Kate Carlton Greer / Oklahoma Public Media Exchange

Oklahoma Prisons Impose Hiring Freeze Due to Revenue Failure

The director of the Oklahoma Department of Corrections says the agency is imposing a hiring freeze to help cut costs as a result of a state revenue failure. Director Joe Allbaugh said Thursday that the hiring freeze is the first of many possible changes in order to cut spending by about $3 million by the June 30 end of the state's fiscal year. Allbaugh says there are 348 vacant positions that will go unfilled during the freeze. He says the freeze does not include correctional officers,...

Read More
Doug Schwarz

Oklahomans won't vote until next year on whether to legalize medical marijuana, but a state lawmaker has already introduced legislation that would set the framework if sales of the drug are approved.

State Rep. Eric Proctor of Tulsa has introduced a measure that's nearly an exact replica of an Arkansas bill, where medical marijuana was legalized by voters last November.

The bill mirror's Arkansas' proposed plan, calling for a maximum $7,500 fee to apply to run a dispensary and a maximum $15,000 fee to apply for a marijuana cultivation license.

oksenate.gov

A Senate education committee passed a school choice measure on Monday, which riled a lot of debate from lawmakers.

Education Savings Accounts are a touchy subject. They allow parents to use state tax dollars, that would normally go to a public school, towards private school tuition instead.

Senator Rob Standridge says his ESA bill, SB560, is aimed at helping low-income families afford a better educational option for their child.

Updated at 4:35 p.m. ET

President Trump has announced that Army Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster will be his new national security adviser. McMaster will replace retired Army Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, who was forced to resign after revelations that he had misled top White House officials about his conversations with the Russian ambassador to the U.S.

Headlines for Monday, February 20, 2017:

  • Lawmakers plan to tackle teacher pay today at the Capitol. (NewsOK)

  • Alcohol enforcers are keeping their eyes on 48 bills in the state legislature this year. (Journal Record)

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

LOURDES GARCIA-NAVARRO, HOST:

Abortion Bill Advances In Oklahoma

Feb 17, 2017

This week, a bill advanced in the Oklahoma state legislature that would require pregnant women who are seeking an abortion to get consent from the sexual partner who impregnated them.

State Rep. Justin Humphrey wrote the bill, and in an interview published in The Intercept said that men should have a say in abortions, not just pregnant women, and referred to women as "hosts" for fetuses.

Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

The U.S. Senate on Friday confirmed Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt as administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, a federal regulatory agency the Oklahoma politician has built his brand fighting against. 

Pruitt has led a coordinated legal effort to fight the EPA through the courts, an alliance with other Republican attorneys general that’s made him popular among conservatives. The confirmation sends a strong signal that Congressional Republicans share with President Donald Trump a vision of diminished federal oversight of the fossil fuel industry.

Four Oklahoma bands—Nicnos, Taddy Porter, Skytown & Good Villains—are joining forces to play the OklaHomeGrown Music Showcase at Cain's Ballroom in Tulsa tonight.

Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

An Oklahoma County District judge on Thursday ordered Attorney General Scott Pruitt’s office to turn over emails and other documents requested two years ago by a watchdog group.

In the ruling against Trump’s pick to lead the U.S. Environmental Protection agency, judge Aletia Haynes Timmons said the agency violated state transparency laws.

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

Today, Matt explains the results of the Grammys and focuses on two winners—Adele and Chance the Rapper. Plus, a new song from Colin Stetson.

Pages

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

Stream classical music via our partners at KUCO!

Education News

oksenate.gov

A Senate education committee passed a school choice measure on Monday, which riled a lot of debate from lawmakers.

Education Savings Accounts are a touchy subject. They allow parents to use state tax dollars, that would normally go to a public school, towards private school tuition instead.

Senator Rob Standridge says his ESA bill, SB560, is aimed at helping low-income families afford a better educational option for their child.

oksenate.gov

A Oklahoma Senate subcommittee passed seven bills about teacher pay on Wednesday, each one providing a different solution to the teacher pay problem.

Some of the bills propose $1,000 raises, others $10,000. Some provide funding mechanisms, while others do not.

Senator J.J. Dossett (D-Owasso) says this is just the beginning of the conversation. He says the legislature knows raising teacher pay is the right thing to do and they've just got to figure out the right way to do it.

With a nearly $900 million budget shortfall, Oklahoma lawmakers want accountability for every penny. But within the coffers of private charter school management companies are millions of dollars that lawmakers can't see. 

Senator Jason Smalley wants to know exactly how much schools are spending on administration. He filed a bill to find out, because right now he said it’s not clear.

“Are all the individuals that should be classified as administration costs, actually being reported as that?” he asked. “I think that’s what the greater conversation is.”

More Education News
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.