Preston Doerflinger

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.

Jackie Fortier / StateImpact Oklahoma

Interim health commissioner Preston Doerflinger resigned Wednesday after allegations of past spousal abuse surfaced.

The board of the Oklahoma State Department of Health accepted Doerflinger’s resignation, after spending over an hour in a private meeting to discuss his employment.

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 Governor's threat to veto any budget bill in the second special session which doesn't include a pay raise for teachers, the Oklahoma Education Association releases a poll showing support in Oklahoma for a teacher pay raise and the Oklahoma Independent Petroleum Association challenges the constitutionality of an initiative petition to increase taxes on oil and gas wells to fund education.

Jackie Fortier / StateImpact Oklahoma

On June 26, voters will decide if Oklahoma will become the 30th state to legalize marijuana for medical use. But regulating the new industry could prove difficult.

If State Question 788 passes, licenses will be required for each stage of marijuana cultivation, including dispensaries, commercial growers, processors, and individual medical marijuana cards.

Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

The Oklahoma Attorney General’s office on Tuesday said a probe into alleged mismanagement of roughly $30 million from the Oklahoma State Department of Health has expanded to include investigators from the FBI and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Oklahoma state auditor Gary Jones testified Thursday that whistleblowers warned his office of possible fraud months before the State Department of Health nearly missed payroll due to alleged mishandling of $30 million dollars.

Jones provided a detailed timeline describing early efforts to unravel how funds were mismanaged, who knew and when. He told the house investigative committee that an unnamed health department manager came forward in late July to alert his office of financial mismanagement at the state health department. Within days, four more employees came forward.

After a nearly two hour closed-door meeting on Tuesday, the Oklahoma State Board of Health voted to fire the department’s accountability director. The move comes as investigators and lawmakers probe the alleged mismanagement of $30 million dollars at the state agency.

The nine-member board voted to fire Jay Holland from his post as Director of the Office of Accountability Systems. The position is charged with keeping the board and health commissioner informed of any suspected fraud or abuse.

This Week in Oklahoma Politics, KOSU's Michael Cross talks with Republican Political Consultant Neva Hill about the failure by the State House to pass a measure to increase taxes on cigarettes, gas, low-pont beer and oil and gas wells to help fix a $215M shortfall in the budget, the State Health Department says it can't make payroll at the end of the month without a supplemental appropriation from the legislature and a national credit rating agency warns Oklahoma could drop in its credit rating because of a failure to fix the budget.

Jacob McCleland / Oklahoma Public Media Exchange

The new head of the Oklahoma State Department of Health says the agency has been spending more than its annual revenue since 2011. Interim Commissioner Preston Doerflinger said Monday accounting tricks were used to move money between different accounts.

A bill that moves approximately $23 million from the Rainy Day Fund to the state’s mental health agency is now heading to the governor's desk. It's the first bill to pass both chambers since the special legislative session began six weeks ago.

House Bill 1081X allocates $23.3 million from the fund to the Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services.

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