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State Capitol
11:38 am
Fri May 16, 2014

Tentative Deal Reached On Oklahoma State Budget

Preston Doerflinger, Office of State Finance director, during a November 2011 tax credit task force meeting.
Credit Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

Gov. Mary Fallin's chief budget negotiator says a tentative deal has been reached with the House and Senate on a roughly $7 billion budget for the fiscal year that begins July 1.

State Secretary of Finance Preston Doerflinger said Friday details of the plan will be released later in the day after the budget is presented in closed-door meetings with rank-and-file members of the House and Senate.

House Speaker Jeff Hickman says he hopes a bond issue to repair the state's crumbling Capitol is part of the final agreement.

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StateImpact Oklahoma
10:25 am
Fri May 16, 2014

Chickasha Sells Water To Oil Driller To Help Pay For Water Infrastructure Needs

Chickasha, Oklahoma
J. Stephen Conn Flickr Creative Commons

When a city needs $150 million over the next half-century for upgrades and repairs to its aging water infrastructure system, its leaders might have to get creative to find the money.

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State Capitol
9:02 am
Fri May 16, 2014

Fallin, Doctor Groups At Impasse On Oklahoma Drug Bill

Credit The Javoric / Flickr Creative Commons

Gov. Mary Fallin and two of the leading physician groups in Oklahoma are at an impasse over the final details in a bill designed to curb prescription drug abuse in Oklahoma.

Fallin spokesman Alex Weintz confirms the governor was not able to reach an agreement with the Oklahoma State Medical Association and Oklahoma Osteopathic Association on which drugs should be checked in a prescription drug monitoring database.

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Weather Preparedness
7:36 am
Fri May 16, 2014

Red Cross Awards $6.5 Million For Storm Shelters In Central Oklahoma

Red Cross officials Thursday afternoon announced a total of $10.3 million in grants to May 2013 storms affected communities to help their residents install shelters.
American Red Cross of Western and Central Oklahoma

The American Red Cross has awarded $6.5 million to Oklahoma cities, counties and tribes to purchase and install individual storm shelters.

Thursday's grant announcement brings the total awarded by theRed Cross to communities in Oklahoma to build storm shelters to $10.3 million. The Red Cross says this should support installing as many as 4,000 shelters in areas affecting by deadly storms last year.

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now it goes before the senate
5:45 pm
Thu May 15, 2014

Legislation To Allow Guns In School Parking Lots Passes House

Credit radcliffe dacanay / Flickr.com

The Oklahoma House has approved legislation that authorizes persons with concealed handgun licenses to store their handgun in a locked vehicle on school parking lots.

The House voted 83-6 for the measure Thursday and sent it to the Senate for consideration.

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cherokee nation could build power plant
4:16 pm
Thu May 15, 2014

Inhofe And Mullin Team Up To Support Water Resources Bill

Credit Gage Skidmore / Flickr.com

U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe and Congressman Markwayne Mullin are announcing their support of a new water resources bill that includes an option to expand the Port of Catoosa in northeast Oklahoma.

The senior U.S. senator from Oklahoma and the first-term congressman released a joint statement Thursday in support of the Water Resources Reform and Development Act. Both are members of the bill's conference committee, which released its final report on Thursday.

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State Capitol
1:13 pm
Thu May 15, 2014

Oklahoma Senate Approves New Anemometer Legislation

Credit Badrinath M / Flickr Creative Commons

The Senate gave its approval to new language designed to regulate anemometers after an earlier piece of legislation was vetoed.

The Senate passed the floor substitute for House Bill 3348 36 to 8. The language in the floor substitute requires the Aeronautics Commission to promulgate rules regulating the appearance of anemometer towers to ensure that anemometer towers are clearly recognizable in clear air during daylight hours.

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Education
11:57 am
Thu May 15, 2014

Oklahoma City Schools Launch Plan To Improve Third Grade Reading Skills

Mark Twain Elementary second grade teacher Elizabeth Clarke staples together work from two of her second-grade students in this 2013 photo. These now-third-graders were the first to face retention if they didn't score at grade level on the state's reading test.
Credit Chase Cook / Oklahoma Watch

The Oklahoma City School District is launching new programs to help third-grade students after state assessments showed low scores in reading.  

Test scores released last week found that 27 percent of Oklahoma City public school third-graders scored unsatisfactory on the state reading test. Students could be held back unless they receive an exemption or get higher scores when they retake the tests.

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StateImpact Oklahoma
11:43 am
Thu May 15, 2014

Drought And Passive Landowners Add Fuel To Oklahoma’s Burning Red Cedar Problem

Billy Hays in the cab of a Bobcat, which Oklahoma County modified to cut and shred Eastern Red Cedars.
Joe Wertz StateImpact Oklahoma

The eastern red cedar tree causes allergies, crowds out other species, guzzles water, and fuels Oklahoma’s most devastating wildfires, including one near Guthrie last week.

And lengthy drought has intensified the problem. But eliminating the tree is complicated by the passive attitude of many landowners, and a state forestry service with little authority.

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Elections
10:29 am
Thu May 15, 2014

Oklahoma Election Board Unveils Online Voter Tool

Sample ballots for the June 24 elections in Oklahoma County.
Credit Brian Hardzinski / KGOU

Oklahoma voters will be able to look up their registration record, polling location and sample ballots with a new online voter tool being launched by the State Election Board.

Oklahoma State Election Board Secretary Paul Ziriax says the new online tool will give residents "unprecedented online access to their voter information."

Polling locations already had been available on the site, but new enhancements include allowing voters to view sample ballots, track absentee ballots and confirm their voter registration.

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