Politics and Government

Politics
7:32 am
Sun May 17, 2015

GOP Presidential Race Revs Its Motors At Iowa Dinner

Originally published on Sun May 17, 2015 6:14 pm

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

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Oklahoma Watch
7:17 am
Sun May 17, 2015

Lawmakers Still Negotiating Budget As Deadline Approaches

State Rep. Earl Sears, R-Bartlesville
Credit okhouse.gov

State lawmakers and Governor Mary Fallin's office continue to negotiate ways to address a $611.3 million budget gap, the chairman of the House Budget Committee said Friday.

State Rep. Earl Sears, R-Bartlesville, said negotiators were close to finalizing a budget deal, but "several small issues" remained. "Right now work continues," Sears said. "There are a bunch of little moving targets."

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Oklahoma Watch
5:15 am
Sun May 17, 2015

Health Providers: Budget Squeeze Could Shutter Rural Clinics

Toni Pratt-Reid, the owner of three medical clinics, said she could be forced to close two of those clinics if the Oklahoma Health Care Authority reduces the rates it pays nurse practitioners.
M. Scott Carter Oklahoma Watch

A top Oklahoma health official is warning that the budget crunch may force the Oklahoma Health Care Authority to cut payments to mid-level medical providers such as nurse practitioners and physician assistants, which providers say could lead to the closing of rural clinics.

Facing a $611 million budget gap, state leaders say most agencies will see spending cuts, or at best, a flat budget. But even with a flat budget, Health Care Authority officials said, many low-income residents could see a reduction in health care access and services.

Budget documents released by the Authority indicate the agency is proposing more than $40 million in budget reductions for the 2016 fiscal year. Those cuts range from $2.9 million in administrative cuts to a $5.2 million, or 15 percent, reduction in reimbursement amounts paid to nurse practitioners, physician assistants, physical therapists and other mid-level providers.

Doctors could see reimbursement rate cuts of about 2 percent, lawmakers said.

The reductions would lower fee-for-service payments to 85 percent of the Authority’s physician fee schedule.

About 3,250 providers would be affected.

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It's All Politics
8:31 am
Sat May 16, 2015

RedState Advises Less Meat-Throwing, More Substance In GOP Campaigns

RedState Editor Erick Erickson is asking Republican candidates attending this year's RedState Gathering to focus on what they would do for the country, not what red meat they can throw at Democrats.
Tony Gutierrez AP

After the Republican presidential candidates finish their first debate this summer, many will head to Atlanta for a summit hosted by Erick Erickson, conservative activist and editor-in-chief of RedState.com.

This year, Erickson's RedState Gathering is scheduled for the same weekend as the Iowa Straw Poll.

Jeb Bush has already indicated he will go to the RedState Gathering rather than Iowa. Scott Walker, Carly Fiorina, Bobby Jindal, Marco Rubio and Rick Perry are also going. Most will try to attend both events, Erickson says.

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U.S.
7:16 am
Sat May 16, 2015

Red Tape Slows Control System That Could Have Saved Speeding Train

Officials attend the launch of a Positive Train Control system for Los Angeles' Metrolink commuter trains in February 2014 at Los Angeles Union Station. Congress mandated the technology after a Metrolink engineer ran a red light while he was texting and crashed head-on with a freight train in 2008.
Damian Dovarganes AP

Originally published on Sat May 16, 2015 6:35 pm

National Transportation Safety Board investigators say Positive Train Control — a system of satellites, communication towers and complex software that makes sure trains' safely follow their routes — would have prevented Tuesday's Amtrak train derailment in Philadelphia, which killed eight passengers.

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Politics
6:58 am
Sat May 16, 2015

Week Of Damage Control For Jeb Bush And Hillary Clinton

Originally published on Sat May 16, 2015 6:35 pm

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

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Simon Says
6:58 am
Sat May 16, 2015

Pressed For Time? Try Hiring A Body Double

Originally published on Sat May 16, 2015 10:23 am

American political consultants soar around the world these days to counsel candidates, from Britain to Israel to Panama. But now a Mexican politician has an idea that might interest U.S. politicians and their consultants.

Renato Tronco Gomez, an independent deputy in Veracruz, wants to find a body double. He's holding a contest this month to find someone who will study his speech, walk, and mannerisms so that he can play Mr. Gomez at ceremonies and events that the deputy cannot attend himself.

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Wind Energy
9:00 pm
Fri May 15, 2015

Oklahoma Senate Moves To Eliminate Wind Tax Credits

Credit Logan Layden / StateImpact Oklahoma

The Oklahoma Senate has given unanimous approval to a pair of bills that will end two separate tax subsidies for the wind industry inOklahoma.

With no debate, the Senate on Friday approved one bill to eliminate a 5-year property tax exemption for wind manufacturers, starting in 2017. Because the state reimburses counties for the revenue lost from the exemption, the cost of the subsidy has skyrocketed with the expansion of wind farms in Oklahoma. It's expected to cost the state about $44 million in the current fiscal year.

The bill now heads to the House for consideration.

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Workers' Compensation
7:03 pm
Fri May 15, 2015

Head Of Oklahoma Workers' Compensation Agency To Resign

Oklahoma Workers' Compensation Commission executive director Rick Farmer.
Credit YouTube

The head of the new Oklahoma Workers' Compensation Commission says he's planning to step down following a tumultuous year in which the three-member panel was found to have repeatedly violated the state's Open Meeting Act.

Commission Executive Director Rick Farmer announced in a statement Friday that he is resigning effective July 2 for a position in the private sector.

Farmer has served as the head of the commission since it was created in 2013 as an alternative to the state's Workers' Compensation Court.

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It's All Politics
4:37 pm
Fri May 15, 2015

She's Not A Candidate, So Why Do So Many People Have An Opinion Of Her?

Nearly a quarter of respondents to a recent poll had an opinion on Political Science Professor Emily Farris, who is not running for anything.
Courtesy Emily Farris

Originally published on Fri May 15, 2015 5:07 pm

Emily Farris teaches a survey research class at Texas Christian University in Fort Worth, Texas.

She has no national profile. She's 31, which is too young to be president and besides, she told NPR, she has "no kind of political aspirations. I like my job a lot."

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