Things got a little out of hand at the Missouri state Capitol late Wednesday. An unusual evening session of the House featured a representative wearing a tinfoil hat, a toy black helicopter flying around the chamber and some heated words between legislators.
"It was definitely tense," says Jonathan Shorman, a reporter for the Springfield News-Leader. "It was a moment of high drama for the session."
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.
House Republicans have passed a bill that would tell President Obama which bills to pay first, should the U.S. Treasury run out of cash and risk default, like it almost did two summers ago. The proposal is not likely to move in the Democratic Senate, and the issue itself is fading in urgency as the deficit picture improves.
Abortion providers in Oklahoma would be required to answer dozens of new questions on a state questionnaire under a bill given final approval in the House despite concerns the bill paves the way for costly litigation against the state.
Colorado lawmakers approved two taxes on marijuana — a 15 percent excise tax, and a 10 percent sales tax. A photo depicts a quarter of an ounce, left, and one ounce of marijuana, along with a handful of rolled joints at a Denver dispensary.
Colorado is set to become the first U.S. state to regulate and tax sales of recreational marijuana, after lawmakers approved several bills that set business standards and rules. Legislators expect enforcement of the rules to be paid for by two taxes on marijuana — a 15 percent excise tax, and a 10 percent sales tax.
Other measures included in the package set limits on how much marijuana visitors to Colorado can buy (a quarter of an ounce), as well as a limit on how many cannabis plants a private citizen can grow (six).
Now we turn to a segment we call In Your Ear. Sometimes, after we've asked our guest about their work, we ask them about the music they listen to while they relax or play. Today, we hear from Ambassador Ron Kirk. He recently stepped down as United States Trade representative. But we caught up with him shortly before he left his post, and here's what he had to say about the music that kept him moving.
RON KIRK: Right now on now I'm enjoying "Once In A Lifetime" by Smokie Norful.
I'm Michel Martin, and this is TELL ME MORE, from NPR News. Later in the program, we will talk more about the story that's riveted the country, about those three women who were missing for a decade who were recently found alive. In a few minutes, we'll speak with a local columnist who stayed in touch with the mother of one of the missing women, who never gave up hope, but, sadly, did not live to see her daughter free. We'll hear more from columnist Regina Brett.
Oklahoma prison workers say they are worn out due to staffing shortages, low wages and the increasing prison population.
About a dozen uniformed prison guards visited the state Capitol Wednesday, urging lawmakers to reconsider their decision not to support a pay raise for workers at the Department of Corrections.
“DOC is at a breaking point,” said Sgt. David Edelman, an officer at the Lexington Assessment and Reception Center. “We are being forced to do 60-to-80 hours a week, and used to we could ask for overtime, but not anymore, we’re being forced.”
A $12 million proposal to give prison workers a five percent pay increase stalled earlier this session in a House committee.
Some progressive groups are angry with Facebook for running ads supporting GOP lawmakers on board with the immigration overhaul bill. The left-wing groups have turned a blind eye to what Facebook gets out of the overhaul measure, and what it may cost American tech workers.