News

Mutuma Ruteere, Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance, briefs journalists at UN Headquarters, November 5, 2012.
Evan Schneider / UN

Contingents from around the world gathered in Istanbul earlier this week for the first-ever United Nations World Humanitarian Summit. The goal is to overhaul how aid is delivered, and to make the world safer for refugees during what the U.N. has called the world’s worst humanitarian crisis since the Second World War.

State Sens. Greg Treat, R-Oklahoma City (left), Clark Jolley, R-Edmond, (center), and David Holt, R-Oklahoma City (right) emerge from Tuesday morning's budget meeting at the state Capitol.
Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

The Oklahoma Senate passed a budget for Fiscal Year 2017 on Wednesday that closes most of the $1.3 billion shortfall by cutting spending to most agencies.

Updated May 25, 3:17 p.m.

Common education, the Department of Human Services, and the Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services all take reductions between 2 and 5 percent of what was originally appropriated last year. Higher education stands to lose nearly 16 percent.

beer bottles
Pixabay / CC0 Public Domain

The state is a step closer to changing its alcohol laws after the Senate approved a joint resolution that would allow voters to decide if grocery and convenience stores can sell wine and strong beer.

On a 30-14 vote, the chamber sent Senate Joint Resolution 68 to the House for consideration.

test with a pencil
shinealight / Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Lawmakers are considering a measure that would significantly reduce school testing. The House passed a bill Monday that eliminates all tests that are not federally mandated. That includes five tests in the lower grades, and the seven end-of-instruction exams high schoolers take to graduate.

Oklahoma state Capitol
Jacob McCleland / KGOU

The Oklahoma Legislature is constitutionally required to wrap up by 5 p.m. Friday, and both House Speaker Jeff Hickman, R-Fairview, and Senate President Pro Tem Brian Bingman, R-Sapulpa, say they don't expect a special session as they grapple with a $1.3 billion shortfall.

Hickman said nothing on the legislature's agenda is more crucial than finalizing the state budget for the fiscal year that begins July 1.

Nico Gomez, CEO of the Oklahoma Health Care Authority.
Warren Vieth / Oklahoma Watch

The Oklahoma Health Care Authority board did not vote on a proposal to cut Medicaid reimbursement rates to providers by 25 percent at its meeting on Monday.

OHCA CEO Nico Gomez originally proposed the cut in March due to the state’s projected $1.3 billion budget dollar shortfall. At Monday’s meeting, Gomez asked the board to delay action because legislators had not yet released a budget. The Oklahoma legislature is in the final week of its session, and a budget agreement had not emerged as of Monday afternoon.

House Speaker Jeff Hickman, R-Fairview, updates lawmakers Friday about Oklahoma's budget situation one week before the constitionally required end of the 2016 legislative session.
Oklahoma House of Representatives

After weeks of dire warnings about Oklahoma’s budget situation, legislative leaders say they're hopeful that a package of bills moving through the Legislature over the next few days will avert draconian cuts to education, health and other core programs.

But as work continues to bridge the state’s $1.3 billion budget gap for the 2017 fiscal year that begins July 1, it appears many services will not be fully shielded from cost-cutting moves.

State Sen. David Holt, left, and state Rep. John Michael Montgomery in the Oklahoma state Capitol in Oklahoma City Friday.
Samuel Perry / The Journal Record

Every year, state officials earmark some oil and gas revenue for state agency accounts, and deposit the rest into the General Revenue Fund. But there could be a new option if lawmakers create a savings account for the state budget.

Budget Crisis Clips Credit For Oklahoma's Working Poor

May 22, 2016
Tammy Greenman of Oklahoma City uses a bullhorn to ask Gov. Mary Fallin to call off safety net cuts, including partial elimination of the Earned Income Tax Credit.
Warren Vieth / Oklahoma Watch

In their final rush to contend with Oklahoma’s budget crisis, state lawmakers have voted to curtail a tax credit described by advocates as one of the best programs ever devised to help the working poor.

The measure to eliminate the “refundable” portion of Oklahoma’s Earned Income Credit would reduce the income of about 200,000 low-income households by $147 a year on average, according to a recent data study.

May 22, 2016

This is from the Manager's Desk.   

This week, I am recognizing the KGOU and StateImpact Oklahoma staff who have won awards for content. Last February the Oklahoma Association of Broadcasters presented KGOU with two Outstanding Achievement awards for General News and Special Programming.

And recently, the Society of Professional Journalists Oklahoma Pro Chapter presented KGOU seventeen awards and StateImpact Oklahoma nine awards.

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