Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

Oklahoma Budget Hole Jumps to $1.3 Billion Amid Downturn

Oklahoma finance officials say the hole in next year's budget has increased to $1.3 billion, or nearly 20 percent of last year's spending, amid depressed oil prices. The Office of Management and Enterprise Services announced Thursday that plunging revenue collections have widened the shortfall from the original projection of $900 million in December. A state panel led by Gov. Mary Fallin will meet next week to certify how much legislators can spend in the fiscal year that begins July 1....
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Carly Fiorina is exiting the Republican presidential race after a seventh-place showing in last night's New Hampshire primary.

"While I suspend my candidacy today, I will continue to travel this country and fight for those Americans who refuse to settle for the way things are and a status quo that no longer works for them," said Fiorina in a statement.

Oil and gas companies want to comply with regulators’ requests to shut down disposal wells if it blunts the boom of earthquakes, but they want the state to clarify the process used to dispute such requests, The Journal Record’s Sarah Terry-Cobo reports.

Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders won clear, early and decisive victories in the New Hampshire primary Tuesday night.

Trump beat the GOP field by double digits. He got 35 percent of the vote, well ahead of surprise second-place finisher John Kasich, who pulled in 16 percent. Kasich was followed by Ted Cruz at 12 percent, Jeb Bush at 11 percent and Marco Rubio, who, after a poor debate performance Saturday, faded to fifth just shy of 11 percent.

Headlines for Wednesday, February 10, 2016:

  • Oklahoma’s general revenue takes another hit as collections plummet in January. (Tulsa World)

  • A bill some say targets the rights of the LGBTQ community dies in a senate panel vote. (KFOR)

The heart of the Obama administration's Clean Power Plan is now on hold, after the Supreme Court granted a stay request that blocks the EPA from moving ahead with rules that would lower carbon emissions from the nation's power plants.

The case is scheduled to be argued in June, in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. But a decision could be long in coming, particularly if the case winds up in the Supreme Court — meaning that the rules' fate might not be determined before a new presidential administration comes into power in 2017.

Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

A former research seismologist with the Oklahoma Geological Survey says agency leaders and other state officials fostered a culture of hesitation and reluctance to act on science suggesting the state’s earthquake boom was linked to oil and gas activities.

The Oklahoma company Chesapeake Energy’s stock value plummeted Monday. Over the past year, the stock is down more than 90 percent.

Chesapeake is the second-largest natural gas extractor in the U.S. and a major employer in Oklahoma. Here & Now’s Jeremy Hobson talks with Brian Hardzinski of KGOU in Oklahoma City about how Chesapeake Energy’s struggles are affecting Oklahoma’s economy.

Headlines for Tuesday, February 9, 2016:

  • The State Treasurer announces the largest plunge in monthly gross receipts in more than five years. (Norman Transcript)

  • Deeper cuts to agencies coming in March. (Tulsa World)

The History of Mental Health Care in Oklahoma

Feb 9, 2016
Oklahoman Archive (used with permission)

Oklahoma has spent among the least in the nation on its mental health system, a trend that dates back decades. Currently, Oklahoma is among 10 states that spend the least per capita on mental health.

Jaclyn Cosgrove, health reporter at The Oklahoman, joins us to talk about her yearlong project on mental illness and addiction in Oklahoma.

Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

Deeper budget cuts are coming for Oklahoma's schools, health care, roads and prisons.

Oklahoma's Secretary of Finance Preston Doerflinger notified state agencies Monday that continued declines in revenue collections will require deeper cuts than the 3 percent reductions that were ordered to begin in January.

Collections to the state treasury have continued to come in below projections, prompting a revenue failure.

The deeper cuts are expected to begin in March, although Doerflinger says the exact percentage reduction won't be determined until next week.


Education News

Lawmakers filed hundreds of education bills this session, seeking solutions to teacher pay, testing, and school funding in general. Here is a list of more than 30 bills that KOSU will be following closely this legislative session.


U.S. Department of Education / Flickr

Oklahoma’s new English Language Arts and Math standards are finally complete, and have been approved by the State Board of Education. They now await the legislature’s approval. 

The Department of Education was tasked with creating new math and English standards after the Oklahoma legislature repealed the Common Core curriculum in 2014.

Oklahoma Senator David Holt is proposing $10,000 teacher pay raises over the next few years. And Holt says this can be done without raising taxes. 

His plan is three pronged. School districts would be consolidated and excess money would go to teacher pay. All revenue growth after fiscal year 2017 would go directly to raises, and the the state would find another $200 million by reforming tax credits.

Holt said legislators have a moral obligation to raise pay, and help solve the teacher shortage.

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

Political News

This Week in Oklahoma Politics, KOSU's Michael Cross talks with ACLU Oklahoma Executive Director Ryan Kiesel and Republican Political Consultant about Governor Fallin's call to protect some corporate tax credits, the general revenue took another hit falling $105M below the estimate in January and just two weeks into the 2016 legislative session there have already been some surprises.

Ryan LaCroix / KOSU

On Wednesday, three House bills I'm keeping an eye on managed to get through committees. Here's a brief summary of what these bills entail and what happened:

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie has suspended his campaign for president.

"And while running for president I tried to reinforce what I have always believed — that speaking your mind matters, that experience matters, that competence matters and that it will always matter in leading our nation," said Christie in a post on Facebook.

The decision comes after a sixth-place finish in New Hampshire, where Christie had banked so much of his political capital.

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Weeknights with Ferris

Hear Ferris O'Brien every weeknight, from 9 p.m. to midnight, on The Spy.

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.