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Sue Ogrocki / AP Photo

The Supreme Court of the State of Oklahoma has ruled that a fee on cigarettes approved during the 2017 legislative session is unconstitutional.

A hilly road in Rocinha.
chensiyuan / Wikimedia Commons

While beach-side resorts and events such as Carnival have long made Rio de Janeiro a hot spot for international tourism, in recent years more and more visitors are venturing outside the glamor of Rio’s wealthy Zona Sul region to explore Brazil’s sprawling slums, known as favelas.

Gregg Hostetler, vice president of Infrastructure Engineers Inc. based in Edmond.
Brent Fuchs / Journal Record

New software will help engineers at the Oklahoma Department of Transformation determine which bridges require inspection after an earthquake.

Lindsay Judd will be one of hundreds of emergency certified teachers taking the helm of Oklahoma classrooms this year.
Emily Wendler / StateImpact Oklahoma

Oklahoma schools are becoming more and more reliant on teachers with no training.

A lack of school funding, low pay, and waning morale have driven many of the experienced teachers out of the classroom, or out of the state.

cigarettes
Brian Hardzinski / KGOU

The Supreme Court of the State of Oklahoma has ruled that a fee on cigarettes approved during the 2017 legislative session is unconstitutional.

Former U.S. Attorney Robert McCampbell, second from left, who represents Phillip Morris USA Inc., R.J Reynolds Tobacco Co. and others, leaves the Oklahoma Supreme Court on August 8, 2017.
Sue Ogrocki / AP

Oklahoma Supreme Court justices considered arguments Tuesday that challenged the constitutionality of four bills passed during this year’s legislative session.

The legal challenges throw into question millions of dollars of state revenue that fund government agencies. 

Meteorologist Gary England.
Dick Pryor / KGOU

The vast majority of Oklahoma’s tornadoes occur in the spring. Since 1950, approximately 69 percent of the state’s tornadoes have formed in March, April and May, according to the National Weather Service. However, a “secondary storm season” arrives in the autumn, especially in the months of September and October.

Questions Linger On Dismissal Of Charges In Hofmeister Case

Aug 7, 2017
Superintendent of Public Instruction Joy Hofmeister takes questions from reporters Tuesday after criminal charges against her and four others were dismissed.
Oklahoma Watch

Just as suddenly as they appeared in November, criminal charges against Oklahoma schools Superintendent Joy Hofmeister disappeared on Tuesday. And the reasons remain a mystery.

At a news conference, surrounded by her attorney, family and supporters, Hofmeister appeared elated and relieved. She and four others no longer faced charges of conspiracy to circumvent campaign finance laws in Hofmeister’s 2014 bid for office.

An anti-government demonstrator cries during a vigil in honor of those who have been killed during clashes between security forces and demonstrators in Caracas, Venezuela, Monday, July 31, 2017.
Ariana Cubillos / AP

Tension continues to grow in Venezuela this week after the government held elections over the weekend to elect a constituent assembly that can rewrite the country’s constitution. President Nicolás Maduro plans to move forward with 545-member body that is loyal to him. Opposition parties boycotted the election, calling it unconstitutional.

Electricians complete last-minute work at Newfield's Barton Water Recycling Facility near Calumet, Oklahoma.
Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

A key part in solving the state’s earthquake crisis is the long-term management of an enormous amount of oil-field wastewater likely triggering the shaking. The energy industry is working to solve this billion-barrel-a-year problem, and one promising alternative to risky disposal wells is reusing wastewater instead of pumping it underground.

Developer Sets Eyes On Downtown Oil Mill

Aug 3, 2017
An aerial view of traffic moving along Interstate 40 past the Producers Cooperative Oil Mill in downtown Oklahoma City.
Courtesy photo

A large, vacant property in downtown Oklahoma City could be demolished as soon as this winter, paving the way for new development.

The Producers Cooperative Oil Mill has filed paperwork to demolish the ten structures on the site. The co-op now operates in Altus.

The Journal Record’s Molly Fleming writes the property is listed at $65 million dollars, and broker Don Hayes is marketing the property.

State schools superintendent Joy Hofmeister
Emily Wendler / State Impact

Oklahoma County District Attorney David Prater dropped all felony charges against State Superintendent Joy Hofmeister Tuesday. 

Oklahoma state capitol
Jacob McCleland / KGOU

Two of the three court challenges seeking to overturn $343 million worth of revenue bills that the Legislature passed during the final days of this year’s session could face a quick demise if the state has its way.

The Oklahoma Attorney General’s office responded this week to a pair of lawsuits  – one brought by GOP gubernatorial candidate Gary Richardson and one by a group of automobile dealers. Lawyers for the state argued the court challenges should be rejected on procedural grounds, among other reasons.

Dick Pryor / KGOU

Oklahoma’s state budget took effect July 1, and hinges on the success of several lawsuits before the Oklahoma Supreme Court. The cases question the constitutionality of revenue raising measures including the $1.50 cigarette fee and 1.25 percent sales tax increase on vehicles. If the Supreme Court rules the measures are unconstitutional, the legislature could reconvene to again try to fund core services.  

KGOU’s Dick Pryor and eCapitol news director Shawn Ashley spoke with Preston Doerflinger, the Secretary of Finance, Administration and Information Technology.

Oklahoma Secretary of Finance Preston Doerflinger speaks during a meeting of the State Board of Equalization in Oklahoma City, Monday, June 20, 2016.
Sue Ogrocki / AP

Oklahoma’s state budget took effect July 1, and hinges on the outcome of several lawsuits before the Oklahoma Supreme Court. The cases question the constitutionality of revenue raising measures including the $1.50 cigarette fee and 1.25 percent sales tax increase on motor vehicles. If the state Supreme Court rules the measures are unconstitutional, the legislature could reconvene to again try to fund core services.  

 

In this photo taken Saturday, Feb. 15, 2014, textile workers strike to demand a minimum wage, the removal of their company's head and the head of the firm's holding company, and back pay of yearly bonuses in Mahalla al-Kobra, Egypt.
Sabry Khaled / AP Photo / El Shorouk Newspaper

Though violence related to religion and sectarian identity exists in the Middle East, there are other areas of conflict in the region that are often misunderstood or underreported.

Juan Cole, a historian at the University of Michigan who writes on the blog Informed Comment, says labor issues in Egypt, for instance, have produced some of the biggest conflicts in that country over the past two decades.

Olivia and Carter Kempen playing on a splash pad in Edmond, Oklahoma.
Zoe Travers / StateImpact Oklahoma

People who live in Oklahoma know the state’s weather is hard to predict. Erratic rain, heat and ice, and drought can also devastate government budgets. To combat this, researchers from the University of Oklahoma and Oklahoma State University are using new software to help cities predict these economic strains.

Katelyn Holbrook, with Integrity Gaming, practices dealing cards to Rustin Martin, also with Integrity, at the Oklahoma Indian Gaming Association’s annual conference in Oklahoma City.
Mark Hancock / Journal Record

Oklahoma’s tribes will be in unfamiliar territory in January 2020: Gaming compacts between the tribes and the state could end at that time.

Unless, of course, they don’t.

Juggalos from Fredericksburg, VA sell Insane Clown Posse merchandise outside their RV
Claire Donnelly / KGOU

Thousands of fans of the hip hop music duo Insane Clown Posse are convening at Oklahoma City’s Lost Lakes Amphitheater this week for the annual music festival known as the “Gathering of the Juggalos.”

illustration of U.S. Capitol
Annette Elizabeth Allen / NPR

The Senate Judiciary Committee is holding a hearing Wednesday morning about foreign agents and attempts to influence the U.S. election. The panel is among the bodies investigating Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. Senators had requested Donald Trump Jr. and Paul Manafort, President Trump's former campaign chairman, to appear as witnesses. Instead, they are in closed-door discussions for now.

The video will appear as the hearing begins at approximately 10 a.m. ET and will be archived once the hearing concludes.

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