KGOU
Oklahoma Watch

Capitol Insider: Mental Health Commissioner Terri White Says ‘We're Talking About Life And Death’

The Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services announced it will be forced to cut half of its services if lawmakers don’t fix the state’s budget.

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American currency
thinkpanama / Flickr Creative Commons

Legislators aren’t the only ones who returned to the Capitol for the special session.

If it’s anything like the regular session, lobbyists will be picking up the tabs for pricey dinners and drinks during the days or weeks to come. Lobbyists spent almost half a million dollars on meals and gifts for lawmakers and other public officials during the spring session.

Julio Alicea's 8-month-old granddaughter Aubrey came down with severe respiratory problems a day after Hurricane Maria pummeled Puerto Rico. "We are very lucky," Alicea says. "The hospital is open and we live nearby." Aubrey's cough turned intense, and when she started vomiting, Alicea says, he rushed her to the hospital at 4 a.m.

She didn't have any respiratory issues before the hurricane, Alicea says, sitting on a blue bench outside San Jorge Children's Hospital in San Juan. His 3-year-old granddaughter Angelica is keeping him company.

Photo illustration by Michael I Schiller and Ben Fine, photos by Paul Kuroda / Reveal

Oklahoma State House of Representatives

Republican and Democratic leaders blamed each other Wednesday for the ongoing budget impasse. House Speaker Charles McCall, R-Atoka, abruptly canceled an expected vote on a proposed cigarette tax increase and announced the House would adjourn until a budget deal is reached.

Updated at 5:00 p.m. ET

President Trump and GOP congressional leaders have outlined their plan for the most sweeping overhaul of the federal tax code in more than three decades.

They're proposing deep cuts in both individual and corporate tax rates, saying that will help supercharge a slow-growing economy.

"We want tax reform that is pro-growth, pro-jobs, pro-worker, pro-family, and yes, tax reform that is pro-American," Trump said Wednesday during a rally at the Indiana State Fairgrounds.

Federal agents have arrested former NBA star Chuck Person and several other college basketball coaches, in a bribery and fraud case that also involves sports management agents and a top executive at Adidas. In all, 10 people were arrested.

Storme Jones / KGOU

Civil rights leaders and advocates for the deaf rallied in downtown Oklahoma City Sunday, following the fatal police shooting of a deaf man. 

The Catholic Church beatified Oklahoma-born priest Stanley Rother on Sept. 23, 2017. More than 20,000 people attended the ceremony at the Cox Convention Center in downtown Oklahoma City.
Nomin Ujiyediin / KGOU

More than 20,000 people gathered in the Cox Convention Center on Saturday to witness the beatification of an Oklahoma-born priest.

Father Stanley Rother was born in Okarche, Okla. in 1935.  He served as a missionary in Guatemala for 13 years, introducing the people of Santiago Atitlan to farming techniques and establishing a radio station, among other services.

Ramona Roberts, a special education teacher in Jenks Public Schools, works with students Tim Foster (center), Michael Copeland (left), Elijah Sexton (bottom right) and Hunter Falconer (right). Jenks has had special education teacher vacancies in the past,
Sherman Merchant / Jenks Public Schools

Special education teachers have become so scarce that districts face fierce competition to find and keep good candidates and sometimes leave open positions unfilled.

That’s why late one night in August, Ponca City Public Schools Superintendent Shelley Arrott sprang into action when she heard the distinctive ding of her cell phone. The alert meant a job application had been submitted online to the district. She scrambled to arrange an interview the next morning for the applicant.

New Law Gives Oklahoma More Responsibility In Finding And Fixing Failing Schools

Sep 22, 2017
State Superintendent of Public Instruction Joy Hofmeister
Oklahoma State Department of Education

Many people say the former massive federal education law, No Child Left Behind, was a failure. When President George W. Bush signed it in 2002, he set a huge goal for the country: Every child would meet the proficiency standard on state tests by 2014.

But, that never happened.

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