Jacob McCleland / Oklahoma Public Media Exchange

Oklahoma Faces Another Revenue Failure, Agencies To See Mid-Year Budget Cuts

The Oklahoma Board of Equalization declared a revenue failure for the current fiscal year, which will result in mid-year appropriations cuts to state agencies. State agencies will receive across board cuts of 0.7 percent between March and June of this year. In total, agencies will be cut by $34.6 million. Preston Doerflinger, the Director and Secretary of Finance, Administration and Information Technology, said the situation is dire and more revenue is needed. “I need you, members, I beg you...

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Jacob McCleland / Oklahoma Public Media Exchange

The Oklahoma Board of Equalization declared a revenue failure for the current fiscal year, which will result in mid-year appropriations cuts to state agencies.

State agencies will receive across board cuts of 0.7 percent between March and June of this year. In total, agencies will be cut by $34.6 million.

Preston Doerflinger, the Director and Secretary of Finance, Administration and Information Technology, said the situation is dire and more revenue is needed.

EPA

Former Oklahoma Attorney General and new Environmental Protection Agency administrator Scott Pruitt addressed employees of the federal agency for the first time today.

Flickr / Fried Dough

Legislation that would ban smoking in vehicles containing children has cleared an Oklahoma House committee.

The House Public Health Committee voted 7-1 Tuesday for the bill by Democratic Rep. Donnie Condit of McAlester. It now goes to the full House for a vote.

Updated 5:25 p.m. ET

The Trump administration is releasing more on its plans to crack down on illegal immigration, enforcing the executive orders President Trump issued in late January. Those orders called for increased border security and stricter enforcement of immigration laws.

The Department of Homeland Security issued the new rules on Tuesday, laid out in two documents signed by Secretary John Kelly.

Several Jewish community centers across the U.S. were targeted by bomb threats on Monday, according to the JCC Association of North America, in the fourth wave of such threats in the past two months.

In total, there have been 69 threats at 54 JCCs, in 27 states and a Canadian province, the organization reports — including previous threats on Jan. 9, 18 and 31, as well as 11 threats by telephone on Monday.

Headlines for Tuesday, February 21, 2017:

  • Governor Fallin picks a replacement for Scott Pruitt. (NewsOK)

  • Legislation looks to possible legalization of medical marijuana. (Journal Record)

twitter.com/agscottpruitt

Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin has appointed Secretary of State Mike Hunter to replace former Attorney General Scott Pruitt, who was tapped by President Donald Trump as administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency.

Fallin appointed Hunter on Monday, four days after Pruitt resigned following his confirmation by the U.S. Senate as EPA administrator.

Doug Schwarz

Oklahomans won't vote until next year on whether to legalize medical marijuana, but a state lawmaker has already introduced legislation that would set the framework if sales of the drug are approved.

State Rep. Eric Proctor of Tulsa has introduced a measure that's nearly an exact replica of an Arkansas bill, where medical marijuana was legalized by voters last November.

The bill mirror's Arkansas' proposed plan, calling for a maximum $7,500 fee to apply to run a dispensary and a maximum $15,000 fee to apply for a marijuana cultivation license.

oksenate.gov

A Senate education committee passed a school choice measure on Monday, which riled a lot of debate from lawmakers.

Education Savings Accounts are a touchy subject. They allow parents to use state tax dollars, that would normally go to a public school, towards private school tuition instead.

Senator Rob Standridge says his ESA bill, SB560, is aimed at helping low-income families afford a better educational option for their child.

Updated at 4:35 p.m. ET

President Trump has announced that Army Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster will be his new national security adviser. McMaster will replace retired Army Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, who was forced to resign after revelations that he had misled top White House officials about his conversations with the Russian ambassador to the U.S.

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KOSU's Michael Cross talks about political news in Oklahoma with ACLU Oklahoma Executive Director Ryan Kiesel and Republican political consultant Neva Hill.

Stream classical music via our partners at KUCO!

Education News

oksenate.gov

A Senate education committee passed a school choice measure on Monday, which riled a lot of debate from lawmakers.

Education Savings Accounts are a touchy subject. They allow parents to use state tax dollars, that would normally go to a public school, towards private school tuition instead.

Senator Rob Standridge says his ESA bill, SB560, is aimed at helping low-income families afford a better educational option for their child.

oksenate.gov

A Oklahoma Senate subcommittee passed seven bills about teacher pay on Wednesday, each one providing a different solution to the teacher pay problem.

Some of the bills propose $1,000 raises, others $10,000. Some provide funding mechanisms, while others do not.

Senator J.J. Dossett (D-Owasso) says this is just the beginning of the conversation. He says the legislature knows raising teacher pay is the right thing to do and they've just got to figure out the right way to do it.

With a nearly $900 million budget shortfall, Oklahoma lawmakers want accountability for every penny. But within the coffers of private charter school management companies are millions of dollars that lawmakers can't see. 

Senator Jason Smalley wants to know exactly how much schools are spending on administration. He filed a bill to find out, because right now he said it’s not clear.

“Are all the individuals that should be classified as administration costs, actually being reported as that?” he asked. “I think that’s what the greater conversation is.”

More Education News
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