Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

Emails Show EPA Boss Pruitt Worked In Concert With Industry He Now Regulates

Emails made public Wednesday show newly confirmed U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt coordinated with the fossil fuel industry and political groups to fight federal environmental regulations when he served as Oklahoma’s attorney general. The emails show oil and gas companies and electric utilities sent Pruitt talking points and drafts of letters opposing federal regulations on ozone, fracking and emissions from oil and gas wells — regulations the newly confirmed...

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Wind power is the largest source of renewable energy in the United States. But a broad swath of the country has had no large, commercial wind farms — until now. A new one with 104 towers is up and running near Elizabeth City, N.C., where it spans 22,000 acres.

Headlines for Thursday, February 16, 2017:

  • A senate subcommittee passes several bills about teacher pay.  (Tulsa World)

  • For the second time this year, the state’s monthly payment to schools will be short.  (Tulsa World)

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.

okhouse.gov

A bill that would change some of the criminal justice reforms voters approved in November advances in the legislature.

House Bill 1482 would again make it a felony to possess drugs within 1,000 feet of a school.

Rep. Tim Downing (R-Purcell) co-authored the bill and says it restores protection for children. A person can take heroin on an elementary school playground and do it an unlimited amount of times and essentially pay a ticket for it.

Russian intelligence officials made repeated contact with members of President Trump's campaign staff, according to new reports that cite anonymous U.S. officials. American agencies were concerned about the contacts but haven't seen proof of collusion between the campaign and the Russian security apparatus, the reports say.

Headlines for Wednesday, February 15, 2017:

  • The ACLU of Oklahoma is filing a lawsuit over the newest member of the state Supreme Court. (Tulsa World)

  • A bill prohibiting abortions without the father’s approval passes out of House Committee. (NewsOK)

okhouse.gov

A bill prohibiting abortions without the father’s approval passes out of House Committee.

Representative Justin Humphrey says he took the title off House Bill 1441 so it could be amended and go through the committee process. The Atoka Republican says he wants the bill to start the conversation of getting a father involved in the pregnancy.

"I'm proud that I've gotten a chance to start the conversation. Where the conversation ends, we're not sure."

Updated at 3:00 p.m. ET

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell told reporters on Tuesday that it was "highly likely" that the Senate Intelligence Committee would look into former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn's contacts with the Russian ambassador in December regarding sanctions imposed by the Obama administration.

McConnell would not directly answer whether he was confident that Trump did not direct Flynn's conversation on sanctions.

"You ought to ask the White House those kinds of questions," McConnell said.

okhouse.gov

A Republican lawmaker from southeast Oklahoma who described a pregnant woman as a "host" is standing by his use of the term, saying his intent was not to offend anyone.

State Rep. Justin Humphrey of Atoka said Monday he didn't know of a better term to describe a pregnant woman and apologized to anyone who took offense.

Headlines for Tuesday, February 14, 2017:

  • Controversy grows over new Supreme Court Justice. (Non Doc)

  • Democrats call for Justice to step down over controversy. (Fox25)

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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.

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.”

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