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Sue Ogrocki / AP Photo

The Oklahoma legislature’s special session continues, as a compromise bill failed in the Oklahoma House of Representatives. Lawmakers nearly agreed to increase taxes on beer, tobacco and fuel, and were close to a deal on raising taxes on oil and natural production, which has been a major point of contention throughout the special session. The  tax package required 76 votes in the House, but fell 5 votes short.

Workers at the construction site of West Village Apartments at Main Street and Fred Jones Avenue in Oklahoma City.
Brent Fuchs / Journal Record

Commercial real estate sales could slow because buyers and sellers can’t seem to agree on prices.

St. Gregory's University in Shawnee, a private Catholic liberal arts university founded in 1875
Claire Donnelly / KGOU

Oklahoma’s only Catholic university is shutting its doors at the end of the fall semester.

Winners And Losers In The Failed Vote On Tax Package

Nov 9, 2017
The Oklahoma House gallery was packed Wednesday as representatives spent hours discussing and debating a tax package to address the state's severe budget shortfall. The measure fell short.
David Fritze / Oklahoma Watch

In the end, the backing of more than 45 health-care, education and public-policy advocacy groups – along with the support of a bipartisan group of current and former state leaders – wasn’t enough Wednesday.

illustration of podium and speech bubbles
Meg Kelly / NPR

On the first anniversary of President Trump’s election, NPR is looking back at his victory speech. NPR reporters across the newsroom have annotated his election night remarks, providing context and analysis to his policy promises and noting who among the people he thanked are still in the inner circle a year later.

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Preston Doerflinger speaks at the Cleveland County Health Department on November 6, 2017.
Jacob McCleland / KGOU

The new head of the Oklahoma State Department of Health says the agency has been spending more than its annual revenue since 2011.

Interim Commissioner Preston Doerflinger said Monday that accounting tricks were used to move money between different accounts.

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.

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