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Oklahoma Conservation Commission Executive Director Trey Lam stands on the bank of the Blue River in south-central Oklahoma.  He said budget cuts will result in more staff reductions at the agency.
Logan Layden / StateImpact Oklahoma

The $6.9 billion budget signed last week by Gov. Mary Fallin delivers 5 percent cuts to most state agencies. On paper, it looks like two environmental agencies received funding boosts,  but a closer look at the numbers shows the increases aren’t what they appear.

In this screenshot taken from the live video, former FBI Director James Comey listens to questions during a hearing before the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence June 8, 2017.
NPR

Former FBI Director James Comey is testifying before the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence this week, speaking publicly for the first time since he was fired by President Trump nearly a month ago. The Senate Committee is looking into the circumstances around Comey's dismissal and how they relate to the FBI investigation of Russian interference in the U.S. Election.

Former FBI Director James Comey's opening statement for the Senate Intelligence Committee hearing on Thursday shows that the president wanted it publicly known that he was not under investigation.
Eric Thayer / Getty Images

Former FBI Director James Comey is testifying before the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence this week, speaking publicly for the first time since he was fired by President Trump nearly a month ago. The Senate Committee is looking into the circumstances around Comey's dismissal and how they relate to the FBI investigation of Russian interference in the U.S. Election. The White House has given conflicting messages about the reasons for Comey's firing. Sources close to Comey say the President told Comey to shut down the Russia investigation. That's a charge that the White House denies.

Meteorologist Rick Smith responds to messages on the National Weather Service Facebook account. On stormy days, the forecast office in Norman often receives messages every few minutes from people worried about tornadoes.
Nomin Ujiyediin / KGOU

When meteorologist Rick Smith was growing up in Memphis in the 1960s and '70s, he was terrified of tornadoes. When storms approached, he glued himself to the weather radio and TV, gathering as much information as he could. At night, he cowered in his parents’ bed, covering his ears to block out the sound.

“It was like this mysterious, loud monster at night that you just didn’t know exactly what it would do to you,” Smith said.

Oklahoma head coach Bob Stoops calls out from the sideline in the second half of the Sugar Bowl NCAA college football game against Auburn in New Orleans, Monday, Jan. 2, 2017. Oklahoma won 35-19.
Gerald Herbert / AP

The head coach of the University of Oklahoma’s football team is stepping down.

 

Bob Stoops will retire after 18 years of leading the team, and offensive coordinator Lincoln Riley will take the helm of the Sooners.

Alekza Quinonez, 10, studies reading in a summer school class at Cesar Chavez Elementary School in Oklahoma City.
Dustyn Rappe / Oklahoma Watch

Oklahoma is raising the bar on its pivotal, high-stakes reading test administered to third graders, which is likely to leave more students at risk of repeating the third grade.

Twelve percent of third graders, those who scored “unsatisfactory” – the lowest level – did not meet criteria for automatic promotion in 2016.

Oklahoma State Capitol
LLudo / Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

It’s been one week since state lawmakers finished the regular legislative session and passed a state budget. Here’s what’s happened this week in politics...

 

Children eat a meal at an orphanage.
Marina Kroupina / Center for Neurobehavioral Development, University of Minnesota

Making sure people across the globe have access to proper nutrition is a goal of international organizations like UNICEF and the World Health Organization.

But sometimes, simply acquiring the right nutrients isn’t enough, especially if outside factors get in the way of allowing the body to process nutrients correctly.

Service technician Tyler Pabst demonstrates the servicing of a geothermal unit in Norman Wednesday.
Emmy Verdin / Journal Record

The end of a federal tax credit for homeowners who install Energy Star geothermal pumps has driven down business for Oklahoma companies that install the equipment.

Comfortworks, Inc. has seen a decline in business between 20 to 30 percent since the credit ended in 2016. Chris Ellis, vice president for Comfortworks, Inc., told the Journal Record’s Kateleigh Mills that his company has begun to focus more on commercial sales since the residential credit ended.

President Trump announces his decision for the United States to pull out of the Paris climate agreement in the Rose Garden at the White House on Thursday, June 1, 2017.
Win McNamee / Getty Images

The United States will withdraw from the international climate agreement known as the Paris accord, President Trump announced on Thursday. He said the U.S. will negotiate either re-entering the Paris agreement or a new deal that would put American workers first. NPR journalists fact-checked and added context to his remarks, including comments about the economy and U.S. energy sector.

Oklahoma Highway Patrol troopers
Brian Hardzinski / KGOU

Oklahoma State Highway Patrol Troopers can now drive as many miles as they want.

J.D. Drennan, senior agronomist for 46 Grain Company, stands in front of the grain elevator at Farmers' Elevator Company in Ames, Oklahoma.
Logan Layden / StateImpact Oklahoma

The Oklahoma rye harvest gets underway within the next few days. Oklahoma is the country’s number one producer of what is occasionally referred to as the ‘poverty grain.’ Rye doesn’t have the best reputation, but demand is on the rise.

Oklahoma State Capitol Building
Claire Donnelly / KGOU

Gov. Mary Fallin signed the Fiscal Year 2018 Oklahoma state budget Wednesday.

Oklahoma City Mayor Mick Cornett during the January 13, 2016 State of the City address during a Greater Oklahoma City Chamber luncheon.
Brent Fuchs / The Journal Record

 

Oklahoma City Mayor Mick Cornett has announced plans to run for Governor in 2018. He made the announcement on Twitter Wednesday.

The current terminus of James Garner Ave. at Acres Street. Norman Forward would extend the two-lane roadway all the way to the Robinson Street underpass.
Brian Hardzinski / KGOU

Three new sales tax and bond proposals could raise more than a billion dollars for public projects in Oklahoma City.

 

Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin at her 2017 State of the State address on Feb. 6, 2017.
Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

Lawmakers finished the 2017 legislative session on Friday the passage of a nearly $7 billion budget. Legislators accomplished some of their goals this year, including compliance with the federal REAL ID Act and a $1.50 fee per pack of cigarettes. But there were also several things that did not happen at the statehouse, including the five items listed below.

Oklahoma state Reps. Leslie Osborn, center, R-Mustang, Kevin Wallace, left, R-Wellston and Glen Mulready, right, R-Tulsa, talk on the House floor in Oklahoma City, Monday, May 22, 2017.
Sue Ogracki / AP

Oklahoma’s legislative session came to a close on Friday, as lawmakers passed a nearly $7 billion budget.

RC Davis is the executive director of World Literature Today at the University of Oklahoma and the author of "Mestizoes Come Home!: Making and Claiming Mexican American Identity."
University of Oklahoma

Starting in the 1960s, the Mexican-American community began a period of reawakening.

In his new book, Mestizos Come Home! Making and Claiming Mexican American Identity, RC Davis explores how this community took hold of its past and cultural identity.

“They said we are going to embrace our culture and we're going to learn our history, we're going to share history with others. We're going to invite people in to learn about our culture. So it was a very deliberate act of cultural recovery,” Davis told KGOU’s World Views.

Oklahoma state capitol
Jacob McCleland / KGOU

The Oklahoma legislature wraps up today, as lawmakers pass a final budget deal that will fill a nearly $900 million shortfall. Legislators passed several bills that will have an impact on business in the state. Journal Record editor Ted Streuli and KGOU’s Jacob McCleland reviewed some of the business-related bills.

A demonstrator holds up seven fingers to send a message to a House committee that lawmakers should remove discounts and incentives so all oil and gas wells are taxed at 7 percent.
Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

Oklahoma lawmakers have struggled for months to agree on a formula to patch a nearly $900 million budget hole and sign off on a plan that funds state agencies. To help pay for the budget plan, lawmakers are considering ways to squeeze more from taxes on oil and gas production, an option that has divided politicians and one of the state’s biggest industries.

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