eCapitol

An Oklahoma-based company with corporate headquarters located in Oklahoma City, eCapitol launched as an online capitol news and information business in the early 1990's. eCapitol provides on-the-ground, politically-neutral reporting of capitol activity and ways for KGOU to follow legislation, track votes and analyze amendments in an efficient and cost-effective manner.

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Education
7:49 pm
Thu December 18, 2014

Board of Education Reacts To Oversight In School District Funding

Credit Wesley Fryer / Flickr Creative Commons

State education officials have rediscovered a law more than 20 years old which affects the way millions of dollars in current and future fiscal year funds will be distributed to the state's school districts. 

The formula for midterm adjustments, she said, accounts for ad valorem tax revenues. In that factoring, the state law enacted in 1990 to take effect in 1992 mandates that agricultural and commercial personal property taxes should be capped at 11 percent. The statute also notes that the Oklahoma Tax Commission will provide that data to the Department of Education.

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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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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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Politics and Government
6:34 pm
Wed December 17, 2014

FY16 Projected State Revenue Triggers Tax Cuts But Some State Departments Will Have Less To Spend

Finance Secretary Preston Doerflinger
Credit Oklahoma PCA / Flickr Creative Commons

General Revenue Fund collections for fiscal year 2016 are forecast to increase, tripping the trigger for an individual income tax rate cut in calendar year 2016, Secretary of Finance, Administration and Information Technology Preston Doerflinger announced Wednesday.

Total revenue available for appropriations for the next fiscal year, however, is forecast to decline by nearly $300 million, he said.

Under Senate Bill 1246, which lawmakers approved during the 2014 legislative session and Gov. Mary Fallin signed, the state’s top personal income tax rate will drop from 5.25 percent to 5.0 percent beginning Jan. 1, 2016 if the FY2016 General Revenue Fund estimate made by the Board of Equalization at its meeting Thursday is equal to or greater than the FY2014 estimate approved in February 2013.

According to the estimate to be presented to the board Thursday, the FY2016 estimate will be $60.7 million more than the FY2014 estimate.

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Weather and Climate
8:34 pm
Tue December 16, 2014

Study Will Develop Plan For Drought Stricken Southwest Oklahoma

The Oklahoma Water Resources Board on Tuesday unanimously approved the terms of a plan to further study the Upper Red River Basin as part of the Water SMART Basin Studies Program.

The study, which has an estimated cost of approximately $1.4 million, will help Oklahoma’s southwest corner find ways to best conserve and manage the water they draw from the Upper Red River Basin. Southwest Oklahoma, Planning and Management Division Chief Julie Cunningham said, has been the region most affected by recent drought conditions in the state.

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Politics and Government
7:29 pm
Mon December 15, 2014

Ethics Commission Delays Action On "Educational" Gifts Reporting Requirements

Commissioner Tom Walker (Democrat, 4th Congressional District) Appointed in September 2011 by the Chief Justice Steven Taylor.
Credit Oklahoma Ethics Commission

The Ethics Commission decided Friday to look at rewording a proposal concerning reporting of scholarships and payments for trips and conferences and to consider the revised language in January.

Commission Thomas Walker led the charge against the proposed Ethics Rules amendment, saying the language presented Friday would open a “Pandora’s box.”

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Politics and Government
6:53 pm
Mon December 15, 2014

Oklahoma Supreme Court OKs $120 Million Capitol Bond Issue

Credit Meghan Blessing / KGOU

 The Oklahoma Supreme Court has upheld legislation authorizing a $120 million bond issue to renovate and repair Oklahoma's crumbling State Capitol building.

In a unanimous decision, the nine-member court handed down a decision Monday rejecting allegations that the bond legislation was an unconstitutional special law that should be struck down.

The Oklahoma Capitol Improvement Authority asked the Supreme Court for guidance on whether to issue the bonds after Oklahoma City attorney Jerry Fent announced plans to protest the issuance.

Fent claims the bill authorizing the bond issue is unconstitutional because it addressed only one state building.

But attorneys for the state say the bill is a universal general law that applies to a unique building that serves as both the seat of state government and as a symbol of Oklahoma.

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Health
7:04 am
Sun December 14, 2014

Study Calls For Change In State Health Care System

Credit Oklahoma Health Care Authority

Talk of transforming the way health care is provided, paid for and implemented in the state has begun in Oklahoma.

The Oklahoma Health Care Authority board on Thursday heard a presentation by Oklahoma Hospital Association President Craig Jones about the future of the state’s health care system. Oklahoma was ranked 46th in overall health by America’s Health Rankings in its 2014 report.

“We believe this will be an important part of the discussion going into the next legislative session,” OHCA Chief Executive Officer Nico Gomez said.

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Politics and Government
6:02 am
Sat December 13, 2014

Bingman Sets Up The Senate

Senate President Pro Tempore Brian Bingman
Credit Oklahoma Senate

Senate President Pro Tempore Brian Bingman named the members Friday who will serve as chair and vice chair of Senate committees and subcommittees during the 55th Legislature.

Unlike the House where House Speaker Jeff Hickman, R-Fairview, altered the committee structure from the prior legislative session, Bingman’s appointments reflect no changes in the structure.

Some members who previously served as chair or vice chairs of committees, however, are no longer filing those roles and in most cases have moved to other positions.

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Politics and Government
5:47 am
Sat December 13, 2014

Agriculture Department Requests Legislation To Better Respond For Animals In A Natural Disaster

Those impacted by the Moore tornadoes were reunited with their animals. The Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food and Forestry worked with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service within an Incident Command structure to triage animals and place them in shelters so that they could be reunited with their owners.
Credit The Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food and Forestry

Oklahoma’s Department of Agriculture, Food and Forestry has requested multiple pieces of legislation for the upcoming legislative session, said Legislative Liaison Blayne Arthur at a board meeting on Tuesday.

Arthur said General Counsel Teena Gunter has been working on putting together the correct language for these bills to submit them by the Jan 22 deadline, though they have already officially requested legislation.

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