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Storm Shelters
11:10 am
Wed January 15, 2014

Dorman Officially Files Bill To Fund Oklahoma School Shelters

Petitions are completed for the Take Shelter Oklahoma organization in December. The group did not have enough signatures to put its petition on the ballot.
Credit Kurt Gwartney / KGOU

An Oklahoma lawmaker has filed legislation that would ask voters to decide whether to fund storm shelters in public schools.

The measure was filed Wednesday by Rep. Joe Dorman of Rush Springs, a Democratic candidate for governor. It is similar to an initiative petition Dorman helped spearhead that called for a statewide referendum on a $500 million bond issue to pay for storm shelters in schools.

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2014 Election
9:12 am
Wed January 15, 2014

Harris Drops Out Of Governor's Race, Endorses Dorman

State Rep. Joe Dorman (D-Rush Springs)
Credit Oklahoma House of Representatives

R.J. Harris has dropped out as a Democratic candidate forOklahoma governor.

Harris made the announcement on his website Wednesday and says he's endorsing Democratic state Rep. Joe Dorman in the race. Harris, who's previously run for office as a Republican and an independent candidate, says he's supporting Dorman because Dorman is "socially tolerant and fiscally conservative."

Republican Gov. Mary Fallin is running for her second term in office. She faces a GOP primary challenge from former state Sen. Randy Brogdon, who filed paperwork last month to run for governor.

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Federal Judge Says It Violates Constitution
5:00 pm
Tue January 14, 2014

Oklahoma's Gay Marriage Ban Struck Down

Credit kjd / Flickr.com

A federal judge has struck down Oklahoma's gay marriage ban, ruling that it violates the U.S. Constitution.

U.S. District Judge Terrence Kern handed down the ruling Tuesday in a lawsuit filed by two same-sex couples. Kern's ruling was immediately stayed pending appeal, meaning gay marriages won't immediately happen in Oklahoma.

The gay couples had sued for the right to marry and to have a marriage from another jurisdiction recognized in Oklahoma.

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Said Car Tag Image Counter To Christian Beliefs
4:12 pm
Tue January 14, 2014

Judge Rejects Minister's Claim

Credit Oklahoma Tax Commission

A federal judge has rejected a claim by an Oklahoma minister that the image on the state's license plate of a young Apache warrior shooting an arrow skyward conveys a religious message that is counter to his Christian beliefs.  

U.S. District Judge Joe Heaton dismissed the claim Tuesday filed against the state by Bethany pastor Keith Cressman.

Heaton wrote there is nothing about the image that suggests the Indian warrior is praying or that the arrow he is shooting is sacred, even though the image is inspired by artist Allan Houser's "Sacred Rain Arrow" sculpture.

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StateImpact Oklahoma
3:57 pm
Tue January 14, 2014

The Economic Impact Of A Bunch Of Thirsty Oklahoma Cows

Cows Graze in Kay County, Okla.
Credit fireboat895 / Flickr Creative Commons

Cattle is big business in Oklahoma.

In 2013, the state ranked No. 5 in total heads of beef cattle — with 4.2 million heads that represent roughly 4.7 percent of the total U.S. cattle inventory, data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture show.

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Transportation
2:42 pm
Tue January 14, 2014

Gov. Fallin Urges Washington To Take Transportation Action

Gov. Mary Fallin (R-Okla.) testifies Tuesday before the U.S. House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.
Credit Provided / U.S. House

Gov. Mary Fallin testified Tuesday before the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, urging lawmakers to negotiate a path forward on reauthorizing surface transportation.

"Well-managed dollars committed to infrastructure improvements directly impact our economy and enhance the ability of our industries to transport goods and provide services,” Fallin said. “Investing today in transportation is investing long term in our economic viability and the safety of our citizens."

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World Views
1:13 pm
Tue January 14, 2014

Iranian Hostage-Turned-Ambassador: Still Optimistic, Would Love To Return

A group photograph of the former Iranian hostages shortly after their release. The 52 Americans spent a few days in the hospital prior to their departure for the United States.
Credit Johnson Babela / U.S. Department of Defense

Ambassador John Limbert and 51 diplomatic and military colleagues were taken prisoner in the former U.S. embassy in Tehran on November 4, 1979. They were released 444 days later as Ronald Reagan was sworn into office on January 20, 1981.

Limbert has never been back to Iran in the 33 years after he boarded the plane for Algeria, even though he married an Iranian woman and his children were born there. He’s now a private citizen, no longer works for the State Department, and has no prohibition on his travel to Iran. But he says he’s not welcome by the Islamic Republic.

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Human Services
9:55 am
Tue January 14, 2014

Oklahoma Disabilities Waiting List Moving Forward, Still Almost A Decade Behind

Credit Oklahoma Dept. of Human Services / Oklahoma Dept. of Human Services

The Oklahoma Department of Human Services Developmental Disabilities Services Waiting List has been years in the making. The list serves individuals with developmental or intellectual disabilities and his or her family.

Oklahoma’s waiting list is not an entitlement under Medicaid, even though services are provided with Medicaid funding, but many of the services are received via OKDHS. In that manner, Division Director JoAnne Goin said services are entitlements similar to nursing home services.

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State Capitol
8:43 am
Tue January 14, 2014

Pardon, Parole Board Hopes To Move Clemency Hearings To McAlester

The Pardon and Parole Board hopes a new Department of Corrections executive director will be receptive to their request to move clemency hearings to the Oklahoma State Penitentiary.

Interim Executive Director Tracy George reported Monday she recently had discussed the idea of moving the hearings from the Kate Barnard Community Corrections Center in Oklahoma City to the Oklahoma State Penitentiary in McAlester. Death row inmates are housed and executed at the maximum security facility in McAlester.

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Two Death Row Inmates Exhausted All Appeals
6:20 pm
Mon January 13, 2014

Attorney General Pruitt Wants Execution Dates Set

Credit Flickr.com

Attorney General Scott Pruitt is seeking execution dates for two Oklahoma death row inmates who have exhausted their state and federal appeals.

Pruitt's office on Monday asked the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals to set execution dates for 46-year-old Charles Warner and 38-year-old Clayton Lockett.

Warner received the death penalty for the 1997 killing in Oklahoma City of 11-month-old Adriana Waller, the daughter of Warner's girlfriend.

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