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After Late-Night Approval by the House
6:55 pm
Fri May 23, 2014

Senate Kills Fallin-Backed Shelter Plan

Credit benchilada / Flickr Creative Commons

The Oklahoma Senate has killed a proposal backed by Gov. Mary Fallin that would have called for a statewide vote allowing some school districts to increase property taxes to pay for safety upgrades like storm shelters and safe rooms.

The Senate voted 25-16 on Friday against the plan that had narrowly passed the House a day earlier.

The proposal would have sent to Oklahoma voters a proposal to allow school districts to exceed their bonding capacity one time over the next five years to pay for voter-approved safety initiatives, including storm shelters and safe rooms.

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Governor expected to sign bill
6:19 pm
Fri May 23, 2014

House And Senate OK Capitol Repairs

Credit April Weeks / Flickr.com

The Oklahoma Senate has given final approval to a 10-year, $120 million bond issue to overhaul the nearly 100-year-old state Capitol.

The bill already passed the House and was approved Friday in the Senate on a 34-8 vote. It now heads to Gov. Mary Fallin, who is expected to sign it.

The House has been reluctant to issue bonds to pay for state projects, but members were placated by the creation of a bipartisan committee of lawmakers to oversee the project.

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allows concealed handguns in school parking lots
4:01 pm
Fri May 23, 2014

Fallin Signs Eight Bills Into Law

Credit Emily Allen / Flickr.com

Legislation that authorizes persons with concealed handgun licenses to store their handgun in a locked vehicle on school parking lots has been signed into law by Gov. Mary Fallin.

The bill is among eight bills that Fallin signed into law Friday.

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Oklahoma City Thunder
12:47 pm
Fri May 23, 2014

Oklahoma City Thunder's Serge Ibaka May Be Available Against Spurs

Oklahoma City Thunder forward Serge Ibaka.
Credit Ben Tebbens / Flickr Creative Commons

The Thunder say defensive standout Serge Ibaka may not be lost for the playoffs, after all.

General manager Sam Presti said Friday that Ibaka's injured left calf is showing "a level of movement and stability not thought possible."

As a result, Ibaka is now considered day to day for the Thunder, who have missed him badly as San Antonio has raced to a 2-0 lead in the Western Conference finals. Game 3 is Sunday in Oklahoma City.

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StateImpact Oklahoma
11:57 am
Fri May 23, 2014

Oklahoma Legislature Passes Controversial Tax Incentive For New Oil And Gas Wells

Credit Joseph Novak / Flickr Creative Commons

The Oklahoma Legislature on Thursday approved a bill that makes permanent a generous tax incentive for oil and gas production.

The votes followed a heated debate at the Capitol, and months of disagreement between lawmakers, industry lobbyists and energy executives, which are divided on the measure.

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Oklahoma Watch
11:28 am
Fri May 23, 2014

Districts Say Reading Retention Changes Won’t Mean Social Promotion

Wesley Fryer Flickr Creative Commons

Changes to Oklahoma’s third grade reading retention law will not be a blank check to pass students on to fourth grade if they failed the state’s reading test.

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State Capitol
9:07 am
Fri May 23, 2014

House Walks Back Storm Shelter Vote, Plaza Towers Parents Take Legal Action

Wooden crosses at the Plaza Towers Elementary School in Moore, Okla., May 28, 2013, stand in memory of the seven students were killed during a tornado May 20, 2013.
SFC Kendall James defenseimagery.mil

The Oklahoma House reversed course Thursday night and narrowly passed a plan it had earlier defeated to help school districts pay for safety upgrades such as storm shelters and safe rooms.

House members voted 51-39 last night for the plan supported by Gov. Mary Fallin. It takes a minimum of 51 votes to pass a bill in the 101-member House.

The chamber had defeated the proposal hours earlier by a bipartisan vote of 61-34. House members said that Fallin's office had urged members of the majority GOP caucus to change their no votes.

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State Capitol
7:42 am
Fri May 23, 2014

$7.1 Billion Oklahoma State Budget Awaits Governor Fallin's Signature

State Rep. Scott Martin (R-Norman) debates the budget bill on the House floor Thursday
Oklahoma House of Representatives

The House gave final legislative approval Thursday to a $7.1 billion budget bill to fund state government during the fiscal year that begins July 1.

The measure appropriates about $102 million less than the current year's budget, but would still increase funding for public schools by $80 million.

The legislation also includes a $44 million increase for the Department of Human Services and $36 million for targeted pay raises for thousands of state employees to bring state salaries closer to private sector salaries.

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State Capitol
1:12 pm
Thu May 22, 2014

Here We Go Again...New Lawsuit Challenges Oklahoma Income Tax Cut

Gov. Mary Fallin
Credit Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

A lawsuit claims income tax cut legislation approved by the Oklahoma Legislature and signed into law by Gov. Mary Fallin is unconstitutional.

The lawsuit was filed Thursday by Oklahoma City attorney Jerry Fent, who has successfully challenged legislation in the past. It asks the state Supreme Court to declare the tax cut unconstitutional and block it.

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StateImpact Oklahoma
12:35 pm
Thu May 22, 2014

Oklahoma’s Drought-Withered Wheat Harvest Could Have National Effects

Brothers and business partners Fred and Wayne Schmedt stand in their family's wheat field near Altus in southwest Oklahoma.
Joe Wertz StateImpact Oklahoma

Four years of extreme drought has withered the agricultural economies of southern Great Plains states like Oklahoma, where farmers are bracing for one of worst wheat crops in state history.

And Oklahoma’s withered wheat harvest could have national consequences.

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