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Oklahoma Senate Adjourns but House Still in Session

Posted by Bob Sands on

The last bill the Oklahoma Senate dealt with for the legislative session was a $200-million bond deal to fund road and bridge projects. In return for the bond money the Department of Transportation will give back $200-million to help plug the $1.3-billion budget hole. The Senate has recessed for the year but the House is still arguing over the budget.

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2017 State Budget Under Debate

Posted by Bob Sands on

The Oklahoma House of Representatives has begun final work on the new state budget. It's a spending plan that contains major budget cuts, some new revenues, borrowed money, rainy day money and funds from agency revolving funds.

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Budget Deal Reached

Posted by Bob Sands on

A deal on a fiscal year 2017 state budget has been made between legislative leaders and the governor. Senate Bill 1616 began working it's way through the process just today. Lawmakers have until this Friday at 5:00 pm to finish their work. The budget keeps common education & corrections funding flat, a slight increase for health care and mental health.

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Bag of Prison Goodies Found by Authorities

Posted by Bob Sands on

A pair of inmates turned up missing from the Jim Hamilton Correctional Center in eastern Oklahoma. They were later found hiding on the grounds of the minimum-security prison. A short distance away prison guards found three duffel bags full of contraband. including, 30 pounds of pipe tobacco, a half pound of marijuana, cell phones, lighters, cognac, mouse traps, electrical tape and sports bras.

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Oklahoma Senate Votes to Dump Energy Tax

Posted by Bob Sands on

By a wide margin, the Oklahoma Senate approved a bill to end the tax break for "at risk oil wells". The OIPA was backing a proposal to cap the tax break at $25-million a year but the senate bill eliminated the tax break all together and made it retro-active to the first of this year. If the House approves, that would bring in an estimated $133-million dollars a year.

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Broadcasters get Green Light to sue for Mixon Video Tape

Posted by Bob Sands on

The Oklahoma Supreme court rules that broadcasters can sue for the release of surveillance video that involves O.U. running back Joe Mixon striking a woman in a bar. The court ruled that Cleveland County Judge Thad Balkman was wrong to rule that the video could not be released since it had been played in court. It was also shown in a private viewing to numerous reporters.

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More Mid-Year Budget Cuts Unlikely

Posted by Bob Sands on

The flow of tax money to the states General Fund, the one that pays most of the bills, again missed the estimate by a long shot. April fund contributions came in 12.8% below what was expected or $89.4 million. But state Finance Director Preston Doerflinger says he thinks there is enough cushion in the fund to avoid any more cuts to state agency budgets.

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April was a Bad Month for Oklahoma Tax Collections

Posted by Bob Sands on

Gross receipts to the state treasury last month were the lowest in four years. Every tax income category was down. For the last 12 months the state lost $846-million compared to the previous 12 month period. Gross production tax collections on oil and gas are now at a 17 year low.

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Grocery Store Wine Petition Invalid

Posted by Bob Sands on

An initiative petition to put on a statewide ballot a proposal to allow wine sales in grocery stores has been ruled invalid by the Oklahoma Supreme Court. The court ruled held the petition's written explanation failed to provide enough information for voters to make an informed decision.

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Settlement Reached in School Discipline Probe

Posted by Bob Sands on

The plans by Oklahoma City Public Schools to end disproportionate discipline of black students is approved by the U.S. Department of Education. The settlement ends an investigation into the school districts practices. Two other federal investigations continue.

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Moody's Says Oklahoma's Economy Will Face More Problems

Posted by Bob Sands on

Tax cuts, tax breaks and slumping oil prices spell more pain for Oklahoma's economy according to Moody's Investor Service. According to Moody's Global Credit Research report , " Moody's expects government entities with significant exposure to oil prices to respond to revenue shortfalls with budget cuts and reserve spending during the ongoing downturn."

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New Power for the Corporation Commission on Earthquakes

Posted by Bob Sands on

Governor Fallin has signed into law a bill that gives new powers to the Corporation Commission to shut down injection wells without notice or hearing to address man-made earthquakes. The Commission believed it already had the authority to do what it needed to address induced quakes but the new law makes it very clear, the commission can take "whatever action is necessary".

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Fireman Jon Hansen Has Died

Posted by Bob Sands on

For decades he was the face and voice of the Oklahoma City Fire Department. Jon Hansen passed away at his home after a lengthy illness. The world came to know Hansen following the Oklahoma City bombing. He wrote a book about his experiences.

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Earthquakes Hit Central Oklahoma

Posted by Bob Sands on

A pair of earthquakes shook residents in Logan County overnight. A 4.2 magnitude quake struck near Crescent and a few hours later a 4.1 temblor shook the same area. The U.S. Geological Survey has released a new earthquake hazard map and lists Oklahoma at a 1 in 8 chance of damaging quakes this year. That surpasses every other state in the country.

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Repairs Continue on the Crumbling Capitol

Posted by Bob Sands on

Every square inch of the Oklahoma Capitol building will see improvements as work to restore the aging structure will continue for the next five years. The cost is now placed at $245-million. Throughout the project, the capitol building will remain open for business.

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