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State Capitol
9:15 am
Tue August 26, 2014

OCIA Begins Capitol Bond Process Monday

Barricades surround the south steps of the Oklahoma Capitol to keep pedestrians safe from the possibility of falling limestone from the building's facade.
Meghan Blessing KGOU

The Oklahoma Capitol Improvement Authority took the first steps Monday toward the issuance of the $120 million in bonds that will be used to fund State Capitol repairs and renovations.

Lt. Gov. Todd Lamb made the motion to allow OCIA staff to prepare and distribute requests for proposals for underwriters, bond counsel, printer and other necessary service providers for the $120 million that was authorized by HJR1033.

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Elections
8:00 am
Tue August 26, 2014

Oklahoma Will Have Six New State Lawmakers After Tuesday’s Runoffs

Brian Hardzinski KGOU

Tuesday’s primary runoff election will put one new Republican in the Senate and three freshman Republicans and two freshman Democrats in the House.

Republicans Stephanie Bice and Mark Thomas face off in Senate District 22, where the winner of Tuesday’s runoff election will claim that seat.

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Drought
5:30 am
Tue August 26, 2014

More Oklahoma Water Systems Implement Mandatory Rationing

Lake Thunderbird in Norman
Credit Kristina and David / Flickr Creative Commons

The State Department of Environmental Quality has recently released its Water Rationing Report.

The 2014 report is not a new report but rather one that is continuously updated with the name and number of water systems who are reported to be rationing water. 

There are 30 total systems listed within the report. Of those systems, 27 are currently participating in mandatory rationing and the remaining three in voluntary rationing.

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Education
5:00 am
Tue August 26, 2014

Oklahoma Unlikely To Apply For New Federal Leeway On Teacher Evaluations And Testing Scores

Credit Oklahoma State Department of Education / Facebook

Officials with the U.S. Department of Education announced last week they will grant leeway to some states in tying teacher evaluations to students test scores for the coming school year.

States would have to make their case to the department for the new flexibility, and the Department will approve the plans on a case-by-case basis.

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Education
9:51 pm
Mon August 25, 2014

Flat Fee At Four State Universities And Debt Forgiveness For Teachers At OU

Four state universities offer new programs to make college education more affordable. OU, OSU, Langston University, and USAO have moved to a flat-rate tuition, where students pay one rate regardless of hours taken. OU has also launched a debt-free teacher initiative, in which the school will forgive up to $20,000 in student loan debt if a student agrees to teach in Oklahoma for at least 4 years.

Oklahoma Watch
6:39 pm
Mon August 25, 2014

Joint Fundraising Alleged In Probe Of Campaign Activity

David Prater, Oklahoma County District Attorney
Credit Oklahoma County District Attorney's Office

An affidavit filed recently in Oklahoma County District Court contains claims that members of a high-profile political consulting firm and an independent "dark money" group improperly joined forces to demand donations to candidates and to the dark money group.

The search-warrant affidavit was filed last week by the chief investigator for the Oklahoma County District Attorney’s Office as part of the office’s investigation into alleged campaign law violations.

The reference to the fundraising was the first description to emerge in the investigation of specific campaign activities alleged to involve illegal campaign coordination. Under federal and state laws, candidates and those running their campaigns cannot coordinate with independent expenditure groups.

According to the affidavit, individuals reported that employees of the political consulting firm, AH Strategies, and a co-founder of the “dark money” nonprofit, Oklahomans for a Conservative Future, approached people and "demanded" they donate money to both the dark money group and candidates being promoted by the consulting firm. The affidavit suggested “coordination and collusion” could be involved to promote the same candidates.

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Politics And Government
6:19 pm
Mon August 25, 2014

Republican Delegation Criticize Fundraiser For Louisiana Democrat

Credit Senate Democrats / Flickr.com

Members of Oklahoma's congressional delegation are criticizing the Tulsa Regional Chamber of Commerce for sending out an invitation for a fundraiser for Democratic U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu of Louisiana.

The seven-member, all-Republican delegation signed a letter Sunday expressing disapproval over an August letter that was signed by Tulsa chamber CEO Mike Neal.

The Tulsa World reports the letter encourages recipients to attend a Tulsa fundraiser to benefit Landrieu, whose re-election bid is one of a handful that could determine which party controls the U.S. Senate.

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Oklahoma City Bombing
3:57 pm
Mon August 25, 2014

Judge Orders FBI To Investigate Witness Tampering Allegations

Credit Cliff / Flickr.com

A federal judge has ordered the FBI to scrutinize allegations one of its agents pressured a witness not to testify in a trial about videos related to the Oklahoma City bombing.

During a Monday hearing, the judge told FBI attorneys to report the results of the witness-tampering investigation Nov. 13.

Utah lawyer Jesse Trentadue claims the FBI urged a former government operative not to testify, which the agency calls baseless.

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Death Penalty
1:47 pm
Mon August 25, 2014

News Organizations Sue Oklahoma Over Execution

The execution of convicted murderer Clayton Lockett is alleged to have taken as long as 45 minutes, according to witnesses.
Credit Oklahoma Department of Corrections / Oklahoma Watch

Two news organizations have filed a federal lawsuit accusing Oklahoma prison officials of violating the First Amendment by preventing reporters from viewing portions of a botched execution. 

Monday's lawsuit follows the April 29 death of inmate Clayton Lockett, who writhed, moaned and clenched his teeth before dying. Prison officials halted the execution after discovering a problem with an intravenous line. Lockett died of a heart attack about 10 minutes later.

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Oklahoma Forum
12:25 pm
Mon August 25, 2014

Oklahoma Forum: Mental Health

Following the death of comedian and actor Robin Williams, Oklahoma Forum host Dick Pryor leads a discussion of mental illness, depression, and suicide with:

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