Oklahoma

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

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.

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. 

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. 

 

Public Domain via PxHere

On June 24, just after 11 am, a strange pulsating wave galloped across Oklahoma, averaging around 900 miles per hour and pinging seismometers across the state as it went.

Researchers at Oklahoma State University are working on turning beer waste into food.

When beer is made, starch and sugars are extracted from the grain, but the solid material is left as waste—nearly 52 pounds for every barrel brewed.

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.

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.

The lawmaker behind a petition to stop permitless carry from taking effect November 1 says he’s optimistic about having enough signatures.

State Representative Jason Lowe says supporters are circulating more than 4,000 petitions, which could possibly generate 76,000 signatures.

An Oklahoma judge will announce a ruling Monday in the state's multibillion-dollar case against drugmaker Johnson & Johnson. The case is being closely watched to see if a court is prepared to hold a pharmaceutical company responsible for contributing to the opioid crisis that took more than 47,000 American lives in 2017 alone.

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.

Oklahoma transportation officials are closely watching a funding bill moving through Congress.

The measure by Senator Jim Inhofe has the potential to bring the Oklahoma Department of Transportation $4.2 billion dollars over five years – an increase of $100 million more than 2015.

ODOT Director Tim Gatz says there’s even more to the bill for Oklahomans to celebrate.

The Oklahoma State Election Board is waiting for more than 134,000 voters to confirm their address by this Saturday.

If these voters don’t respond to a mailer sent this spring, they’ll risk being labeled as "inactive"—starting the process of being purged from the voter rolls.

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. 

Oklahoma children were better fed through the Summer Food Service Program last summer than they were the year before, according to the 2019 Food Research & Action Center report. And, advocates expect even more kids in the state to eat free meals through the program this summer. 

After a seven-week trial, a judge in Oklahoma is now considering whether Johnson & Johnson should be held responsible for the state's opioid epidemic.

The lawsuit, which is the first of its kind to play out in court, alleges Johnson & Johnson helped ignite the opioid crisis with aggressive marketing, leading to thousands of overdose deaths. The state is asking for more than $17 billion.

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. 

Changes to Oklahoma’s medical marijuana program will go into effect after August 29th, following new regulations passed by lawmakers earlier this year.

Oklahoma has launched an effort to rebrand itself, reports The Oklahoman.

The plan includes yet another attempt to create new license plates for the state, as well as a new slogan. Lt. Gov. Matt Pinnell, who is leading the effort, wants to get rid of the widely criticized scissor-tailed flycatcher license plates unveiled by Gov. Mary Fallin three years ago.

Pinnell would also like to scratch Oklahoma’s longtime unofficial slogan, “Oklahoma is OK.”

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?

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

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.

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.

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.

Oklahoma medical marijuana and CBD businesses may need an $850 dollar food license.

Foods infused with CBD or THC, like oils, candy or honey are popular choices at dispensaries. Now the Oklahoma State Department of Health, which runs the state’s medical marijuana program, is reminding businesses that sell or manufacture those products that they need a food license by late April, or risk fines.

This year the Trump Administration said it would support states imposing “community engagement” requirements on Medicaid. That means, for the first time in the program’s history, states can require people to work a certain number of hours to be eligible for the government health program for low-income Americans.

Gala Soe and his family sit on their living room floor, watching his infant daughter play with bright plastic balls on a colorful mat. Portraits of family members line the walls of their trailer.

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