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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 tribal 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.

Lobbyists seeking to influence elected officials in Oklahoma continue to spend some of the highest amounts ever in spite of rules intended to curb their practices.

A group of colorful cicadas has been documented for the first time in the state. Naturalist Robert Sanders explains what these insects are and how you can hear them.

More than a dozen members of the liquor and wine industry filed a lawsuit this week asking the Oklahoma Supreme Court to stop a law that — they say, will disrupt their business.

Devon Energy says it will voluntarily reduce methane emissions from its operations in the United States by at least 12 percent by 2025.

Recent flooding and dam releases are affecting businesses and key industries in Oklahoma. Journal Record editor Russell Ray discusses how the flooding has effectively shut down the Port of Catoosa, impacted the state's agriculture industry and postponed the reopening of the River Spirit Casino Resort in Tulsa.

Lawmakers adjourned the 2019 legislative session Thursday. StateImpact reporters followed a number of issues this year. They sit down to talk about the bills that made it to the end of the session and those that are in limbo.

Oklahoma Colleges Bet On Esports

Apr 24, 2019

Universities across Oklahoma are developing esports programs to attract new students. Journal Record reporter Brian Brus discusses how the market share for esports has grown and how students at some colleges are receiving esports scholarships. 

The makeup of the Oklahoma Supreme Court and Court of Appeals could change under a bill on its way to the governor’s desk that changes the state’s nine judicial districts.

The number of farms in the state continues to shrink while the average farm size increases. KGOU's Katelyn Howard joins Russell Ray, editor of The Journal Record, to make sense of this and other findings revealed in the latest Census of Agriculture report.

Oklahoma’s Unrealized Solar Potential

Apr 9, 2019

A recent market report ranked Oklahoma as having the sixth-highest potential for developing solar power, but among the nation’s worst in adding new solar capacity. Journal Record editor Russell Ray discusses why solar energy in Oklahoma currently falls short of neighboring states and how the cost and benefits of the technology are starting to align.

Oklahoma’s population growth rate is at its lowest since 1990 according to new study from the Kansas City Federal Reserve. That’s because Oklahoma lost more residents to other states than it gained over the past three years, with college graduates leading the way.

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