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Oklahoma Politics

House Speaker T.W. Shannon (R-Lawton) shakes Gov. Mary Fallin's hand shortly before her State of the State address - February 3, 2014.
Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

Oklahoma House Speaker T.W. Shannon is stepping down from one of the most powerful positions in state government as he runs for a U.S. Senate seat.

Shannon announced Tuesday on the House floor that he was stepping down from the speaker's post immediately.

Gov. Mary Fallin delivers the 2014 State of the State address as Lt. Gov. Todd Lamb and House Speaker T.W. Shannon (R-Lawton) look on - February 3, 2014.
Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

Gov. Mary Fallin is proposing a .25 percent reduction in Oklahoma's income tax rate.

Fallin made the proposal Monday while delivering her State of the State address at the start of the 2014 Oklahoma Legislature.

Katsrcool / Flickr Creative Commons

The first Monday in February means the parking lots are full surrounding the domed building at the intersection of NE 23rd Street and Lincoln Blvd. in Oklahoma City. Here are five things political scientists and state capitol reporters expect to see between now and the end of May.

Gov. Mary Fallin addresses reporters during an Associated Press Legislative Forum at the State Capitol - January 29, 2013.
Governor Mary Fallin / Facebook

Gov. Mary Fallin says Oklahoma voters should weigh in on what to do about school safety.

Fallin on Wednesday suggested that schools be given one-time authority to increase their bond limits so they can build tornado shelters or make other safety improvements on campus. She said she was heartbroken by the loss of life at a Moore elementary school last May.

hubbardforcongress2014

A Canadian County rancher and business owner says he will challenge 10-term U.S. Rep. Frank Lucas for the Republican nomination in Oklahoma's 3rd Congressional District.

Robert Hubbard told The Associated Press on Monday: "We need to make some changes."

The 69-year-old Republican will formally announce his candidacy Monday afternoon at the Oklahoma History Center.

Ken Rudin, the "Political Junkie" formerly of NPR, writes in his weekly column Oklahoma's upcoming Senate race has all the makings of, once again, another Republican family feud between the conservative and the very conservative wing of the party.

Oklahoma Capitol Building
ana branca / Flickr

Oklahoma legislators will begin budget briefings with various state agencies amid projections they will have about $170 million less to spend on state programs this year.

Members of House and Senate budget subcommittees will begin hearing presentations on Tuesday at the state Capitol.

State Sen. Kim David chairs the subcommittee that oversees funding for health and human services. She and her counterpart on the House subcommittee will meet with officials from nearly a dozen state agencies over the next two days.

VIDEO: Coburn To Leave Senate Seat

Jan 16, 2014
Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) greeting President Barack Obama.
Tom Coburn / Facebook

U.S. Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) announced Thursday evening he will leave behind his Senate seat at the end of this Congress. That will leave two years remaining in his term.

The end of the current session is January 2015.

An email from Coburn's office said the decision to leave was not because of his health. He is a cancer survivor and was recently diagnosed with cancer again.

State Rep. Joe Dorman (D-Rush Springs)
Oklahoma House of Representatives

R.J. Harris has dropped out as a Democratic candidate forOklahoma governor.

Harris made the announcement on his website Wednesday and says he's endorsing Democratic state Rep. Joe Dorman in the race. Harris, who's previously run for office as a Republican and an independent candidate, says he's supporting Dorman because Dorman is "socially tolerant and fiscally conservative."

Republican Gov. Mary Fallin is running for her second term in office. She faces a GOP primary challenge from former state Sen. Randy Brogdon, who filed paperwork last month to run for governor.

State Rep. Al McAffrey at a bill signing with Gov. Brad Henry - September 13, 2009.
Tiddled / Wikimedia Commons

Former Oklahoma Gov. Brad Henry has become a shareholder and been elected director of a CFS2, a Tulsa-based debt collection company.

The company announced in a press release Thursday that Henry's role will be in the strategic and capital planning process.

Henry said in a statement the company focuses on "nontraditional ways to help consumers overcome financial difficulties."

The company was founded in 2010 by Bill Bartmann, who previously founded the debt-collection company Commercial Financial Services.

The Oklahoma Employment Security Commission will ask lawmakers to consider a number of changes to its statutes during the upcoming legislative session, commission members were told Tuesday.

Among those changes, John Miley, OESC general counsel, told the commissioners will be an amendment that allows victims of domestic violence who have been forced to leave their jobs and apply for unemployment benefits to provide evidence, particularly testimony, rather than documentation in appeals before hearing officers.

Monday the New York-based Satanic Temple unveiled their design for a proposed monument on the grounds of the Oklahoma State Capitol.
The Satanic Temple / Facebook

A group has unveiled designs for a 7-foot-tall statue of Satan that it wants at the Oklahoma state Capitol.

The New York-based Satanic Temple released an artist's rendering of the monument Monday. A spokesman says the group has formally submitted its application to a panel that oversees the Capitol grounds.

Author: Hall, Edward S. Publisher: H.H. Lloyd & Co. / Norman B. Leventhal Map Center at the BPL

Three political scientists who study the politics of southern states in the U.S. say shifts in population from rural areas to urban centers could help Democrats win more elections.

Scott Buchanan of the Citadel Symposium on Southern Politics says there is evidence the move is already taking place in Florida and Virginia.

Buchanan also says the coast of South Carolina is seeing an influx of immigration from other states, changing the politics of the area.

The Democrats lost the south, in part, because they failed to develop their party, according to the University of Georgia’s Charles S. Bullock III. He says they took their dominance for granted and did not develop candidates in the face of a rising GOP presence.

Randy Brogdon / Facebook

A conservative Republican state senator who rode a tea party wave four years ago that nearly landed him in a primary runoff with Gov. Mary Fallin will face some added challenges in 2014, including dampened tea party enthusiasm and a popular incumbent governor.

Randy Brogdon
Randy Brogdon for Governor Website

A website attributed to former state Sen. Randy Brogdon says he plans to file paperwork this week to run against incumbent Republican Gov. Mary Fallin.

Brogdon lost to Fallin in the 2010 Republican primary. He announced his run through social media, and the Secretary of State says a "Brogdon for Governor" corporation was formed last week.

Brogdon told the Tulsa World on Thursday he is "compelled" to fight for liberty.

Former state Rep. Randy Terrill
Oklahoma House of Representatives

An Oklahoma judge has sentenced a former state lawmaker to a one-year prison sentence and a $5,000 fine following his conviction on a felony bribery charge.

District Judge Cindy Truong handed down the sentence Friday to Republican former Rep. Randy Terrill of Moore.

A jury in October found Terrill guilty of offering a bribe for withdrawal of candidacy. Jurors recommended a one-year prison sentence and a $5,000 fine.

Terrill says he will appeal his conviction.

Truong has allowed Terrill to remain free on a $10,000 appeal bond during the appellate process.

State Rep. Joe Dorman (D-Rush Springs)
Oklahoma House of Representatives

A Democratic state representative from Rush Springs says he plans to start raising money for a race against Republican Gov. Mary Fallin in 2014.

State Rep. Joe Dorman (D-Rush Springs) set the stage Tuesday for what he portrayed on one hand as only a possible run for governor. But he said he was confident he would seek the Democratic nomination for the state’s highest elected post.

Gov. Mary Fallin, Senate President Pro Tem Brian Bingman (R-Sapulpa), and House Speaker T.W. Shannon (R-Lawton) announce their tax cut proposal in the Blue Room of the State Capitol - April 23, 2013.
Kurt Gwartney / KGOU

The Oklahoma Supreme Court has ruled that a bill passed last session to cut the state's personal income tax and provide $120 million for repairs to the Capitol is unconstitutional.

In a unanimous decision released Tuesday, the court ruled the bill violated the state constitution's ban on logrolling, or including multiple subjects in a single bill.

Katsrcool / Flickr Creative Commons

At least 37 state agencies hope to spend more than an additional $1.1 billion in fiscal year 2015, according to budget requests submitted to the Office of Management and Enterprises Services.

The agencies will be asking Gov. Mary Fallin and the Legislature to provide the bulk of that money, $806.0 million, the requests show.

The remainder would come from state revolving funds, $41.2 million, and the federal government, $277.2 million, the requests indicate.

Finance Secretary Preston Doerflinger
Oklahoma PCA / Flickr Creative Commons

Oklahoma finance officials say collections to the main operating fund used to pay for state government continue to trail the official estimate, a trend that could lead to budget cuts for state agencies if it continues.

Oklahoma's Secretary of Finance Preston Doerflinger released figures on Wednesday that show collections to the state's general revenue fund trail by nearly 8 percent the official estimate upon which the state budget is based. So far for the first five months of the current fiscal year, collections have trailed the official estimate by about 6.5 percent.

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