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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.

Residents Pay Widely Ranging Rates for Water

Mar 12, 2013

You turn the tap and out comes water, but what does it cost? It's a common resource that is priced in ways that may be surprising.

Senate Approves Income Tax Cut

Mar 11, 2013

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) - The Oklahoma Senate has approved a plan to reduce the state's top personal income tax rate by one-half of 1 percent and offset most of the lost revenue by eliminating or changing dozens of exemptions in the tax code.

The Senate voted 33-13 on Monday for the bill by Tulsa Republican Sen. Mike Mazzei. The vote was mostly along party lines, with Republicans favoring the measure.

Okla. Receives "D" Grade for Legislative Openness

Mar 11, 2013

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) - Despite recent upgrades in technology by the Oklahoma Legislature, a national group has given the state a grade of ``D'' for how well legislative information is made available to the public.

Oklahoma Senate Holds Closed-Door Session

Mar 11, 2013

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) - In a break from its customs, the Oklahoma Senate went into a closed-door session and removed observers and reporters from the gallery.

Senate President Pro Tem Brian Bingman requested the Senate go into executive session during Monday afternoon's session. Senate Democratic leader Sean Burrage then agreed to Bingman's motion.

Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

Gov. Mary Fallin told members of the Oklahoma City Chamber she supports many of the changes contained in workers' compensation law making its way through the legislature.

"Oklahoma's ranked among the top states in the nation on workers' compensation premium costs," Fallin said. "I've told our legislators, and our Pro Tem, and our Speaker, 'If you get a bill to my desk that does those things, I am very supportive of moving toward an administrative system.'"

Fallin's comments on Feb. 21 were the first to endorse the plan outlined in a bill by Senate President Pro Tempore Brian Bingman of Sapulpa.

Person on bench at bus stop
Ed Shadid

 The BMW question is one Jarrett Walker received when helping a city determine the most effective form of public transit for its residents, an idea he calls "abundant access."

Walker's article in the Atlantic dealing with the problem of "bus stigma" contains many of the points he presented to about 500 people at a public transit town hall in Oklahoma City.

Fallin, Attorney Win "Black Hole" Award

Mar 11, 2013

Two newspapers and a state lawmaker received FOI  Oklahoma's top awards during the organization's Sunshine Week activities.

The Marian Opala First Amendment Award was presented Saturday to the Enid News & Eagle. The Ben Blackstock Award went to the Bartlesville Examiner-Enterprise.Republican state Rep. Jason Nelson was presented the  Sunshine Award for opening the doors of secrecy at the Department of Human  Services.FOI Oklahoma gave Governor Mary Fallin and her attorney, Steve Mullins, the Black Hole Award for what is considered damage to the public's right to know about governmental activity.

Brant Morrell

A giant spider currently stands guard outside the Sam Noble Oklahoma Museum of Natural History, its 8 large eyes watching visitors as they enter. Once inside, over-sized beetles, butterflies and other insects dominate the space, as part of the “Bugs…Outside the Box” exhibit.

These intricate sculptures, created by Italian artist Lorenzo Possenti, can be up to twenty times larger than their tiny counterparts. The exhibit challenges human beings to create a connection between themselves and the massive bugs.

Pro-Horse Slaughter Groups Set Wednesday Meeting

Mar 11, 2013

Some agriculture and horse groups are announcing their  support of plans to open a horse slaughtering facility in Oklahoma.

The Oklahoma Farm Bureau announced Friday it would host an event at the state Capitol this week to show "strong support" for bills that would pave the way  for a horse slaughtering facility in the state.

https://www.facebook.com/OUFreedomMovement

The Oklahoma House of Representatives recently reached unanimous approval of measure that would wipe charges of prostitution off the criminal records of victims of human trafficking.

Alannah Selinger is one of the co-founders of the OU chapter of Freedom Movement, a Christian sex trafficking awareness group. She says she discovered her passion about non-profits and activism while in college, and has become especially enthusiastic about combating human sex trafficking.

From the Sequoyah National Research Center collections

SUSAN SHANNON, HOST: This week on Indian Times the Sequoyah National Research Center is a unique facility dedicated to the collection, preservation and dissemination of Native American expression in all forms…so what does that mean?  Director Dr. Dan Littlefield says a librarian’s decision to clear out a collection of Native American newspapers inadvertently led to this unique archive in Arkansas.

Hugo is out of the running for the 3A state boys basketball title after a guard scores a layup in the opposing team's goal.

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) - Some legislators say political will has faded for a plan meant to curb Oklahoma's exceptionally high prison population.

Last session the Legislature and governor approved a ``justice reinvestment initiative'' to decrease jail time for nonviolent offenders and keep tabs on prisoners after they're released. But the program hasn't been put into practice, and Gov. Mary Fallin rejected federal money for implementation training last month.

Coburn Suggests Cuts for Dept of Transportation

Mar 8, 2013

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) - Republican Sen. Tom Coburn says the U.S. Department of Transportation should consider areas other than control towers to meet federal budget cuts.

About 200 contract control towers staffed by non-federal employees would be closed under the cuts.

Coburn said Thursday that the FAA faces a loss of about $600 million due to the cuts.

Luigino Bracci / Flickr

World leaders, athletes, and left-wing celebrities were among those who attended Friday's funeral in Caracas for Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez.

"He produced in people profound feelings of love, affection, and loyalty, and of rejection and hate," said Charles Kenney, a University of Oklahoma comparative political scientist and an expert on Latin American democratization. "So for those who loved him, this is a very sorrowful time, and he is indeed, I think, seen as a martyr-like figure."

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