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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The mayor of Oklahoma's largest city says he will not seek re-election in 2018.

Oklahoma City Mayor Mick Cornett announced Wednesday that he will not run for re-election after serving about 14 years in office. He did not say what his future plans are.

“I still love the job as much as I ever have. And that makes it a difficult decision. I look forward to this final year in office knowing we have several more milestones to reach.”

A small, faint star relatively close by is home to seven Earth-size planets with conditions that could be right for liquid water and maybe even life.

The discovery sets a record for both the most Earth-size planets and the most potentially habitable planets ever discovered around a single star.

The Takeaway's executive producer writes about using public radio to reach community voices that are sometimes not heard. She includes an example of their January trip to Oklahoma with KOSU.

Republican members of Congress aren't exactly getting a warm welcome in their home districts during this week's recess.

Headlines for Wednesday, February 22, 2017:

  • The Board of Equalization declares a revenue failure resulting in mid-year cuts to state agencies. (KOSU)

  • Schools are going to be hit twice-- as a result of the state’s lower than projected revenue collections. (News on 6)

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.

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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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A weekly two-hour show of Oklahoma music, from across the state. The show opens a window of Oklahoma music to the rest of the world.