David Holt

Savannah Melher

When Troy Stevenson left the Democratic Party, after decades of political activism, his Republican colleagues were on his mind.

Stevenson, who heads Freedom Oklahoma, the state’s largest and most politically active LGBTQ rights organization, announced this month he switched his party affiliation to Independent. He said a lack of civility and an unwillingness to work with conservatives have stymied the party.

This Week in Oklahoma Politics, KOSU's Michael Cross talks with Republican Political Consultant Neva Hill and ACLU Oklahoma Executive Director Ryan Kiesel about the announcement by University of Oklahoma President David Boren that he is stepping down from the job at the end of the school year, the state legislature gears up to start a special session to fix the budget on Monday and Senate President Pro Tem Mike Schulz says he is considering the position of executive director of the Oklahoma Farm Bureau.

Emily Wendler / KOSU

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.

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.

This Week in Oklahoma Politics, KOSU's Michael Cross talks with ACLU Oklahoma Executive Director Ryan Kiesel and Republican Political Consultant Neva Hill about the $34M revenue failure facing state agencies as well as the $787M budget shortfall facing state lawmakers, Oklahoma City Mayor Mick Cornett announces he will not seek a fifth term as leader of the state's capital city and lawmakers fast track a bill to get the state in compliance with the Federal Real ID Act.

Online retail giant Amazon will start collecting sales tax from Oklahoma customers in March – a move that will send tens of millions of dollars to state and local governments.

Gov. Mary Fallin on Thursday confirmed the arrangement, first reported by Oklahoma Watch the day before, and said collections will begin on March 1. State, city, town and county governments will receive their first extra revenues as early as May. With the change, Oklahoma will become the 40th state where the Seattle-based e-commerce company collects and remits sales and use taxes.

Emily Wendler / KOSU

Oklahoma City Public Schools administrators invited legislators and community leaders to "teach for a day." The district hoped lawmakers would have a better understanding of a teacher's responsibilities after spending a day in their shoes.

Oklahoma Senator David Holt spent part of his day reading with first graders at Quail Creek Elementary School. Other lawmakers and community leaders went to other schools in the district.

Holt says he knows quite a bit about the school because his kids go there, but on Tuesday, he learned a lot more.

Hometown Pride: Financing Big League Arenas

Jan 19, 2017

Sports teams spending money on glitzy stadiums. Who really benefits and who should pay for them?

In a time when owners of professional teams are asking fans to foot the bill for glitzy stadium renovations, the residents of San Diego said no. They won’t pay for a new stadium. So the owner announced last week that he’s taking the team to Los Angeles. It’s all part of a trend of owners moving big league teams to markets that will pay billions more. Up next, On Point: Paying to play. Who benefits, and who should pay?

Guests

oksenate.gov

The Oklahoma Senate Judiciary Committee met Monday to study eyewitness misidentification in criminal cases.

State Sen. David Holt, R-Oklahoma City, called an interim study to look at best practices in reforming Oklahoma’s eyewitness ID procedures. Eyewitness identification used to be an ideal tool for convicting criminals, but recent studies have shown witness testimony to be flawed in many cases.

Gov. Mary Fallin on Friday signed into law legislation that banks boom-time tax revenues to cushion the state during energy downturns.

The Energy Revenues Stabilization Act was created through House Bill 2763, authored by Rep. John Montgomery, R-Lawton. The measure siphons off above-average tax revenues levied on corporations and oil and gas production and saves it in an account that can be tapped during state funding emergencies.

Pages