The Senate voted Monday to approve its version of the farm bill, a massive spending measure that covers everything from food stamps to crop insurance and sets the nation's farm policy for the next five years.
The centerpiece of that policy is an expanded crop insurance program, designed to protect farmers from losses, that some say amounts to a highly subsidized gift to agribusiness. That debate is set to continue as the House plans to take up its version of the bill this month.
With an unfunded liability among Oklahoma's seven major pension systems exceeding $11 billion, several Republican leaders have said changing from a traditional pension to a 401(k)-style retirement account for new state workers will be a top priority during the 2014 legislative session.
The unfunded liability is the amount owed to pensioners beyond what the system currently afford to pay. It has become a growing concern for Gov. Mary Fallin and other state leaders, who say it hinders the state's effort to improve its bond rating.
In 2007, Gov. Brad Henry signed some of the country’s strictest anti-immigration legislation into law.
House Bill 1804 by State Rep. Randy Terrill (R-Moore) made it a felony for the state to provide education and health care services to illegal immigrants, and requires police to investigate the immigration status of anyone “suspected” of being in this country illegally.
Six years later, the controversial law and its effect on people form the basis for Oklahoma native Rilla Askew’s fourth novel Kind of Kin.
“I'm always writing about the coming together and the clash between cultures and races in Oklahoma,” Askew says. “I was disturbed by the notion of a bill like that.”
Republican Rep. Markwayne Mullin of Oklahoma is denying that he was ever briefed on cell phone and Internet surveillance by the National Security Agency that sweeps up an estimated 3 billion phone calls a day and collects Internet data from U.S. providers in an attempt to stop terror attacks.
Mullin said in a statement Saturday that comments that he and his colleagues in Congress knew of the surveillance "is absolutely false."
The Animal Resource Center has reunited at least 90 lost pets with their owners since a May 20 tornado hit Moore.
The center says it received its first lost dog about an hour after the storm and has processed more than 150 animals in the past three weeks. In addition to reuniting pets with their owners, the center is also offering to board pets if their owners are now living in places that don't allow animals.
Gen. Michael Hayden, a former director of the National Security Agency, tells NPR's Weekend Edition Sunday that the government's acquisition of phone records and surveillance of Internet activity is lawful and justified by the changing nature of the war on terrorism.
Hayden, who served as NSA chief from 1999-2005 and is also a former CIA director, says NSA's activities are "perfectly legal" and "an accurate reflection of balancing our security and our privacy."
Investigators in Santa Monica, Calif., were trying to piece together a motive in a shooting rampage in which four people were killed before police fatally shot the gunman.
The assailant, dressed in black and carrying a semi-automatic rifle, first shot and killed two men – believed to be his father and brother – at a home about a mile from Santa Monica College. Authorities were soon called to the burning home, but it wasn't immediately clear if the fire was arson.
Suzette Grillot continues to host the program from Istanbul. A week since protests broke out across Turkey, she and Joshua Landis discuss where things stand in the normally peaceful and stable country.
On Friday June 14 Iranians head to the polls to elect a successor to President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. The Tehran Bureau founder and editorKelly Niknejadjoins World Views for a look at the elections, and a conversation about Western journalism in the Islamic Republic.
“I was flying across the country, from the east coast to the west coast, as it was happening. So, I actually did not know what was going on until we landed,” says musician Kenny Wayne Shepherd recalling the day a massive EF5 tornado devastated Moore, Oklahoma.