Mary Fallin

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A 66-year-old Oklahoma inmate serving life in prison for possessing an ounce of cocaine was denied parole Tuesday, months after the governor modified his sentence in a way that allowed early release to be an option.

The state's Pardon and Parole Board voted 5-0 to deny parole to Larry Yarbrough, who's been imprisoned since 1997. The reasons for the denial weren't immediately given, and a parole board official couldn't be reached for comment.

The Oklahoma House rejected a proposed $1.50 per-pack tax on cigarettes to help shore up the state's health care system.

Updated May 19, 10:36 a.m.

House Bill 3210 failed on a vote of 59-40 against the measure even after House Speaker Jeff Hickman, R-Fairview, held the vote open for more than two hours Wednesday night to fix what he called a “health care disaster.” Republicans blaming Democrats for the bill's failure.

Flickr / Alex Proimos

Despite bitter resistance in Oklahoma for years to President Barack Obama's health care overhaul, Republican leaders in this conservative state are now confronting something that alarms them even more: a huge $1.3 billion hole in the budget that threatens to do widespread damage to the state's health care system.

So, in what would be the grandest about-face among rightward leaning states, Oklahoma is now moving toward a plan to expand its Medicaid program to bring in billions of federal dollars from Obama's new health care system.

This Week in Oklahoma Politics, KOSU's Michael Cross talks with Republican Political Consultant Neva Hill and ACLU Oklahoma Executive Director Ryan Kiesel about mixed reaction in Oklahoma to the assumed nomination of Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump, with just three weeks left in the legislative session there's still no movement on the budget and the GOP in the House and Senate selects its leadership for 2017.

Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin is offering her enthusiastic endorsement of Republican presidential contender Donald Trump, saying she supports the New York billionaire "100 percent."

Fallin also said Wednesday she's honored to be mentioned as a possible vice presidential candidate and would be happy to consider such an offer.

Fallin said her priority is to elect a conservative, pro-business Republican who is strong on national defense, and that she believes Trump is that candidate.

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 state question coming to the ballot in November to raise state sales tax by one penny to pay for education, a suggestion to GOP Presidential front runner that Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin would make a good running mate and new bills signed by Fallin into law.

The trio also discusses the budget and a new education program through the Oklahoma Policy Institute to educate people on the budget through humor.

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Governor Mary Fallin signed into law a number of criminal justice reform bills Wednesday. The legislation is part of recommendations from a steering committee that met in the fall.

The governor signed:

Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin on Monday signed legislation that clarifies state regulators’ authority to take action on oil and gas operations linked to earthquakes.

The measure, House Bill 3158, authored by Republican House Speaker Jeff Hickman of Fairview, takes effect immediately.

Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

Gov. Mary Fallin's plan to shield public schools and other state services from budget cuts in part by issuing up to $500 million in bonds for road construction is getting a frosty reception in the Oklahoma House and Senate.

With just six weeks remaining in the legislative session, Fallin unveiled a revised budget plan for lawmakers to consider that would fill nearly all the budget gap through a combination of bonding, tax code changes and adjustments to the budgeting process.

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