2017 legislative session

More than half the oil and gas a typical horizontal well will produce over its lifetime in Oklahoma is pumped to the surface during its first three years, a new report from Oklahoma Watch shows.

About exactly a year ago we brought you the story of Shawn Sheehan, Oklahoma's 2016 Teacher of the Year.

At the time, he and about 40 other educators were running for office in the state, wanting to make a change because, as Sheehan puts it, lawmakers weren't prioritizing education. Funding for schools in the state has been cut tremendously over the past decade and teachers in Oklahoma are some of the lowest paid in the country.

Victor A. Pozadas

Beginning July 1, a new fee will be implemented to all professional sports tickets sold in the state.

Oklahomans can expect this hike to affect prices on tickets for teams like the Oklahoma City Thunder, Energy FC, and Dodgers, as well as the Tulsa Oilers, Roughnecks FC, and Drillers.

House Bill 2361 was signed into law earlier this year to help fill the state's almost $900 million dollar budget shortfall. This fee is projected to generate around $2.6 million dollars a year.

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Gary Richardson, a Republican candidate for Oklahoma governor in 2018, is filing a lawsuit disputing the constitutionality of three House Bills recently signed into law.

The bills add new fees onto electric or compressed natural gas vehicles, automobile purchases, and some tax return filings.

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Four attorneys have filed a lawsuit over Oklahoma’s new drunk driving law, deeming it unconstitutional.

The lawsuit was filed Monday against Governor Mary Fallin, several state lawmakers, and Oklahoma’s public safety commissioner.

The lawsuit says the new law, which Fallin signed into law on June 8, violates the state Constitution’s ban on bills containing more than one subject.

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Two of the largest tobacco companies in the U.S. are suing Oklahoma over the state’s new cigarette fee.

R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. and Philip Morris USA Inc. filed a brief with the Oklahoma Supreme Court Wednesday, along with several Oklahoma companies and individuals.

In the brief, plaintiffs argue the $1.50-per-pack cigarette fee, or the “Smoking Cessation Act,” “flagrantly violates” the Oklahoma constitution.

The fee is scheduled to take effect in August, and would generate about $215 million per year for the state.

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The promise of a teacher pay raise seemed real this year, like lawmakers were actually going to get it done. But, they didn’t. And so, once again, some teachers are packing their bags in search of more money elsewhere. However, one teacher is asking them to stay in Oklahoma, and keep fighting.

This year’s legislative session began with high hopes of a teacher pay raise.

Governor Mary Fallin stressed the need for one in her February State of the State speech, and lawmakers put multiple pay raise plans on the table.

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The Oklahoma Department of Transportation is recalculating its eight year plan.

Director Mike Patterson says this comes after the legislature removed $150 million from the program which keeps work going on Oklahoma’s roads and bridges.

“Last year we had to reduce the eight-year plan by $323 million,” Patterson says. “These are cumulative numbers, and so, if you look over the last six to eight years, the impact has been $800 million.”  

This Week in Oklahoma Politics, KOSU's Michael Cross talks with Republlican Political Consultant Neva Hill and ACLU Oklahoma Executive Director Ryan Kiesel about how lawmakers did in the 2017 legislative session as they adjourned just before time ended last Friday, Governor Fallin gave her stamp of approval on the $6.8M budget for the next fiscal year, but the session ended without the passage of some of her issues on criminal justice reform which she promised during her State of the State.

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