Pontotoc County.

Corrections spokeswoman Terri Watkins says 42-year-old Johnnie Lewis Hawkins II apparently shot himself in the head Friday after authorities disabled the stolen vehicle he was driving.

United States President Barack Obama meets with Stephen Harper in Ottawa.
Pete Souza / The White House

In the international arena, social dynamics and shared identities are as important in shaping relationships as they are among individuals.

“We can think about identities as shared systems of meaning that we use to interpret the world because the world is very chaotic, very messy,” says Georgia Institute of Technology political scientist Jarrod Hayes.

These shared systems of meaning are not only important in how we interact on an individual level, but also have a significant impact in international relations.

From right: US Attorney Danny Williams, Special Agent in Charge Madie Branch with the Dallas IRS office, FBI Special Agent in Charge Scott Cruse with the Oklahoma City office, OSBI Director Stan Florence.
Matt Trotter / Oklahoma Public Media Exchange

The U.S. Attorney's Office in Tulsa announced Thursday formal federal criminal charges have been filed against State Sen. Rick Brinkley (R-Owasso). He also resigned his Senate seat, effective immediately.

Brinkley pleaded guilty to six federal charges Thursday morning, admitting to taking more than $1.8 million from the Tulsa Better Business Bureau when he served as its director. He was fired last spring from that post.

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