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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Shift From OK County DA To Attorney General
7:26 pm
Mon July 28, 2014

Attorney General’s Office Reviews Workers Compensation Commission Agendas, Records

Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt
Credit Office of the Attorney General

The Attorney General’s Office is now conducting a review of the Workers Compensation Commission after questions were raised about its compliance with the Open Meetings Act.

According to published reports, Oklahoma County District Attorney David Prater launched an investigation July 21 of the newly created Workers Compensation Commission after questions were raised about its compliance with the Open Meetings Act.  Prater closed that investigation after meeting Friday with the Attorney General’s Office.

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Oklahoma News
7:42 pm
Thu July 24, 2014

TRS: Investment Returns Excellent, Nonvoting Board Member And Search For A New Executive Director

Credit 401(k)3 / Flickr Creative Commons

The Teachers Retirement System held a board of trustees meeting on Wednesday and reported increased return on investments, implemented a new rule adding a new board members, and continued their search for a new executive director.

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Oklahoma News
7:28 pm
Wed July 23, 2014

Number Getting Earthquake Insurance Increasing

Credit Ray Bouknight / Flickr Creative Commons

The recent increase in earthquakes within the state has raised both awareness and the purchase of earthquake insurance, according to Kelly Collins, communications director with the Oklahoma Insurance Department.

According to Collins, in 2011 only 3 percent of most insurance companies’ customers had earthquake insurance.

That number has now tripled with an estimated 15 percent of customers holding such policies.

This conclusion came from a survey done by Collins of the top five homeowners insurance companies in the state who make up 70 percent of the industry.

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Politics and Government
6:45 pm
Tue July 22, 2014

Fallin Rejects Ritze Call For ‘Catastrophic Health Emergency'

Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin.
Credit jadedtom / Flickr.com

Governor Mary Fallin’s office on Tuesday rejected a call by Rep. Mike Ritze to declare a Catastrophic Health Emergency to address issues related to the immigrant children being held at Fort Sill.

“It is our belief that the (Catastrophic Health Emergency Act) offers a very narrow interpretation of what a ‘health emergency’ is and when a CHE can be declared by the governor, wrote Steve Mullins, Fallin’s general counsel, in a Tuesday letter to Ritze. “We do not believe that the current health concerns at Fort Sill have met that threshold.” 

On July 14, Ritze, R-Broken Arrow, announced he had sent letters to Fallin Attorney General Scott Pruitt, Oklahoma Commissioner of Health Terry Cline and state representatives in the Lawton area encouraging them to do all they can to ensure the protection of Oklahoma citizens from contagious diseases following the federal government's decision to house illegal immigrant children at Ft. Sill.

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Arts and Entertainment
8:57 pm
Mon July 21, 2014

Interim Study To Evaluate Future Of Oklahoma Arts Council

Oklahoma Arts Council
Credit Oklahoma Arts Council

After years of discussions and a handful of bills seeking to eliminate or reduce funding to the Oklahoma Arts Council, one legislator wants to keep the mission of the group going by looking at ways to keep them viable in the state.

Rep. Lee Denney, R-Cushing, who has been a supporter of the agency, said her interim study, H14-0018, approved earlier this month, will look what other states with similar government arts management agencies are doing.

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Politics and Government
7:21 pm
Mon July 21, 2014

Oklahoma Juvenile Affairs Director: "Need A Substantial Budget Increase For 2016"

The Oklahoma Office of Juvenile Affairs
Credit Office of Juvenile Affairs

The Oklahoma Board of Juvenile Affairs heard about the dire state of its budget during its monthly meeting Friday. Executive Director Keith Wilson told the board that "this next budget year will be nip and tuck" and that a "substantial increase in the budget for 2016" will be necessary.

"At this point in time we are operating 15.5 percent below where we were operating with the initial budget in 2010," said Wilson. "We have to cut approximately $3 million, just shy of it, out of the budget this year. That's something over $5 million that it left us to fund."

Some consolation was found in the fact that the revolving funds of "somewhere between $2.25 and $2.5 million" remained intact for the agency. That money will be solely used to operate Southern Plains Treatment Services, but there will be "very little left in those funds by the end of the fiscal year." Though the money will save the treatment center from closing, it must now be staffed less due to the cut.

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Science and Technology
7:13 pm
Mon July 21, 2014

Oklahoma Granted $26 million In Federal Dollars For Watershed Program

Credit U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Digital Visual Library / Wikipedia Commons

Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) Chief Jason Weller announced Friday that Oklahoma will be receiving $26 million of the $262 million federal dollars that are being allotted for dam rehabilitation. This appropriation was achieved through the passage of the 2014 Farm Bill.

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Politics and Government
7:36 am
Sun July 20, 2014

Office of Juvenile Affairs Cuts Funds to Community Intervention Centetrs

Oklahoma Office of Juvenile Affairs
Credit Office of Juvenile Affairs

Community intervention centers were the hot topic during the Friday meeting of Office of Juvenile Affairs Board of Directors. A meeting was able to be held Friday, unlike in June which failed due to a lack of a quorum. Suspicions had run high that the lack of a quorum was a tactical move to keep the ample audience from voicing concern at the budget cut for community intervention centers (CICs).

Board member Richard Rice, the missing board member who audience and other board members spent an hour waiting on for last month's meeting, publicly apologized Friday saying he "simply could not get out of the courtroom."

The number of those in attendance at this meeting was drastically different than those audience members from last month's meeting, but, nonetheless, several public comments were made about the cut of appropriations to CICs. A cut of 1.75 percent was cut from Youth Services, and an additional estimate of $610,000 was cut specifically from CIC budgets.

OJA Executive Director Keith Wilson said that the cuts came after a "necessary" cost-benefit analysis. Since then, he has been in talks with the Speaker of the House and the President of the Senate, impressing upon them the dire budget situation. Wilson said that "the situation that the Legislature and the governor have put us in is just critical" and "something that the Legislature should look at in the upcoming year."

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Politics and Government
8:46 am
Sat July 19, 2014

ABLE Commission Discusses Vapor Regulation Prohibiting Sales To Minors

An e-cigarette.
Credit Kubice / Wikimedia Commons

Members of the Alcoholic Beverage Law Enforcement Commission hear a presentation Friday on the agency’s preparation for enforcing a new law governing vapor products.

SB1602 passed by the legislature and signed into law places the products under the Youth Access to Tobacco Act for which ABLE is the lead law enforcement agency.

Under the new law, which takes effect November 1, it will be illegal for anyone under the age of 18 to purchase or possess vapor products, regardless of whether the product contains nicotine, explained ABLE Captain Maureen Shanta.

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Politics and Government
8:20 pm
Thu July 17, 2014

Workers Compensation Commssion Adopts Budget And Explains Employee Terminations

Oklahoma Workers Compensation Commission
Credit Oklahoma Workers Compensation Commission

The Workers' Compensation Commission approved its first full fiscal year budget Thursday totaling $4.5 million.

Executive Director Rick Farmer walked the three commissioners through the income and expenditure sides of the ledger during the commission meeting.

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