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. Falli...
Read More

Dozens of parents opposed to mandatory vaccinations for their children are rallying at the Oklahoma Capitol.

About 100 people rallied Monday on the second floor of the Capitol, many of them wearing shirts that read "Oklahomans for Vaccine Choice" and "Medical Mandates are not OK."

Headlines for Monday, February 8, 2016:

  • Governor Fallin’s plans to fill the $900 million budget hole. (Oklahoma Watch)

  • Governor Mary Fallin is facing criticism for her plan to give teachers a raise. (Fox25)

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.

BILLS CONCERNING EDUCATION SAVINGS ACCOUNTS

Peyton Manning is once more on top of the world. The Denver Broncos quarterback — a future Hall of Famer in what may be his final season — is once more a Super Bowl champion. The Broncos have beaten the Carolina Panthers, 24-10.

The game fell well short of a quarterback duel, though. Again, it was the Denver defense that led the way, harassing Cam Newton, forcing turnover after turnover and even tacking on a score of their own.

Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

The power and frequency of earthquakes in Oklahoma have been increasing, but the Legislature has done little to try to curb the temblors that scientists have linked to the underground disposal of oil and gas drilling wastewater.

That could change this year, as angry residents have been increasingly turning up at town hall meetings and legislative hearings to call for state leaders to address the problem.

The City of Stillwater, American Airlines and Oklahoma State University announced Friday the arrival of nonstop American Airlines jet service to Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport (DFW) from Stillwater Regional Airport (SWO). The new service was announced at an event at the Stillwater airport and followed the Stillwater City Council’s unanimous approval of the agreement with American Airlines.

nielsen.com

This is Sample Size, our weekly new music feature with KOSU's Ryan LaCroix and LOOKatOKC music critic Matt Carney.

Today, Matt delves into the Nielsen Year-End Music Report for 2015, and plays new songs from R&B fusion trio KING and Nashville singer Margo Price.

This Week in Oklahoma Politics, KOSU's Michael Cross talks with ACLU Oklahoma Executive Director Ryan Kiesel and Republican Political Consultant Neva Hill about the State of the State Address from Governor Fallin, a plan to increase cigarette taxes by $1.50 per pack and bills to eliminate, reduce or put a moratorium on tax credits.

The trio also discuss Senator James Lankford's plan to eliminate federal tax credits on wind energy and the Iowa Caucus results with less than a month before Oklahoma's Presidential Primary on Super Tuesday.

Headlines for Friday, February 5, 2016:

  • Looking into 143 state sales tax exemptions. (Journal Record)

  • Oklahoma history faces the chopping block amid the Governor’s budget cuts. (Journal Record)

Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

Many of the programs protecting Oklahoma’s air and land are paid for with fees and federal dollars. Oversight and inspection of local water systems, however, are funded by state revenue that has dwindled — and failed.

Chandler, a city of about 3,000 residents, like many small communities in Oklahoma, has struggled with deteriorating pipes and pumps, limited funding to make repairs and upgrades, and increasing demands to provide clean water to more and more customers.

Pages

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.

BILLS CONCERNING EDUCATION SAVINGS ACCOUNTS

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 Program

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.

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.

More News

Weeknights with Ferris

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