Prisoners Of Debt
6:53 am
Mon February 9, 2015

Over The Years, Court Fines, Fees Have Replaced General Revenue Funds

The Rogers County Courthouse, where Dwayne Steidley is the presiding judge
Oklahoma District Attorney's Council, District 12

Editor's Note: This is one installment of a series of stories reported jointly by KGOU and Oklahoma Watch. 

For more than two decades, Oklahoma has turned to fines and fees instead of state appropriations to fund the court system, and the debt former prisoners now face has becoming increasingly burdensome as the state has grown more and more reluctant to raise taxes.

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6:22 am
Sun January 11, 2015

Oklahoma PTA Planning March Rally At The Capitol

The education rally at the Oklahoma Capitol in March, 2014.
Credit Gov. Mary Fallin / Facebook

The leader of Oklahoma's largest PTA group says he expects as many as 50,000 people to attend an education rally on the grounds of the state Capitol.

Oklahoma Parent-Teacher Association President Jeffery Corbett says he has reached out to school district leaders in hopes they will take part in the March 30 rally.

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State Capitol
6:01 am
Sun January 11, 2015

Budget-Only Oklahoma Legislative Sessions Gains Steam, Would Need A Vote Of The People

The Oklahoma Senate
Credit Becky McCray / Flickr Creative Commons

Support is growing among Republican leaders to have every other legislative session dedicated exclusively to writing the budget.

With as many as 3,000 bills filed every year, rank-and-file legislators complain they have little time to dedicate to working out Oklahoma's annual spending plan.

A proposal last year to send the issue to voters passed the House with bipartisan support, but was derailed in the Senate.

But Republican Gov. Mary Fallin endorsed the plan during her campaign for governor, and Senate President Pro Tem Brian Bingman said this week he's open to the idea.

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Politics and Government
7:05 pm
Wed November 19, 2014

AG Finds Oklahoma Legislature Mishandled More Funds

Credit Steve Wampler / Flickr.com

The Legislature mishandled funds in two more cases during the 2014 legislative session, according to opinions released Tuesday. 

In separate opinions, Attorney General Scott Pruitt said the Legislature's appropriation of part of $11.0 million from the Workers' Compensation Fund for purposes other than the use or benefit of the Workers Compensation Commission was unconstitutional. The Attorney General's Office also found the transfer of $5 million from the Trauma Care Assistance Revolving Fund to be appropriated for other purposes also violated in the Constitution.

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Politics and Government
6:30 am
Sun November 9, 2014

Bill Filing For 55th Legislature Set To Open

Oklahoma Capitol Building

Bill filing for the First Session of the 55th Legislature will open in just under two weeks.

According to the Senate and House media offices: Senate incumbents can begin filing bills Nov. 17; New senators can begin filing bills Nov. 19.

House members also can begin filing their bills Nov. 19.

New and returning members of both chambers will gather at the Capitol Nov. 18 for a swearing in ceremony. The ceremony is optional and no official legislative business will be conducted.

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Politics and Government
6:25 pm
Wed October 15, 2014

State Agency Revolving Funds Often Restricted

Mark Tygret, Fiscal Director for the Oklahoma House of Representatives.
Credit LinkedIn

The House Appropriations and Budget Committee received a lesson Wednesday on revolving funds, more than 500 accounts that include revenue from fees and fines to federal grants.

House Fiscal Director Mark Tygret began Wednesday’s presentations during House Interim Study H14-007, concerning revolving funds, by explaining that the majority of the funds are created by legislation and are considered continuing funds.

That means the money in the accounts is not limited to specific fiscal year expenditures but instead may be spent over a number of years.

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7:07 pm
Wed July 23, 2014

Oklahoma Schools Get 1.2 Percent Increase In Per-Pupil Funding

Credit Nick Conroy / Oklahoma Watch

Oklahoma schools are receiving their allocation for the new fiscal year, and districts are receiving an increase of about $38 per student.

The state Department of Education announced Wednesday it has released its allocations to school districts for the 2015 fiscal year.

The initial allocation is $3,077 per student, compared to $3,039 last year.

A budget agreement reached between Gov. Mary Fallin and the Oklahoma legislature this year resulted in an $80 million increase in funding for common education.

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State Capitol
6:20 pm
Tue March 12, 2013

Abortion Restriction Bill Passes House

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — A pair of bills that make it more difficult for girls younger than 18 to have an abortion without notifying their parents have easily cleared the Oklahoma House.

The House on Tuesday approved the bills that would limit the ability of teenage girls to have a judge allow them to get an abortion without parental consent.

The first bill by Democratic Rep. Rebecca Hamilton of Oklahoma City would require parental notification in all cases, except for medical emergencies or if the girl was a victim of sexual or physical abuse by a parent. It passed 80-12.

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12:13 pm
Fri March 8, 2013

Search Bills in Oklahoma Legislature

Typically, using a bill number is the quickest way to find a specific piece of legislation. But if you've "heard" about something going on at the state Capitol, you can also search by words in the bill.
Oklahoma Legislature's Website where you can follow the introduction of bills, committee actions, and votes on the bills.