The Two-Way
9:54 am
Fri December 19, 2014

2014 Saw Fewest Executions In 20 Years, Report Finds

The gurney in the execution chamber at the Oklahoma State Penitentiary is pictured in McAlester, Okla., in 2008.
AP

Originally published on Thu December 18, 2014 12:20 pm

There was a significant drop in the number of executions and death penalty sentences in 2014, a new report by the Death Penalty Information Center finds.

The group's year-end accounting finds that:

-- States conducted 35 executions in 2014 — the lowest since 1994.

-- And the justice system sentenced 72 people to death — the lowest number in 40 years.

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9:20 am
Fri December 19, 2014

Oklahoma Oilman Harold Hamm Bets Prices Will Rise, And Loses Big

The oil price bust has left lots of people licking their financial wounds. Perhaps the biggest one-way bet in the wrong direction came from the oilpatch itself, by a company and its founder at the center of the U.S. oil revolution. Harold Hamm is the $8 billion oilman; the man behind the biggest drilling company in North Dakota, Continental Resources.
In an earnings call five weeks ago, he said, "We're at the bottom rung here on prices and we'll see them recover pretty drastically pretty quick. Given our belief the recent pullback in oil prices will be short-lived, we made changes to our existing hedge book by monetizing practically all of our oil contracts."
Education
8:36 am
Fri December 19, 2014

22-Year Error To Impact Oklahoma School Funding

Oklahoma state superintendent Janet Barresi
Nate Robson Oklahoma Watch

Oklahoma's school's superintendent says miscalculations in the state's school funding formula since 1992 will soon cause a number of mid-year adjustments worth millions of dollars.

The Tulsa World reported Friday a Ponca City school official had noted that a state law caps agricultural and commercial personal property taxes at 11 percent. State Superintendent Janet Barresi said the cap has not been in place.

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StateImpact Oklahoma
7:57 am
Fri December 19, 2014

Oklahoma City Residents Question Lake Hefner Drilling Plan At Contentious Public Meeting

A representative for Pedestal Oil Company explains the Lake Hefner drilling proposal to a crowd gathered in the Ed Lycan Conservatory at Will Rogers Gardens.
Joe Wertz StateImpact Oklahoma

A rowdy crowd of concerned residents shouted at city officials and questioned representatives of an oil company at a Thursday night meeting about a proposal to drill near Lake Hefner in Oklahoma City.

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Business Intelligence Report
6:43 am
Fri December 19, 2014

Beyond Casinos: Oklahoma Tribes Tackle Environmental Projects, Tourism Industry

Cory Moates, owner of Moates Excavating, left, and Tim Kent, environmental director of The Quapaw Tribe of Oklahoma, inspect ongoing chat disposal from a site near Quapaw. The pit is the top of a collapsed mine near Picher.
Rip Stell The Journal Record

Monday The Journal Record published its Tribal Economic Impact issue, a deep dive into how Oklahoma’s federally recognized Native American groups fund their services and contribute to Oklahoma’s economy.

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Education
7:49 pm
Thu December 18, 2014

Board of Education Reacts To Oversight In School District Funding

Credit Wesley Fryer / Flickr Creative Commons

State education officials have rediscovered a law more than 20 years old which affects the way millions of dollars in current and future fiscal year funds will be distributed to the state's school districts. 

The formula for midterm adjustments, she said, accounts for ad valorem tax revenues. In that factoring, the state law enacted in 1990 to take effect in 1992 mandates that agricultural and commercial personal property taxes should be capped at 11 percent. The statute also notes that the Oklahoma Tax Commission will provide that data to the Department of Education.

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Business and Economy
7:30 pm
Thu December 18, 2014

Workers Comp Commission To Review Private Self-Insureds

Credit atalou / Flickr Creative Commons

The Workers Compensation Commission plans to conduct a review of the private self-insured entities it oversees. Commission Chair Troy Wilson was authorized Thursday to sign a contract with a firm to perform the evaluations. 

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The Two-Way
4:42 pm
Thu December 18, 2014

Immigration Is Driving Broad Demographic Shifts In U.S., Report Says

Navy Petty Officer Jimmy Dial (left) sits with his daughter, Kimberly, beside U.S. Army soldier Henri Blandon and his daughter as the men's wives and the girls' mothers become U.S. citizens at a naturalization ceremony last month in Ontario, Calif.
Nick Ut AP

Originally published on Thu December 18, 2014 6:38 pm

Native-born Americans are making up a smaller percentage of those living in some areas of the U.S. as immigration moves to become the key factor in population growth within the next quarter-century, according to a new analysis by the Pew Charitable Trusts that examined county-level census data.

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Oklahoma Executions
4:26 pm
Thu December 18, 2014

Corrections Department Attorney Says He Felt Pressured To Move Forward On Executions

Credit Oklahoma Department of Corrections

A longtime lawyer for Oklahoma's prison system says he felt pressured by the governor's and attorney general's offices to make sure executions last spring happened on schedule, despite the lack of an execution method.

Corrections Department lawyer Michael Oakley said during a federal court hearing Thursday that he felt pressured "to get it done."

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Politics and Government
3:39 pm
Thu December 18, 2014

Oklahoma And Nebraska Sue Colorado Over Marijuana Legalization

Credit Dank Depot / Flickr Creative Commons

Nebraska and Oklahoma are asking the U.S. Supreme Court to declare Colorado's legalization of marijuana unconstitutional.

Nebraska Attorney General Jon Bruning announced Thursday that the states are seeking a court order to prevent Colorado from enforcing a measure that was approved by voters in 2012. Bruning says Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt is also a party to the lawsuit.

The complaint alleges that Colorado's Amendment 64 runs afoul of federal law.

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