Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

Senate Confirms Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt as Nation's Top Environmental Watchdog

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...

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David Bitton / Oklahoma Watch

The State Department of Education is introducing a new math class for high schoolers that's aimed at reducing the need for math remediation in college.

Almost 40 percent of Oklahoma college freshman have to take a remedial math class for which they receive no credit, and the state Department of Education estimates this costs students and families millions of dollars.  

The new College Career Math Ready class, available next school year, will help kids brush up on their skills before college, and will hopefully save them time and money. 

Headlines for Friday, February 10, 2017:

  • A Ten Commandments monument bill advances out of House Committee. (Tulsa World)

  • Experts sound of on Governor Fallin’s tax plan. (Journal record)

The Environmental Protection Agency's presence at an environmental conference in Alaska this week was cut in half, after the Trump administration's transition officials ordered the change. The agency had helped to plan the Alaska Forum on the Environment — but days before it was to start, word came that half of the EPA's 34 planned attendees wouldn't be making the trip.

This Week in Oklahoma Politics, KOSU's Michael Cross talks with ACLU Oklahoma Executive Director Ryan Kiesel and Republican Political Consultant Neva Hill about Governor Fallin kicking off the 2017 legislative session with her Sate of the State Address and the next four months ahead for lawmakers as well as a a lawsuit against Attorney General Scott Pruitt over Oklahoma's Open Records Act.

Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

Federal authorities are investigating the alleged embezzlement of $2.6 million dollars from an obscure Oklahoma board that promotes the beef industry. The investigation and related lawsuits add to questions about oversight of a national program funded by fees charged to ordinary farmers and ranchers.

On a brisk and busy January morning at the Oklahoma National Stockyards, cattle arrive for auction in trailers pulled by pickup trucks — and leave in double-decker cars towed by semis.

Updated at 7:50 p.m. ET

A federal appeals court has unanimously rejected a Trump administration request to allow its travel ban to take effect.

The three-judge appeals panel declined to overturn a lower court's order suspending the president's ban against entry into the United States by refugees and travelers from seven majority-Muslim nations.

Headlines for Thursday, February 9, 2017:

  • An anti-abortion bill dies in a House Committee the same day activists were handing roses to lawmakers. (NewsOK)

  • A bill before lawmakers gives the legislature more control over tribal gaming. (Journal Record)

There’s an uproar in the small Oklahoma town of Henryetta after a Valentine's Day dance was canceled. The reason? It would have happened too close to a church.

Joni Insabella just wanted something fun to do in her hometown. She recently opened a vintage shop with an empty second floor. She decided it was good for one thing: dancing. So ,they started planning one for Valentine’s Day.

"We had not thought anything that very old 40-year-old city ordinance. It didn’t even cross our mind."

A bill to get Oklahoma in compliance with the Federal Real ID Act moves on to the full House for consideration.

Rep. Leslie Osborn says House Bill 1845 creates a bifurcated system, meaning Oklahomans will have an option of getting a license which meets the standards of Homeland Security, or...

Headlines for Wednesday, February 8, 2017:

  • A media watchdog group files an open records lawsuit against Attorney General Scott Pruitt. (Tulsa World)

  • The first day of freshman year is always rough. (Journal Record)

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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 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.”

Emily Wendler / KOSU

There is a debate nationwide over the effectiveness of online education, and Oklahoma isn’t immune to it. Here, enrollment in virtual schools is booming, but the schools are performing poorly. There are also questions about the companies that run these schools and their financial practices.

Opponents to online education say the state should stop supporting virtual schools until there’s more information about them. But, others say they are vital to certain types of students. 

Throughout middle school, Toby Carter’s teachers struggled to keep him challenged.

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