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Gov. Fallin Vetoes Most of Budget Package, Plans to Call Another Special Session

Governor Mary Fallin has vetoed most of the latest budget bill, while keeping temporary funding intact for the health and human services adversely affected when the cigarette fee was ruled unconstitutional. Fallin announced the veto late Friday, after both legislative chambers had adjourned the special session. In a press release, she said she will be calling back lawmakers soon for a second special session. Fallin expressed disappointment in the legislature for not finding sustainable, long...

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Oklahoma is facing a budget gap of $215 million, and social services and schools are already feeling the impact. State lawmakers are six weeks into a special session on what to do about it.

Here & Now‘s Robin Young speaks with KGOU’s Jacob McCleland (@jacobmccleland).

As part of a sweeping tax overhaul bill, House Republicans on Thursday proposed eliminating billions of dollars in corporate tax credits that have played a key role in the booming industry to develop drugs for rare diseases.

For more than three decades, pharmaceutical companies have claimed a 50 percent tax credit for the cost of clinical trials of orphan drugs, medicines intended to treat diseases affecting fewer than 200,000 people.

Updated at 4:15 p.m. ET

A military judge has ruled that Bowe Bergdahl, who has pleaded guilty to charges of desertion and misbehavior before the enemy, should serve no prison time.

During a hearing Friday in Fort Bragg, N.C., Bergdahl was sentenced to dishonorable discharge, forfeiture of $1,000 in pay per month and a reduction in rank from sergeant to private, according to a statement from the Army.

Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

In the aftermath of devastating hurricanes in Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico, communities across the U.S. are rethinking ways to control flooding and reduce hazards that could be worsened by urbanization and climate change.

Writing such plans is a complex, politically challenging process, but one city in Oklahoma has emerged as a national model for creating a flood-control program that works.

Bill Robison pulls over and parks his city-issued car on a tree-lined street in east Tulsa.

Headlines for Friday, November 3, 2017:

  • The State Health Department’s funding gap increases to $30M. (NewsOK)

  • Mismanagement of agencies could have an impact on voters. (Journal Record)

This Week in Oklahoma Politics, KOSU's Michael Cross talks with Republican Political Consultant Neva Hill and ACLU Oklahoma Executive Director Ryan Kiesel about changes at the state Department of Health with the resignation of the agency's commissioner and deputy along with the firing of its chief lawyer amid allegations of mismanagement, lawmakers pass patches to fix the budget after a grand bargain fails to pass out of committee and the State Supreme Court places a hold on a DUI law from taking effect while looking into its constitutionality.

This week, Department of Justice special counsel Robert Mueller picked up the public pace of his team's investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. Indictments were unsealed, and a potentially important plea agreement revealed.

okhouse.gov

A Republican state Representative from Chickasha says he's resigning his seat immediately to reportedly take a job with the federal government.

Rep. Scott Biggs was first elected to office in 2012, and re-elected in 2016.

In his resignation letter, Biggs says his new post will be to promote Oklahoma's agriculture industry, but did not specify what job he will take.

"I believe I can do much more for our state as I work to promote the agriculture industry in Oklahoma, which has always been and will continue to be an integral part of my family's heritage."

A bill that moves approximately $23 million from the Rainy Day Fund to the state’s mental health agency is now heading to the governor's desk. It's the first bill to pass both chambers since the special legislative session began six weeks ago.

House Bill 1081X allocates $23.3 million from the fund to the Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services.

Updated at 3:10 p.m. ET

House Republicans unveiled a draft tax bill on Thursday, calling for deep cuts in both individual and corporate tax rates.

"With this bill, we will grow our economy by delivering more jobs, fairer taxes, and bigger paychecks to Americans of all walks of life," said Rep. Kevin Brady, R-Texas, chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee.

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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.

Education News

Emily Wendler / KOSU

The wind blows strong and steady in Calumet, a small town about 40 miles west of Oklahoma City.

It’s the wind that’s prompted companies to build turbines here. A natural gas company also built a plant nearby.

In northeastern Oklahoma, Google built a large data center in Pryor. And the city of Cushing is flanked by fields of large steel tanks that hold millions of barrels of oil.

These industries bring in abundant property tax revenue for nearby schools — enough that 37 districts don’t receive any funding from the state.

Which of these statements seems more trustworthy to you?

1) Americans are drowning in a tsunami of ignorance! There is a conspiracy at the highest levels to replace all knowledge with propaganda and disinformation.

2) A recent Stanford University report found that more than 80 percent of middle schoolers didn't understand that the phrase "sponsored content" meant "advertising."

Emily Wendler / StateImpact Oklahoma

On the playground at Chattanooga Elementary School some kids are pretending to be pirates, a few boys are climbing on a baseball dugout, and another group is belting out the words to various pop songs as they wriggle across the monkey bars.

This is the students’ third 15-minute recess of the day, and they’ll get one more before the end of the school day in the tiny southwestern Oklahoma town of about 450.

Added up: That’s an hour of recess a day — double what these kids got two years ago, and double what most kids in America get.

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