David Holt

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 failure by the state legislature to pass the Step Up Oklahoma plan on Monday, Interim Health Commissioner Preston Doerflinger stepping down after news surfaced of domestic abuse and Oklahoma City State Senator David Holt easily wins the election for mayor to replace Mick Cornett.

CITY OF OKLAHOMA CITY

For the first time in 14 years, somebody other than Mick Cornett will be the mayor of Oklahoma City. But the city’s new mayor-elect already knows his way around the office.

David Holt cruised to victory Tuesday night in a three-way race to replace Cornett. Holt earned 78 percent of the vote in the Oklahoma City mayoral primary, beating Taylor Neighbors and Randall Smith. Holt will take the office on April 10.

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 special session called by Governor Fallin for Monday, December 18th, investigations and more firings at the State Department of Health and Governor Fallin issues an executive order to crack down on sexual harassment in state government.

The trio also discusses the Oklahoma City mayoral race and controversy grows over comments from former Oklahoma City Mayor Kirk Humphreys.

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.

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