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Oklahoma is one of five states selected by the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press to receive pro bono legal support to assist news organizations in pursuing public records and access to public meetings and in defending against legal actions.

Nearly five years after the Legislature authorized the Oklahoma Election Board to launch an online voter registration system, the work remains unfinished.   

State law allows police to arrest accused domestic abusers without a warrant if there is sufficient evidence, such as a witness statement or a victim’s visible injuries. But a lack of communication among law enforcement agencies is allowing suspects to avoid prompt arrest.


Gov. Kevin Stitt has some big decisions to make in 2020. The Republican governor is entering his second year in office with his promise from the 2018 political campaign still defining expectations for his performance – to make Oklahoma a “top 10” state in several critical areas.

Measures focused on attracting and retaining teachers will be considered by lawmakers in February.

Thousands of state employees are behind in their income taxes and risk disciplinary actions or termination if they don’t resolve the matter, according to data compiled by the Oklahoma Tax Commission.

Oklahoma's Economy Could Slow, Expert Says

Dec 12, 2019

The national economy is showing signs of slowing, and Oklahoma's economy could follow. Robert Dauffenbach, director of the Center for Economic and Management Research at the University of Oklahoma, says this is due in part to the state's reliance on oil and natural gas production. Journal Record editor Russell Ray discusses what Oklahomans should know about a possible economic downturn. 

Kindergarten and first-grade classes across Oklahoma likely will be required to meet the state’s class-size limit for the first time in a decade when the 2021-22 school year begins.

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. 

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