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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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A week-long digital journalism training project designed to give participants the opportunity to report and produce their own multimedia stories. Coming to KOSU July 9-14. Applications due June 16.

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Shortly after taking over as head of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, former Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt started a roll-back of Obama-era environmental regulations, an effort that has provided big benefits to one of his home state’s largest independent oil and gas companies, the New York Times reports.

Updated at 6 p.m. ET

Former Trump national security adviser Michael Flynn is invoking his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination on Monday, refusing to hand over documents subpoenaed by the Senate Intelligence Committee.

The panel wants to see documents relating to Flynn's interactions with Russian officials as part of its probe into Russia's meddling in the 2016 presidential election.

Headlines for Monday, May 22, 2017:

  • Lawmakers face special session after no deal was made on the budget over the weekend. (Tulsa World)

About 100 protesters were at the Oklahoma State Capitol this weekend, urging lawmakers to raise taxes on oil and gas companies in order to fix the state’s budget.

One protester, Kara Joy McKee, says Oklahoma is in a crisis, and it’s only fair that oil companies do their part to help.

"Our schools are going to four day schools, we’re having to close rural hospitals and nursing homes, it’s not time to let one industry set their tax rate any longer."

Headlines for Friday, May 19, 2017:

  • Tornadoes swarm across western Oklahoma. (NewsOK)

  • Budget negotiations are starting again today after appearing to fall apart on Thursday. (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 lawmakers working to increase revenue to fill a nearly $900 million shortfall in the budget, the House welcomes its newest member who won a special election in District 28 & a bill gets amended to dramatically change civil lawsuits and no one noticed.

A jury on Wednesday acquitted a white police officer in the fatal shooting of an unarmed black man who had his hands up. Many of the jurors and the family of Terence Crutcher were in tears as the not-guilty verdict was read for Tulsa police officer Betty Jo Shelby.

Here & Now‘s Robin Young speaks with Samantha Vicent (@samanthavicent), courthouse reporter for The Tulsa World.

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.

Headlines for Thursday, May 18, 2017:

  • Tulsa police officer Betty Shelby is acquitted in her manslaughter trial. (Tulsa World)

  • Democrats are getting a say in the budget. (Tulsa World)

Tulsa Police

A white Tulsa police officer who shot an unarmed black man in September has been found not guilty on manslaughter charges.

A jury deliberated for nearly ten hours Wednesday before returning the verdict just before 11 p.m.

Tulsa officer Betty Jo Shelby says she shot 40-year-old Terence Crutcher because she feared for her life after he didn't obey commands to lie on the ground and appeared to reach inside his vehicle for what she thought was a gun. No gun was found in Crutcher's vehicle.

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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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