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Tulsa Race Riots Of 1921 Echo Tensions Today

Oct 4, 2016

In 1921, the city of Tulsa, Oklahoma, erupted in race riots that left up to 300 people dead. Homes and businesses were burned.

The riot has been mostly ignored by history. But a recent fatal police shooting of an African-American man in Tulsa has re-focused attention on the city’s past.

Bruce Fisher, retired curator of the African-American projects at the Oklahoma Historical Society, and Kate Carlton Greer, a reporter for KGOU, join Here & Now‘s Robin Young to discuss Tulsa’s past and present.

Another earthquake shook Oklahoma today. It measured 3.1 on the Richter scale, and struck just after 7 a.m. near Stroud, 65 miles from Oklahoma City.

That’s one of more than 500 this year, compared to California’s 156. Scientists have linked Oklahoma’s sharp increase in earthquakes in recent years to the underground injection of wastewater during oil and gas production.

Here & Now‘s Robin Young checks in with Joe Wertz, KGOU’s StateImpact reporter, about Oklahoma’s earthquake trends.

From its state legislature and governor to its congressional delegation, Oklahoma is a solidly Republican state. So while polls and political analysts predict a Trump victory, several key ballot questions are causing a stir.

One of them, called “Right to Farm,” limits government restrictions on farming. Another focuses on alcohol sales.

Here & Now‘s Robin Young checks in with StateImpact Oklahoma reporter Logan Layden for the latest in Oklahoma politics.

Dr. Larry Burns sits in a courtroom as he waits for a hearing to begin in Oklahoma City, Thursday, July 9, 2015.
Sue Ogrocki / AP

The Oklahoma Supreme Court struck down a state law that would’ve placed new restrictions on abortion providers.

In a unanimous ruling, the state’s high court said the law Gov. Mary Fallin signed in June 2015 violates the Oklahoma constitutional requirement that laws deal with only one subject.

“A legislator voting on this matter could have been left with an unpalatable all-or-nothing choice,” the decision says.

Paycom employees participate in a group training session at the company’s corporate headquarters in Oklahoma City on Monday.
Brent Fuchs / The Journal Record

Employers have about two months until new federal overtime rules go into effect unless Congress or courts put a halt to them, but experts are telling Oklahoma companies to plan for the rules, anyway.

Attorney General Scott Pruitt has joined several other states’ attorneys general in a lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Labor, and U.S. Sen. James Lankford has introduced a bill to delay the December 1 deadline.

A Devon Energy disposal well near Stillwater, Okla.
Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

Gov. Mary Fallin and Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson both say energy policy needs to be included in the national political debate, but they disagree on a transmission line project that would move wind energy from the Oklahoma panhandle to western Tennessee.

Fallin currently chairs the Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission, and Hutchinson takes over that role next year. Both spoke Monday at the group's annual conference in Little Rock.

Fallin says she supports the Plains & Eastern Clean Line transmission project designed to move up to 4,000 megawatts of wind energy.

Chickasaw Nation Gov. Bill Anoatubby discussed water rights, language efforts, and the tribe’s economic development during his annual State of the Nation address Saturday.

He told the crowd gathered in Tishomingo the August agreement between the state, the city of Oklahoma City, and the Chickasaw and Choctaw Nations maintains tribal sovereignty and resolves long-standing issues over water rights and regulatory authority.

Dan Ellis with Comfortworks Inc. explains the installation of a geothermal heat pump at the Gulfport Energy Corp. headquarters in Oklahoma City.
Brent Fuchs / The Journal Record

Several Oklahoma businesses are joining a national energy trade group to lobby Congress to extend tax credits for renewable energy.

Representatives from the geothermal heat pump sector want an extension of tax credits that are set to expire in December. Members of the geothermal industry say extending the tax credit will allow their businesses to keep growing.

Carol Barnes, of Ponca City, says that one of her greatest fears was losing her vehicle, cutting off her only access to mental health treatment.
Clifton Adcock / Oklahoma Watch

There was a time in Carol Barnes’ life when the prospect of losing her car would have worsened her already severe anxiety and depression.

When she was struggling with her disorders during the mid-2000s, Barnes said, losing her only means of transportation would have meant losing access to her mental health providers.

House Majority Leader Carl Albert (D-Okla.) sits in the Oval Office with President Lyndon Johnson.
Lyndon B. Johnson Presidential Library

Editor's Note: This program originally aired June 29, 2015.

Southeast Oklahoma is an unusual place, politically. Many southerners settled in the area after the Civil War, leading to its nickname “Little Dixie.”

Through the 20th century, it became the center of political power in Oklahoma, and the Democratic Party dominated politics well into the late 1990s. Decades after the formerly “Solid South” had switched to the Republican Party, Democrats enjoyed an 8:1 voter registration advantage in southeast Oklahoma.