Oklahoma politics

The Oklahoma State Election Board announced last week that registered Independents will be allowed to vote in the Oklahoma Democratic Party’s primaries for the next election cycle, but the primaries for the Republican and Libertarian parties will remain closed.

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After much drama and haggling, Oklahoma lawmakers are moving forward with a state budget.

As The Oklahoman reports, the $8.3 million budget is the largest in state history. The deal includes more than $200 million in new funding for schools and pay raises for teachers and state employees. Ninety-seven percent of Oklahoma teachers can expect an average pay raise of around $1,220.

This Week in Oklahoma Politics, KOSU's Michael Cross talks with Republican Political Consultant Neva Hill and ACLU Oklahoma Executive Director Ryan Kiesel about the passage in the House of a bill allowing anyone over the age of 21 to carry a gun without a license or training, the State of Oklahoma loses 30,000 teachers in just five years and medical marijuana sales exceed $4M in January.

Incoming Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt is asking the attorney general to review his plan to step away from his mortgage company as it becomes a bank and to approve a conflict-of-interest policy for his family investments.

The Oklahoma Ethics Commission is proposing to close a gap in state campaign finance laws that keeps certain funding and spending on efforts to influence legislation a secret.

There won’t be any major partisan shifts in the makeup of the Oklahoma legislature following the 2018 election. But, the gender balance has changed--more women were elected to the Oklahoma House and Senate on Tuesday.

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Tuesday night’s elections went largely as expected in the traditional Republican bastion that is Oklahoma.

Oklahoma voters face five state questions when they vote this month. While this election’s state questions are not as high profile as recent ballot proposals on medical marijuana and alcohol law changes, they do present some meaningful changes in specific areas.

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Oklahoma has been living under single-party rule for years. President Trump won Oklahoma by 36 points, taking every single county in the state in 2016. Meanwhile, Republicans have supermajorities in both houses of the Legislature, and they hold every statewide office and all the congressional seats.

KGOU’s Dick Pryor and eCapitol’s Shawn Ashley spoke with all three Oklahoma gubernatorial candidates on Capitol Insider about where each stands on our state’s biggest issues like worsening teacher shortages, tax policy, government transparency, exemptions for childhood vaccinations, carrying out t

If Daryl Fisher, a supervisor at a group home for young men, could fix one thing in Oklahoma, it would be education.

“Everybody always focuses on kids,” he said in an interview at a gas station in downtown Oklahoma City. “But are we really focusing on kids when we’re opening up more jails, trying to make more room, and not educating them? Are we really focusing on them?”

Oklahoma Prepares To Select New Governor

Oct 22, 2018
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On Nov. 6, Oklahomans will go to the polls to elect a new governor.

KFOR has released a helpful guide to the policy differences among the candidates.

Kevin Stitt, the Republican candidate, says he would reduce the budgets for all 400 state agencies while giving the governor the power to fire underperforming agency leaders in appointed positions.

As the 2018 election season hits a fever pitch in Oklahoma, residents across the state are scrutinizing the credentials of the candidates. And with November 6 just three weeks away, some new political concerns are coming to light.

When Oklahoma’s public radio stations started the Oklahoma Engaged series this spring, there was one big issue center stage in Oklahoma: education.

While education is still a crucial issue, other topics are percolating. In Northeastern Oklahoma, it is again the issue of water quality.

Friday Is Final Day For Voter Registration In Oklahoma

Oct 11, 2018
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Today is the last day to register to vote or update your registration, if you live in Oklahoma.

As The Tulsa World reports, voters are encouraged to go online and verify their information, in case it needs updating.

With just over six weeks until Election Day, Republican Kevin Stitt and Democrat Drew Edmondson shared the stage Monday for the first gubernatorial debate with the two major-party candidates.

The Oklahoma Ethics Commission passed a rule barring elected officials and agency heads from becoming lobbyists for two years after leaving their positions. It’s the same rule lawmakers rejected during the 2018 legislative session.

Political spending by secretive groups that are allowed to hide their donors have already spent what is likely a record amount this year to influence Oklahoma political races.

An Oklahoma Watch review of campaign finance records found so-called “dark money” groups had spent nearly $2.7 million on Oklahoma’s legislative, statewide and congressional races by the end of August.

Oklahoma’s claim to the buckle of the Bible belt is widely accepted as true. But when it comes to faith and voting, new research shows more residents are letting their political values influence the church they choose.

At a recent weekly Sunday morning donut hour at Faith United Methodist Church in Tulsa, people are busy talking about the start of school and the college football season while getting their weekly dose of juice, coffee and donuts.

Oklahoma Primary Runoff Results

Aug 29, 2018
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Oklahomans went to the polls on Tuesday to vote in a statewide primary runoff election.

As The Oklahoman reports, Kevin Stitt locked up the Republican nomination to take over for Gov. Mary Fallin. Stitt, a former businessman who has never run for political office, easily defeated his rival, former Oklahoma City Mayor Mick Cornett.

This November, Stitt will face Democrat Drew Edmondson and Libertarian Chris Powell in the general election.

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The former lawyer for the Oklahoma State Department of Health is facing felony charges for allegedly emailing herself threatening messages.

As StateImpact Oklahoma reports, Julie Ezell is accused of sending threats to her own government email account, regarding the state’s new medical marijuana law. Ezell then alerted health department investigators of the threats.

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According to an editorial in The New Yorker this week, Tuesday’s Oklahoma primary elections “show the lasting impression of the teacher walkout.”

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Voters went to the polls in Oklahoma on Tuesday night, to decide on a medical marijuana law and to decide who the candidates will be in this November’s elections.

As CBS News reports, Sooner voters said yes to State Question 788, making it legal to grow, sell and use marijuana for medicinal purposes.


Want to get to know Oklahoma’s large pool of gubernatorial candidates better before you vote in the primary?

The Tulsa World reported last week the 15 candidates' responses to questions about teacher raises and medicinal marijuana, which also appears on the ballot.

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The recent teachers’ strike in the Sooner State has led The New Yorker to publish an investigation into how the somewhat unsuccessful teacher protests have spawned a “movement of politically engaged” Oklahomans.

In response to the walkout this year, Oklahoma Republicans offered the state’s teachers $6,000 raises. The GOP lawmakers funded the raises with a series of measures that will disproportionately hit the wallets of low-income residents.

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Oklahoma’s Health Department is still struggling to gain its footing after being racked by scandal and turmoil in recent months. In the most recent development, the Health Department’s interim commissioner abruptly resigned this month, after allegations of domestic violence surfaced.

As Oklahoma Watch reports, the Board of Health unanimously accepted Preston Doerflinger’s resignation. Specific details for Doerflinger’s resignation weren’t given.

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The Oklahoma Legislature’s plan to fix the state budget failed spectacularly this week, sending lawmakers scrambling to defend themselves from widespread criticism.

The Step Up Oklahoma plan had seemed to many like it held promise.

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

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Oklahoma’s Chief Executive Mary Fallin gave her State of the State address last week, in which the Governor detailed her plans to fix the state’s ongoing budget crisis.

As KFOR reports, the speech made headlines as much for Fallin’s words as for the interruption at the end of the address by protestors, who hung a sign from the gallery that read “State of Despair” and shouted the word “liar” at the Governor.

The Oklahoma Legislature: Fast Facts

Feb 5, 2018
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The Oklahoma Legislative Session for 2018 began yesterday. Here are some facts about the Sooner State’s legislative body, courtesy of The Tulsa World.

The regular legislative session begins each year on the first Monday of February.

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A controversial new bill in Oklahoma would allow the state to chemically castrate sex offenders, reports TIME magazine.

The proposed law is being sponsored by Rep. Rick West, a Republican from the small southeastern Oklahoma town of Heavener. If the bill passes, sex offenders who are released back into society would be required to take drugs that lower testosterone and decrease sexual libido.