KGOU

Clark Jolley

budweiser bottles
Thomas Hawk / Flickr (CC BY-NC 2.0)

Beer giant Anheuser-Busch is vocally opposing legislation that would allow beer and wine sales at Oklahoma grocery stores, arguing it would end the company’s ability to distribute low-point-beer in the state.

Updated February 19, 2:12 p.m.

The head of a grassroots organization that wants to change Oklahoma's liquor laws criticized Anheuser-Busch for its opposition to Senate legislation that would expand where full-strength beer and wine can be sold.

 

The Oklahoma state budget is facing a crisis. Legislators face a $1.3 billion shortfall in the upcoming fiscal year that will result in cuts to agencies. At the same time, several state leaders have floated proposals to fund a pay raise for Oklahoma teachers.

Finance secretary Preston Doerflinger (left), House Speaker Jeff Hickman (center), and State Sen. Clark Jolley (right) address the budget situation and revenue failure during a Deember 17, 2015 news conference at the state Capitol.
Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

Oklahoma budget officials sounded a dire financial alarm this week – low oil prices have driven state government revenues to failure.

Lawmakers and state finance officials say a projected $900 million hole in next year's state-appropriated budget could grow closer to $1.1 billion when adjusted for one-time expenditures used to plug a hole in the current state budget.

Those numbers will be officially presented to the state Board of Equalization on Monday. Three of the state’s top finance leaders met with reporters at the state Capitol on Thursday to detail the shortfall.

A class in the assistant principal's old office at Burcham Elementary in Weatherford.
Emily Wendler / KOSU

Oklahoma has gained 40,000 new students since 2008, but funding from the legislature hasn’t kept up with the growth. More students and less money means some schools are running out of space and have been dipping deep in to their savings accounts. They are making do, but it’s at a tipping point for some districts. Either they get more funding and add more space, or the class sizes get bigger and bigger.

State Sen. John Sparks (D-Norman)
Oklahoma Senate

A Democratic state senator who opposes a bill creating education savings accounts is proposing three amendments that appear to take a shot at other recent Republican legislation.

The amendments involve drug testing parents and bans on Advanced Placement U.S. history courses and Common Core standards materials.

Synergos Institute / Flickr

Despite a budget hole of $611 million, a court-ordered reform of Oklahoma’s child welfare system will be funded for the 2016 fiscal year, the chairmen of the Legislature’s budget-writing committees said Monday.  

State Sen. Clark Jolley, R-Edmond, said the Department of Human Services’ Pinnacle Plan would be funded for the next fiscal year.

“It’s not up for debate,” said Jolley, chairman of the Senate’s Appropriations Committee. “The Pinnacle Plan will be funded.”

Rep. Earl Sears, R-Bartlesville, who is House budget chair, agreed.

State Sen. Clark Jolley (R-Edmond), the chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee.
Oklahoma Senate

The Oklahoma Senate has overwhelmingly approved a $7.1 billion budget bill that funds state government for the fiscal year that begins July 1.

The Senate voted 31-9 Tuesday for the bill that puts into law the agreement reached last week between the Senate, House and governor's office. The measure now moves to the House for final consideration.

June Campbell / Flickr Creative Commons

A $5 million annual rebate program that has been used to lure big budget films to Oklahoma would continue for another 10 years under a bill that is heading to the governor's desk.

The Senate voted 31-11 on Thursday for the Compete with Canada Film Act by Sen. Clark Jolley (R-Edmond).

twoshortplanks / Flickr Creative Commons

A $5 million annual rebate program that has been used to attract producers of films like last year's August: Osage County to Oklahoma would continue for another ten years under a bill that has passed a Senate committee.

The Senate Finance Committee voted 7-2 for the bill on Tuesday. It now heads to the full Senate, where it is expected to pass.

But lawmakers who oppose the bill say the program is a wasteful use of tax dollars.

Oklahoma Highway Patrol cadets lining up during academy training.
Oklahoma Highway Patrol

Oklahoma Highway Patrol troopers would get a pay increase under a bill that has unanimously cleared a Senate committee.

The Senate Appropriations Committee voted 22-0 on Wednesday for the bill by Edmond Republican state Sen. Clark Jolley.

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