The Oklahoma House is expected to consider a measure that would increase the amount of money Oklahoma Highway Patrol troopers receive each month for an equipment allowance.
A bill expected to be considered next week would boost the troopers' monthly allowance from $150 to $300, effectively giving them an $1,800 annual raise. The bill would still need to pass both the House and Senate.
The money to pay for the increase was freed up from the Department of Public Safety's operating budget after a bill passed earlier this session to increase driver's license fees.
State Sen. Constance Johnson (D-Oklahoma City) said Friday she will seek the post during the party's annual convention on Saturday, May 18. Democratic campaign strategist Jed Green will seek the vice-chair position.
Current Democratic Party Chairman Wallace Collins also is seeking re-election to the post, along with current vice-chair Dana Orwig. Collins is a former Democratic state legislator from Norman.
Earlier this week Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu traveled to China. Even though the two leaders did not meet, the timing of the visits signals China could start to become a diplomatic player in the troubled region.
Joshua Landis, the Director of the Center for Middle East Studies at the University of Oklahoma and a longtime observer of Syria, says China tried to arrange a meeting in 2007 between Netanyahu and Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, but it didn’t work.
“[China has] been asserting themselves more and more in the Middle East,” Landis says. “And that’s a product of the United States withdrawing, and China is becoming much more self-confident.”
State leaders have been looking for a way to cover thousands of uninsured Oklahomans after Gov. Mary Fallin rejected a federal expansion of Medicaid. A consultant told the Oklahoma Health Care Authority to look toward Arkansas for an answer.
A consultant hired by Oklahoma to propose ideas on state health care policies is recommending the state adopt a plan similar to one in Arkansas that channels state and federal money to private insurers to cover the uninsured. The approach would mean changing and expanding the current Insure Oklahoma plan, which subsidizes premiums for more than 30,000 uninsured people but is capped.
Ariel Castro during his arraignment Thursday at Cleveland Municipal Court. He's accused of kidnapping and raping three young women, and then holding a daughter born to one of those women captive. The women had been missing for about a decade. The child is now six years old.
Update at 10:45 a.m. ET. DNA Testing Confirms Suspect Is Child's Father, Ohio Attorney General Says:
Preliminary DNA tests confirm that Ariel Castro, the man charged with kidnapping and repeatedly raping three young women held captive in his Cleveland home for about a decade, is the father of a girl born to one of the victims six years ago, Ohio's attorney general announced Friday morning.
A statement posted by Attorney General Mike DeWine's office says:
Oklahoma House Democrats say an improper vote was cast for a $7.1 billion budget bill on behalf of a Republican legislator who had left the building.
House Democratic Leader Rep. Scott Inman said Thursday that Tulsa Republican Rep. Terry O'Donnell had left the Capitol when two votes were cast on the general appropriations bill. O'Donnell was shown voting yes on both votes.
It is a violation of House rules for a vote to be cast for any member who is not present in the chamber.
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) - The Oklahoma House has approved a $7.1 billion bill to fund state government for the upcoming fiscal year, despite objections from Democrats and some Republicans who complained the measure doesn't provide enough money for public safety entities.
The House voted 59-40 on Thursday for the general appropriations bill that funds state agencies for the fiscal year that begins July 1.
AUSTIN, Texas (AP) - The brother of two leaders of one of the most powerful drug cartels in Mexico has been found guilty of buying racehorses to hide illegal drug profits.
A federal jury on Thursday found Jose Trevino Morales guilty of conspiracy to commit money laundering. Prosecutors believe Trevino's older brothers run the Zetas drug cartel, considered the biggest criminal organization in Mexico.