How The NRA Uses Its Political Clout: An Early Lesson In Oklahoma

There was a time when the National Rifle Association was known primarily for promoting gun safety and advocating for gun ownership for hunting and home protection. But that seems a long time ago. It still does those things, to be sure, but these days the NRA is far more recognizable as an uncompromising political force, aggressively defending its interpretation of the 2nd Amendment, while working to defeat any and all politicians it views as its enemy. It's a transition that took place over...

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This Week in Oklahoma Politics, KOSU's Michael Cross talks with Republican Political Consultant Neva Hill and ACLU Oklahoma Executive Director Ryan Kiesel about the "Bipartisan Oklahoma Plan" released by the House Democrats which has received no support from Republicans while time has run out for lawmakers to create a budget deal. The capital is closing for the next week while crews work on the antiquated electrical system, forcing the State Finance Secretary to tell three state health agencies to cut their budget up to $75 million each.

Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

Oklahoma City’s decades-long quest for a permit to pump water out of southeastern Oklahoma is over. This week, state regulators approved a key part of the city’s $1 billion-plus project to meet the metro’s long-term water needs, but residents and water rights groups say the urban victory marks a milestone — not the end of the road.

Oklahoma City has water storage rights at Sardis Lake in southeastern Oklahoma. To get it, the city plans to divert water that flows from the lake into the Kiamichi River and pump it more than a hundred miles northwest to the metro.

Chicken Workers Sue, Saying They Were Modern-Day Slaves

Oct 12, 2017
Shane Bevel / Reveal

Three Oklahoma men filed a federal class-action lawsuit today alleging that they were modern-day slaves forced by a drug rehabilitation program to work for free in chicken processing plants.

Headlines for Thursday, October 12, 2017:

  • Oklahoma schools are looking over predicted lower test results for students. (Tulsa World)

  • Budget cuts are taking their toll on school athletics. (Journal Record)

Soon-to-be-released statewide test scores are expected to be much lower than they were in the past, but top education officials say the drop is due to a more difficult grading system, not poor-performing students.

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Joy Hofmeister says the state has a new way of measuring student proficiency.

“This has been a time of recalibrating,” she said in an interview after a press conference held with reporters to explain the declining scores.

 

Headlines for Wednesday, October 11, 2017:

  • A drug rehab program faces a lawsuit following an investigative news story. (Tulsa World)

  • State finance officials order three agencies to immediately cut their budgets. (Journal Record)

Savannah Melher

When Troy Stevenson left the Democratic Party, after decades of political activism, his Republican colleagues were on his mind.

Stevenson, who heads Freedom Oklahoma, the state’s largest and most politically active LGBTQ rights organization, announced this month he switched his party affiliation to Independent. He said a lack of civility and an unwillingness to work with conservatives have stymied the party.

Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt is vowing to speed the cleanup of toxic Superfund sites, part of a shift away from climate change and toward what he calls the "basics" of clean air and water. The EPA's Superfund program manages the cleanup of some of the most toxic waste sites. Pruitt says the EPA will soon name a top 10 list of sites to focus on.

One potential site for that list is the Tar Creek Superfund site in far northeast Oklahoma, where a team of agency officials recently visited.

Headlines for Tuesday, October 10, 2017:

  • Time is running out for lawmakers to craft a budget. (NewsOK)

  • No move on the removal of capital gains taxes to fix budget. (Journal Record)

  • EPA’s clean power plan should have little impact on Oklahoma. (NewsOK)

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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.

Education News

We're doing things by the numbers this week in our weekly roundup of all things education.

167 of 1,113 public schools in Puerto Rico are open

Soon-to-be-released statewide test scores are expected to be much lower than they were in the past, but top education officials say the drop is due to a more difficult grading system, not poor-performing students.

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Joy Hofmeister says the state has a new way of measuring student proficiency.

“This has been a time of recalibrating,” she said in an interview after a press conference held with reporters to explain the declining scores.

 

Emily Wendler / KOSU

Polls suggest this is one of the the most politically divided moments in American history. There are now tip sheets on how to survive Thanksgiving without disowning your family, and the comment sections of online news articles are full of vitriol.

Schools are not immune to the tension, but not everyone thinks that’s a bad thing.

More Education News
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