9:03 am
Tue December 16, 2014

Lankford Announces Committee Assignments As He Prepares To Join Senate

OversightAndReform Flickr Creative Commons

On Monday Oklahoma U.S. Sen.-elect James Lankford announced four committees he'll join when he moves across the U.S. Capitol from the House to the Senate next month.

Lankford has been appointed to the Senate Committees on Appropriation, Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, the Select Committee on Intelligence, and the Committee on Indian Affairs.

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Code Switch
7:42 am
Tue December 16, 2014

150 Years Later, A Formal Apology For The Sand Creek Massacre

As part of their annual remembrance, descendants of massacre survivors erected teepees at the historic site over the weekend of Dec. 13. Some were for public visitors, while others were used in closed ceremonies.
Megan Verlee Colorado Public Radio

Originally published on Tue December 16, 2014 9:16 am

A stretch of dry, empty prairie where the Sand Creek Massacre took place in Colorado has hardly changed in a century and a half.

Back in December 1864, America was still months from the end of the Civil War. Gen. William Sherman was making his infamous march across Georgia. And from the Western Frontier, word of the shocking Sand Creek Massacre was starting to trickle out. A regiment of volunteer troops in Colorado had attacked a peaceful camp of Native Americans, slaughtering nearly 200 of them — mostly women and children.

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6:08 am
Tue December 16, 2014

President's Task Force To Re-Examine How Police Interact With Public

President Obama announces the creation of a policing task force Dec. 1 as Philadelphia Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey (left) and George Mason University criminology professor Laurie Robinson look on.
Mandel Ngan AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed December 17, 2014 2:09 pm

Earlier this month, after the events in Ferguson, Mo., and Staten Island, N.Y, the White House announced the creation of what it's calling a Task Force on 21st Century Policing.

The group's job is to find ways to strengthen the relationship between police and the public, and to share recommendations with the president by late February.

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9:07 pm
Mon December 15, 2014

Botched Execution Described As 'A Bloody Mess,' Court Filing Shows

Although the prison lacked the right needles and had no backup drugs, the doctor attempted another femoral IV. No one was sure why. Blood backed up into the IV line, and the paramedic told the doctor he’d hit the artery, noting the doctor seemed anxious. “We’ve got blood everywhere,” the paramedic recalled to investigators. The warden described the scene inside the chamber as “a bloody mess.” The paramedic didn’t know whether a stay had been issued at this point.
In a federal court filing Friday, Department of Corrections officials and others recount the political pressure and mishaps leading up to the April 29 botched execution of Clayton Lockett.
Politics and Government
7:29 pm
Mon December 15, 2014

Ethics Commission Delays Action On "Educational" Gifts Reporting Requirements

Commissioner Tom Walker (Democrat, 4th Congressional District) Appointed in September 2011 by the Chief Justice Steven Taylor.
Credit Oklahoma Ethics Commission

The Ethics Commission decided Friday to look at rewording a proposal concerning reporting of scholarships and payments for trips and conferences and to consider the revised language in January.

Commission Thomas Walker led the charge against the proposed Ethics Rules amendment, saying the language presented Friday would open a “Pandora’s box.”

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Weather and Climate
7:10 pm
Mon December 15, 2014

As Beef Industry Deals With Drought, Researchers Eye Less-Thirsty Cattle

Credit SoonerPA / Flickr Creative Commons

The ongoing drought in Oklahoma affects everyone in the country. Well, everyone who likes to eat beef, that is. Beef and veal prices will have risen by about 11.5 percent in 2014, and, as Reuters reports, “will increase significantly again in 2015″ because of drought in the Southern Plains.

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StateImpact Oklahoma
7:04 pm
Mon December 15, 2014

Lawmaker to Propose Legislation Changing Tax Incentives For New Wind Farms

A wind farm in Ellis County in western Oklahoma.
Credit Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

Oklahoma Representative Earl Sears, is planning to file legislation modifying tax credits and incentives used by wind energy developers.

The legislation by Sears, R-Bartlesville, would only affect new wind projects and would target three tax credits used by the wind industry: Zero Emission Energy Generation, the five-year ad valorem exemption for manufacturers and other firms, and investment tax credits,  eCapitol’s Shawn Ashley reports:

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Politics and Government
6:53 pm
Mon December 15, 2014

Oklahoma Supreme Court OKs $120 Million Capitol Bond Issue

Credit Meghan Blessing / KGOU

 The Oklahoma Supreme Court has upheld legislation authorizing a $120 million bond issue to renovate and repair Oklahoma's crumbling State Capitol building.

In a unanimous decision, the nine-member court handed down a decision Monday rejecting allegations that the bond legislation was an unconstitutional special law that should be struck down.

The Oklahoma Capitol Improvement Authority asked the Supreme Court for guidance on whether to issue the bonds after Oklahoma City attorney Jerry Fent announced plans to protest the issuance.

Fent claims the bill authorizing the bond issue is unconstitutional because it addressed only one state building.

But attorneys for the state say the bill is a universal general law that applies to a unique building that serves as both the seat of state government and as a symbol of Oklahoma.

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4:37 pm
Mon December 15, 2014

State's Low Blood Supply Constitutes Emergency

Credit Clint Budd / Flickr.com

The Oklahoma Blood Institute has declared a blood emergency because of a statewide blood shortage.

The Oklahoman reports that the institute declared the emergency on Monday as the state's supply of donated blood fell below the amount needed for an average day. It is encouraging donors to give blood this month to help reverse the shortage.

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Death Penalty
4:22 pm
Mon December 15, 2014

Attorneys For 21 Death Row Inmates Head To Federal Court

Credit T. Woodward / Flickr Creative Commons

Attorneys for 21 Oklahoma death row inmates head to federal court this week hoping that behind-the-scenes details of an execution gone awry will prevent a "bloody mess" from ever happening again.

Attorneys for the state of Oklahoma say new lethal injection protocols will address the problems encountered during April's bungled execution of 38-year-old Clayton Lockett. But the inmates argue the state is experimenting on them with new drug combinations that amount to cruel and unusual punishment.

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