prison bars
mikecogh / Flickr Creative Commons

An Oklahoma prison inmate who walked away from a minimum security facility on New Year's Eve was the fourth inmate to escape from the prison in less than a week.

Department of Corrections spokesman Jerry Massie says 24-year-old Christopher Rowe remained on the loose Tuesday. Massie says officials believe he is in the Tulsa area. The other three inmates who walked away from the John H. Lilley Correctional Center on Dec. 27 were returned to the Okfuskee County facility within a day.

Oklahoma State Senate

Members of the Oklahoma House and Senate have elected Rep. Jeff Hickman of Fairview and Sen. Brian Bingman of Sapulpa as their respective leaders for the new legislative session.

Both chambers convened at noon Tuesday for an organizational day that the Oklahoma Constitution requires before the start of each new two-year session. In addition to electing leaders to various posts, the Senate also approved new rules that make it easier to introduce a bill.

Updated at 5:46 p.m.

The White House says President Obama will veto any congressional legislation that approves the Keystone XL pipeline.

"If this bill passes this Congress, the president wouldn't sign it," White House press secretary Josh Earnest said.

Updated at 2:08 p.m.

Rep. John Boehner of Ohio was re-elected House speaker today despite an attempt by a small group of his fellow Republicans to deny him a third term.

NPR's Shirish Date tells us that Boehner was helped by a larger GOP majority than in the previous Congress, as well the absence of a number of Democrats who were attending the funeral of former New York Gov. Mario Cuomo.

All this week, we’re talking about energy issues in the U.S. Today, we look at hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, the process of injecting chemicals and water into rock to release natural gas and oil.

Though fracking has been going on in the U.S. for years, the debate over it has reached a fever pitch. Last month, New York became the first state with significant natural gas reserves to ban fracking, after completing a long-awaited report on health and environmental impacts.

futureatlas.com / Flickr.com

AAA Oklahoma says the average price for a gallon of gasoline in the state has fallen for 69 consecutive days and is the third lowest in the nation.

AAA says Oklahoma's average price Tuesday was 1.89, down from the 2014 high of $3.53 in late June. Missouri's average price stood at $1.84 and Ohio's was $1.88.

AAA spokesman Chuck Mai says excess supply and weak demand forced the price of West Texas Intermediate crude oil down to below $50 per barrel on Monday for the first time since April 2009. It was trading at $107 per barrel in June.

University of Oklahoma head football coach Bob Stoops addresses reporters during s January 6, 2014 press conference.
SoonerSports.tv

University of Oklahoma head football coach Bob Stoops announced the firings of co-offensive coordinators Jay Norvell and Josh Heupel Tuesday morning after a tumultuous 8-5 season that culminated with a 40-6 loss Dec. 29 to Clemson in the Russell Athletic Bowl.

“By no means are they scapegoats. The bottom line is, I feel moving forward we need to go in a different direction,” Stoops said. “I thank them for what they have contributed, their dedication, and hard work through all these years, and I’m sure they’ll continue to have successful coaching careers as they move forward.”

House Speaker Jeff Hickman (R-Fairview) at Gov. Mary Fallin's State of the State address - February 3, 2014.
Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

Members of the House and Senate are convening at the Capitol to formally elect their leaders and adopt their rules for the upcoming legislative session.

Both chambers will convene at noon on Tuesday for an organizational day called for in the Oklahoma Constitution before the start of each new two-year Legislature. After each body elects its leaders, approves rules and formally certifies 2014 election results, they will adjourn until Feb. 2.

ODOT Game Plan Is To Play Defense Next Session

Jan 6, 2015
At its Monday, Dec. 8 meeting, the Oklahoma Transportation Commission approved a contract for reconstruction the I-35 interchanges at SH-9 East and Lindsey St. in Norman, pictured here looking south.
Oklahoma Department of Transportation

The Oklahoma Department of Transportation will be playing primarily defense and little offense next legislative session, said Executive Director Mike Patterson Monday. The department’s legislative game plan, he said, came after discussions last session that threatened to reduce funding to the state agency.

Oklahoma had a fivefold surge in earthquakes last year, making it by far the most seismically active state in the Lower 48, EnergyWire reports:

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