Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

Emails Show EPA Boss Pruitt Worked In Concert With Industry He Now Regulates

Emails made public Wednesday show newly confirmed U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt coordinated with the fossil fuel industry and political groups to fight federal environmental regulations when he served as Oklahoma’s attorney general. The emails show oil and gas companies and electric utilities sent Pruitt talking points and drafts of letters opposing federal regulations on ozone, fracking and emissions from oil and gas wells — regulations the newly confirmed...

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Headlines for Friday, February 24, 2017:

  • A state lawmaker faces an investigation of possible campaign violations. (NewsOK)

  • A panel investigating a state lawmaker makes no findings of sexual harassment despite recommending his expulsion. (Tulsa World)

This Week in Oklahoma Politics, KOSU's Michael Cross talks with ACLU Oklahoma Executive Director Ryan Kiesel and Republican Political Consultant Neva Hill about the $34M revenue failure facing state agencies as well as the $787M budget shortfall facing state lawmakers, Oklahoma City Mayor Mick Cornett announces he will not seek a fifth term as leader of the state's capital city and lawmakers fast track a bill to get the state in compliance with the Federal Real ID Act.

Logan Layden / StateImpact Oklahoma

The crippling five-year drought Oklahoma finally broke out of in 2015 is still fresh in the memory of the state’s water regulators, which is looking for ways the state can better withstand future dry spells. The Water Resources Board this week approved new rules to allow water to be stored underground, in aquifers.

Nearly 3/4 of Oklahoma voters oppose a half-cent tax on wind-generated electricity proposed by Gov. Mary Fallin, The Oklahoman’s Paul Monies reports a poll sponsored by a wind advocacy group shows. “The State Chamber also is voicing opposition to the plan.”

The Trump administration is rescinding protections for transgender students in public schools.

The move by the Justice and Education departments reverses guidance the Obama administration publicized in May 2016, which said a federal law known as Title IX protects the right of transgender students to use restrooms and locker rooms that match their gender identities.

Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

Emails made public Wednesday show newly confirmed U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt coordinated with the fossil fuel industry and political groups to fight federal environmental regulations when he served as Oklahoma’s attorney general.

Headlines for Thursday , February 23, 2017:

  • Pruitt e-mails show coordination with the fossil fuel industry to fight EPA. (StateImpact OK)

  • Fallin ordered to turn over emails on executions. (Tulsa World)

Flickr / texasbackroads

An Oklahoma Senate committee has approved legislation to repeal the trigger for a cut in the state's individual income tax rate.

The Senate Appropriations Committee on Wednesday voted 32-4 for Senate Bill 170 and sent it to the full Senate for a vote.

Not far from a gleaming $183 million arena and other signs of a midsize city striving to become something more, smooth pavement gives way to potholes, rusted fences and shuttered storefronts. They're the remnants of what was once known as Tulsa's Black Wall Street, before one of the worst race riots in U.S. history.

Businesses that are still open in this north-side section that some locals are adamant about reviving - the off-brand gas-and-go stores, the thrift shops and salvage yards - are often separated from the next open place by gnarled weeds, rusted fence and vacant lots.

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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.”

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