Politics and Government

The Two-Way
12:19 pm
Fri August 2, 2013

Whitey Bulger Decides Not To Take The Stand

James "Whitey" Bulger, in an image released by the U.S. Marshal's Service in August 2011.
EPA /Landov

Originally published on Fri August 2, 2013 11:18 am

One of the most anticipated testimonies in a criminal trial will not happen: James "Whitey" Bulger, the notorious Boston gangster, decided not to testify in his own defense, today.

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State Capitol
10:12 am
Fri August 2, 2013

State Veterans Issues Focus Of Multiple Studies

Veterans center in Ardmore, Okla.
Credit Oklahoma Dept. of Veterans Affairs

Rep. Tommy Hardin(R-Ardmore) and Sen. Frank Simpson (R-Ardmore) are hosting several interim studies pertaining to the Oklahoma Department of Veterans Affairs and Veterans Centers.

Hardin’s study focuses on ODVA’s request to declassify certain positions in veteran’s centers. The request was previously approved by a committee but due to its legislative nature, Hardin requested the study.

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Oklahoma State University
8:59 am
Fri August 2, 2013

OSU Sexual Assault Court Hearing Delayed

The Spirit Rider statue on Oklahoma State University's Stillwater campus.
Credit thecollegerag / Flickr Creative Commons

A judge has rescheduled the arraignment for a former Oklahoma State University student accused of sexual assault.

Nathan Cochran was due in court Friday for an arraignment in Payne County, but a judge delayed that until Sept. 6 at 1:30 p.m. Cochran is charged with four counts of sexual battery and is accused of groping male students while they slept.

Cochran has pleaded not guilty. Affidavits filed in the case allege that the incidents occurred in August and November in 2012.

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Water Safety
7:13 pm
Thu August 1, 2013

Bodies Of Three Fishermen Recovered From Arkansas River

The Arkansas RIver near Tulsa where authorities recovered the bodies of three fisherman Thursday.
Credit TexasExplorer98 / Flickr Creative Commons

Authorities say the body of a third fisherman has been recovered after they all accidentally fell into the Arkansas River early Thursday.

Tulsa Fire Department Capt. Stan May says the third man was pulled out of the river late Thursday afternoon after an all-day recovery effort in and along the river.

Authorities say one of the men went into rushing water near a low-water dam in midtown to go noodling — or attempt to catch a fish with his hands.

May says the first man started to struggle in the water, so two others went in to help him.

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StateImpact Oklahoma
3:31 pm
Thu August 1, 2013

Oklahoma’s Kiowa Tribe Says Gravel Mining Will Ruin Sacred Mountain

The Kiowa Tribe is worried about the impact of gravel mining on Longhorn Mountain, near the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Reserve in southwestern Oklahoma.
Credit jaxx2kde / Flickr Creative Commons

For almost 150 years, the Kiowa Tribe has used Longhorn Mountain for ceremonies and to gather the cedar used to purify their homes. But tribal leaders say the sacred site is being threatened by gravel mining.

Two of the mountain’s five private landowners have leased water and property rights to Cushing-based Material Service of Oklahoma, Inc. Kristi Eaton reports with the Associated Press reports:

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Politics and Government
3:59 pm
Wed July 31, 2013

Dept. of Human Services Adjusting And Reorganizing

Ed Lake, Director of DHS
Credit www.okdhs.org

The Oklahoman reports that the Department of Human Services is reorganizing its departments and department heads.  Assistant Attorney General Ronald Baze will take on the role of new general counsel.

Ed Lake, DHS Director,  said that this breaks new ground in the relationship with the Attorney General's office as it gives DHS access to all their resources. Baze will stay on at the Attorney General's office  while heading the DHS legal staff.

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Politics and Government
12:56 pm
Wed July 31, 2013

Governor: Insure Oklahoma Not In Special Session

Gov. Mary Fallin says Insure Oklahoma will not be in the special session, if one is called.
Credit Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

Gov. Mary Fallin says she won't include the fate of Insure Oklahoma as a topic for a special legislative session if one is called.  

The Tulsa World reports that a spokesman for Fallin told the paper Tuesday in an email that the health insurance program wouldn't be considered.

Oklahoma has submitted a plan to the federal government to end the program.

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Affordable Care Act
12:44 pm
Wed July 31, 2013

Pruitt Challenges Health Care Law, IRS On Capitol Hill

Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt testifies before the U.S. House Oversight and Government Reform Committee - July 31, 2013.
Credit U.S. House of Representatives / UStream

Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt testified before the U.S. House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform Wednesday morning.

Pruitt says the Affordable Care Act prohibits the Internal Revenue Service from imposing tax penalties on large employers if that state did not adopt its own health care exchange.

Starting in 2015, any company with more than 50 workers faces hefty tax penalties for not providing adequate coverage to employees who then go to a subsidized federal exchange.

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State Capitol
9:16 am
Wed July 31, 2013

Fraud, Enforcement Focus Of Roofing Legislative Study

Rep. Jon Echols (R-Oklahoma City)
Credit Oklahoma House of Representatives

Rep. Jon Echols said he plans to look at the strength of current Oklahoma roofing code, both by looking at existing regulations and how they are enforced, during an interim study.

“We’re going to bring in all parties, regulatory parties, the roofers, and any interested parties, and talk a little bit about what’s going on in the state and out of state with roofers following Oklahoma roofing code,” said Echols (R-Oklahoma City).

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Politics and Government
6:01 pm
Tue July 30, 2013

Company Laying Off Workers Received Taxpayer Dollars To Create Jobs

State Representative Mike Reynolds
Credit www.okhouse.gov

The decision last week by Spirit AeroSystems to lay off 360 employees from its facilities in Kansas and Oklahoma is causing one lawmaker to question economic incentives the company receives from the state.

Representative Mike Reynolds says he is “disgusted” that the Oklahoma Quality Jobs Program would give millions of taxpayer dollars to Spirit for job creation at the same time the company is reducing its workforce.

A news release from Reynolds says the aircraft parts manufacturer received two payments through the program for more than 2-million dollars.

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