Politics and Government
8:20 am
Sat January 24, 2015

More Than 2,000 Bills Filed For 2015 Oklahoma Legislature

Oklahoma House of Representatives Chamber
Credit http://www.oklegislature.gov/

Oklahoma lawmakers will have more than 2,000 bills and resolutions to consider when they convene next month.

Thursday afternoon was the deadline for filing bills to be considered by the 2015 Oklahoma Legislature. Legislative officials say 1,219 bills and 26 joint resolutions were filed in the House. A total of 815 bills and 32 joint resolutions were filed in the state Senate by the deadline.

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Politics and Government
8:02 am
Sat January 24, 2015

Oklahoma AG Will Defend State Execution Protocol

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

Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt says his office will defend the constitutionality of the state's method for executing death row inmates as the U.S. Supreme Court considers a challenge by three death row inmates.

Pruitt says Oklahoma's method has been deemed constitutional by two federal courts and has been successfully implemented in the state as well as in Florida.

Pruitt says his office will work to preserve the Department of Corrections' ability to proceed with death sentences given to each inmate by a jury of their peers.

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Oklahoma News
7:48 am
Sat January 24, 2015

Oklahoma's Hope For Cashing In On Heritage At A Standstill

American Indian Cultural Center & Museum
Credit American Indian Cultural Center & Museum

The state of Oklahoma wants to become a bigger tourist destination, but its plans to attract visitors with a major museum of Native American culture have remains incomplete because of financial issues.

But Gov. Mary Fallin and project supporters are pushing to salvage the museum, which is projected to draw 225,000 visitors annually.  

After nearly 10 years and $90 million spent, the museum is unfinished and the Legislature is balking at providing another $40 million for the project.

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The Two-Way
5:26 pm
Fri January 23, 2015

Supreme Court Agrees To Rule On Constitutionality Of Execution Drug Cocktail

Bottles of the sedative midazolam, which is at issue in the Oklahoma death row prisoners' lawsuit. The Supreme Court has agreed to decide whether the drug is effective at preventing unconstitutional suffering.

Originally published on Fri January 23, 2015 5:23 pm

The U.S. Supreme Court agreed today to review Oklahoma's method of execution by lethal injection. The justices agreed to hear the Oklahoma case a week after refusing to halt another execution that used the same drug formula.

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The Two-Way
4:54 pm
Fri January 23, 2015

DNA Exonerates Man Who Served Nearly 40 Years For Murder

Joseph Sledge, 70, addresses members of the media after being released from jail in Columbus County, N.C., on Friday. He served nearly four decades behind bars for two slayings he didn't commit.
Jonathan Drew AP

Originally published on Fri January 23, 2015 5:32 pm

Joseph Sledge is a free man after 37 years in prison following Friday's decision by a judicial panel in North Carolina to overturn his 1976 conviction in the stabbing deaths of an elderly mother and her daughter.

The Associated Press says DNA evidence had helped to exonerate Sledge, now 70, whose case was referred last month to the three-judge panel by the North Carolina Innocence Inquiry Commission.

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Oklahoma News
4:27 pm
Fri January 23, 2015

Bureau Of Narcotics Goes After Meth Trafficking

Credit Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics

Arrest warrants have been issued following a yearlong methamphetamine trafficking investigation by the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs.

Spokesman Mark Woodward says agents and officers from several departments fanned out early Friday with 18 arrest warrants for defendants accused of trafficking crystal methamphetamine into Ponca City.

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Oklahoma News
3:58 pm
Fri January 23, 2015

Supreme Court To Review Use of Midazolam In Executions

Oklahoma has authorized four different lethal injection protocols: a single, lethal dose of either pentobarbital or sodium pentothal, a two-drug procedure using midazolam and hydromorphone, or the same three-drug method used in Florida.
Credit James Heilman, MD / Wikimedia Commons

The Supreme Court is stepping into the issue of lethal injection executions for the first time since 2008 in an appeal filed by death row inmates in Oklahoma.

The justices agreed Friday to review whether the sedative midazolam can be used in executions because of concerns that it does not produce a deep, comalike unconsciousness and ensure that a prisoner does not experience intense and needless pain when other drugs are injected to kill him.

Oklahoma uses midazolam as one of three drugs in lethal injection executions.


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World Views
12:58 pm
Fri January 23, 2015

German Anti-Islam Protests Not Just About French Attacks, But Larger Refugee Issues

Protesters in Germany, January 19, 2015
Sozialfotografie [►] StR Flickr

Strong crowds showed up for anti-Islam rallies in the German cities of Dresden, Leipzig, and Duisburg throughout the month as part of weekly rallies organized by a group called Patriotic Europeans against the Islamization of the West, or PEGIDA.

Protesters have been wearing black ribbons to show their solidarity with the victims last week's terror attacks in Paris.

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World Views
11:00 am
Fri January 23, 2015

Shifting Middle East Strategy Among Few Foreign Policy Proposals In State Of The Union

President Obama delivers his annual State of the Union address Tuesday night before a joint session of Congress.
The White House Twitter

President Obama spent very little time on foreign policy and foreign affairs during Tuesday night's State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress.

But he did call on lawmakers to pass a resolution authorizing the use of force against self-proclaimed Islamic State militants.

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It's All Politics
9:06 am
Fri January 23, 2015

Senate Says Climate Change Real, But Not Really Our Fault

Sen. Roger Wicker, R-Miss., was the only senator to vote against an amendment calling climate change "real and not a hoax."
J. Scott Applewhite AP

Originally published on Fri January 23, 2015 1:20 pm

Breathtakingly broad as its jurisdiction may be, the U.S. Senate does not usually vote on the validity of scientific theories.

This week, it did. And science won. The Senate voted that climate change is real, and not a hoax. The vote was 98-1.

The vote was about an amendment to the bill approving the Keystone XL pipeline. The near-unanimity of the climate change judgment was notable, because so many senators have cast doubt on ideas of "global warming."

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