Politics and Government
8:30 pm
Mon January 26, 2015

Legislative Proposal Calls For Review Of Business Tax Breaks

House Speaker Jeff Hickman (R-Fairview) at Gov. Mary Fallin's State of the State address - February 3, 2014.
Joe Wertz StateImpact Oklahoma

Oklahoma House and Senate leaders have introduced legislation that would require thorough reviews every four years of several dozen business incentives that are costing the state as much as $300 million annually.

Companion bills authored by House Speaker Jeff Hickman, R-Fairview, and Senate President Pro Tem Brian Bingman, R-Sapulpa, would create a seven-member Incentive Evaluation Commission to conduct the quadrennial reviews.

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Education
8:00 pm
Mon January 26, 2015

Hofmeister Unveils Five-Year Education Plan

Joy Hofmeister, Oklahoma State Schools Superintendent
Credit Provided

Oklahoma's newly elected Superintendent of Public Instruction is unveiling a new five-year plan to give Oklahoma teachers a $5,000 pay raise over the next five years, along with an additional five days of instruction to the school year, also added over five years.

Republican Joy Hofmeister announced the plan on Monday, saying increased teacher pay is critically important in addressing a significant teacher shortage in Oklahoma. The first year of the proposal would cost the state about $150 million.

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Politics and Government
7:47 pm
Mon January 26, 2015

LGBT Advocacy Groups Merge, Promise To Fight ‘Hate-Filled’ Legislation

The Freedom Oklahoma press conference on January 26, 2015.
Credit Freedom Oklahoma / Facebook

Two of Oklahoma’s most prominent lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender advocacy groups announced Monday they are merging to form a united voice to fight what they called a number of “hate-filled” measures pre-filed for the 2015 session.

“The LGBT community of Oklahoma is under attack and we’re here to tell you we plan on fighting back, Troy Stevenson, executive director of Freedom Oklahoma, said during a Capitol press conference Monday.

Freedom Oklahoma brings together The Equality Network, a Tulsa-based LGBT political advocacy organization, and the Cimarron Alliance Foundation, the Oklahoma City-based LGBT public education organization.

Stevenson said the group will hold town hall meetings across the state and deploy citizen lobbyists to address issues of concern. “We will be here. We will be present. We will make sure legislators that know: If you’re going to legislative against our rights, you are going to have to do it while you look us in the eye,” Stevenson said.

“A handful of vitriolic Oklahoma legislators, which do not represent the entire Legislature and they do not represent the state of Oklahoma, have put 10 hate-filled bills before this body,” said Stevenson.

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Oklahoma News
5:13 pm
Mon January 26, 2015

OK Democratic Party Executive Director Stepping Down

Credit okdemocrats.org

The executive director of the Oklahoma Democratic Party has stepped down from the post he'd held for more than three years.

Party officials announced Monday that Trav Robertson has taken a "leave of absence to explore another opportunity."

The party's Central Committee voted unanimously to promote David Scott of Ada to the position of interim executive director. Scott has worked for the last few years as the party's director of information technology.

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Oklahoma News
4:41 pm
Mon January 26, 2015

1.8 Million Oklahomans Affected By Drought

The January 20, 2015 update of the U.S. Drought Monitor for Oklahoma.
Credit U.S. Drought Monitor

The U.S. Drought Monitor says more than 1.8 million Oklahomans are being affected by an ongoing, deepening drought.

The Oklahoma Water Resources Board says that in the past month, the percentage of Oklahoma classified as being in exceptional drought has decreased slightly, but more than 60% of the state still remains classified in moderate drought or worse.

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The Two-Way
4:19 pm
Mon January 26, 2015

An Asteroid Is Passing Very Close To Earth Today. Here's How To See It

Asteroid 2004 BL86 will be visible in parts of the sky tonight. Visibility is expected to peak around 9 p.m. ET, as shown in this NASA graphic.
Sky & Telescope

Originally published on Mon January 26, 2015 4:46 pm

By the time you read this post, asteroid 2004 BL86 will already have come as close to us as it's going to get as it flies by Earth. At about 11:19 a.m. ET today, it was nearly 745,000 miles away from our planet. That's only about three times the distance from the Earth to the moon.

But don't worry, you may still be able to catch a glimpse of the huge hunk of rock tonight.

When and how can I see the asteroid?

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Oklahoma News
3:27 pm
Mon January 26, 2015

Federal Grant Awards $7.8 Million To Homeless Programs

Credit Stefan Neubig / Flickr

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development has awarded more than $7.8 million in grants to 72 homeless housing and service programs in Oklahoma.

The funding announced Monday is an increase of $356,155 over the previous year. HUD's Continuum of Care grants help agencies provide housing and support services to people and families experiencing homelessness.

Local programs receiving the grants offer a variety of services including street outreach, client assessment, and direct housing assistance. Nationally, HUD awarded $1.8 billion.

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The Salt
2:47 pm
Mon January 26, 2015

Tossing Out Food In The Trash? In Seattle, You'll Be Fined For That

Seattle garbage collector Anousone Sadettanh empties a small residential garbage bin into his truck in 2014. It is now illegal to toss out food with the trash in the city. Residents will get warning tags for now; the city will start imposing fines in July.
Elaine Thompson AP

Originally published on Thu January 29, 2015 12:15 pm

In Seattle, wasting food will now earn you a scarlet letter — well, a scarlet tag, to be more accurate.

The bright red tag, posted on a garbage bin, tells everyone who sees it that you've violated a new city law that makes it illegal to put food into trash cans.

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Health
12:56 pm
Mon January 26, 2015

Supreme Court Denies Oklahoma Request To Join Challenge To Health Care Law

Attorney General Scott Pruitt
Credit Oklahoma Attorney General's Office

The U.S. Supreme Court has rejected Oklahoma's request to join a challenge to the federal health care law.

In a one-sentence order on Monday, the nation's high court denied Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt's writ of certiorari.

Pruitt wanted the court to review Oklahoma's lawsuit that challenges the tax subsidies offered under the Affordable Care Act, arguing it was important to consider state sovereignty implications.

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Oklahoma News
12:18 pm
Mon January 26, 2015

Blackwell Gas Leak Sends 38 Students And Faculty To Hospital

Blackwell Public Schools
Credit http://www.blackwell.k12.ok.us/

Authorities in Blackwell say a gas leak in a school gymnasium has sent 35 students and three faculty members to the hospital.

Officials say the leak occurred in the high school practice gymnasium in the Kay County community about 9 a.m. as the middle school boys basketball team and varsity cheer squad were practicing. Some students began to feel sick and a couple of students passed out in the shower area.

The students and faculty members were taken to Blackwell Regional Hospital and administered oxygen. All are expected to recover.

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