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Warren Vieth / Oklahoma Watch

The battle over Oklahoma’s tax on oil and gas production could soon spread outside the State Capitol to dinner conversations and public debates across the state.

A group of small oil and gas producers said despite recent efforts in the Legislature to raise the gross production tax temporarily to 7 percent on some wells, it will forge ahead with trying to put a state question on the 2018 ballot that would set a permanent 7 percent tax on all wells.

Oklahoma Watch

The Oklahoma State Department of Health went more than a year without a chief financial officer, and questions later arose about whether the agency overestimated revenues and used restricted federal funds to fill the gaps, sources told Oklahoma Watch.

However, a former chief financial officer at the agency said he had no knowledge of restricted funds being used to cover shortfalls.

Matt Whittington, of Edmond, enrolled in Epic Charter Schools because the flexibility of online classes fit with his commitment to gymnastics. The family made special efforts to ensure that the arrangement worked.
Michael Willmus / Oklahoma Watch

Virtual charter schools stand to receive the largest share of local tax funding if a lawsuit by a pro-charter-school group is successful.

That gain could occur despite the fact that virtual schools have fewer expenses than brick-and mortar ones, with few or no buildings to purchase and no transportation to provide.

FILE- Oklahoma State Capitol
Brent Fuchs / The Journal Record

As the Oklahoma legislature wraps up its sixth week in special session, only one bill has made it to Governor Mary Fallin’s desk. The House of Representatives and Senate passed a bill to appropriate $23.3 million from the state’s “rainy day fund” for the Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services.

 

 

Stormwater engineer Bill Robison snaps a photo of a flood-prone house the city is trying to buy from its homeowner.
Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

In the aftermath of devastating hurricanes in Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico, communities across the U.S. are rethinking ways to control flooding and reduce hazards that could be worsened by urbanization and climate change.

Writing such plans is a complex, politically challenging process, but one city in Oklahoma has emerged as a national model for creating a flood-control program that works.

Bill Robison pulls over and parks his city-issued car on a tree-lined street in east Tulsa.

Nomin Ujiyediin / KGOU

A cyclops, a sea monster and a three-headed dog guard the office of Scott Henderson, a gallery director at the Science Museum Oklahoma.

Top Arkansas Politician Uses Labor From Rehab Work Camp

Oct 31, 2017
Arkansas State Senator Majority Leader Jim Hendrens uses unpaid workers from a rehab center at his plastics company, Hendren Plastics, according to former workers and a new lawsuit.
Danny Johnston / Associated Press

One of Arkansas’ top politicians relies on unpaid workers from a local drug rehabilitation center at his plastics company, which makes dock floats sold at Home Depot and Walmart.

Hendren Plastics, owned by Arkansas State Senate Majority Leader Jim Hendren, partners with a rehab program under scrutiny for making participants work grueling jobs for free, under the threat of prison, according to interviews with former workers and a new lawsuit.

Oklahoma Commissioner of Health Terry Cline
Warren Vieth / Oklahoma Watch

The top official and a senior deputy at the Oklahoma State Department of Health have resigned amid findings that the agency overspent and mismanaged finances for years.

Gabriel Hongsdusit / Reveal

This week on Reveal, we examine U.S. immigration policies that affect millions of people who live illegally in the United States. We hear from families and children caught in a system with shifting rules, and those in charge of enforcing those laws on the ground.

Oklahoma state capitol
Jacob McCleland / KGOU

A budget package that would fill the state’s $215 million budget shortfall and provide raises to teachers and some state employees was held up in a House committee Friday, and its future is now in doubt.

Splash CEO Eric Stowe On Clean Water In The Developing World

Oct 27, 2017
Splash / Facebook

In many countries, clean drinking water is scarce and healthy water sanitation practices are not common. In some cases, potable water is available, but it is not available to everyone. Clean water may be available at a fancy hotel, but not at the orphanage next door.

Nurse practitioner Rachel Mack examines a patient at Family Health Care & Minor Emergency Clinic in Warr Acres.
Brent Fuchs / Journal Record

A change in federal law in 2014 made it more difficult for advanced practice registered nurses to provide pain relief for patients. The law effectively removed nurses’ ability to prescribe schedule 2 drugs, such as hydrocodone.

Oklahoma Senate minority leader John Sparks, D-Norman, talks about the gross production rate on Oct. 26, 2017.
Jacob McCleland / KGOU

The Oklahoma Senate is trying to break a stalemate between House Republicans and Democrats. On Thursday, the Senate passed a bipartisan resolution, urging House leaders to include in their budget plans a tax increase on oil and gas production.

Newly Obtained Surveys Show Concerns Over Education Standards Law

Oct 26, 2017
Jacob McCleland / KGOU

Advocates for students with disabilities, minority students and low-income students were among the stakeholders who weighed in on the state’s plan for education under the Every Student Succeeds Act.

Some had recommendations adopted in the final plan, which was submitted to the U.S. Department of Education last month.

Others say their concerns were brushed aside.

Speaker of the Oklahoma House Charles McCall, R-Atoka, speaks at a news conference to announce a state budget deal on October 23, 2017.
Sue Ogrocki / AP

Democrats in the Oklahoma House voted down a GOP-backed package that would have increased taxes on cigarettes, smokeless tobacco, low point beer and fuel on a tense day at the state capitol.

The plan would have also given a pay raise to teachers and some state employees.

House Minority Leader Scott Inman, D-Del City, during Monday's State of the State address.
Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

The minority leader of the Oklahoma House of Representatives announced he is ending his campaign for governor and leaving the legislature at the beginning of 2018.

In a statement released on Wednesday, Rep. Scott Inman, a Democrat representing Del City, Oklahoma City and Smith Village, said his career was rewarding, but has taken a toll on his family.

Nomin Ujiyediin / KGOU

The Norman City Council will consider renaming DeBarr Avenue, a street bearing the name of Ku Klux Klan member and former University of Oklahoma professor Edwin DeBarr.

 

At the end of a four-hour meeting on Tuesday night, the council voted unanimously to pass a resolution condemning racism and agreeing to review the city’s street renaming procedure. The resolution was a response to the efforts of local activists calling for DeBarr Avenue to be renamed.

 

Jeff Raymond / Oklahoma Watch

A cash crunch that emerged over the summer at the state Health Department goes beyond the state’s current budget shortfall and caused the department to reach out to public health agencies in Oklahoma and Tulsa counties for help in shoring up its finances.

People watch a TV screen showing an image of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un delivering a statement in response to U.S. President Donald Trump's speech to the United Nations, in Pyongyang, North Korea, at Seoul Railway Station in Seoul, South Korea.
Ahn Young-joon / AP

North Korea is on the verge of becoming world’s ninth nuclear power, and the United States is entering a transition stage of having to accept Kim Jung Un’s role in the world.

Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin and Speaker of the House Charles McCall (left) announce a budget proposal on Oct. 23, 2017.
Jacob McCleland / KGOU

Five weeks after calling a special session, Gov. Mary Fallin announced Monday that Republicans in the state House and Senate have reached a budget deal to fill a $215 million shortfall.

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