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The Oklahoma Educational Television Authority (OETA) is a statewide network that provides a diverse fare of public television programs to viewers across Oklahoma and in surrounding states.

OETA began with one transmitting station, little money, limited broadcast hours and a small, almost immeasurable audience. Today, with OETA’s statewide network of four transmitting stations and 15 translator stations, more than 1,800,000 viewers tune into OETA on a weekly basis.

On this episode of OETA and the University of Oklahoma Outreach's Current Conversations, host Robert Con Davis-Undiano talks with Joshua Landis, the director of OU's Center for Middle East Studies, the author of the blog Syria Comment, and a regular contributor to KGO

Nearly a million Oklahomans suffer from mental illness or substance abuse so mental health facilities are using a triage approach to provide treatment.

A priority system that mandates the most severely ill get treatment while others wait.

Mental health providers say shrinking financial resources have forced such an approach to mental health care.

On this edition of OETA's weekly public affairs program Oklahoma Forum, how Oklahomans reacted to the bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building on April 19, 1995 and changed disaster response in the United States.

Cancer is a leading cause of death in Oklahoma, and in 2012, cancer treatment cost Oklahomans more than $713 million. And as death rates from cancer have been dropping rapidly in the US, the decline in Oklahoma has been less precipitous.

'Right To Farm' Overview

Mar 23, 2015

State Impact reporter Logan Layden discusses controversial Right-to-Farm legislation. A bill making its way through the legislature calls for a constitutional amendment to prohibit the state from making certain regulations concerning farming and ranching practices. The U.S. Humane Society argues the regulations are needed to protect animals and the environment.

State agencies are being asked to return to the Capitol to have an in-depth discussion about their budgets, the leaders of the House and the Senate said Thursday. The meetings to discuss budgets are a result of the $611 million dollar shortfall authorized by the State Equalization Board last Tuesday.

Education policy is among the top concerns facing lawmakers as they begin a new legislative session at the state capitol. Recent policy debates over the A-F system of grading public schools, Common Core, and third grade reading sufficiency testing have prompted educators to speak out more in hopes of shaping state education policy. 

Stateline: Cowboys Of Color

Jan 26, 2015

The cowboy is an American icon. The Hollywood image of the cowboys is lone, rugged and white, but in reality the old west was very diverse, and many of the cowboys were African-American or Hispanic.

Every year, culturally diverse cowboys from all over the country come to the Cowboys of Color Rodeo in Oklahoma City.

Joy Hofmeister Wants To Improve Public Education

Jan 25, 2015

New State Superintendent of Public Instruction Joy Hofmeister faces big challenges in the effort to improve Oklahoma’s public education.

A recently released report ranks Oklahoma 48th out of 50 states and the District of Columbia for the quality of education provided to students.

Oklahoma education faces financial challenges and growing teacher shortages.

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Oklahoma motorists are enjoying some of the lowest gasoline prices in the nation. Prices have fallen as much as 90 cents in the past six months, with some stations selling gas at less than two dollars a gallon. The lower gas prices are the result of a decline in the price of crude oil, which is expected to hover at around 70 to 80 dollars a barrel in 2015.

But the drop in gasoline prices also means less tax revenue to the State of Oklahoma just as the legislature is developing a budget for the new fiscal year that begins on July 1, 2015.

Falling oil prices are raising concerns about Oklahoma’s state budget. Economists at the Oklahoma Economic Outlook Conference say the decline in oil prices could result in the loss of as many as 1000 energy sector jobs, and a loss of severance tax revenue used to fund state government.

They also say educational standards must be rigorous enough to meet the demands of business and industry.

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Gubernatorial Race Closer Than Expected

Oct 26, 2014

This year’s gubernatorial race between Gov. Mary Fallin and Democratic challenger Joe Dorman is closer than expected. One poll shows Dorman has narrowed the gap among likely voters, although Fallin retains a double-digit lead. Analysts say Fallin is running on the economy, while Dorman is stressing education in his campaign.

Democrat Joe Dorman says he knew facing an incumbent Republican in a solidly red state meant he would have to find and exploit a weakness if he hoped to defeat Republican Gov. Mary Fallin.

Fallin has never lost an election during her political career and has a roughly 5-to-1 fundraising edge over Dorman.

Dorman believes he's found Fallin's weakness in education policy. He hopes to tap into voter frustration as a result of policies pushed by Fallin and the Republican-controlled Legislature. These include an A-F grading system for schools, high-stakes reading tests for third graders, and the repeal of Common Core standards.

Meanwhile, Fallin says education will be a priority of her second term and stresses Oklahoma's economy that includes decreasing unemployment and increases in personal income and state revenue.

Ecapitol news director Shawn Ashley discusses early voting, voter turnout, and candidates’ efforts to energize their supporters and get them to the polls.

Black leaders are voicing concerns about a growing sense of apathy about politics within the African-American community. Former state senator Angela Monson says there is an attitude among younger black voters that their vote isn’t making a difference, while Oklahoma NAACP President Anthony R. Davis says black voters are frustrated that getting a college degree still doesn't guarantee a job.

House Panel Hears About Veteran Suicides

Oct 16, 2014

Oklahoma Mental Health Commissioner Terri White outlined veterans suicide statistics for a house panel Tuesday. White says nearly one in four suicides in Oklahoma involved a veteran in 2011. 

White pointed to a program operated by the U.S. Air Force which significantly reduced suicides among the military, offering prove that suicide prevention efforts work. The Department of Mental Health plans to seek an additional one million dollar appropriation next year to implement suicide prevention programs. 

For 27 years U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe has represented Oklahoma in Washington D.C. First as a congressman for seven years, and then as a  U.S. Senator since 1994. As he approaches his 80th birthday in November, Inhofe is seeking another six-year term in office. He is being challenged by Democratic nominee Matt Silverstein of Bixby, a newcomer to politics.

OETA explores the differences in these two men running for the U.S. Senate.

Analysis Of The Gubernatorial Debate By eCapitol

Oct 6, 2014

Talking to OETA Managing Editor, Dick Pryor, e-Capitol News Director reviews the gubernatorial debate and previews some of the more interesting state senate races in this year’s general election.

A Billion Dollar Month For State Government

Oct 6, 2014

State government made a lot of money in the month of September.  State Treasurer Ken Miller reports gross receipts topped $1 billion which set a new record. 

That is more than 8% above what the state brought in for the same month a year ago and Treasurer Miller says it, "indicates healthy (economic) expansion in Oklahoma."

Oklahoma nursing homes are rated 49th and Oklahoma’s health care system for the elderly is ranked 47th in two new studies. A three-year $11.5 million dollar grant from the Donald W. Reynolds Foundation to the Oklahoma Healthy Aging Initiative will help deal with some of the shortcomings. Increased state funding is still needed to improve the health of Oklahoma seniors.

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