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The Oklahoma legislature could make big changes to the state sales taxes this session in an attempt to balance an estimated $870 million budget shortfall and provide a pay raise to teachers.

In her state of the state speech on Monday, Governor Mary Fallin proposed a pair of tax cuts, coupled with an expansion of the state’s sales tax system that would raise Oklahoma’s tax revenue by $1.1 billion.

Schell: U.S. And Chinese Cooperation Essential For The World

Feb 10, 2017
Orvville Schell
The Asia Society

 

As a college student, China was something of a forbidden land for Orville Schell. He was mystified by the Chinese language, but found it difficult to find a good language course in the United States.

“It was a bit of a terra incognita,” Schell said. “I think the very fact that I couldn't go there was most interesting to me.”

A man paints a house on NW 15th Street in the Heritage Hills neighborhood of Oklahoma City Tuesday.
Brent Fuchs / Journal Record

 

If an Oklahoma homeowner wants to make some repairs on their own, they may be breaking the law. New bills in the state legislature would change that.

A worker corrals cattle into a chute at Oklahoma National Stockyards in Oklahoma City.
Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

Federal authorities are investigating the alleged embezzlement of $2.6 million dollars from an obscure Oklahoma board that promotes the beef industry. The investigation and related lawsuits add to questions about oversight of a national program funded by fees charged to ordinary farmers and ranchers.

On a brisk and busy January morning at the Oklahoma National Stockyards, cattle arrive for auction in trailers pulled by pickup trucks — and leave in double-decker cars towed by semis.

Patrick Wyrick, state solicitor general, gestures as he speaks during an Oklahoma Supreme Court hearing in Oklahoma City, Tuesday, June 21, 2011.
Sue Ogrocki / AP

Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin has picked her state’s solicitor general to serve as the newest member of the Oklahoma Supreme Court.

Patrick Wyrick, 35, has been the solicitor general in the state attorney general’s office since 2011. He will succeed Steven Taylor, who is retiring.

Wyrick will serve as a justice from Oklahoma’s 2nd Judicial District, which encompasses much of southeastern Oklahoma.

Scott Pruitt, Oklahoma attorney general, gestures as he speaks at a news conference in Oklahoma City, Monday, April 8, 2013.
Sue Ogrocki / AP

The Center for Media and Democracy on Tuesday filed an open records lawsuit against Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt, accusing the Trump administration’s pick to lead the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency of failing to provide public access to emails and other documents for more than two years.

 

Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin at her 2017 State of the State address on Feb. 6, 2017.
Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

 

Coming into Mary Fallin’s 7th state of the state address as governor of Oklahoma, there was one big question: How will the state deal with another revenue shortfall, and not cut funding to agencies that provide services. The state faces an estimated $870  million budget gap in the upcoming fiscal year. That comes after clawing out a 1.3 billion dollar deficit last year.

Fallin hinted last week she would present a series of changes to the sales tax system. On Tuesday, she outlined her plan.

Paige Willett Lough / KGOU

As a Professor of Philosophy at John Carroll University, Doctor Mariana Ortega has focused her research on questions of self, identity, and visual representations of race, gender and sexuality. More specifically, she has spent some of her career exploring how these topics intersect, claiming that philosophy sometimes takes a more general view of complicated topics like race.

Sparq Natural Gas CEO Norman Herrera fills a pickup truck with compressed natural gas in front of the Oklahoma Environmental Management Authority office in El Reno Friday.
Mark Hancock / Journal Record

 

 

El Reno installed a compressed natural gas station for its refuse fleet. It’s part of a larger trend of municipalities relying on the fuel for its services.

The Journal Record’s Sarah Terry Cobo writes Oklahoma Environmental Management Authority owner David Griesel says the dispensers save time and money.

An informal settlement in Zambia, taken during John Harris' 2014 trip.
David Boeck

 

Urbanization is rapidly expanding on a global scale, and it is creating a demand for reorganization of cities and spaces. Urban and regional planners, like John Harris, weigh the different needs of societies to ensure the city suits the people who live in it. Harris focuses on sustainable urbanization, especially in Africa where he has dealt with informal settlements.

Gov. Mary Fallin during her 2015 State of the State address Feb. 2, 2015.
Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

 

As Governor Mary Fallin prepares for her State of the State address on Monday, February 6th, the Oklahoma legislature looks at changes involving taxes, criminal justice and disciplining some of their own.

At the Associated Press Legislative Forum on Thursday, Gov. Fallin said she wants to see, “a major overhaul of our tax system.”

Empty chairs in the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee mark Democrats' boycott of a vote to advance the nomination of Oklahoma AG Scott Pruitt to lead the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
C-SPAN

With no Democrats in the room, U.S. Senate Republicans on Thursday voted unanimously to approve the nomination of Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt as administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Republicans in the Environment and Public Works Committee voted to suspend committee rules to defeat a two-day boycott by Democrats who say Pruitt is unfit to serve as the nation’s top environmental regulator.

State Rep. Dan Kirby, R-Tulsa, on the floor of the Oklahoma House of Representatives at the state Capitol in Oklahoma City, March 2, 2015.
Sue Ogrocki / AP

A state representative from Tulsa has announced he will resign his seat after a House committee recommended his expulsion amid sexual harassment allegations.

Rep. Dan Kirby, a Republican, submitted his resignation on Saturday.

At question were two separate incidents. One involved a lawsuit brought against the House of Representatives by Hollie Bishop, who worked for Kirby as a legislative assistant. She claimed she was fired in November 2015 after she reported sexual harassment. Former House Speaker Jeff Hickman reached a settlement with Bishop’s attorneys.

Online retail giant Amazon could soon start charging sales taxes to Oklahoma customers – a move that would help fill a sizable state budget shortfall for next fiscal year, Oklahoma Watch has learned.

An Oklahoma Tax Commission official said the agency is in discussions with online retailers to voluntarily collect sales and use taxes, and two state legislators said they expect agreements could be struck in coming weeks or months with Amazon, the country’s largest e-commerce site.

U.S. Rep. Steve Russell during a Feb. 3 House Oversight and Government Reform hearing.
Congressman Steve Russell / Facebook

Members of Oklahoma’s congressional delegation have largely been supportive of President Donald Trump’s executive order that temporarily bans travel of certain foreign nationals to the United States.

 

Norman, Oklahoma residents Elika Bahrevar and Amir Arshadi on Jan. 29, 2017.
Jacob McCleland / KGOU

 

Amir Arshadi and Elika Bahrevar met a decade ago, when they were engineering students at a university in Iran. Later, they both came to the United States for grad school.

“We were still boyfriend and girlfriend at the time, and we got married in Cleveland,” Amir says while laughing.

“We were students so we couldn’t afford to have a wedding,” Elika chuckles.

Oklahoma state capitol
Jacob McCleland / KGOU

 

The Oklahoma legislature will consider bills covering a wide range of topics in its upcoming session.

eCapitol news director Shawn Ashley told KGOU’s Dick Pryor that lawmakers will tackle issues including handguns, abortion and how to fix the state’s estimated $900 million budget shortfall.

“Really every aspect of state law, state government is touched by the bills that were filed this year,” said Shawn Ashley.

Former Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic, center, with court security guards at left and right, appears before the U.N. war crimes tribunal in The Hague, Tuesday July 3, 2001.
AP

 

Ellen Elias-Bursac, current standing Vice President for the American Literary Translation Association and former revision expert for the Yugoslav War Crimes Tribunal, has helped ease the challenges created by language barriers. During her time at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, Elias-Bursac was given the responsibility of translating and verifying evidence during the war crime trials.

silhouette of Donald Trump with speech balloons
Chelsea Beck / NPR

President Trump tweets a lot. With tens of millions of followers on Twitter, Trump proposes policy, shares his latest actions and reacts to the news. But 140 characters rarely gives the full context. Here, we attempt to do just that for key tweets.

Bookmark this page and come back often to see new entries.

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Moving to a rural Oklahoma town can be hard selling point for the state’s tribes, especially for high-demand, skilled professions like doctors and chefs.

The Journal Record newspaper released a special issue this week, Building Bridges, that looks at the tribal impact on Oklahoma’s economy. As part of the issue, reporter Catherine Sweeny noted that tribal healthcare facilities have to compete with metropolitan areas to attract doctors.

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