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Feds Move to Shut Down Injector Wells

Posted by Bob Sands on

17 more oil and natural gas wastewater injector wells have been shut down, this time in the Osage Nation which is under EPA jurisdiction. The move comes after the strongest earthquake on record hit the state last Saturday morning. So far the EPA has offered no details on the exact locations or owners of those 17 wells. Earlier state regulators shut down 37 injector wells.

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Marijuana Petition Drive Clears First Hurdle

Posted by Bob Sands on

Oklahoma Secretary of State Chris Benge says his office counted 67,761 signatures on petitions calling for State Question 788 to be on the November 8th ballot. The measure proposes to legalize medical marijuana. That is barely 17-hundred more signatures than is required for the issue to get on the ballot. Several more steps must yet be completed before the issue can be put before voters.

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Masked Intruders Caught Inside State Capitol

Posted by Bob Sands on

Animal control officers have captured a pair of raccoons who spent part of last night rummaging for food on the second floor of the State Capitol. There was no real damage and according to a Senate spokesperson, "the culprits received a verbal warning and were released on their own recognizance".

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VA Fake Cop Sentenced to Prison

Posted by Bob Sands on

A man who was hired as an investigator by the Oklahoma Department of Veterans Affairs is now facing five years in prison. Steven Pancoast plead guilty to 24 criminal counts involving forgery and perjury. As it turned out, Pancoast was a convicted felon. He posed as a former New York police officer and while employed by the state V.A. he carried a gun.

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Deal Reached in Sardis Lake Lawsuit

Posted by Bob Sands on

The Chickasaw and Choctaw nations have struck a deal with the state over the use of water by Oklahoma City from Sardis Lake. The deal calls for the state to manage water supplies but to acknowledge tribal sovereignty and meet tribal conservation guidelines.

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Big Dip in Sales Tax Income Hits the State Budget

Posted by Bob Sands on

The flow of money into the states' main operating account against failed to make the official estimate. July contributions to the General Revenue Fund were down by more than $17-million. July figures were also down 11 percent compared to the same month a year ago. Lagging sales tax income gets most of the blame which also confirms the states economy is still stuck in a recession.

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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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O.U. Hikes Tuition Rates Because of Budget Cuts

Posted by Bob Sands on

It will cost University of Oklahoma students 7 percent more in tuition and fees to attend classes this fall. The University estimates that will offset about a third of the $35-million dollar budget cut they took for fiscal year 2017 which begins July 1st. Other cost savings will come from voluntary retirements, salary cuts of 3 percent for top leaders and not replacing people when they leave.

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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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