Native American
10:29 am
Tue August 20, 2013

Oklahoma Tribe Taking Census For Safety

The Citizen Potawatomi Nation cultural heritage center.
Credit Citizen Potawatomi Nation

An Oklahoma-based American Indian tribe is conducting a census of its members to help in emergency response efforts.

The Citizen Potawatomi Nation is conducting a census of tribal members. It's trying to gather contact information and demographic details.

The tribe says that after recent tornadoes in Oklahoma, officials had a difficult time reaching members of the Nation. Officials hope the census will provide better contact information.

The data will also collect geographic information for grant applications.

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State Capitol
10:01 am
Tue August 20, 2013

ACLU Files Oklahoma 10 Commandments Monument Lawsuit

Credit @jbtaylor / Flickr Creative Commons

The American Civil Liberties Union of Oklahoma has filed a lawsuit seeking to force the removal from state Capitol grounds of a monument that bears the Ten Commandments.

The Tulsa World reports Monday that the civil liberties group filed suit in Oklahoma County District Court and names the Oklahoma Capitol Preservation Commission as the defendant.

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Former Chief In Education For 50 Years
6:35 pm
Mon August 19, 2013

Osage Nation Chief George Tall Chief Memorial Set For Saturday

Seal of The Osage Nation
Credit Osage Nation

 A memorial service for a former Osage Nation chief who died last week will be held on Saturday.

The Tulsa World reports that a memorial service for George Tall Chief will take place at 10 a.m. Saturday at Gray Horse Chapel in Fairfax.

Tall Chief was chief of the Osage Nation from 1982 to 1990. He died Aug. 11. He was 96.

Tall Chief was a proponent of the three branches of government and an early supporter of its adoption in the Osage Nation.

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Sonic And Tribe Do Business
6:21 pm
Mon August 19, 2013

Wyandotte Nation And Sonic Work Together, Create Jobs

Sonic Drive-in
Credit Bob B. Brown / Flickr.com

The Wyandotte Nation of Oklahoma is opening a Sonic Drive-In in Missouri in hopes of diversifying its economic ventures.

This is the first time the Oklahoma City-based Sonic Corp. has reached a development deal with a Native American tribe.

The tribe says the expected completion date for the restaurant is in October. It will be located in Seneca, about 10 miles from the tribe's headquarters in northeastern Oklahoma.

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StateImpact Oklahoma
1:46 pm
Mon August 19, 2013

New Secretary of Energy and Environment Has No Oil Experience, Says Oklahoma Oil Lobby

Col. Michael Teague
Credit Oklahoma Governor's Office

Gov. Mary Fallin on Aug. 16 appointed Col. Michael Teague as secretary of energy and environment.

Fallin’s choice for the cabinet position — which was created by combining the vacant offices of secretaries of energy and environment — was immediately criticized by the president of the Oklahoma Independent Petroleum Association, the state’s largest industry trade organization.

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Affordable Care Act
12:55 pm
Mon August 19, 2013

Insurance Commissioner Criticizes Navigator Grants

Oklahoma Insurance Commissioner John Doak
Credit Provided / Oklahoma Insurance Department

Three Oklahoma organizations will receive a combined $1.6 million in federal funds to provide navigators under the Affordable Care Act, a move Insurance Commissioner John Doak called a waste of money.

“First, (the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services) wastes money an increases costs for insurers and consumers by duplicating regulation already performed by the Oklahoma Insurance Department,” Doak said in a press release. “Now, they continue this wastefulness by spending more on organizations that will be duplicating the work done by Oklahoma’s licensed agents and brokers.”

More than 335,000 insurance and agents and brokers are licensed by the Insurance Department.

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Around The State
11:29 am
Mon August 19, 2013

Federal Bankruptcy Court Closes Shop In McAlester

Carl Albert Federal Building and U.S. Courthouse, McAlester, OK
Credit U.S. General Services Administration / Wikimedia Commons

The court functions in McAlester's federal building have shut down as a way to cut costs.

The last session took place on Thursday in U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District.

Federal courts have operated in McAlester for more than 100 years. Now, the federal building will house an FBI office and a credit union.

The McAlester News-Capital reports that Bankruptcy Judge Tom Cornish says the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver is closing satellite courthouses to trim its budget.

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Health Insurance
10:46 am
Mon August 19, 2013

Premium Increases Approved For State Workers

Credit James Martin / Flickr

The cost of health benefits for state and education workers is going up in 2014.

At the recommendation of a board that oversees benefits for most public workers, Office of Management and Enterprise Services Preston Doerflinger approved the increase in premium rates on Friday.

The Oklahoma Employees Insurance and Benefits Board recommended an overall increase of 3.6 percent for the self-funded HealthChoice Plan and a 2.2 percent hike in the monthly premium for the HealthChoice Medicare supplement plan.

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Health
10:02 am
Mon August 19, 2013

Judge Blocks Oklahoma Morning-After Pill Law

Credit David Morris / Flickr Creative Commons

An Oklahoma judge has blocked legislation that would have restricted access to over the counter emergency contraceptives in the state.

Oklahoma County District Judge Lisa Davis granted a temporary restraining order this morning stopping the new law that would have required girls under the age of 17 to have a prescription before a pharmacist would give them the “morning after” pill.

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Affordable Care Act
9:54 am
Mon August 19, 2013

State Makes Little Effort To Promote Health Exchange

About 70 people show up at a church in Oklahoma City to learn about the Affordable Care Act.
Credit Warren Vieth / Oklahoma Watch

In just six weeks, nearly one in 10 Oklahomans will be able to buy subsidized health policies from private insurance companies through a new online marketplace set up by the federal government.

Many more who don’t qualify for the subsidies will still be able to shop on the marketplace and obtain coverage, even if they’ve been turned down in the past for pre-existing conditions.

But it won’t be simple. Several companies will offer policies, with different levels of coverage. Tax credits will be available for people falling within certain income ranges. Many people will need one-on-one assistance to navigate the registration process.

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