Oklahoma

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 on 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.

public domain via Pixabay

The Oklahoma agency in charge of helping residents with disabilities find jobs recently received an injection of funding, and the new money has helped the agency to take thousands of Oklahomans off wait lists and find them new jobs.

State legislators repealed a longstanding sales tax exemption on motor vehicle sales during the budget crisis of 2017. The Journal Record reports state revenue collections have since recovered and the economy has improved, so State Sen. Kim David has filed a bill to reverse the motor vehicle sales tax.

A rural southwestern Oklahoma hospital received a $23 million loan to help fund improvements. The Journal Report reports the loan is part of $501 million in United States Department of Agriculture investments in health care services and related services.

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The Oklahoma Supreme Court on Tuesday sided with the energy industry, ruling against officials in Kingfisher County who blocked companies from using temporary lines to transport produced, treated or recycled water in one of the state’s hottest oil fields.

The largest group representing state government workers is preparing to sue the Oklahoma State Department of Health for $3 million on behalf of 161 former employees laid off during a financial crisis.

In November 2017, health department officials reported a sudden budget shortfall that led to the layoffs of nearly 200 employees and an emergency infusion from lawmakers of $30 million to help the agency stay solvent.

A Kansas reporter wrote in 1893 he had discovered an all-female town in Oklahoma. But when he tried to go back to the village one week later, it was gone. 

 

KGOU listener Bart Varner asked How Curious: What happened? 

Oklahomans voted in 2016 to reduce penalties for drug possession and this year approved a state question welcoming medical marijuana into the state. Officials in two cities recently reacted to those decisions. 

pontnshoot / Flicker Creative Commons

Did you know that Oklahoma is the only state to have an official state meal?

As Cowboys and Indians tells us, the meal—which is actually more of a gut-busting cornucopia of awesomeness—was approved by the Oklahoma legislature in 1988. The meal is a showcase for cuisine from all over the Sooner State, but scarfing down the whole smorgasbord is going to require a bit of driving.

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The number of earthquakes in Oklahoma of magnitude 4.0 or higher is up significantly for the year 2018. However, the overall frequency of quakes is still on the decline.

As The Tulsa World reports, through the end of June this year, the Sooner State saw almost 100 earthquakes of magnitude 3.0 or higher. But that’s down from almost 150 during the same period last year.

Tony Fischer Photography / Flickr Creative Commons

A couple of weeks ago, HPPR reported on a herd of buffalo the state of Oklahoma had put up for auction.

The herd, consisting of around 60 head of bison, was located at Foss State Park, near Elk City, about 90 miles west of Oklahoma City. The animals were being auctioned on the state of Oklahoma’s surplus auction site.

Oklahoma Forestry Service

Weekend showers over Oklahoma helped firefighters in the battle against two large wildfires – one of which was so large that it could be seen from space.

As The High Plains Journal reports, as of Monday, the Rhea fire in Dewey County had scorched around 287,000 acres and the 34 Complex fire in Woodward County had burned close to 63,000 acres. The Rhea fire was 74 percent contained and the 34 Complex fire was 94 percent contained.

Gage Skidmore / Flickr Creative Commons

The state of Oklahoma has had a crazy few days.

First, the most powerful Oklahoman in the Federal Government, EPA Secretary Scott Pruitt, faced mounting outrage over his use of taxpayer dollars to pay for first-class flights and a 24-hour security detail. The secretary also rented a private room from an energy lobbyist in the nation’s capital, for far below market value.

And then there were the state’s teachers, who walked out of schools across Oklahoma in protest of low pay and ten years’ worth of poor funding for education.

Tom Harper / Wikimedia Commons

A nonpartisan Oklahoma political group has recommended that the state get rid of the current political primary system.

Bob Jagendorf / Wikimedia Commons

According to the latest numbers for incarceration rates across the U.S., Oklahoma held the second highest per capita incarceration rate among all states.

As KFOR reports, in 2016 Oklahoma incarcerated 673 people per 100,000 residents. That lands the state second behind only Louisiana, which imprisons a staggering 760 per 100,000. By comparison, Texas imprisons 563 per 100,000 and Colorado imprisons only 356. The national average is around 400 per hundred thousand.

Serge Melki / Wikimedia Commons

Visit the Oklahoma State Capitol these days and you might be awed by the gleaming new marble floor recently installed there. But that floor is drawing the ire of some in Oklahoma, who wish the state’s lawmakers had searched for marble a bit closer to home.

WIKIMEDIA COMMONS

The uptick in seismic activity in Oklahoma is featured in an Oct. 2  National Geographic article that takes a look at the increase in earthquakes induced by such human activities as fracking.

According to the article, a recent study published in the journal Seismological Research Letters identified 730 sites where human activity caused earthquakes over the past 150 years.

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Oklahoma’s woes are now so dire that the state is making news in the United Kingdom. Last week, the British newspaper The Guardian published an article about Oklahoma, asking the question “Can anyone fix this failing state?”

Sean MacEntee / Flickr Creative Commons

What do High Plains folks hate the most?

There’s a new app called Hater that works like Tinder, except it matches users based on common things they loathe.

As The Houston Chronicle reports, according to the app’s users, the most common thing Texans hate is . . . “sleeping with the window open.”

This may come as a surprise, as there are so many things to hate in Texas, like rattlesnakes and poorly constructed tacos.

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