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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.

Updated at 9:15 p.m. ET

The Justice Department is appointing former FBI Director Robert Mueller as a special counsel to oversee the growing probe into Russian meddling in the 2016 election and possible ties to associates of President Trump.

"In my capacity as acting Attorney General, I determined that it is in the public interest for me to exercise my authority and appoint a Special Counsel to assume responsibility for this matter," Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein said in a statement.

Headlines for Wednesday, May 17, 2017:

  • Measure to raise $400 million in revenue fails to get enough votes to pass. (KOSU)

  • School districts move forward with major cuts in budget uncertainty. (NewsOK)

It was a wild day at the state capitol as lawmakers tried to find new sources of revenue to fill the nearly $900 million budget shortfall and fund teacher pay raises. But, with just three days left to find new money, they’re likely back at the drawing board.

Starting about noon, there were rumors that a budget agreement had been reached between the Republican leaders in the House of Representatives and the Senate and Governor Mary Fallin. The scheduled an announcement for 2:30 p.m.

Updated at 9:10 p.m. ET

President Trump asked then-FBI Director James Comey to close down the agency's investigation into his former national security adviser Michael Flynn just one day after Flynn was let go, according to two sources close to Comey.

Updated at 5:51 p.m. ET

President Trump is responding to the backlash against the allegations that he shared "highly classified" information with the Russians by saying he had "the absolute right to do" so.

He tweeted Tuesday morning:

And he went a step further, again taking aim at fired former FBI Director James Comey and "leakers":

Headlines for Tuesday, May 16, 2017:

  • Lawmaker slipped an amendment into a new law to create a massive shift in state’s legal system. (Tulsa World)

  • Legislators say passage of the amendment killing the so-called American Rule was a mistake. (NewsOK)

Updated at 9:45 p.m. ET

President Trump revealed "highly classified information" to two top Russian officials during a controversial Oval Office meeting last week, according to a report from The Washington Post.

As the nation’s opioid addiction and overdose crisis grows, the Cherokee Nation is launching the first-ever lawsuit against drug distributors that will be litigated in a tribal court.

The suit takes on companies including pharmacies CVS Health, Walgreens and Wal-Mart, and drug distributors Cardinal Health, Inc. and McKesson Corporation, alleging that they didn’t properly monitor prescription painkillers, which eventually “flooded” every Cherokee county.

The Washington Post looks at President Richard Nixon's 1974 commencement address at Oklahoma State University, just months before resigning from office.

Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

Speaking at a media event atop an interstate overpass construction site in Norman, U.S. Senator Jim Inhofe told a small crowd Friday that President Donald Trump is serious about a proposed $1 trillion national infrastructure plan.

The Republican is chair of a Senate subcommittee that oversees such programs and he said Oklahoma stands to benefit from a new focus for federal funding.

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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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