Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

Rubio Vows to Expand Oil and Gas Industry During Oklahoma City Stop

Republican presidential hopeful Marco Rubio traveled to Oklahoma City Wednesday to give a speech previewing his national energy strategy. The Florida senator’s plan centers on expanding the oil and gas industry and rolling back regulations championed by President Obama. Rubio’s speech to an audience of oil and gas executives and Republican lawmakers at the Oklahoma Independent Petroleum Association was — not surprisingly — pro oil and gas. If elected, the Florida senator promised to move...
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Students with physical and mental disabilities are much more likely to be disciplined than other students in the state, according to Oklahoma Watch’s Nate Robson.

Linda N. / Flickr

Oklahoma Gas and Electric is proposing a new “demand charge” be levied on customers who install rooftop solar panels or small wind turbines.

The suggested rate structure was filed with the Oklahoma Corporation Commission, which has to approve so-called “distributed generation” tariffs for OG&E and Public Service Co. by the end of the year, The Oklahoman‘s Paul Monies reports. OG&E says the new billing structure will eliminate the “subsidization” of solar customers by traditional customers:

The subsidization issue was one used by OG&E and Public Service Co. of Oklahoma to push for Senate Bill 1456, which passed in 2014.

The utilities said distributed generation customers still rely on the grid for electricity when the sun isn’t shining or the wind isn’t blowing. Under current billing options, some fixed costs are captured in the kilowatt-hour energy charges that vary by customer usage. The utilities claim rooftop solar users aren’t paying their fair share for poles, transformers, transmission lines and other fixed costs at the times of the day when they’re getting most of their electricity from solar generation.

Headlines for Friday, August 21, 2015:

  • State Senator pleads guilty to embezzlement charges. (Tulsa World)
  • Muscogee (Creek) Nation faces an $18M gaming budget shortfall. (Tulsa World)

  • Oklahoma County misses a deadline on an October vote for a new jail. (Journal Record)

The leader of the Oklahoma Senate says federal charges against Republican Sen. Rick Brinkley of Owasso are serious crimes that call for his immediate resignation.

Republican Senate President Pro Tem Brian Bingman of Sapulpa issued a statement Thursday shortly after Brinkley submitted a letter of resignation, effective immediately.

Brinkley stepped down after federal prosecutors charged him with five counts of wire fraud and one count of subscribing to a false tax return in a scheme that involved taking $1.8 million from the Better Business Bureau of Tulsa.

TOHO / Sony Pictures

This year’s El Niño might be the strongest ever. The phenomenon — marked by unusually warm waters in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of South America — means more precipitation could be on the way for Oklahoma. The state’s wheat farmers are hopeful, but know too much rain at the wrong time can be ruinous.

Mike Rosen runs a grain elevator near Kingfisher. He says Oklahoma’s wheat farmers can’t seem to catch a break.

Emily Wendler / KOSU

The State Department of Education wants more Oklahoma kids to go to college. So they’re launching a pilot program that would make it easier for all students to apply. 

The Superintendent of Public Instruction, Joy Hofmeister, announced the Department's plan to make the college entrance exam, the ACT, free for all high school juniors for the following year. 

Headlines for Thursday, August 20, 2015:

  • Oil prices drop to lowest level in more than six years. (NewsOK)

  • Oklahoma high-school juniors can now take the ACT exam for free. (News9)

  • Another state Senator comes up with a plan for the Tobacco Settlement Endowment Trust. (Journal Record)

Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

The Obama administration on Tuesday proposed the first federal limits on methane emissions from the oil and gas industry. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency wants to cut the methane levels recorded in 2012 by at least 40 percent by 2025.

Flickr / biologycorner

Tulsa Public Schools starts back this week and for some in the district there will be a lot less testing due to recent cut backs. But still others say those testing cuts need to be deeper.

Last year, teachers spent 135 hours testing students in grades K through 12. This year, the Tulsa Public School Board reduced that time to 60 hours.

Headlines for Wednesday, August 19, 2015:

  • The Obama administration proposes first federal limits on methane emissions. (NewsOK)

  • Oil produces in Osage County file another law suit against the Bureau of Indian Affairs. (Tulsa World)

  • State Senator resigning amid embezzlement allegations won’t get pension. (AP)