Scott Biggs

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.

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A Republican state Representative from Chickasha says he's resigning his seat immediately to reportedly take a job with the federal government.

Rep. Scott Biggs was first elected to office in 2012, and re-elected in 2016.

In his resignation letter, Biggs says his new post will be to promote Oklahoma's agriculture industry, but did not specify what job he will take.

"I believe I can do much more for our state as I work to promote the agriculture industry in Oklahoma, which has always been and will continue to be an integral part of my family's heritage."

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 call by the House Majority Floor Leader for Republican Representatives to report to the State Capital to resume the special session this Monday afternoon, the State Supreme Court rejecting a portion of the 2013 Workers Compensation Overhaul removing benefits from workers who miss two or more medical appointments and Scott Pruitt gets criticized for spending nearly $15,000 in one days worth of air travel across Oklahoma.

AVERY WHITE / OCETI SAKOWIN CAMP/CC BY-NC 2.0

Oklahoma legislators are advancing a bill that outlaws trespassing on sites containing “critical infrastructure.” Supporters say the measure will help prevent damage and disruption of energy markets, electric grids and water services, but environmental activists and civil rights groups say the bill’s real purpose is to block political protests of pipelines and similar projects.

‘A NUMBER ON MY ARM’

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When riots erupted two years ago in Ferguson, Missouri, some of the tension in the black community was blamed on the city's use of court fines and fees that burdened many low-income people with debts they could not pay.

Since then, Missouri has reduced the maximum fines for traffic tickets and other violations and limited the share of city budgets supported by fees. California and other states also adopted reforms, offering amnesty to some indigent offenders with large debts.

Kate Carlton Greer / Oklahoma Public Media Exchange

Four bills that are part of Gov. Mary Fallin's efforts to slow the growth of Oklahoma's prison population have passed the state House and now head to the state Senate.

“These measures address Oklahoma’s prison population, which is among the highest in the nation, without jeopardizing public safety,” says Fallin. “With our state prisons filled to well over capacity, it is vital that we make some changes to our criminal justice system.”