Politics and Government
7:00 pm
Mon December 8, 2014

Proposed Senate Rules Reveal Chamber's Committee Deadlines

Senators will have up to six weeks to have their bills heard in committee under proposed rules to be considered during the chamber's Jan. 6 organizational day. 

Most bills and joint resolutions likely will be heard in committee by Feb. 26, the proposed deadline for Senate measures to be heard in a Senate committee. A new rule to be put before senators for their consideration on organizational day would allow member to file a bill at any time during the legislative session. The proposed rule includes language exempting those bills from the deadlines set in the rules.

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Six New Democrats, 16 Republicans
5:58 pm
Mon December 8, 2014

New Legislators Learning The Ropes Before February Session Begins

Credit ensign_beedrill / Flickr Creative Commons

Nearly two dozen newly elected Oklahoma House members are at the state Capitol this week learning about the legislative process before the 2015 legislative session begins in February.

House officials say most of the 22 new legislators elected in November attended Monday's orientation at the Capitol.

House staff briefed the freshman lawmakers on bill filing, presenting bills in committee and on the floor, and on common parliamentary procedures. Briefings are scheduled to continue Tuesday on ethics rules and how the state budget is crafted.

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Oklahoma Watch
2:01 pm
Mon December 8, 2014

Roland Clinic Draws Scrutiny From Oklahoma Drug Enforcers

The Wellness Clinic in Roland
Anny Sivilay Sequoah County Times

This story is part of a joint project by Oklahoma Watch and The Oklahoman, examining the state’s high rate of prescription painkiller overdoses.

If there were an official business model for a high-volume pain clinic, drug enforcers say, it would probably resemble the Wellness Clinic in Roland.

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Oklahoma News
1:03 pm
Mon December 8, 2014

Group Works To Change Craft Beer Laws

Credit K. Graham / Flickr Creative Commons

A group wants to make Oklahoma's laws for craft beer the same as state laws for wineries.

Heather Sams of the League of Oklahomans for Change in Alcohol Laws, or LOCAL, says there's several breweries that are restricted by regulations not imposed on other businesses like wineries.

The Journal Record reports the group wants breweries to be able to sell their whole beer portfolios from the tap. They also want liquor stores to be able to sell alcohol mixers, cheeses and other food pairings.

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StateImpact Oklahoma
12:22 pm
Mon December 8, 2014

How Low Oil Prices Could Block An Oklahoma Tax Cut

Richard Masoner Flickr.com

Gov. Mary Fallin in April 2014 signed into law a measure designed to gradually lower Oklahoma’s top income tax rate to 4.85 percent from 5.25 percent.

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Oklahoma Voices
11:08 am
Mon December 8, 2014

Knowledge, Skills, Abilities Crucial To Primary Education Of Oklahoma's Future Workforce

Shelly Deas, principal of Lee Elementary School in Oklahoma City, shows the school’s system for tracking achievement and improvement levels of each student. Students in blue are at the highest performing level; students in red are at the lowest.
Clifton Adcock Oklahoma Watch

At Oklahoma State University’s annual Economic Outlook Conference last week, industry professionals criticized low teacher pay, but forecasted continued job growth in education and several other jobs through 2015.

The Oklahoma Department of Commerce’s Deputy for Workforce Development Diedre Myers questioned how to best prepare Oklahomans for the surge. 

“What do our Oklahoma citizens need to do to have successful careers over their lifetime?” she asked.

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7:39 am
Mon December 8, 2014

New York Times: Energy Firms In Secretive Alliance With Attorneys General

Attorneys general in at least a dozen states are working with energy companies and other corporate interests, which in turn are providing them with record amounts of money for their political campaigns, including at least $16 million this year.
The letter to the Environmental Protection Agency from Attorney General Scott Pruitt of Oklahoma carried a blunt accusation: Federal regulators were grossly overestimating the amount of air pollution caused by energy companies drilling new natural gas wells in his state. But Mr. Pruitt left out one critical point.
Politics and Government
5:02 am
Mon December 8, 2014

Governor Fallin's Office Agrees To Settlement In Wrongful Termination Lawsuit

Credit facebook

Governor Mary Fallin's office has agreed to pay $125,000 to settle a lawsuit filed by the former director of Fallin's Tulsa office.

The Tulsa World reported the dismissal of the wrongful termination lawsuit on Sunday. Wendy Gregory filed the suit claiming she was fired because the governor's office feared bad publicity after the Internal Revenue Service sought to garnish her salary due to a child support dispute involving her husband and his previous wife.

Gregory has said the IRS soon withdrew the action.

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Sports
4:45 am
Mon December 8, 2014

Russell Athletic Bowl and Cactus Bowl For Oklahoma Teams

Credit slgckgc / Creative Commons

Clemson and Oklahoma will meet in the Russell Athletic Bowl on Dec. 29 in the matchup of Atlantic Coast Conference and Big 12 foes.

The game will be played in the renovated Orlando Citrus Bowl Stadium. It is the silver anniversary of game.

No. 18 Clemson (9-4) is making its sixth appearance in Orlando, its last coming in the 2005 Champs Sports Bowl when it earned a victory over Colorado. The Tigers finished second in the ACC's Atlantic Division behind unbeaten Florida State.

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Science, Technology and Environment
6:27 am
Sun December 7, 2014

Christmas Bird Count In Oklahoma Starts At Chickasaw National Recreation Area

A Belted Kingfisher, one of the species of birds identified during the 2013 Christmas Bird Count at the Chickasaw National Recreation Area.
John Benson Flickr Creative Commons

The Chickasaw National Recreation Area will be hosting a Christmas Bird Count on December 14, opening day for the national effort. Other bird counts in Oklahoma will take place between December 14, 2014 and January 5, 2015.

The Christmas Bird Count, sponsored by the Audubon Society, is the longest running citizen science project in the country. For 115 years, birders around the country have gone into the field around Christmas to count and identify birds. All the information collected is compiled and used by scientists studying bird populations.

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