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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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Oklahoma Tornado Project
7:30 am
Mon June 30, 2014

Group Hires Ex-Convicts To Rebuild Oklahoma After 2013 Tornadoes

Reuben Ramirez cuts wood for trusses at the Habitat for Humanity offices in Oklahoma City.
Kate Carlton Greer Oklahoma Tornado Project

Oklahoma has one of the highest incarceration rates in the country. Each year, the state releases roughly 8,000 people from prison, and many of them are looking for work. One organization now hires ex-offenders to help rebuild and restore tornado-struck towns. 

When Reuben Ramirez was released from prison three months ago, it was hard for him to adjust. Ramirez spent a total of seven years behind bars, so getting used to the outside world wasn’t always easy.

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Business Intelligence Report
5:00 am
Mon June 30, 2014

Top Business Stories: Challenges To New Laws, Sonic Earnings, And "Smart Meter" Concerns

Two Lawsuits Are Challenging Bills That Were Signed Into Law By Governor Mary Fallin.

A group of parents, teachers and members of the state Board of Education are fighting the repeal of Common Core standards.

They say the bill violates the state Constitution by letting the Legislature take over an executive function.

The bill repeals the Common Core standards, which Fallin initially supported. It says new standards will be developed. Opponents say the language of the law gives the Legislature too much power to review the new guidelines.

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Primary Elections
9:50 am
Sun June 29, 2014

Countdown To August 26 Runoff Elections

Credit Laura Knoll / KGOU

Democrats in Oklahoma who already face an uphill battle against Republicans in this increasingly red state for the fall 2014 election now are preparing for two more months of inner-party conflict in races for nominations in three major political contests, two of which are state-wide races. Republicans have more runoffs in state house and senate districts.

Democratic candidates for an open U.S. Senate seat, open 5th District U.S. House seat and state schools superintendent all were forced into an August 26 runoff when no one was able to capture a majority of votes in last week's primary election.

John Fox and Freda Deskin are competing for the Democratic nomination for the state schools superintendent slot. Connie Johnson faces Jim Rogers for the Democratic nomination for U.S. Senate. Tom Guild and Al McAffrey will continue to fight for the nomination in the U.S. Congressional District 5.

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Oklahoma Watch
7:00 am
Sun June 29, 2014

Is Oklahoma Spending Too Much On School Administration?

The population of Le Flore County in southeastern Oklahoma is less than a tenth of Oklahoma County’s population. Yet Le Flore has 17 school districts compared to Oklahoma County’s 15.

At Reydon Public Schools in western Oklahoma, the superintendent makes $116,000 a year, including benefits, to oversee one of the smallest districts in the state, at 124 students. That’s $936 per student, compared to $6 for Tulsa Public Schools Superintendent Keith Ballard, the highest paid superintendent this year, making  $260,000.

For years, conservative legislators and others have decried what they say are high administrative costs in Oklahoma districts and schools. They say the state’s K-12 system is top-heavy and wasteful. And they point to this as a reason not to increase Oklahoma’s per-pupil funding to levels found in most other states, and to expand school-choice options such as charter schools.

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Thank You For FY2014
6:00 am
Sun June 29, 2014

Happy New Fiscal Year!

Credit Kevin Dooley

June 29, 2014

This is from the Manager’s Desk.

Yes, that is Auld Lang Syne in the background as we fold up and put way the books on fiscal year 2014. 

In the last twelve months, we…

  • Maintained a quality broadcast and digital services twenty four hours per day, three hundred and sixty five days a year.
  • Launched the Oklahoma Tornado Project and continued the StateImpact Oklahoma reporting efforts,
  • Won a number of awards for staff and student work, including 3 national awards,
  • Said farewell to staff members Kurt Gwartney and Kathy Hawkins, and
  • Saw continued audience and business support growth in support of our service.

Thank you for the success of fiscal year fourteen. 

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Indian Times
1:15 pm
Sat June 28, 2014

5 Stories From Indian Country This Week

Credit Dwight Mission

Cherokee Nation To Restore And Preserve Schoolhouse

The Cherokee Nation and its businesses are donating $120,000 to restore and preserve a nearly 100-year-old schoolhouse. The schoolhouse was built in 1917 and was the main building at the Dwight Mission in Vian in eastern Oklahoma.

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