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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State Sen. Patrick Anderson, R-Enid
Oklahoma State Senate

A bill in the Oklahoma Senate could reduce the number of school district administrators in the state by moving to a county-based superintendent system.

eCapitol reports that Sen. Patrick Anderson (R-Enid) filed the measure after an interim study earlier this year. Oklahoma has 77 counties and 521 school districts.

According to Anderson, the state could save up to $40 million dollars if the state uses the county model.

Oklahoma Capitol Building
ana branca / Flickr

Oklahoma’s state budget is becoming more dependant on one-time funding sources, according to state treasurer Ken Miller, during both good and bad economic times.

Miller remarked at the Oklahoma State University Center for Applied Economic Research 2016 Economic Outlook Conference in Oklahoma City that the state should not experience the biggest budget hole in its history at a time of 4.3 percent unemployment, according to Shawn Ashley from eCapitol.

State agencies and departments are starting the process of developing operating plans for next fiscal year based on the budget appropriations passed by the legislature and signed by Governor Fallin.

The Office of Juvenile Affairs received an increase that will keep a facility open, but the Oklahoma Arts Council took at 7.25 percent cut that will affect the arts grants to organizations statewide.

The Oklahoma Conservation Commission also received less funding that will affect operations and a federal allocation for dam repair. The Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation receives no state tax dollars but anticipates a larger budget because of increasing license fees. The Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management’s budget decreases will not affect operations because of federal funding to the department.

Oklahoma Capitol Building
ana branca / Flickr

Bond rating agencies will not be fond of Oklahoma’s fiscal year 2016 budget, State Bond Advisor Jim Joseph told the Council on Bond Oversight.

“This budget will not be something the rating agencies will like because of the way is was balanced with one time money,” Joseph said Thursday during a meeting of the council.

 

Joseph pointed out the budget uses a variety of one-time funding sources, including $150 million from the Constitutional Reserve or Rainy Day Fund and $125.2 million from agency revolving fund accounts.

 

The exterior of the unfinished American Indian Cultural Center and Museum in Oklahoma City.
American Indian Cultural Center And Museum

After Governor Mary Fallin signed legislation authorizing a $25 million bond issue to finish the incomplete American Indian Cultural Center and Museum in Oklahoma City, the Native American Cultural and Educational Authority’s board meeting celebrated the event.

Chancellor for Higher Education Glen Johnson
Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education

The Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education approved a variety of measures during a meeting Friday with little discussion.

Among those measures was the approval of $963.4 million in state appropriations allocated by the state legislature and expected to be approved by Governor Mary Fallin.

The proposed appropriation total would represent a 2.4 percent cut from higher education's previous fiscal year.

Considering most state agencies saw larger percentage cuts, Chancellor Glen Johnson said he is thankful for what they were received.

Hofmeister's Education Goals Pushed To Next Year

May 30, 2015
Joy Hofmeister, Oklahoma State Schools Superintendent
Provided

Oklahoma education had two big tickets this legislative session -- teacher pay raises and testing relief -- but bills addressing either one of those failed to make it out this legislative session.

Superintendent Joy Hofmeister said Wednesday that while interest was high to do something to alleviate mandatory testing on Oklahoma students, any measure attempting to so do “stalled out.”

She said “time ran out” for further discussions but promised that next legislative session she would “solve what couldn’t be solved” this year. 

Oklahoma House of Representatives Chamber
http://www.oklegislature.gov/

The Oklahoma Legislature has adjourned the 2015 legislative session one week earlier than is required.

The presiding officer of the Senate dropped the gavel shortly after 3 p.m. Friday and two hours later the House also adjourned sine die, a Latin phrase that literally means "without day."

The Oklahoma Legislature is constitutionally required to adjourn by the last Friday in May, but lawmakers rushed to complete their work this week to finish before the Memorial Day weekend.

Senate Committee Amends And Passes 'Erin's Law' Legislation

Mar 23, 2015
The Oklahoma Senate
Becky McCray / Flickr Creative Commons

Legislation that authorizes public schools to implement programs intended to help prevent child sexual abuse has been approved by an Oklahoma Senate committee.

The bill that originated in the House was first amended in ways that raises some concerns by the bill’s original House authors.

The Senate Committee on Education voted 12-1 for the House-passed bill Monday and sent it to the full Senate for a vote.

Republican Sen. A.J. Griffin of Guthrie says her bill is designed to empower children and young adults by giving them the skills to identify dangerous situations and avoid them. But Griffin also noted that the bill approved by the Senate committee “looked nothing like nothing like Erin’s law.”

HB1684, by Rep. Lee Denney, R-Cushing, and Griffin, modifies the requirements for teacher training on child sexual abuse matters. The bill, Griffin explained, does not change the already established requirements but goes into more detailed as to what that training must encompass. The bill clarifies appropriate reporting for child abuse claims because many school districts are not properly reporting claims, Griffin said.

Joy Hofmeister, superintendent of public instruction, listens to a question from the audience during the "Oklahoma Watch-Out" forum on March 3.
Ilea Shutler / Oklahoma Watch

Updated 11:06 a.m.

Oklahoma's state schools superintendent says a 4 percent cut in the Department of Education's budget would reduce funding for the state's public schools by $100 million next year.

Superintendent Joy Hofmeister outlined her agency's budget request Wednesday for members of the Senate Committee on Appropriations. Lawmakers must deal with a budget shortfall of $611 million as they work to craft a budget for state government for the fiscal year that begins July 1.

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