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Environment
5:59 pm
Tue July 1, 2014

Rain Not Only Lessens Drought, It Brings Back The Lesser Prairie Chicken Population

Credit J.N. Stuart / Flickr.com

An aerial survey shows good rains in parts of the five-state range of the federally threatened lesser prairie chicken have brought a 20 percent increase in the grouse's population from last year.

A release Tuesday from the Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies says there were 22,415 lesser prairie chickens in this year's survey, up from 18,747 last year.

The increase came in the northeast Texas Panhandle, northwestern Oklahoma and south central Kansas — areas where more rain produced better prairie habitat. The bird is also in New Mexico and Colorado.

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Trail of tears
4:09 pm
Tue July 1, 2014

Tennessee Acknowledges And Apologizes To Cherokees For Removal

Cherokee Nation Secretary Of State Chuck Hoskin, Jr. and Tribal Councilor Jack Baker
Credit Lawrence Boothby / Anadisgoi

Tennessee lawmakers have apologized to the Cherokee Nation for actions taken by President Andrew Jackson that forced up to 16,000 Cherokees off Tennessee lands 175 years ago.

The Tennessee General Assembly passed House Joint Resolution 553 at an event Friday to commemorate the anniversary of the Trail of Tears.

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Immigration
1:35 pm
Tue July 1, 2014

Oklahoma Officials Call For Immigration Reform

A group of current and former Oklahoma Republican elected officials is urging Congress to pass an immigration reform measure this year, saying the current system isn't working for the state's business owners and farmers.

In a letter Tuesday to the state's five U.S. House members and two U.S. senators, the group says there is broad support among Republican voters to make significant changes to the country's immigration system.

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Politics and Government
8:38 am
Tue July 1, 2014

Earthquake Insurance Sees Rise In Oklahoma, Gets More Attention

Credit Great Beyond / Flickr Creative Commons

The recent increase in earthquakes has been alarming citizens and legislators who are questioning the causes and also preparing for more, making earthquake insurance all the more prevalent.

Only a single bill pertaining particularly to earthquakes was filed during the 2014 session.

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Oklahoma Watch
7:45 am
Tue July 1, 2014

Oklahoma Medicaid Providers Face More Possible Cuts

Images Money Flickr Creative Commons

In its second round of sweeping budget cuts, the Oklahoma Health Care Authority on Tuesday will consider reducing payments to doctors and other Medicaid providers by $159 million, effective immediately.

The authority will meet in special session to vote on provider reimbursement cuts affecting up to 13,932 physicians, 2,097 advanced practice nurses, 1,561 therapists, 1,285 physician assistants, 1,277 pharmacies, 1,255 personal care providers, 1,133 dentists and several thousand other providers.

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Health
6:16 pm
Mon June 30, 2014

Insure Oklahoma Health Care Plan Given Another Year

Credit 401(K) 2012 / Flickr.com

The federal government will let the state operate its Insure Oklahoma health care plan for another year, keeping alive a program that provides coverage to about 19,000 of the state's working poor and their families.

Gov. Mary Fallin announced Monday that the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services extended the program through Dec. 31, 2015. It was set to expire at the end of the year.

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State Employee Pay
4:55 pm
Mon June 30, 2014

Pay Raise For Oklahoma's Most Underpaid Workers

Credit Nic McPhee / Flickr.com

More than 12,000 of Oklahoma's most underpaid state workers are getting a boost in pay under one of dozens of bills passed by the Legislature that is set to become law.

The pay raise bill is one of 60 measures approved by the Legislature this year that take effect on Tuesday, the first day of the state's 2015 fiscal year. Among the other bills that go into effect on Tuesday is the omnibus general appropriations bill that divvies up the state's $7.1 billion budget.

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Supreme Court
1:33 pm
Mon June 30, 2014

Oklahoma Congressmen Praise Hobby Lobby Ruling

The Oklahoma Congressional Delegation
Credit U.S. Rep. James Lankford / Facebook

Members of Oklahoma's Republican congressional delegation are praising the U.S. Supreme Court's decision in a case involving Oklahoma City-based Hobby Lobby.

U.S. Sens. Tom Coburn and Jim Inhofe issued statements Monday in support of the court's decision and praising the company's owners, the Green family. U.S. Reps. Jim Bridenstine, Tom Cole, and James Lankford also hailed the ruling as one in favor of religious liberty.

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OETA
11:52 am
Mon June 30, 2014

Oklahoma Forum: Primary Election Wrap-up

We analyze Tuesday’s Oklahoma Primary Election results and discuss campaign strategy and issues for the 2014 election season with:

  • Keith Gaddie, Chair, Political Science Department, University of Oklahoma
     
  • Sheryl Lovelady, former political pollster and campaign strategist  
     
  • Nate Webb, political analyst and former Congressional Chief of Staff for Mary Fallin
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Oklahoma Voices
11:04 am
Mon June 30, 2014

Oklahoma's Early Banking An Era Of 'Wild West Capitalism'

Credit University of Oklahoma Press

Overzealous railroad builders and near-constant debates over the merits of gold vs. silver led to the worst financial crisis the United States had ever seen toward the end of the 19th century.

By the time the dust had settled after the Panic of 1893, the U.S. comptroller of the currency's annual report indicated 573 national, state, private, and savings banks as well as loan, trust and mortgage companies failed during the year.

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