Oklahoma House of Reps / YouTube

House Passes Budget After Late-Night Debate, Senate Expected To Consider It Today

House lawmakers approved a $7.1 billion budget late Wednesday night just one day after unveiling the plan. It now goes to the Senate on a 54-42 vote that saw several Republicans voting against the bill along with the House’s Democratic minority. The upper chamber is expected to consider the budget Thursday. House Majority Floor Leader Charles Ortega (R-Altus) called the process intense, and said lawmakers are moving quickly to try to end the session Friday. “Every day that we’re here, it...
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Update at 1:13 a.m. ET:

Officials have started the process of notifying families, it was announced at a press conference, though it wasn't certain if everyone on the train had been accounted for. The number of injured transported to the hospital was increased to 65, but the number of dead remained at five.

Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter said some major work would have to wait until the morning, as operating some of the heavy machinery in the dark wouldn't be safe. The next press conference also likely will wait until late Wednesday morning, he said.

ok.gov

Oklahoma school districts could allow teachers and staff with certain firearms training to carry handguns on school property under a bill signed into law by Gov. Mary Fallin.

The bill is one of 27 measures the governor signed Tuesday. It allows local school boards to designate school employees to carry a handgun on school property if they've attended either an armed security guard or reserve peace officer training program. Supporters say the new law provides some protection from an armed intruder, especially for rural districts.

The dry boat ramp at the Chisholm Trail Ridge Campground on the eastern shore of Waurika Lake.
Logan Layden / StateImpact Oklahoma

Before the consistent, heavy rains over the past week, Waurika Lake — the main source of water for Lawton and Duncan — was on the very brink of drying up too much to be used. Years of punishing drought led to the crisis, but what a difference a few days can make.

An artist's rendering of the proposed Oklahoma Museum of Popular Culture (OKPOP) in Tulsa.
Oklahoma Historical Society

A proposal to issue $25 million in bonds to build the Oklahoma Museum of Popular Culture in Tulsa has passed its first legislative hurdle.

The Senate Joint Committee on Appropriations and Budget voted 27-13 Tuesday for legislation that would authorize funding for the museum, known as OKPOP. The bill now goes to the full Senate for consideration.

Senate President Pro Tem Brian Bingman of Sapulpa introduced the legislation on Monday. He says the $25 million in bonds will be matched with private funds and the proposed museum will be built in Tulsa on donated land.

Continental Resources CEO Harold Hamm
Provided / Continental Resources

Harold Hamm, the founder, chairman and CEO of Continental Resources, says he requested a meeting with a state seismologist to get information, not to “bully” a scientist tasked with studying an earthquake surge that has been linked to oil and gas activity.

EnergyWire’s Mike Soraghan reports:

Tulsa County reserve deputy Bob Bates (center) stands outside the David L. Moss Criminal Justice Center with his attorney, Clark Brewster, after turning himself in Tuesday morning.
Matt Trotter / KWGS Public Radio Tulsa

A top administrator in the Tulsa County Sheriff's Office is set to resign after an internal memo was leaked indicating he had covered up the inadequate training of a volunteer deputy who fatally shot a restrained man.

Sheriff's office attorney Meredith Baker said Tuesday that Maj. Tom Huckeby plans to resign on Aug. 1. Baker did not explain why.

Huckeby didn't return requests for comment by the Associated Press. Baker says Huckeby is on vacation.

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

The Oklahoma Corporation Commission in March ordered the operators of nearly 350 disposal wells to prove their operations weren’t allowing waste fluid to be pumped into a rock formation known to produce earthquakes.

The Corporation Commission has not provided comprehensive records or data related to the operators’ responses to the March directives despite multiple requests by StateImpact. Today, the commission issued a statement that provides a snapshot of the industry’s response to the directives:

The U.S is home to the most Christians in the world, but the number of Americans who identify as Christian is declining, according to a newly released survey by the Pew Research Center. The survey of more than 35,000 Americans also found the number of people who consider themselves unaffiliated with any religion, or "nones," is growing.

According to Pew:

Marcus Prince drives his Jeep Liberty for the rideshare company Lyft
Kate Carlton Greer / KGOU

Gov. Mary Fallin signed legislation last week regulating the rideshare industry. The so-called “Uber” bill clarifies insurance requirements and creates a “zero tolerance” drug and alcohol policy. But the new law intentionally leaves out sexual orientation and gender identity in its non-discrimination clause.

American Indian Cultural Center & Museum

Oklahoma House Speaker Jeff Hickman is unveiling a plan for a $25 million bond issue to complete a long unfinished Native American museum near downtown Oklahoma City, while a separate proposal has been released for a $25 million museum in Tulsa.

Hickman revealed details of the plan late Monday, while Senate President Pro Tem Brian Bingman introduced a bill for a separate $25 million bond proposal to build the Oklahoma Museum of Popular Culture, or OKPOP, in Tulsa.

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