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$6.8 Billion Budget Passes Oklahoma House; Heads to Gov. Fallin For Approval

Oklahoma lawmakers have passed a $6.8 billion budget for the fiscal year beginning July 1st. By a vote of 57-42 just hours before the end of the legislative session today, the Oklahoma House passed Senate Bill 860 , which cuts most state agency budgets by about five percent. Supporters say the plan protects core services and closes a projected $878 million budget hole. Mustang Republican Rep. Leslie Osborn: “One billion–with a B–dollar hole, we fixed it. There’s no perfect anything, but it’s...

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Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

Lawmakers got their first peek at Oklahoma’s budget last night in a haphazard midnight session senior legislators described as the most disjointed in their career.

House and Senate committee members had mere minutes to review the proposed $6.9 billion dollar budget before voting on two versions of the state spending plan.

The bills are nearly identical. One would give teachers a $1,000 pay raise. Both deliver funding cuts for most state agencies. Sixteen agencies, including the Departments of Education and Transportation, are in line for flat budgets.

Headlines for Wednesday, May 24, 2017:

  • Legislative leaders unveil competing $6.8 billion dollar budgets shortly before midnight. (NewsOK)

  • Lawmakers get creative to pass revenue raising measures. (Tulsa World)

The Oklahoma House of Representatives has passed a bill raising the gross production tax from one percent to four percent on a small, select group of oil wells.

By a vote of 68 to 30 on Tuesday morning, lawmakers passed House Bill 2429, which affects less than 6,000 wells drilled between July of 2011 and July of 2015.

But, some Democrats, like Oklahoma City Rep. Collin Walke, are calling the bill unconstitutional.

Updated at 5:55 p.m. ET

One day after a bombing at an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester, England, killed at least 22 victims and wounded dozens more, police have identified a suspect: Salman Abedi, 22, who also died in the attack. The Greater Manchester Police says it's investigating whether anyone helped to carry out the attack.

Headlines for Tuesday, May 23, 2017:

  • Lawmakers work late in the night to deal with state revenue. (Tulsa World)

  • Itemized tax cap passes out of the House. (Tulsa World)

In a late-night committee meeting on Monday, lawmakers passed a measure that raises the gross production tax rate from one percent to four percent, but only on a small, select group of oil wells.

Rep. Kevin Wallace (R-Wellston), who is carrying House Bill 2429, says it will bring about $95 million in to the state. The bill would only affect about 5,790 wells drilled between July 2011 and July 2015.

The state’s budget uncertainty is making it difficult for schools to plan for next year. The deadline for districts to discontinue a teacher’s contract has already passed.

Shawn Hime with the Oklahoma State School Board Association says, on the other hand, if a district needs to hire more people, they don’t want to wait too long.

facebook.com/jimmylafave

A key figure in Oklahoma and Texas music has died.

Jimmy LaFave passed away Sunday after a battle with a rare fast-growing cancer called spindle cell sarcoma. He was 61.

Born in Wills Point, Texas, LaFave moved to Stillwater when he was 15 and was instrumental in the early stages of what would become known as “red dirt music.”

twitter.com/Enes_Kanter

Oklahoma City Thunder forward Enes Kanter, a Swiss-born Turkish citizen, is back in the United States, following his detainment at a Romanian airport over the weekend.

Kanter fled Indonesia, where he was hosting a basketball clinic in Jakarta, on Saturday after his manager was awoke him in the middle of the night.

"My manager knocked on my door around 2.30am and said we need to talk. He said the secret service of Indonesia and army is looking for you. Turkish government called them and said he’s a dangerous man, we need to talk to him."

One of the more baffling cultural intersections to take place during President Trump's first overseas trip was a concert that took place Saturday night in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. It featured American country music star Toby Keith, who performed for an all-male audience.

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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.

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Education News

The state’s budget uncertainty is making it difficult for schools to plan for next year. The deadline for districts to discontinue a teacher’s contract has already passed.

Shawn Hime with the Oklahoma State School Board Association says, on the other hand, if a district needs to hire more people, they don’t want to wait too long.

Educators have criticized Oklahoma’s A Through F Report Card for years saying the way it grades schools is unfair. The State Department of Education finally overhauled it, but some groups call the new plan racist, and they’re threatening to sue the Department of Education if parts of the new Report Card aren’t changed.

A school’s grade is based on a couple different things. One of which is whether students are meeting certain academic targets.

U.S. Department of Education

Oklahoma's third grade reading test is a high stakes test.

If a child fails it, and they don't meet a certain exception, they get held back.

However, for the past couple of years, lawmakers have allowed parents and teachers to consider other academic performance data when determining whether or not to retain a kid who failed the test.

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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.