Jacob McCleland

Jacob McCleland spent nine years as a reporter and host at public radio station KRCU in Cape Girardeau, Mo. His stories have appeared on NPR’s Morning Edition and All Things Considered, Here & Now, Harvest Public Media and PRI’s The World. Jacob has reported on floods, disappearing languages, crop duster pilots, anvil shooters, Manuel Noriega, mule jumps and more.

He has a bachelor’s degree in Anthropology and Spanish from Southeast Missouri State University and a master’s degree in Environmental Studies from the University of Illinois at Springfield.

Jacob warns us he won't answer the phone when the St. Louis Cardinals are playing a postseason game. Fun fact: his high school mascot is the Appleknocker.

cole.house.gov

Rep. Tom Cole, R-Oklahoma, says he and a bipartisan group of Congressmen will send a letter to House Speaker Paul Ryan this week to request a new Congressional Authorization for the Use of Force.

The request comes after U.S. ships fired missiles at an airbase in Syria last Thursday. The country’s ruler, Bashar al-Assad, used the airbase to deploy apparent chemical weapons against Syrian citizens last week.

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.

Flickr / texasbackroads

The Oklahoma state House of Representatives furthered a bill Thursday that would roll back part of a state question that was approved by voters in November.

Oklahomans voted in favor of State Questions 780 and 781 last year, which reduced simple drug possession from a felony crime to a misdemeanor.

In debate on the House floor, Republican Representative Tim Downing, R-Purcell, said House Bill 1482 would give district attorneys the discretion to enhance simple drug possession to a felony if it occurs within 1,000 feet of a school

LLUDO / FLICKR (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin signed legislation on Thursday that will bring Oklahoma into compliance with the federal 2005 REAL ID Act. 

House Bill 1845 will allow Oklahomans to choose between a REAL ID-compliant drivers licence, or one that is not. A REAL ID-compliant license or identification, or a federally-issued ID such as a passport, will be required to board commercial airlines or enter federal facilities.

In a statement, Fallin said she appreciated the work of legislative leaders who crafted the bill and guided it to passage.

Jacob McCleland / Oklahoma Public Media Exchange

The Oklahoma Board of Equalization declared a revenue failure for the current fiscal year, which will result in mid-year appropriations cuts to state agencies.

State agencies will receive across board cuts of 0.7 percent between March and June of this year. In total, agencies will be cut by $34.6 million.

Preston Doerflinger, the Director and Secretary of Finance, Administration and Information Technology, said the situation is dire and more revenue is needed.

Jacob McCleland / Oklahoma Public Media Exchange

The Oklahoma House of Representatives took a step toward becoming Real ID compliant Thursday. The House voted 78 to 18 to approve the measure that allows the state to produce identification that meets federal security guidelines under the federal 2005 Real ID Act.

Oklahomans must use a Real ID-compliant identification or passport by January 2018 to board a commercial airline flight, or by June of this year to enter federal facilities.

State Rep. Leslie Osborn, R-Mustang, authored the bill. She says compliance is way overdue.

Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

Coming into Mary Fallin’s 7th state of the state address as governor of Oklahoma on Monday, there was one big question: 'How will the state deal with another revenue shortfall, and not cut funding to agencies that provide services?'

The state faces an estimated $870 million budget gap in the upcoming fiscal year. That comes after clawing out a $1.3 billion deficit last year.

"Today, I am proposing a series of bold reforms to stabilize our state regarding both recurring revenue and repairing the structural deficit of the budget."

okhouse.gov

A state House committee has recommended the expulsion of a representative from Tulsa.

The House Special Investigation Committee released its report on Thursday into sexual harassment allegations against Rep. Dan Kirby, R-Tulsa.

The committee determined that Kirby was in some nature of a relationship with Carol Johnson, a former legislative assistant. Kirby and Johnson would occasionally send inappropriate text messages and topless pictures, some of which Kirby solicited. He also invited her to a strip club. She filed a complaint against Kirby in August.

Congressman Steve Russell / Facebook

Members of Oklahoma’s congressional delegation have largely been supportive of President Donald Trump’s executive order that temporarily bans travel of certain foreign nationals to the United States.

Under the order, citizens of Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen would not be allowed to enter the United States for 90 days. Over the weekend, permanent resident visa holders were detained at airports, which led to protests across the country. The White House later said permanent resident visa holders are from those 7 countries will be allowed.

Oklahoma’s state government will face a budget hole of about $869 million in the upcoming fiscal year, a 12.6 percent decrease from the current year, according to figures released Tuesday by Secretary of Finance Preston Doerflinger.

Doerflinger says lawmakers will have to make difficult decisions in the upcoming legislative session.

“I think it’s important for everybody to realize you’re not cutting your way out of this situation. I’ll start there. We have to have a serious conversation about revenue in this state,” Doerflinger told reporters.

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