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Nick Oxford / Innocence Project

Johnny Tallbear has proclaimed his innocence for 26 years. Now, people are listening to him. 

DNA tests ordered by the Innocence Project led prosecutors to ask a judge to dismiss a first-degree murder charge levied against Tallbear, which led to his conviction and life-prison sentence in 1992. 

Prosecutors at the time claimed Tallbear fatally stabbed and beat a homeless man known as “Pops” with help from a second man who was never identified. 

Caroline Halter / Oklahoma Public Media Exchange

Oklahoma voters will pick their primary candidates on June 26 and weigh in on a state question about legalizing medical marijuana. The political heat will build through the summer with high-profile endorsements, big-money ad blitzes and campaign promises.

And while a lot of political journalism starts with politicians, reporters at NPR member stations in Oklahoma are working together to change the conversation.

Rachel Hubbard / KOSU

Every year, the foster care system in the U.S. is home to nearly half a million kids. A debate is now brewing in state legislatures and Congress about the best way to get these kids in permanent homes and who has the right to take care of them.

Kris Williams and Rebekah Wilson have been dating for four years. They live together in a modest white house on the west side of Oklahoma City with their two dogs and Ozzy, Kris’s son from a previous relationship.

Emily Wendler / StateImpact Oklahoma

The Oklahoma Supreme Court heard oral arguments Monday over the legality of a petition to overturn new state taxes.

The petition, which is being circulated by an anti-tax group called Oklahoma Tax Payers Unite, seeks to overturn HB1010xx, a $430 million tax package lawmakers passed this year. The legislation raises taxes on gasoline and diesel fuel, imposes a new tax on cigarettes and little cigars and increases oil and gas taxes from 2 percent to 5 percent.

Quinton Chandler / StateImpact Oklahoma

Canadian County Sheriff Chris West sits in a dimly lit office decorated with hunting trophies and law enforcement memorabilia. 

West is visibly frustrated when he says the Oklahoma Department of Corrections owes his county $88,691 for at least two years of jail costs — and he isn’t the only one complaining. The Oklahoma Sheriff’s Association says the state is shortchanging most counties for housing state prison inmates.

This Week in Oklahoma Politics, KOSU's Michael Cross talks with Republican Political Consultant Neva Hill and ACLU Oklahoma Executive Director Ryan Kiesel about a surge in independent voters ahead of the primary on June 26th as well as predictions on State Question 788 to legalize medical marijuana.

The trio also discusses a Republican forum in Tulsa's Congressional District 1 where one candidate shamed others in his party for not standing up to President Trump, especially his treatment of women.

CDC’s National Vital Statistics System; CDC Vital Signs, June 2018. / CDC

Suicide rates are on the rise in Oklahoma and nearly every state, according to a new report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Between 1999 and 2016, suicide rates increased significantly in 44 states. Oklahoma is one of 25 states that saw rates climb more than 30 percent.

Factors contributing to the increases include social and economic problems, access to lethal means like medications and firearms among people at risk, and poor coping skills, researchers say.

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