KGOU

Oklahomans will learn in the coming weeks whether Medicaid expansion supporters collected enough valid signatures to put the hotly debated question on the 2020 ballot. 

But the proposal, which could provide subsided health coverage to more than 200,000 uninsured low-income adults, likely will not be the only plan up for debate.

Teacher pay raises in 2018 and 2019 likely helped address some of the critical educational needs facing rural schools raised in a new report by a national education group. But other funding and academic issues remain, a rural schools organization leader says.

In the months since last year’s gubernatorial election, Gov. Kevin Stitt has continued to pull in hundreds of thousands of dollars in campaign contributions, topping his predecessor.

Cherokee Nation announced its intention to send a delegate to the U.S. House of Representatives on Sept. 17, 2019. Since then, Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr. says he has met with a handful of lawmakers in Washington D.C., including Oklahoma Representatives Tom Cole and Markwayne Mullin and Speaker Nancy Pelosi. 

Oklahoma Businesses Prepare For Permitless Carry

Nov 6, 2019

 

A new state law that allows nearly everyone 21 and older to carry a firearm without training is scheduled to take effect Nov. 1, causing Oklahoma business owners to  re-examine their gun policies. 

 

Surprise Medical Bills Hit Many Oklahomans

Oct 30, 2019

Unexpected out-of-network medical bills can throw patients into thousands of dollars of debt, especially in Oklahoma. Medical and insurance groups agree something needs to be done to protect patients, but they can’t agree on the details.

WASHINGTON — One of the biggest proponents of electronic cigarettes has taken a step back after the emergence of more information in the wake of at least 33 deaths since the crisis began. 

U.S. Rep. Tom Cole (R-Okla), ranking minority member of a House Appropriations subcommittee, said one of his main concerns has become the addiction in children.

An Oklahoma Senate committee recently held a study session regarding Oklahoma's solar energy potential. Former school officials attended to advocate for expanding the industry, which could help lower utility costs and free up resources for classroom materials. Journal Record editor Russell Ray discusses how solar energy helped a Purcell middle school and the new rules for compensating solar energy customers.

 

 

Cybersecurity Insurance On The Rise In Oklahoma

Oct 9, 2019

More Oklahoma businesses are purchasing cybersecurity insurance amid nationwide concern about digital safety. But experts say buying coverage alone isn't enough. Journal Record editor Russell Ray discusses tips for digital hygiene and why cybersecurity is a two-way street for businesses and contractors. 

 

A new medical marijuana law recently took effect in Oklahoma, regulating product labeling and drug testing policies. But since cannabis remains illegal federally, banks are still unsure on how to safely serve the industry. On the latest Business Intelligence Report, Journal Record editor Russell Ray discusses the state's new regulations, as well as how proposed legislation could protect banks.

Five Things To Know About Virtual School Funding

Sep 18, 2019

With the ongoing probes and debate over Epic Charter Schools, state legislators held an interim-study hearing Wednesday on how virtual charter schools are funded. Are changes in the wind?

The share of Oklahoma kindergartners up to date on all their vaccines rose slightly last year, but the percentage who were granted exemptions from at least one vaccine also increased, according to the latest survey’s preliminary results.

The number of reported rapes and attempted rapes in Oklahoma climbed for the seventh consecutive year in 2018, reaching its highest level in at least 20 years, new data shows.

But it’s unclear whether most of the increase came from a rise in sexual violence or a greater willingness to report the crime.

As the new school year gets underway, Oklahoma’s teacher shortage persists. The state is on track to set a new record for the number of emergency certified teachers in K-12 classrooms. 

The question of whether to expand Medicaid and extend health insurance to thousands of Oklahomans promises to be a major topic over the next year.

The Healthcare Working Group, a bipartisan legislative committee charged with deciding whether to endorse Medicaid expansion or other policy moves, kicked off its work last week and is expected to unveil recommendations before next year’s session. Meanwhile, a signature-collecting drive is underway to put a state question on a 2020 ballot to accept expansion.

A controversial proposal in the Oklahoma state legislature would delay the age kids would be eligible to start kindergarten and put Oklahoma on-trend with dozens of other states. But some childhood experts say the trend may not serve Oklahoma kids well.

Tribal gaming negotiations got off to a rough start last month. Now, Gov. Stitt is responding to pushback and explains why he thinks tribes should pay more for the exclusive rights to operate casino games in Oklahoma.

Native children are far more likely to end up in state custody, and the Indian Child Welfare Act aims to keep them within Indigenous communities. Last fall, a federal district judge in Texas ruled ICWA was unconstitutional, calling it a “race-based law.” But on Friday the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals reversed that decision.

It was not a call that  Rabekah Crow expected.

The Bartlesville resident was working  at her job as  a Phillips 66 help-desk agent  in spring 2018 when an unfamiliar number  flashed across her  caller ID.

“The  person  just  said they  were outside of my work and were delivering papers for me to sign,” she said. “So I thought, ‘No big deal.’”

When she came out, she was served with a lawsuit demanding payment of nearly $3,500 in medical bills from the birth of her youngest son in 2015.

In the first half of 2019, 38 businesses have announced plans to make investments in Oklahoma. Journal Record editor Russell Ray discusses the reason for this wave of investments and the potential economic impact on the state.

In 2016, Oklahoma voters passed two state questions intended to reduce the state’s prison population. Every year since, lawmakers have introduced bills designed to help decrease the number of people serving time.

In 2018, cigarettes received an additional $1-per-pack tax as part of an effort to help fund teacher pay raises. Journal Record editor Russell Ray discusses the impact of the tax increase, how our tax rate on cigarettes compares to other states and the history of tobacco taxes in Oklahoma. 

The demand for licenses to grow hemp has exceeded state officials' expectations. Journal Record editor Russell Ray discusses  profitable aspects of the hemp industry and how Oklahoma hopes to model its certification program on states like Colorado. 

EV Charging Stations Increase In Oklahoma

Jul 16, 2019

More electric vehicle charging stations are coming to Oklahoma. In this episode of the Business Intelligence Report, Journal Record editor Russell Ray discusses how this comes at a time of increased interest in electric vehicles and charging infrastructure across the state.

In this episode of Capitol Insider, Lieutenant Governor Matt Pinnell joins KGOU's Dick Pryor and eCapitol's Shawn Ashley to discuss his plans for improving Oklahoma's image and diversifying the economy. 

Tom Cochrane is a professional geologist and writer who spent 25 years in Oklahoma working in the oil industry. But the former "Big Oil Insider" has since morphed into an avid environmentalist. He's written a book about his experiences called, Tornados, Rattlesnakes & Oil.

KGOU's Richard Bassett sat down with Cochrane to discuss the work.

Construction employment is at an all-time high in Oklahoma and has been growing at a rate of more than 5 % a year. Journal Record editor Russell Ray discusses how Oklahoma is part of a larger national trend.

Oklahoma has more than 4,700 dams. At least 30 percent of these flood control structures are at the end of their 50-year design life. With climate change expected to bring more heavy precipitation, can they hold up?

Amid a worldwide helium shortage, Canada-based Desert Mountain Energy Corp. is expanding helium production in Oklahoma. Journal Record editor Russell Ray also discusses how a multi-million dollar investment by aerospace company Pratt & Whitney will fund a major expansion of its military aftermarket services business in Midwest City. 

A campaign to expand government health insurance to more low income Oklahomans overcame its first legal hurdle Tuesday.

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