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Business and Economy
7:30 pm
Thu December 18, 2014

Workers Comp Commission To Review Private Self-Insureds

Credit atalou / Flickr Creative Commons

The Workers Compensation Commission plans to conduct a review of the private self-insured entities it oversees. Commission Chair Troy Wilson was authorized Thursday to sign a contract with a firm to perform the evaluations. 

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Oklahoma Executions
4:26 pm
Thu December 18, 2014

Corrections Department Attorney Says He Felt Pressured To Move Forward On Executions

Credit Oklahoma Department of Corrections

A longtime lawyer for Oklahoma's prison system says he felt pressured by the governor's and attorney general's offices to make sure executions last spring happened on schedule, despite the lack of an execution method.

Corrections Department lawyer Michael Oakley said during a federal court hearing Thursday that he felt pressured "to get it done."

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Politics and Government
3:39 pm
Thu December 18, 2014

Oklahoma And Nebraska Sue Colorado Over Marijuana Legalization

Credit Dank Depot / Flickr Creative Commons

Nebraska and Oklahoma are asking the U.S. Supreme Court to declare Colorado's legalization of marijuana unconstitutional.

Nebraska Attorney General Jon Bruning announced Thursday that the states are seeking a court order to prevent Colorado from enforcing a measure that was approved by voters in 2012. Bruning says Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt is also a party to the lawsuit.

The complaint alleges that Colorado's Amendment 64 runs afoul of federal law.

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Sports
1:56 pm
Thu December 18, 2014

Oklahoma City Barons To End Operations

Oklahoma City Barons
Credit Wolfgangerl / Flickr Creative Commons

The Oklahoma City Barons have announced the team will end operations at the end of the current American Hockey League season.

The team said in a statement Thursday that the decision was made after it was unable to complete an affiliation agreement with the NHL's Edmonton Oilers.

Bob Funk Jr., the chairman of Prodigal, which manages the Barons, praised the Edmonton organization — but said a better financial agreement the company can no longer justify investing in the hockey team.

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Politics and Government
1:28 pm
Thu December 18, 2014

State Equalization Board Certifies Revenue For Next Year, Income Tax Cut Triggered

Gov. Mary Fallin and other state leaders observe a PowerPoint presentation of revenue projections.
Joe Wertz StateImpact Oklahoma

The State Board of Equalization met Thursday to certify state revenues for Gov. Mary Fallin's budgeting ahead of the next legislative session and fiscal year. Oklahoma has enough revenue to trigger an income tax cut.

The amount of money available to fund state government is trending flat, but officials say lackluster revenues seem manageable.

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Health
1:17 pm
Thu December 18, 2014

Oklahoma Influenza Death Count Grows To Six This Season

Credit U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Europe District / Flickr Creative Commons

The Oklahoma Department of Health is reporting four more deaths due to influenza in the state. 

The department said Thursday that six people have now died as a result of the flu during the season that began Sept. 28. Each person who died was 65-years-old or older.

Two of the deaths were reported in Garfield County and one each in Carter, Oklahoma, Payne, and Stephens counties.

Nearly 140 people have also been hospitalized due to the flu.

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StateImpact Oklahoma
10:45 am
Thu December 18, 2014

StateImpact’s Biggest Stories Of 2014 And A Preview Of Reporting In The Coming Year

Brothers and business partners Fred and Wayne Schmedt stand in their family's wheat field near Altus in southwest Oklahoma.
Joe Wertz StateImpact Oklahoma

StateImpact racked up thousands of miles traveling across the state this year, filing more than 40 radio stories and hundreds of web posts on how government energy, environmental and economic policy affects ordinary Oklahomans. And many of those stories involve issues that are ongoing.

EPA Regulations

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Politics and Government
9:29 am
Thu December 18, 2014

Cole, Inhofe Want To See More Democratic Progress From Cuba Before Lifting Sanctions

A street in Havana, Cuba in March 2014
Credit Gareth Williams / Flickr

Two members of Oklahoma’s Congressional delegation have voiced their concerns after President Obama’s Wednesday announcement of steps to normalize relations between the United States and Cuba.

U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) says he strongly opposes lifting the embargo against the Communist country. The state's senior Republican senator says he doesn't expect to see freedom of speech or free elections in Cuba, and said he would oppose any efforts to lift sanctions on the island nation if they come to the Senate floor.

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Politics and Government
7:23 pm
Wed December 17, 2014

Bingman Names Republican Committee Members

Senate President Pro Tempore Brian Bingman
Credit Oklahoma Senate

Senate President Pro Tempore Brian Bingman announced his committee assignments for the 55th Legislature on Wednesday. 

"Oklahomans have given Republicans a historic majority in the state Senate," said Bingman (R-Sapulpa). "With 40 Senators, there is a considerable diversity of leadership and talent in the Republican caucus. I am proud to work with such a fine group of public servants as we advance an agenda to further our economic momentum."

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StateImpact Oklahoma
6:47 pm
Wed December 17, 2014

Depletion Of Ogallala Aquifer Likely Caused By Irrigation, USGS Says

Center pivot irrigation in southwestern Oklahoma.
cstoddard Flickr Creative Commons

Groundwater pumping for agricultural irrigation is likely responsible for substantial depletions of the Ogallala Aquifer, which underlies 175,000 square miles in Oklahoma and seven other states, a report by the U.S. Geological Survey suggests.

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