It's All Politics
5:03 am
Wed March 18, 2015

Would Automatic Voter Registration Increase Turnout?

Advocates are looking to a new Oregon law as a model for increasing voter turnout.
Paul J. Richards AFP/Getty Images

Go to renew your driver's license in Oregon, and you will now be signed up to vote automatically.

It's the first state in the country with that sort of law, which is designed to make voting easier, and stands in contrast to the trend seen in the past several years in more conservative states.

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9:35 pm
Tue March 17, 2015

Todd Lamb: On the Road

Lieutenant Governor Todd Lamb.

Todd Lamb, Oklahoma’s lieutenant governor, isn’t at the Capitol much.

Now in his second term, Lamb, a Republican, has spent a good portion of his tenure as second-in-command traveling across Oklahoma or out of state. He just finished his fifth tour as lieutenant governor in which he visited 77 counties in 77 days.

On Friday, in McAlester – his last stop on the tour – Lamb was asked by a McAlester News-Capital reporter about any plans to run for governor in four years. “I’ve been asked if it’s in the back of my mind,” Lamb said. “It’s in the front of my mind.”

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Oklahoma News
5:10 pm
Tue March 17, 2015

Woodward County Wildfire 70 Percent Contained

Stock Photo Of A Grass Fire
Credit Oklahoma Forestry Services

Emergency personnel say a wildfire that has charred 37 square miles in rural western Oklahoma and destroyed at least six structures is about 70 percent contained.

Oklahoma Forestry Services spokeswoman Michelle Finch-Walker said Tuesday that a wind shift caused the fire to burn back into itself, allowing crews to make significant progress to extinguish the blaze.

Woodward County emergency manager Matt Lehenbauer said state emergency officials will assess the damage.

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Business and Economy
2:49 pm
Tue March 17, 2015

Oklahoma Unemployment Rate Holds Steady

Credit Kate Hiscock / Flickr Creative Commons

Oklahoma's unemployment rate held steady in January — unchanged from December at 3.7 percent.

The Oklahoma Employment Security Commission reported Tuesday that civilian labor force rose by 12,450 to nearly 1.8 million while the number of people with a job increased by 12,960 to stand at just more than 1.7 million.

The greatest job gains came in the professional and business services category with an additional 2,800 jobs.

The national unemployment rate for January stands at 5.7 percent.


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Oklahoma News
1:46 pm
Tue March 17, 2015

NTSB Says Lowering Cloud Ceiling May Have Contributed To EagleMed Crash

Stock Photo Of An EagleMed Medical Helicopter
Joe Kubitschek Flickr Creative Commons

A federal investigator says the pilot of a medical helicopter that crashed last week in eastern Oklahoma had encountered a lowering cloud ceiling and was trying to turn the aircraft around before it struck trees and rocky terrain.

Pilot Matt Matthews was killed and two crew members, nurse Kim Ramsey and paramedic Ryan Setzkorn, sustained injuries that weren't life-threatening after the EagleMed LLC helicopter crashed late Thursday near Eufaula.

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Capital Punishment
1:08 pm
Tue March 17, 2015

Clayton Lockett Calm And Talkative Before Botched Execution

Clayton Lockett
Credit Oklahoma Department of Corrections

Newly released records show a condemned Oklahoma inmate chatted with members of his execution team before a botched lethal injection last spring and even recommended a vein to a paramedic charged with setting up his intravenous line.

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World Views
11:27 am
Tue March 17, 2015

What The Ongoing Nuclear Talks Mean For Iran’s Domestic Politics

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, flanked deputies, sits across from Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif and other advisers on March 17, 2015, in Lausanne, Switzerland, before resuming negotiations about the future of Iran's nuclear program.
U.S. Department of State Flickr

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif met on Monday in the latest round of nuclear talks. Iran and Western governments have been working on negotiations with the goal of reducing the size of Iran’s nuclear program in exchange for the lifting sanctions imposed on the country.

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Oklahoma Watch
9:32 am
Tue March 17, 2015

Marriage Bill Would Not Eliminate State Involvement

Cavan Images Flickr Creative Commons

While supporters say House Bill 1125 would eliminate state-issued marriage licenses, public oversight of those marriages would continue, even if the licenses are no longer issued.

Currently, state law requires religious officials and others who officiate at marriage ceremonies to register with county officials before a marriage certificate can be considered valid.

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Oklahoma News
6:50 am
Tue March 17, 2015

Diversity Concerns Linger On University Of Oklahoma Campus

Demonstrators gather outside Evans Hall on the University of Oklahoma campus last week to protest the video with racist chants by Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity members.
Kate Carlton Greer KGOU

In the days after a racially charged video circulated on social media and gained national attention, minority students at the University of Oklahoma spoke out, many expressing concerns about their experiences on campus.

The leaked video shows Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity members chanting that African American males would never be allowed in their organization. It was blatantly racist, and emotions ran high with students and faculty at the university.

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11:19 pm
Mon March 16, 2015

Used Syringes And Vials Found In Arkansas River

Credit Biggishben / Wikimedia Commons

The Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality says medical waste including used vials and syringes has been found in the Arkansas River in eastern Oklahoma.

Agency spokeswoman Erin Hatfield says the department was notified Monday of the discovery in Pawnee County and will send investigators to the scene about 60 miles west of Tulsa "in the next few days."

She said the river does not supply drinking water in Oklahoma. She also said there appears to be no immediate danger, other than to river users who might encounter any vials or syringes.

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