KGOU
Oklahoma Secretary of Finance Preston Doerflinger speaks during a meeting of the State Board of Equalization in Oklahoma City, Monday, June 20, 2016.
Sue Ogrocki / AP

Capitol Insider: State “Far Behind” In Funding Some Core Services, Doerflinger Says

Oklahoma’s state budget took effect July 1, and hinges on the outcome of several lawsuits before the Oklahoma Supreme Court. The cases question the constitutionality of revenue raising measures including the $1.50 cigarette fee and 1.25 percent sales tax increase on motor vehicles. If the state Supreme Court rules the measures are unconstitutional, the legislature could reconvene to again try to fund core services.

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Will Rogers Aquatic Center in Oklahoma City
Claire Donnelly / KGOU

This week’s summer sound features Dakotan Jackson, Kendrell Fox and Lennox Buchanan. It was recorded at Will Rogers Aquatic Center in Oklahoma City.

 

Barber Woody Yaklin and Oklahoma Historical Society Director Bob Blackburn at Mr. Woody's Style Shop.
Claire Donnelly / KGOU

Construction crews are demolishing the basement level of the Oklahoma State Capitol as part of a building restoration project. But the renovation is pushing out a decades-old business.

 

Photographer and journalist Katie Hayes Luke reported throughout the year on an innovative school for homeless children in Oklahoma City, Okla. We're not using the first names of students and family members to protect their privacy.

On the last day of school, the fifth grade students at Positive Tomorrows perform last-minute rehearsals for the inaugural "Classy Awards."

MilitaryHealth / Flickr Creative Commons

 

The Oklahoma Supreme Court hears arguments August 8 in the case over the state’s new $1.50-per-pack cigarette fee.

A private entrepreneur who sells house and kitchen supplies waits for customers at his home in Havana, Cuba, Tuesday, May 24, 2016.
Desmond Boylan / AP

Ted Henken was visiting the Cuban beach resort of Varadero, looking for a place to stay. He asked a waiter if for accommodation suggestions. During the waiter’s smoke break, he took Henken to five bed and breakfasts within 15 minutes.

Workers on a road construction project on E.K. Gaylord Boulevard in downtown Oklahoma City.
Brent Fuchs / Journal Record

Education proponents and other Oklahoma City residents spoke out against a MAPS sales tax and bond proposal at this week’s city council meeting. If approved by council on June 20, the public will vote on the $1.1 billion proposal in September.

The general obligation bond package, permanent quarter-cent sales tax and temporary three-quarters cent sales tax would be used for infrastructure improvements and emergency services. The sales taxes would be a continuation of the expiring MAPS 3 one percent sales tax.

Oil’s Pipeline To America’s Schools

Jun 15, 2017
Illustration by Eben McCue

Jennifer Merritt’s first-graders at Jefferson Elementary School in Pryor, Oklahoma, were in for a treat. Sitting cross-legged on the floor, the students gathered in late November for story time with two special guests, state Rep. Tom Gann and state Sen. Marty Quinn.

Portrait of a Venetian Ambassador, Aged 59, II, 2006. By Kehinde Wiley.
Tony Powell

Artist Kehinde Wiley is known for his colorful portraits of everyday African-Americans in the style of classical European paintings. Raised in South Central Los Angeles and educated at the San Francisco Art Institute and Yale University, Wiley has lived and worked around the world.

prison bars
mikecogh / Flickr Creative Commons

A legal challenge, partly spearheaded by Oklahoma leaders, has blocked the federal government from setting limits on how much inmates and their families can be charged for in-state telephone calls.

The U.S. 10th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in 2-1 decision Tuesday that the Federal Communications Commission exceeded its authority in creating a national rule that sought to cap fees on intrastate phone calls for the first time.

US Capitol building
Flickr

Attorney General Jeff Sessions is testifying before the Senate Intelligence Committee in an open hearing on Tuesday. Senators will likely ask about his recusal from the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election and what if anything he knew about President Trump reportedly asking former FBI Director James Comey to ease off the inquiry into onetime national security adviser Michael Flynn. Here is Sessions' prepared opening statement to the committee, annotated by NPR journalists.

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