News

Headlines for Thursday, March 23, 2017:

  • A State Senator facing accusations of child prostitution resigns. (NewsOK)

  • A state website gets hacked affecting hundreds of thousands of people. (NewsOK)

  • Agencies call nearly 15% cuts alarming. (Journal Record)

Flickr / texasbackroads

The Oklahoma Senate on Wednesday approved several education related bills, including measures that address teacher pay, teacher recruitment, and the reduction of administrative costs, among other issues. These bills will now go to the House for consideration. 

 

Here's a list of the education-related bills passed out of the Senate on Wednesday:

oksenate.gov

An Oklahoma state senator accused of hiring a 17-year-old boy for sex has resigned.

Republican Sen. Ralph Shortey submitted his resignation letter Wednesday. He was arrested last week on charges of engaging in child prostitution, transporting a minor for prostitution and engaging in prostitution within 1,000 feet of church.

Jacob McCleland / Oklahoma Public Media Exchange

A bill that would allow counties to choose whether or not to permit Sunday sales of alcohol at retail liquor stores passed out of the state Senate on Tuesday.

Voters approved state question 792 last November, which will allow grocery and convenience stores to sell wine and full-strength beer every day of the week. But retail liquor stores are still required to be closed on Sunday. The state question’s provisions go into effect in October 2018.

The Center for Biological Diversity and University of Oklahoma law professor Kristen van de Biezenbos filed a grievance with the Oklahoma Bar Association over U.S. EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt’s confirmation hearing testimony regarding his use of personal email when he served as Oklahoma’s attorney general, E&E News reports:

AP Photo / Orlin Wagner

Devastating wildfires ripped across the grasslands in Kansas, Texas, and Oklahoma earlier this month, and ranchers were among those hardest hit. Some families lost 80 percent of their livestock herds, along with hundreds of miles of fences and land. Seven people have died, several trying to save their cattle. 

With a vote scheduled for Thursday in the U.S. House, it's down to the wire for the American Health Care Act, the Republican-authored bill to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act.

Headlines for Wednesday, March 22, 2017:

  • Oklahoma ranks fourth worst in infant mortality. (NewsOK)

  • Governor Fallin commends the Senate on bills to reduce state prison populations. (NewsOK)

  • Bill to further restrict abortions passes House. (Tulsa World)

okhouse.gov

A $1.50 tax increase on cigarettes is getting moved to later in the legislative session at the State Capitol.

Representative Leslie Osborn says the tax increase will go before lawmakers on what's known as a J-CAB measure rather than a regular bill.

"We kind of got bogged down with a lot of other policy issues. We need to work both sides of the aisle, make sure we have the support. I expect we will because this one polls 76% across the state to pass with Ds and Rs."

The Osage Nation has voted to change the definition of marriage in an election that drew an overwhelming number of absentee ballots.

The tribe will now define marriage as a union between "two persons" rather than "a man and a woman."

More than 1,100 people sent in absentee ballots but only 347 people showed up for onsite balloting during a two-day early voting period and on Monday, the actual election day.

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