Lawmakers gather in the House chamber at the state Capitol before Gov. Mary Fallin delivers her 2016 State of the State address.
Kate Carlton Greer / KGOU

Featured Four: State Of The State; Rilla Askew; SandRidge Layoffs; Sunsetting Wind Credits

Four stories that were trending or generated discussion online or on KGOU’s social media platforms during the past week. Fallin Presents Budget, Unveils Teacher Pay Raise And Corrections ReformsOn Monday, Gov. Mary Fallin delivered her annual State of the State address before a joint session of the Oklahoma House and Senate to kick off the 2016 legislative session. The two big topics were her proposal to give Oklahoma teachers a $3,000 raise, and a restructuring of the state budget to free up...
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Kris Steele introduces members of Oklahomans for Criminal Justice Reform
Kate Carlton Greer / KGOU

A new coalition aimed at reforming Oklahoma's criminal justice system launched a ballot initiative Wednesday morning. Business, legislative and faith leaders joined together with corrections reform experts to reduce the prison population and save money. 

Oklahoma State University Athletics

The entire Oklahoma State University men's basketball team will be wearing the number "10" on their jerseys Wednesday evening when they take on Baylor University in Stillwater.

The 8 p.m. game comes 15 years since the plane crash that killed 10 members of the OSU basketball team, coaches, and support staff.

Cigarette Tax Hike Proposed To Fund State Programs

Jan 27, 2016
cigarettes
Brian Hardzinski / KGOU

Oklahoma’s health commissioner is proposing a $1.50 increase to the price of a pack of cigarettes.

Dr. Terry Cline says the tax increase would generate about $182 million per year. About $120 million would fund teacher compensation, and nearly $58 million would go toward Insure Oklahoma. Another $3.6 million would go to pediatric cancer treatment and research.

The unfinished American Indian Cultural Center and Museum in Oklahoma City.
Brent Fuchs / The Journal Record

Oklahoma City took another step toward finishing the troubled American Indian Cultural Center and Museum.

Oklahoma Fourth District Republican Congressional Candidate James Taylor
Provided

An Oklahoma City middle school teacher who's also a church pastor in Norman filed paperwork Monday to challenge U.S. Rep. Tom Cole in Oklahoma's Fourth Congressional District primary this summer.

James Taylor teaches at Roosevelt Middle School in southwest Oklahoma City. The school is predominantly Hispanic and more than 90 percent of students qualify for free or reduced lunch.

Vicki Behenna is executive director of the Oklahoma Innocence Project. The OKIP will argue in Tulsa County District Court Friday that Malcolm Scott and Demarchoe Carpenter should be released from prison.
Brent Fuchs / The Journal Record

The Oklahoma Innocence Project will go to Tulsa County District Court later this week with new evidence in a 1994 case where two convicted murderers could get another chance to prove they had nothing to do with the crime.

two gay men holding hands
Alan Light / Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

Community and faith leaders in Oklahoma are speaking out against more than two dozen bills they say target the lesbian, gay, and transgender community.

"There’s one that would bar transgender people from using the bathroom in public,” said Troy Stevenson, the executive director of the LGBTQ advocacy group Freedom Oklahoma. “There’s one that stipulates removing education funding from any school system that has protections for the transgender community. There’s one that allows refusal of service to any person based on discrimination.”

Jose Antonio Vargas with Race Matters host Merleyn Bell and World Literature Today's R.C. Davis.
KGOU

Swaths of Syrians have been displaced by the country’s five-year civil war. Even though only a tiny fraction of the estimated 4 million refugees fleeing the conflict have ended up in the United States, it’s added a new dimension to conversations about border security, terrorism, and undocumented immigrants’ effect on the U.S. economy.

Oklahoma death row inmates Jeremy Williams (left) and Richard Fairchild (right).
Oklahoma Department of Corrections

Two death row inmates have exhausted their appeals, but won’t have execution dates set just yet as Oklahoma continues investigating what went wrong during two executions attempted in 2015.

On Friday the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals issued an order for stays of execution for Jeremy Williams and Richard Fairchild. The Court released that document to the public Monday.

Oklahoma State Capitol
mrlaugh / Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Oklahoma lawmakers could potentially consider more than 3,400 hundred bills when they formally reconvene next Monday, although the nearly billion-dollar budget hole will likely dominate the session that starts Feb. 1.

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