Oklahoma Politics

State Capitol
9:44 am
Wed March 12, 2014

Looting Could Become Felony In Oklahoma

The aftermath of the May 2013 tornado in Moore, Okla.
Credit Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

The Oklahoma Senate has approved legislation that makes looting a felony in Oklahoma.

The Senate passed the measure 36-1 Tuesday evening and sent it to the House for consideration.

The measure by Republican Sen. Anthony Sykes of Moore elevates the crime of looting from a misdemeanor offense to a felony, with a penalty for violations ranging from two to seven years in prison.

Sykes says the measure is a response to incidents of looting after a massive tornado destroyed homes and business in Moore last May.

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It's All Politics
11:45 am
Mon March 10, 2014

Governors' Races Offer Promise For Democrats

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett applauds a choir at The Salvation Army Ray and Joan Kroc Corps Community Center during a Jan. 29 news conference in Philadelphia.
Matt Rourke AP

Originally published on Mon March 10, 2014 1:49 pm

Elections for governor could provide some good news for Democrats this fall, giving them the chance to regain ground in a few states where the party has had good fortune recently.

At this early stage, Republicans are expected to hold control of the House and pick up seats in the Senate — maybe even win a majority in the Senate.

But the GOP has fewer opportunities when it comes to statehouses. Republicans dominated state elections back in 2010, leaving them few openings this year. (Governors serve four-year terms everywhere but Vermont and New Hampshire.)

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State Capitol
12:45 pm
Wed March 5, 2014

House Rejects Expansion Of Oklahoma's DNA Database

Credit Steve Greaves / Flickr Creative Commons

A plan to require people facing trial for certain crimes to submit DNA samples to law enforcement has been rejected by the Oklahoma House, despite an emotional plea from the bill's author.

On Wednesday, the House voted 51-35 against the bill by Stillwater Republican Rep. Lee Denney, who says the measure would help solve cases and would only target people charged with particularly heinous crimes.

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State Capitol
12:19 pm
Thu February 27, 2014

Senate Approves Quarter Percent Oklahoma Income Tax Cut

The Senate passed a bill by Senate President Pro Tem Brian Bingman (R-Sapulpa) that would lower Oklahoma's income tax rate to below 5 percent if the state’s economy continues to improve.
Credit Oklahoma Senate

KGOU's Kurt Gwartney reports Senate Democrats focused their questions about the tax cut bill on the lack of funding for core state services like education and public safety.

The state Senate approved a bill Thursday morning that would cut the Oklahoma income tax rate a quarter of a percent down to five. The bill passed on a 32-10 margin, with mostly Democrats opposing it.

Minority leader Sean Burrage (D-Claremore) argued nearly 40 percent of residents won't see any tax break, and would rather have the state pay for good schools, rather than receive less than $100 back on their income taxes. 

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State Capitol
9:55 am
Wed February 26, 2014

Oklahoma Anti-Gay Business Bill Dead This Session

Credit KellyK / Flickr Creative Commons

The principal sponsor of a bill that would allow business owners in Oklahoma with strongly held religious beliefs to refuse service to gays says his measure is going back for rewrite.

Not only that, Seminole Republican Tom Newell says the measure likely won't be given any further consideration in the current legislative session.

Newell said Tuesday that while he still supports the idea, his bill is being redrafted to prevent "any fiascos like there have been elsewhere."

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State Capitol
9:32 am
Wed February 19, 2014

Open Meeting Act Violations Could Gain Legal Teeth

Credit zrim / Flickr.com

A bill making its way through the state Senate could make violations of the Oklahoma Open Meeting Act more expensive for government entities.

Sen. David Holt (R-Oklahoma City) is the sponsor of Senate Bill 1497. It would allow those suing local governments over violations of the open meeting law to collect attorney fees. The new law would also allow the collection of those fees from the plaintiff if the suit is frivolous.

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Education
2:27 pm
Mon February 17, 2014

Panel OKs Teacher Pay Bills Despite Lack Of Funds

Credit Terrapin Flyer / Flickr Creative Commons

Two bills to increase teacher pay have sailed through a House committee, although a projected shortage of revenue this year makes it's unlikely the measures will ever reach the governor's desk.

With educators from across the state packed into a committee room on Monday, a House budget panel unanimously approved the bills. They next will be scheduled for consideration by the full House Appropriations and Budget Committee.

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State Capitol
1:04 pm
Mon February 17, 2014

Oklahoma Students Forced To Recite Pledge Under Bills

Credit Patrick Damiano / Flickr Creative Commons

Oklahoma schoolchildren would be required to recite the Pledge of Allegiance each day under two bills that cleared a legislative committee on Monday.

The Senate Education Committee passed both bills on Monday with just one dissenting vote. Both measures can now be scheduled for a hearing before the full Senate.

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Oklahoma Voices
11:35 am
Mon February 17, 2014

VIDEO: Capitol Reporters Discuss Start Of 2014 Oklahoma Legislative Session

Left-to-right: OETA's Dick Pryor, KGOU News Director Kurt Gwartney, eCapitol News Director Shawn Ashley, KOSU Radio's Michael Cross, Sean Murphy from the Associated Press.
Credit OETA - The Oklahoma Network

The 2014 Oklahoma legislative session kicked off two weeks ago Monday, with an income tax cut, reduced agency budgets, repairing the state Capitol, and employee compensation all facing lawmakers as they return to NE 23rd Street and Lincoln Blvd. in Oklahoma City.

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Oklahoma Politics
1:27 pm
Thu February 13, 2014

UPDATE: McAffrey Formally Announces U.S. House Candidacy

Credit Oklahoma State Senate

A Democratic state senator from Oklahoma City formally announced his candidacy Thursday for the 5th Congressional District seat being vacated by Republican U.S. Rep. James Lankford.

State Sen. Al McAffrey formally unveiled his plans during a 1 p.m. press conference at the Myriad Botanical Gardens in downtown Oklahoma City.

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