politics

Higher Education Officials Plea for Lower Budget Cuts

Last Updated by Bob Sands on

The presidents of several Oklahoma colleges and universities met today behind closed doors with legislative budget writers to plea for an easing in budget cuts to higher education. It is now apparent that the proposed cigarette tax to fund the states medicaid system won't pass the Oklahoma House which is planning on a reduced cut to the states Medicaid agency instead.

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Another Oklahoma Anti-Abortion Bill Challenged in Court

Last Updated by Bob Sands on

A New York abortion rights group is going back to court to block another new anti-abortion law. The law is set to go into effect on November 1st. The Center for Reproductive Rights argues the law violates the constitutions single subject rule.

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State Revenues Continue to Drop

Posted by Bob Sands on

For the 19th month in a row, state revenues have fallen below income at the same time a year earlier. For September, gross receipts dropped almost 10% compared to the same month last year. The last time September collections were lower was in 2010.

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Oklahoma Supreme Court Tosses Another Anti-Abortion Law

Posted by Bob Sands on

The state's highest court has unanimously agreed that another law attempting to put restrictions on abortions in Oklahoma is unconstitutional. The law covered four issues which the court struck down as log-rolling, passing a law that covers more than one topic. The law involved minors and parental consent; tissue preservation; inspection of clinics' and legal liability for providers.

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State Sued Over $140 million Cut from State Agencies

Posted by Bob Sands on

Governor Fallin is now being sued over the $140.8 million that she is holding on to that came from cuts that were made last fiscal year to state agencies. Clients who get services from the Department of Human Services are named as plaintiff's. The Governor is talking about a calling a special session of the legislature to use the money for teacher pay raises.

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State Supreme Court Rewrites Ballot Titles

Posted by Bob Sands on

Ballot titles re-written by Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt for a pair of state questions have been re-written again this time by the State Supreme Court. The high court ruled the ballot titles from Pruitts office were deficient and were "misleading and partial". The ballot issues are intended to help control the future growth of Oklahoma's prison population.

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"Right to Farm" will stay on the November Ballot

Posted by Bob Sands on

The Oklahoma Supreme Court has let stand a low court ruling dismissing a challenge to State Question 777. Opponents alleged the measure would allow large farming corporations to set state agricultural policy instead of voters and lawmakers.

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County Judge Rules in Liquor Battle

Posted by Bob Sands on

The Retail Liquor Association of Oklahoma lost it's fight for an injunction to block a November vote on a plan that makes major changes to the states liquor laws. But an Oklahoma County judge did say there are still constitutional issues that need to be addressed. A hearing on that will happen soon.

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Pro-Education Candidates Oust Some Incumbents

Posted by Bob Sands on

Two members of the Oklahoma House and one state senator lost in primary election returns to pro-education candidates. 33 other new candidates from the education group also won their primaries while at least 8 others are in runoffs.

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Little Support For a Special Legislative Session

Posted by Bob Sands on

From teachers to legislative leaders, there is little support for Governor Fallins suggestion that the legislature go into special session to pass a teacher pay raise. House Speaker Jeff Hickman says he is open to discussions but the state must be very cautious about pay hikes using one time money.

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Governor Fallin Considers Special Session for Teacher Pay Raises

Posted by Bob Sands on

State government has $140.8 million in extra cash after reconciling the books for fiscal year 2016. Now Governor Mary Faillin says she is talking with legislative leaders about calling lawmakers back into session in order to use the money to give teacher pay raises. That would use one time extra funds to give teachers a less than $2-thousand a year pay hike.

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Former Senate Leader Headed to Prison

Posted by Bob Sands on

Former Sen. President Pro Temp Mike Morgan will now spend 18 months behind bars for taking bribes. Morgan's original sentence of probation was seen as too light by federal prosecutors who sought and got a re-sentencing hearing. Morgan has to surrender to federal prison on July 21st.

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Budget Rebates may be in Order

Posted by Bob Sands on

The budget cuts because of mid-year revenue failures in state government tax collections went too deep, leaving the state with a fiscal year end surplus. It now stands at over $166-million dollars but will likely finish the current fiscal year around $120-million. That means state agencies budgets will get some money back. How much is not yet known

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Governor Headed for New York City

Posted by Bob Sands on

Governor Mary Fallin is taking several people with her this week on a trip to the nation's top credit rating agencies. Specifically she has invited two legislators along for the ride because she wants them to, as she puts it, understand the nuances rating agencies consider when analyzing Oklahoma's budgeting.

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State Revenues Continue to Fall

Posted by Bob Sands on

Revenue collections at the state treasury last month hit a six year low. State Treasurer Ken Miller says every major revenue stream for state government came in lower than expected. That is the 9th month in a row that gross receipts to the state treasury were lower than the same time a year ago.

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