The death chamber at the Oklahoma State Penitentiary in McAlester.
Oklahoma Department of Corrections

A longtime lawyer for Oklahoma's prison system says he felt pressured by the governor's and attorney general's offices to make sure executions last spring happened on schedule, despite the lack of an execution method.

Corrections Department lawyer Michael Oakley said during a federal court hearing Thursday that he felt pressured "to get it done."

Dank Depot / Flickr Creative Commons

Nebraska and Oklahoma are asking the U.S. Supreme Court to declare Colorado's legalization of marijuana unconstitutional.

Nebraska Attorney General Jon Bruning announced Thursday that the states are seeking a court order to prevent Colorado from enforcing a measure that was approved by voters in 2012. Bruning says Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt is also a party to the lawsuit.

The complaint alleges that Colorado's Amendment 64 runs afoul of federal law.

Oklahoma City Barons
Wolfgangerl / Flickr Creative Commons

The Oklahoma City Barons have announced the team will end operations at the end of the current American Hockey League season.

The team said in a statement Thursday that the decision was made after it was unable to complete an affiliation agreement with the NHL's Edmonton Oilers.

Bob Funk Jr., the chairman of Prodigal, which manages the Barons, praised the Edmonton organization — but said a better financial agreement the company can no longer justify investing in the hockey team.

Gov. Mary Fallin and other state leaders observe a PowerPoint presentation of revenue projections.
Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

The State Board of Equalization met Thursday to certify state revenues for Gov. Mary Fallin's budgeting ahead of the next legislative session and fiscal year. Oklahoma has enough revenue to trigger an income tax cut.

The amount of money available to fund state government is trending flat, but officials say lackluster revenues seem manageable.

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Europe District / Flickr Creative Commons

The Oklahoma Department of Health is reporting four more deaths due to influenza in the state. 

The department said Thursday that six people have now died as a result of the flu during the season that began Sept. 28. Each person who died was 65-years-old or older.

Two of the deaths were reported in Garfield County and one each in Carter, Oklahoma, Payne, and Stephens counties.

Nearly 140 people have also been hospitalized due to the flu.

Ebola may have slid off the nation's worry list, but that doesn't mean the United States is ready to handle an outbreak of Ebola or another infectious disease, an analysis says. That includes naturally occurring outbreaks like dengue fever, tuberculosis and measles, as well as the use of bioterrorism agents like anthrax.

Brothers and business partners Fred and Wayne Schmedt stand in their family's wheat field near Altus in southwest Oklahoma.
Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

StateImpact racked up thousands of miles traveling across the state this year, filing more than 40 radio stories and hundreds of web posts on how government energy, environmental and economic policy affects ordinary Oklahomans. And many of those stories involve issues that are ongoing.

EPA Regulations

A street in Havana, Cuba in March 2014
Gareth Williams / Flickr

Two members of Oklahoma’s Congressional delegation have voiced their concerns after President Obama’s Wednesday announcement of steps to normalize relations between the United States and Cuba.

U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) says he strongly opposes lifting the embargo against the Communist country. The state's senior Republican senator says he doesn't expect to see freedom of speech or free elections in Cuba, and said he would oppose any efforts to lift sanctions on the island nation if they come to the Senate floor.

Just hours after the United States and Cuba announced they were moving toward normalizing relations, crowds gathered in Havana and Miami trying to come to grips with a historic shift.

NPR covered the reaction in those two places with two pieces on Morning Edition.

NPR's Greg Allen reported from Miami:

Bingman Names Republican Committee Members

Dec 17, 2014
Senate President Pro Tempore Brian Bingman
Oklahoma Senate

Senate President Pro Tempore Brian Bingman announced his committee assignments for the 55th Legislature on Wednesday. 

"Oklahomans have given Republicans a historic majority in the state Senate," said Bingman (R-Sapulpa). "With 40 Senators, there is a considerable diversity of leadership and talent in the Republican caucus. I am proud to work with such a fine group of public servants as we advance an agenda to further our economic momentum."

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