News

The modernized cockpit of a C-130 cargo plane, one of the projects at Boeing's Oklahoma City facility.
Provided / Boeing

Oklahoma City Council members signed off on $7.2 million worth of incentives Tuesday designed to encourage Paycom Software and aircraft manufacturer Boeing to create 1,300 new jobs and expand their facilities in central Oklahoma.

During the meeting, Ward 8 councilmember Mark Stonecipher said the Paycom deal would create 423 new jobs over the next two years, with an average salary of about $51,000.

Jason Weaver / Flickr Creative Commons

Gov. Mary Fallin has signed legislation that makes it illegal to text message while driving in Oklahoma.

Flanked by lawmakers and state troopers, Fallin signed the measure into law Tuesday. The law goes into effect on Nov. 1.

The legislation makes it illegal to operate a motor vehicle while using a hand-held electronic device to compose, send or read electronic messages while driving. Violations are punishable by a $100 fine.

401(K) 2013 / Flickr Creative Commons

With the state facing a $611 million budget hole, more than 90 Oklahoma businesses, foundations and nonprofit agencies are asking the governor and Republican legislative leaders to halt a scheduled income tax cut.

The Oklahoma Policy Institute delivered a letter Tuesday to Gov. Mary Fallin, Senate President Pro Tem Brian Bingman and House Speaker Jeff Hickman.

Serge Melki / Flickr

The House, Senate and the governor's office are said to be close to an agreement on the FY 2016 state budget, the chairman of the House Appropriations Committee said Monday.

State Rep. Earl Sears, R-Bartlesville, said he hoped to have an agreement by Friday.

"We're not millions of dollars apart," Sears said. "The differences are small; a million here, a million there...There's still a lot more work to do."

The Oklahoma Geological Survey recently revised its formal position on Oklahoma’s exponential surge in earthquake activity, acknowledging for the first time in a official public statement that most of the seismic activity recently recorded in the state was linked to oil and gas activity.

On the May 1 episode of Oklahoma News Report, Joe Wertz talked with OETA host Dick Pryor about the earthquake situation and what the formal acknowledgement means for the state going forward, and also detailed efforts by the U.S. Geological Survey to forecast the hazard posed by oil and gas-related earthquakes.

Wesley Fryer / Flickr.com

Governor Mary Fallin signed legislation Monday allowing judicial discretion for a number of nonviolent crimes.

House Bill 1518, known as the Justice Safety Valve Act, permits judges to lessen mandatory minimum sentences when the term is “not necessary for the protection of the public” and could “result in substantial injustice to the defendant.”  

tcso.org

Embattled Tulsa County Sheriff Stanley Glanz says he has no plans to resign, but doesn't plan to seek re-election in 2016.

Glanz told the Tulsa World Monday that he won't resign over last month's shooting of an unarmed man by his close friend and volunteer deputy Robert Bates, who has been charged with second-degree manslaughter. Glanz has refused repeated requests for interviews by the AP.

Oklahoma House Democratic Leader Scott Inman (D-Del City), flanked by state Reps. Ed Cannaday and Donnie Condit, during Monday's press conference marking 25 years since the passage of HB 1017.
HouseDems OK / YouTube

Oklahoma House Democrats have re-elected Rep. Scott Inman of Del City to serve a fourth term as minority leader.

Inman was re-elected to the post Monday without opposition during a meeting of the House Democratic Caucus.

Democrats also picked Reps. Steve Kouplen of Beggs to serve as caucus chairman and David Perryman of Chickasha as caucus vice chairman.

Each will serve a two-year term beginning in 2016, if they are re-elected next year to their legislative districts.

Left-to-right: Oklahoma Watch executive editor David Fritze, attorney Michael Brooks-Jimenez, Oklahoma City school board member Gloria Torres, Oklahoma City coucilwoman Meg Salyer
Jacob McCleland / KGOU

Oklahoma Watch and the University of Oklahoma’s Gaylord College of Journalism and Mass Communication presented a public forum on April 16 about challenges in low-income neighborhoods in south Oklahoma City.

The Q&A forum with local leaders focused on the needs and concerns of south Oklahoma City communities and is tied to a mobile video news project, “Talk With Us: Poverty in Oklahoma City Neighborhoods.”

Racial Disparities In School Suspensions Found Across State

May 3, 2015
Thelma R. Parks Elementary School in Northeast Oklahoma City, which had the highest overall suspension rate in Oklahoma City at 42.1 percent.
Jacob McCleland / KGOU

Minority students are being suspended at higher rates than their white classmates not only in Oklahoma City Public Schools, which triggered a federal probe, but also in other districts across the state, U.S. Department of Education data show.

The disparity is often greatest between black and white students, but also occurs between white students and American Indian and Hispanic students.

See student suspensions by school and race.

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