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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Customers enter a Wal-Mart Neighborhood Market in Luther. It is one of six stores the company is closing in Oklahoma.
Brent Fuchs / The Journal Record

On Tuesday, Greater Oklahoma City Chamber president Roy Williams said the U.S. Department of Justice will hold off on suing Oklahoma County over issues at the jail just west of downtown.

The jail has had problems for years, and in 2008 Oklahoma County entered a consent decree with the U.S. Department of Justice to fix overcrowding and repair issues at the facility just west of downtown.

Former Oklahoma City police officer Daniel Holtzclaw, who was found guilty of raping and sexually assaulting multiple women while on his beat, was sentenced to 263 years in prison.

Holtzclaw's sentencing Thursday was temporarily delayed, after his attorney requested a new trial. Holtzclaw claimed there was evidence that hadn't been presented at trial.

The judge rejected the request, and sentenced Holtzclaw to 263 years in prison, to be served consecutively. That's the maximum sentence, and the one which had been recommended by a jury last month.

A SandRidge Energy well in northwestern Oklahoma.
Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

SandRidge Energy has agreed to shutter some disposal wells in earthquake-prone northern Oklahoma in a settlement that avoids legal action by state oil and gas regulators.

Daryl Gandy teaches at US Grant High School in Oklahoma City.
Jacob McCleland / KGOU

 

Daryl Gandy walks through the halls of Ulysses S. Grant High School in south Oklahoma City.

“We have 1,800 kids in this school that was built for 1,250,” Gandy said. “We have about 30 teachers, myself included, that don’t have a classroom.”

As Gandy strolls through the school cafeteria, he points outside to a white, nondescript building with a long metal ramp.

“These are our portables,” Gandy said. “We call it the trailer park. We have about 10 classrooms out here. This helps some of our overcrowding situation but it definitely didn’t fix it.”

Children play in a small tributary of the Illinois River near Tahlequah, Okla., in May 2015.
Logan Layden / StateImpact Oklahoma

Oil and gas are endangering the Oklahoma’s streams, soil and wetlands. Not by polluting them, but because plummeting oil prices have blown a billion-dollar hole in the state’s budget. Funding cuts at agencies that manage Oklahoma’s natural resources could threaten the state’s beauty, as well as people’s lives and property, officials say.

Devon Tower in downtown Oklahoma City.
Brian Hardzinski / KGOU

Devon Energy plans to lay off workers before the end of March.

The company's CEO Dave Hager made the announcement to employees during a packed meeting Wednesday at the Cox Convention Center.

In a statement later in the afternoon, the company said the layoffs are necessary due to continued low oil and natural gas prices.

Supporters of Donald Trump (and other candidates) gather at Oral Roberts University's Mabee Center Wednesday for a campaign rally.
Matt Trotter / Oklahoma Public Media Exchange

Republican presidential frontrunner Donald Trump and former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin made Tulsa a stop on the campaign trail Wednesday.

"Are you ready to stump for Trump?" the 2008 vice presidential nominee asked the crowd after being introduced by Trump.

"Our candidate is ballsy enough to get out there and put those issues on the table a lot of other candidates have wanted to run from," Palin said.

As Iran prepares to pump even more oil into an already glutted market, that oversupply isn't just making gas cheaper for your car — it's also causing jet fuel prices to go down sharply. And that's now pushing airfares down, too.

Afghan women at a polling location during 2010 parliamentary elections.
UK Ministry of Defense / Open Governement License

In 1998, President Clinton signed the International Religious Freedom Act, which codified religious freedom as an official foreign policy goal of the United States, and established the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, or USCIRF.

A 2014 report by the United Nations estimates that tens of millions of people in the world are currently enslaved. Most of them are in the developing world, where they work in mines, quarries or shrimp farms for no money and without hope of escape.

"Slavery is the complete control of one person by another, and violence is used to maintain that control in all forms of slavery," author Kevin Bales explains to Fresh Air's Dave Davies. "The adults in that situation know that if they attempt to leave, they may be killed."

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