Mary Fallin

Logan Layden

Southeast Oklahoma has many of the state’s largest lakes and rivers and much of the state’s water, but no one from the area serves on the Oklahoma Water Resources Board, the state’s water regulator. A 2013 law requires the area to have representation. But, so far, that hasn’t happened.


Governor Mary Fallin on Friday vetoed a bill mandating pardon and parole board hearings for inmates convicted of crimes requiring payment of 85 percent of a sentence. 

House Bill 3159 earned almost unanimous support in both the House and the Senate during the 55th legislative session.

Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

Knowing this year's legislative session would be tumultuous with a giant hole in the budget, Gov. Mary Fallin challenged lawmakers at the start of session to make structural improvements to the budget and put new, stable sources of revenue on the table.

She pushed for bold proposals like a teacher pay raise, a tax on cigarettes, school district consolidation, and modernizing the sales tax code.

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.

Emily Wendler / KOSU

The author of a bill making abortions a felony wants to talk with Governor Mary Fallin before calling on lawmakers to override the governor’s veto.

Senator Nathan Dahm and seven other Republicans joined him during a press conference while other legislators were in conference over the budget, but he says this needs to be done as well.

"We are all working on the budget. We are all in discussions for the budget. That is our top priority as well, but we are able to work on the budget while also working on these issues that are so important to so many Oklahomans."

The Oklahoma Republican state senator who authored the bill that would effectively outlaw abortion in the state said Saturday that he hasn't decided whether he'll try to override the governor's veto.

"I have not made a decision," Sen. Nathan Dahm, of Broken Arrow, told The Associated Press. "That's what we're pursuing, what we'd like to see accomplished."

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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.