Oklahoma News
6:08 pm
Mon March 16, 2015

Bill Bans School Districts From Collecting Union Dues

A bill that prohibits Oklahoma school districts from making payroll deductions for its employees for union membership has narrowly passed a state Senate committee.

The Senate General Government Committee voted 4-3 Monday for the bill by Republican Sen. Nathan Dahm of Broken Arrow, the chairman of the committee. The bill already passed the House and now heads to the full Senate for consideration.

The bill's approval came despite opposition from the state's two largest teacher unions — the Oklahoma Education Association and the American Federation of Teachers.

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Oklahoma News
5:29 pm
Mon March 16, 2015

House Committee Passes Tobacco-Free Schools Bill

Credit Brian Hardzinski / KGOU

Public schools in Oklahoma would become tobacco free under legislation approved by a state House committee and sent to the full House.

The House Common Education Committee voted 14-0 Monday for the bill that has already passed the state Senate. A similar bill was previously passed by the House and is pending in the Senate.

Oklahoma law already requires that public schools be tobacco-free during the school day. The bill by Republican Rep. Lee Denney of Cushing would extend that policy to include non-school hours as well as school vehicles and school-sponsored activities.

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4:26 pm
Mon March 16, 2015

Excitement Over Mexico's Shale Fizzles As Reality Sets In

A platform owned by Mexico's state-run oil company Pemex is seen off the Bay of Campeche in the Gulf of Mexico. The country has recently opened up its energy sector to foreign investors.
Victor Ruiz Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Mon March 16, 2015 7:01 pm

The prolific shale formation that has made people rich in South Texas doesn't stop at the Rio Grande, as U.S. maps seem to indicate.

"The geology doesn't change when you cross that little 20-foot-deep river," says Brandon Seale, president of San Antonio-based Howard Energy Mexico. "What goes on 10,000 feet under the river is the exact same."

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Here & Now
1:36 pm
Mon March 16, 2015

The Week's News In Social Media

"Morning Joe" host Joe Scarborough came under fire in social media for his comments about the SAE fraternity at the University of Oklahoma that created racist chants. (MSNBC screenshot)

Originally published on Mon March 16, 2015 3:06 pm

Last week’s news blew up in social media circles, from Senator Tom Cotton’s letter about Iran, to comments from MSNBC hosts about racist chants by SAE frat members at the University of Oklahoma.

Slate editor-in-chief Julia Turner joins Here & Now’s Robin Young to discuss to round up how the news reverberated through social media.

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Oklahoma News
12:13 pm
Mon March 16, 2015

University Of Oklahoma Hires Former Federal Judge To Assist In Fraternity Investigation

Forme U.S. District Judge Michael Burrage
Credit firstbank-ok.com

The University of Oklahoma has retained a prominent Oklahoma attorney and former U.S. District judge to assist school officials with an investigation into a racist chant by some fraternity members.

In a statement released by the university on Monday, Oklahoma City attorney Michael Burrage says he will advise OU on a "range of legal matters." Burrage says he's been fully briefed on the university's investigation, which is focused on potential violations of the school's Student Code.

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Religion and Politics
9:28 am
Mon March 16, 2015

Professor Argues In Favor Of Hobby Lobby's Supreme Court Case

Credit Fan of Retail / Flickr Creative Commons

The United States is a divided nation and Americans need to figure out how to live together, according to Vincent Phillip Muñoz, Tocqueville Associate Professor of Religion and Public Life at the University of Notre Dame. Muñoz spoke at a recent lecture entitled "Hobby Lobby, Obamacare & the Future of Religious Freedom" at the University of Oklahoma’s Fred Jones Auditorium.

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Oklahoma News
6:33 am
Mon March 16, 2015

Before SAE, Ferguson Inspires University Of Oklahoma Minority Rights Group

Duct tape with the word "Unheard" covers the mouth of the Seed Sower statue on the University of Oklahoma's South Oval
Jacob McCleland KGOU

A small group of black students at the University of Oklahoma were thrust into the national spotlight last week after a video surfaced of Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity members singing a racist chant.

In the days after that video surfaced, member of black social justice group Unheard seemed to be everywhere, including CNN, ABC and NPR.

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Open Records
6:00 pm
Sun March 15, 2015

Fallin’s Office Didn’t Release Records Sought in Past 11 Months

Gov. Mary Fallin and other state leaders observe a PowerPoint presentation of revenue projections.
Joe Wertz StateImpact Oklahoma

Until Friday, Gov. Mary Fallin’s office had not released records requested in the previous 11 months by members of the news media and other groups, according to her office’s catalog of Open Records Act requests.

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12:30 pm
Sun March 15, 2015

Oklahoma Bill Would Establish Online Voter Registration

Oklahoma State Senator David Holt, R-Oklahoma City.
Credit oksenate.gov

More than a third of Oklahoma's eligible voters aren't registered, so lawmakers are considering allowing online registration to make the process more convenient and renew interest in elections.

State Election Board statistics show that more than 2.1 million people were registered to vote in January 2005. Ten years later and about 10 percent more residents, 119,280 fewer Oklahoma residents were registered to vote.

Last year's general election drew less than 30 percent of Oklahoma's eligible voters.

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Oklahoma News
9:31 am
Sun March 15, 2015

FOI Oklahoma Presents Awards At Sunshine Conference, Discusses Open Records Law

FOI Oklahoma logo.
Credit FOI Oklahoma

Freedom of Information Oklahoma presented an administrator with the Oklahoma Department of Libraries, a state lawmaker and a persistent former University of Oklahoma student with its top awards at the organization's Sunshine Week program.

The group also acknowledged the Black Hole for damaging access to public information when it met Saturday.

William Young, administrator of the office of public information for the ODL, was presented the Marian Opala First Amendment Award.

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