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In 2004, a disputed presidential election in Ukraine sparked a two-month series of economic and political protests known as the Orange Revolution.

The U.S. Department of State reported in 2006 that Ukrainian media outlets were freer and politically diverse than any time since the country gained independence from the Soviet Union in 1991.

Flash Seen in Sky Before Medical Helicopter Crash

Mar 14, 2013

The National Transportation Safety Board says a witness reported seeing a flash in the sky before a helicopter crashed near an Oklahoma City nursing home last month, killing two people.

It's not clear what could have caused such a flash.

House Spends Evening Debating United Nations Takeover

Mar 14, 2013
United Nations

Cities and counties in Oklahoma would be prohibited from entering into any agreements with organizations accredited by the United Nations under a bill approved by the Oklahoma House.

The House on Wednesday voted 67-17 for the bill sponsored by Bethany Republican Rep. Sally Kern that targets Agenda 21, a plan developed by the United Nations to help cities and countries become more environmentally sustainable. No Republicans opposed the measure, which now heads to the Senate.

Papal Selection "Wonderful Surprise"

Mar 14, 2013
The Vatican

The archbishop of Oklahoma City says cardinals delivered a "wonderful surprise" by selecting as the new pope a cardinal from the New World.

The former Cardinal Jorge Maria Bergoglio of Argentina is now Pope Francis. Oklahoma City Archbishop Paul S. Coakley said the church in Latin America is strong and committed to a "new evangelization" and that Francis will be an effective leader for the world's 1.2 billion Catholics.

Lawmakers Reaffirm Support for Horse Slaughter Bill

Mar 13, 2013

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) - Several Oklahoma legislators and officials say they will not be intimidated or swayed by criticism of a proposal to allow the commercial slaughter of horses within the state, even as members of Congress mull reinstating a federal slaughter ban.

Rep. Skye McNiel of Bristow joined House Speaker T. W. Shannon and members of the Oklahoma Farm Bureau and other agriculture groups Wednesday to reiterate their stance in the face of what they call ``harassment'' from animal rights activists.

Smoking Ban Legislation Passes House

Mar 13, 2013

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) - Local municipalities would be able to ban smoking on all city-owned property under a measure easily approved by the Oklahoma Senate.

The Senate on Wednesday voted 44-1 for the bill that would allow local governments to prohibit smoking on publicly owned property, including parks and sports complexes.

Kate Carlton

In February of this year, Governor Mary Fallin delivered her State of the State address. In that speech, she praised Oklahoma for its job growth. The state currently boasts a 5.1 percent unemployment rate, one of the lowest in the nation. While Oklahoma residents have a better chance of finding a job, there are still many who need help.

Entertaining the Hours of Your Week, St. Paddy's Day Style

Mar 13, 2013
StPaddysDay2013.com

Since the 18th century, Americans have adopted St. Patrick’s Day as an unofficial celebration of all things Irish. This weekend, our state turns green in honor of the saint who drove the snakes out of Ireland.

Lawmakers in both the state House and Senate are passing lots of bills ahead of a deadline Thursday. Legislation has to win approval in its chamber where it started to keep alive. This round-up from the Associated Press reflects many bills on their way to passage through Tuesday night and some that failed.

Topics include: abortion, prison worker pay, the American Indian Cultural Center and Museum, privatization of workers' compensation insurance, pay increases for special education teachers and more requirements for people running for office.

Abortion Restriction Bills Advance in House

Mar 13, 2013

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) A pair of bills that make it more difficult for girls younger than 18 to have an abortion without notifying their parents have easily cleared the Oklahoma House. The House on Tuesday approved the bills that would limit the ability of teenage girls to have a judge allow them to get an abortion without parental consent.

Abortion Restriction Bills Advance in House

Mar 13, 2013

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) A pair of bills that make it more difficult for girls younger than 18 to have an abortion without notifying their parents have easily cleared the Oklahoma House.   The House on Tuesday approved the bills that would limit the ability of teenage girls to have a judge allow them to get an abortion without parental consent.

Lawmakers Approve Another Tax Cut Bill

Mar 13, 2013

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — A plan backed by Gov. Mary Fallin to slash the state's top personal income tax rate has cleared the Oklahoma House.

The House voted 65-30 Tuesday to cut the top rate to 5 percent from 5.25 percent, beginning Jan. 1. The bill now heads to the Senate for consideration.

The Senate approved a separate measure on Monday to cut the rate to 4.75 percent and offset much of the lost revenue with the elimination of various exemptions and deductions.

Pro-Horse Processing Groups Meeting Today

Mar 13, 2013
Close up of the eye of a horse.
busse / Flickr (Creative Commons)

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Supporters of legislation that would allow for a horse slaughtering plant in Oklahomaplan to rally at the state Capitol.

The Oklahoma Farm Bureau is slated to hold the event Wednesday morning at the state Capitol to support bills that would pave the way for a horse slaughtering facility in the state.

The Oklahoma Quarter Horse Racing Association has also issued a statement saying it supports the "concept of the slaughter of horses in Oklahoma."

State Revenue Drops Below Expected Figures

Mar 12, 2013
Tddy's

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Oklahoma's secretary of finance says state income tax refunds and a drop in natural gas production reduced general revenue fund receipts last month.

Secretary of Finance and Revenue Preston Doerflinger said Tuesday that collections totaled about $255 million in February. That's almost $29 million below collections in February 2012 and $20 million lower than the official estimate upon which this year's budget is based.

Making It Private: State Workers' Compensation

Mar 12, 2013
neckandback / Flickr

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — The Oklahoma Senate has approved legislation to privatize the state's nonprofit workers' compensation agency.

The Senate passed the measure Tuesday by a vote of 36-11. It heads to the House, where a similar bill is pending.

The bill by Senate President Pro Tem Brian Bingman of Sapulpa would convert CompSource Oklahoma from a state entity to a private company owned by its policyholders. Supporters say a state agency should not by competing with private insurers.

Native American Museum Fate Remains Uncertain

Mar 12, 2013
The American Indian Cultural Center and Museum near the intersections of I-40 and I-35 in Oklahoma City.
American Indian Cultural Center and Museum

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — The Oklahoma Senate has approved legislation that would transfer management of the unfinished American Indian Museum from the museum's board to another agency.

The Senate voted 26-20 for the measure Tuesday and sent it to the state House for consideration.

Prison Worker Pay Hike Fails

Mar 12, 2013
Kenny Breedlove / Flickr

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — A bill to provide a 5 percent pay increase for Oklahoma's prison workers has stalled in a House committee.

The House Calendar Committee on Tuesday tabled the bill by Darcoma Republican Rep. Jeff Hickman. Aside from a 5 percent pay hike for all prison workers, the bill would have boosted the starting pay for correctional officers from $11.83 per hour to $14 per hour. It would have cost about $12.2 million annually and was the top request by the Department of Corrections for additional funding.

First Oklahoma Execution of 2013

Mar 12, 2013

McALESTER, Okla. (AP) — Oklahoma executes man for 1999 death of Tulsa-area woman that began 3-state killing spree.

Abortion Restriction Bill Passes House

Mar 12, 2013

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — A pair of bills that make it more difficult for girls younger than 18 to have an abortion without notifying their parents have easily cleared the Oklahoma House.

The House on Tuesday approved the bills that would limit the ability of teenage girls to have a judge allow them to get an abortion without parental consent.

The first bill by Democratic Rep. Rebecca Hamilton of Oklahoma City would require parental notification in all cases, except for medical emergencies or if the girl was a victim of sexual or physical abuse by a parent. It passed 80-12.

Anadarko Tech Company Busted for Gambling Software

Mar 12, 2013
photo of slot machine
Frank Bonilla / Flickr

ANADARKO, Okla. (AP) — An Oklahoma technology company owner accused of supplying illegal gaming software to outlets in Florida has been arrested in connection with a multistate gambling scheme.

Attorney General Scott Pruitt's office says 37-year-old Chase Egan Burns appeared in Caddo County District Court Tuesday as a fugitive from Florida. He's charged in Florida with racketeering, conspiracy and multiple counts of the sale or possession of slot machines, conducting a lottery and keeping a gambling house.

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