Oklahoma News

Oklahoma News
6:18 pm
Wed April 29, 2015

Court Of Civil Appeals Upholds Prisoner Per Diem Ruling

Credit creationc / Stock.XCHNG

The Oklahoma Court of Civil Appeals has upheld a district court ruling that it's unconstitutional to require counties to use county revenue to house state inmates in county jails.

The ruling on Wednesday comes in a lawsuit filed in 2013 by the Bryan County Board of Commissioners against the Oklahoma Department of Corrections. It challenged per diem rates paid for housing state prisoners.

The ruling says inmates are held in county jails on behalf of the state prison system, and the state constitution requires the state to fund the system.

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Oklahoma News
5:12 pm
Wed April 29, 2015

State Sen. Ralph Shortey Wants More Training For Volunteer Officers

State Sen. Ralph Shortey (District 44, R-Oklahoma City)
Credit Oklahoma Senate

An Oklahoma lawmaker wants tougher requirements for people to be volunteer law enforcement officers after an unarmed suspect was shot dead by a 73-year-old reserve deputy in Tulsa County.

Flanked by current and former sheriffs and the head of the state's law enforcement training agency, state Sen. Ralph Shortey said Wednesday his bill would increase from 240 to 300 hours the amount of training a reserve officer must receive. Volunteer officers would also be required to obtain at least 12 hours of continuing education annually. None are required now.

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Oklahoma News
3:17 pm
Wed April 29, 2015

Texting While Driving Ban Sent To Gov. Fallin's Desk

Credit Jason Weaver / Flickr Creative Commons

The Oklahoma House has approved legislation to ban texting and driving in the state.

Without debate, the House voted 85-7 for the bill Wednesday and sent it to Gov. Mary Fallin for her signature. Applause broke out in the chamber after the bill by Republican Rep. Terry O'Donnell of Tulsa was approved.

Lawmakers approved the bill after accepting an amendment by the Senate that makes texting and driving a primary offense, meaning Oklahoma drivers could be pulled over and ticketed for texting while driving alone without committing any another traffic offense.

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Death Penalty
12:15 pm
Wed April 29, 2015

U.S. Supreme Court Justices Divided On Oklahoma's Death Penalty Challenge

Credit Oklahoma Department of Corrections

The U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments Wednesday morning on Oklahoma’s death penalty protocol and whether the use of a new sedative might cause cruel and unusual punishment. 

Justices took turns asking heated questions to both Robin Konrad, who represents the Oklahoma death row inmates, and Oklahoma Solicitor General Patrick Wyrick.

Justice Anthony Kennedy is often the pivotal vote in close cases. He remained quiet through the hearing and did little to reveal which way he was leaning.  

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Oklahoma News
5:28 pm
Tue April 28, 2015

Memo Warned Tulsa Sheriff About Volunteer Deputy's Training

Tulsa County Sheriff Stanley Glanz
Credit tcso.org

Lawyers for a Tulsa man shot dead by a reserve deputy have released a document indicating an Oklahoma sheriff was told directly about concerns the volunteer's training record may have been falsified.

The 2009 memo appears to be initialed by Sheriff Stanley Glanz, but doesn't say when it was prepared or sent to him. Glanz declined comment Tuesday.

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Oklahoma News
3:42 pm
Tue April 28, 2015

Tobacco Settlement Trust Fund Tops $1 Billion

ok.gov/tset

Oklahoma's Tobacco Settlement Endowment Trust Fund now has a balance of more than $1 billion.

State Treasurer Ken Miller said Tuesday that the trust fund's balance reached $1.03 billion after a deposit of $57.6 million from the annual payment to the state from the tobacco industry. The state received a total payment of $76.9 million, with the remaining funds divided between health care related appropriations by the Legislature and the attorney general's evidence fund.

The payments are the result of a 1998 lawsuit by Oklahoma and 45 other states against tobacco companies.

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Oklahoma News
12:21 pm
Tue April 28, 2015

Cannabis Oil Study Bill Heads To Gov. Fallin's Desk

State Rep. Jon Echols (R-OKC)
Credit Oklahoma House of Representatives

Gov. Mary Fallin's desk is the next stop for legislation that authorizes an investigational study into clinical trials on certain patients with severe forms of epilepsy using an oil derived from the marijuana plant.

The Oklahoma House voted 85-5 for the measure and sent it to Fallin to be signed into law. Fallin has expressed support for the idea but says she remains opposed to legalizing all medical marijuana applications.

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Death Penalty
6:52 am
Tue April 28, 2015

Supreme Court To Hear Oklahoma Execution Protocol: Here's What You Need To Know

fischerfotos Flickr Creative Commons

The U.S. Supreme Court hears oral arguments Wednesday on Oklahoma’s current lethal injection protocol during Glossip vs. Gross. The state’s method has been criticized since last year’s botched execution of Clayton Lockett, and the high court’s decision will likely affect the rest of the nation’s capital punishment procedures.

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Oklahoma News
4:43 pm
Mon April 27, 2015

Gov. Fallin Signs Bill Changing Composition Of Workforce Development Council

Credit LLudo / Flickr Creative Commons

Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin has signed legislation that streamlines the composition of the Governor's Council on Workforce and Economic Development.

The bill signed Monday changes the membership of the council to give representatives of the private sector and business community a majority on the council, which will still receive input from state agencies.

The council is one of the main state bodies working to implement Oklahoma Works, Fallin's initiative to help boost educational attainment in Oklahoma.

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Oklahoma News
3:19 pm
Mon April 27, 2015

Applications To Build Storm Shelters Up In Moore

FEMA Public Information Officer, Nate Custer, left, and Resource Manager, Sterling Rich examine a newly installed storm shelter in Arkansas.
Credit Charles S. Powell / FEMA

Applications to build storm shelters have spiked a month after a tornado touched down in Moore.

Moore spokeswoman Deidre Ebrey says officials there have noticed an increase in the number of people applying for storm shelters since the March 25 tornado.

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