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How The NRA Uses Its Political Clout: An Early Lesson In Oklahoma

There was a time when the National Rifle Association was known primarily for promoting gun safety and advocating for gun ownership for hunting and home protection. But that seems a long time ago. It still does those things, to be sure, but these days the NRA is far more recognizable as an uncompromising political force, aggressively defending its interpretation of the 2nd Amendment, while working to defeat any and all politicians it views as its enemy. It's a transition that took place over...

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In Search of New Ways To Tame Opioid Crisis

Sep 18, 2017
Images Money / Flickr

Oklahoma is among the nation’s leaders in combating the opioid epidemic in some ways, but lags in others.

The question of what more Oklahoma can do to reduce the hundreds of fatal overdoses from prescription painkillers each year will hover over the 2018 legislative session. A commission chaired by Attorney General Mike Hunter plans to recommend by Dec. 1 new strategies for attacking the problem. Some or all of its proposals will be folded into legislation.

I Voted Sticker
Dwight Burdette / Creative Commons

Faced with low approval ratings, Oklahoma legislators are already seeing signs that they could be up against greater competition in trying to retain their seats in the 2018 election.

Campaign fundraising records indicate that 13 lawmakers have already drawn challengers – a sharp increase over the number that had filed by this stage in the 2016 election cycle. By the end of August 2015, just one lawmaker had drawn an opponent.

In 2011, the Justice Department classified Juggalos — fans of the Michigan-born rap duo Insane Clown Posse — as gang members, writing: "Crimes committed by Juggalos are sporadic, disorganized, individualistic, and often involve simple assault, personal drug use and possession, petty theft, and vandalism."

Sue Ogrocki, File / AP Photo

House Appropriations and Budget Chair Kevin Wallace (R-Welston) has proposed filling the state’s $215 million budget hole by passing a $1.50-per-pack cigarette tax, expanding tribal gaming and taking money from the state’s rainy day fund.

A truck filled with chat transports mining waste to a nearby repository near Picher, Okla. Some of it is processed and reused for asphalt, while the most contaminated chat is taken to specially designed landfills for long-term storage. More than 180 truck
Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

Newly minted U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt spent his first months on the job steering the agency away from climate change to focus, in part, on cleaning up contaminated sites around the country.

The former Oklahoma attorney general has directed a task force to create a top-10 list of locations that need aggressive attention — welcome news at Superfund sites like Tar Creek in the northeastern corner of the state.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attends the weekly cabinet meeting in Jerusalem Sunday, Sept. 10, 2017.
Ronen Zvulun / Pool Photo via AP

Allegations of corruption are circling Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, his family and inner circle. While Netanyahu has not been indicted yet, many of his close friends, colleagues and family have been ensnared in the investigations.

Three women chat in front of business storefronts in downtown Perry. State legislators hosted an interim study on Wednesday to evaluate what’s hindering businesses from locating in rural Oklahoma.
Brent Fuchs / Journal Record

Business recruiters in Oklahoma say they need more tools to help attract companies to the state.

At a House interim study on Wednesday, economic development leaders indicated Oklahoma is losing out to other states because Oklahoma does not have a robust closing fund to help seal deals. A closing fund is state-appropriated money that can be used at the last minute to entice a company to set up shop.

More than 4 million customers in Florida and other states hit by Hurricane Irma remain without electricity, complicating efforts to recover from the huge and intense storm. Some areas also lack water service or are under a mandatory boil water order.

The most outages are in Florida, where nearly 3.8 million accounts don't have power — around 36 percent of the state's total, according to state agency FloridaDisaster.org.

The cleanup after Hurricane Irma is a massive undertaking, after the destructive storm hit Florida and neighboring states over the weekend. In Miami, a nun chipped in to clear trees in her neighborhood — and no one, it seems, can resist a story about a chainsaw-wielding nun.

Sister Margaret Ann was spotted at work by an off-duty officer of the Miami-Dade Police Department, which posted video and images from the scene in the community of Kendall West Tuesday.

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