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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Norman Forecast Office / National Weather Service

Updated 2:53 p.m.: Several central Oklahoma counties removed from Tornado Watch

The National Weather Service has removed Payne, Lincoln, Logan, Oklahoma, Canadian, Caddo, Kiowa, Jackson, and Hardeman counties from the Tornado Watch issued earlier Saturday.

Severe storms will occur this evening across parts of Oklahoma and western north Texas. Large hail, damaging winds, and tornadoes are possible.
Norman Forecast Office / National Weather Service

Updated 7:22 p.m.: Tornado Warning expires, damage reported in far west Norman

The Tornado Warning for Seminole, Pottawatomie, and Lincoln counties has been allowed to expire.

Power poles were bent and lines are down along 48th Ave. NW near Robinson Ave. Residents were trapped in their neighborhood briefly. Downed lines trapped a pair of firefighters in their engine Friday evening, but they were able to get out safely.

Crews at work on a Helmerich & Payne drilling rig in western Oklahoma.
Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

Oilfield services company Baker Hughes Inc. says the number of rigs exploring for oil and natural gas in the U.S. declined by 11 this week to 894.

Houston-based Baker Hughes said Friday that 668 rigs were seeking oil and 221 explored for natural gas. Five were listed as miscellaneous. A year ago, with oil prices nearly double the current price, 1,855 rigs were active.

Among major oil- and gas-producing states, Oklahoma lost six rigs, Louisiana was down three, New Mexico declined by two and Arkansas, California, Kansas, Ohio, Texas, Utah and West Virginia were off one each.

The Devon Energy Center in downtown Oklahoma City.
Brent Fuchs / The Journal Record

It’s been an interesting week in Oklahoma's energy sector.

On Tuesday, state treasurer Ken Miller released his office’s monthly revenue figures, which showed collections from oil and natural gas production dropped by more than 54 percent compared to April 2014. A day later, several energy companies released their first quarter earnings for this year.

Jacob McCleland / KGOU

Preliminary damage reports from Wednesday’s storms show multiple EF-2 tornadoes hit the metro area. The severe weather injured dozens of people and killed at least one. Residents across the state are trying to get back on their feet. 

The motel near Interstate 35 and SE 44th Street in Oklahoma City.
Jacob McCleland / KGOU

KGOU's News Director Jacob McCleland spent the day surveying and reporting on the damage and recording his observations after Wednesday night's and Thursday morning's devastating tornadoes and flooding that killed one person and injured dozens more.

Blue Bell Creameries

Listeria bacteria was found in Blue Bell ice cream's Oklahoma plant as far back as March 2013. That's according to test results released Thursday by the government.

The company continued to ship ice cream produced in that plant after what the FDA said was inadequate cleaning.

Three deaths are now linked to the ice cream, and the company recalled all of its products last month.

Gov. Mary Fallin meets with firefighters in Bridge Creek Thursday morning, a day after a tornado destroyed several buildings in the central Oklahoma community.
Gov. Mary Fallin / Facebook

Updated 12:14 p.m.: Fallin tours damage in Bridge Creek, addresses the state

Gov. Mary Fallin thanked first responders, charitable volunteers, law enforcement, and emergency workers as she met with members of the Bridge Creek Fire Department and toured damage in the area Thursday morning.

She said the state of emergency she declared Wednesday for 12 Oklahoma counties will allow counties to make emergency purchases without limitations.

Iran's now-Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei (left) with Ayatollah Hossein-Ali Montazeri, 1978.
Wikimedia Commons

The only two heads of state in Iran’s history are familiar, albeit mysterious, figures to the West. Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini returned from exile to become the face of the Islamic Revolution, with his image adorning posters outside the captured U.S. embassy in Iran throughout the 1979-1981 Hostage Crisis. His successor, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, never travels overseas, grants interviews, or meets with Western leaders.

Dustin Green, owner of 10 Acre Woods farm near Norman, feeds a few of his 400 or so chickens.
Logan Layden / StateImpact Oklahoma

The right-to-farm bill got through the legislative process last week. That means voters will have a chance to decide next year whether to give farmers and ranchers broad protections against future state laws that might interfere with their operations.

But opponents say right-to-farm is a license that allows big ag to harm animals and the environment. But where do actual Oklahoma farmers and ranchers stand on the issue?