Oklahoma

Environment, Education, Energy: Policy to People

Oklahoma Officials Endorse Nitrogen Executions As ‘Humane,’ But Some Medical Experts Aren’t Sure

State Sen. Ervin Yen supports nitrogen hypoxia as an execution method.

Quinton Chandler/StateImpact Oklahoma

State Sen. Ervin Yen supports nitrogen hypoxia as an execution method.

Oklahoma wants to go where no state has gone before: Executing death row inmates with nitrogen gas. Officials say nitrogen will bring quick, painless deaths, but the research is slim — and it has never been used in U.S. executions.

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Doctors Question Push For More Independent Nurses As Lawmakers Consider How to Fill Health Gaps

Lindsi Walker, a nurse practitioner, insider her office at Cordell Memorial Hospital.

Jackie Fortier / StateImpact Oklahoma

Lindsi Walker, a nurse practitioner, insider her office at Cordell Memorial Hospital.

It’s hard to get basic health care like shots and x-rays in rural Oklahoma. The federal government considers all but one of the state’s 77 counties to have a primary care shortage. The problem is driving a legislative effort to allow highly educated nurses to fill that gap — but doctors and nurse practitioners are butting heads on who is qualified to help.

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AG Sued For More Records After Releasing Suppressed Audit That Found Evidence of Conspiracy At Tar Creek

A worker brushes dusty mine waste off a truck before it exits a field at the Tar Creek Superfund in northeastern Oklahoma.

Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

A worker brushes dusty mine waste off a truck before it exits a field at the Tar Creek Superfund in northeastern Oklahoma.

Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter on Monday released an audit and other documents related to a corruption probe his office fought to keep secret.

The records stem from an investigation launched in 2011 of the Lead-Impacted Communities Relocation Assistance Trust, which was set up to buy contaminated properties and relocate residents near the Tar Creek Superfund site, a former lead and zinc mine in northeastern Oklahoma.

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Other State Workers Feel Ignored As Teacher Walkout Continues

Oklahoma Educators and supporters rally outside the state Capitol on Monday.

Quinton Chandler / StateImpact Oklahoma

Oklahoma Educators and supporters rally outside the state Capitol on Monday.

The Oklahoma teacher walkout and educators’ demands for more school funding dominates the news. It’s unclear if lawmakers are willing to meet those demands and quell daily protests. One lingering question: If schools get more money, what happens to other state agencies and workers who need funding, too?

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During Walkout Oklahoma City Police Lookout For Schools

Oklahoma City Police Sgt. Jeff Crawford patrols city streets on Monday.

Quinton Chandler / StateImpact Oklahoma

Oklahoma City Police Sgt. Jeff Crawford patrols city streets on Monday.

Police Sgt. Jeff Crawford is breaking his routine. He’s leaving the office and climbing into his squad car because Oklahoma City Public Schools teachers and supporters are rallying at the state Capitol to demand more school funding.

Crawford is a school resource officer who normally works out of Douglass Mid-High School. He has left his post temporarily to check on elementary schools and community centers in eastern Oklahoma City that are feeding kids who depend on the meals they get in school.

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Governor Signs Teacher Pay Raise Bill, Some Educators Are Still Walking Out

Flanked by teachers from the Professional Oklahoma Educators organization, Governor Mary Fallin signs a new teacher pay raise into law. March 29, 2018. .

Emily Wendler / StateImpact Oklahoma

Gov. Mary Fallin signs a teacher pay raise into law on Thursday, March 29, 2018.

Governor Mary Fallin signed a teacher pay raise into law on Thursday, giving educators their first state-funded salary boost in 10 years. On average, they’ll get about $6,000, but many of them are still walking out of their classrooms on Monday.

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Lawmakers Pass Rare Tax Increase For Education, But Funding Falls Short Of Teachers’ Demands

Teachers, parents and students at a March 2018 education rally in downtown Tulsa.

Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

Teachers, parents and students at a March 2018 education rally in downtown Tulsa.

After months of gridlock and failed deal-making, the Oklahoma House and Senate have passed a nearly $450 million tax package designed to fund raises for teachers and avoid statewide school closures.

Gov. Mary Fallin said she’ll sign the tax package, which fell short of teachers’ demands. Educators still plan to march at the Capitol April 2 to pressure lawmakers to spend more on schools and public employees and continue a debate that has highlighted growing gaps and frustrations over taxes and government.

 

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Oklahoma Energy Industry Rallies Against Tax Increase Proposal

Dean Champion, an oil-field worker who does flowback work and well testing for Select Energy, mans a smoker at a March 2018 rally at the Oklahoma Capitol organized to push lawmakers to vote down proposed tax increases on oil and gas production.

Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

Dean Champion, an oil-field worker who does flowback work and well testing for Select Energy, mans a smoker at a March 2018 rally at the Oklahoma Capitol organized to push lawmakers to vote down proposed tax increases on oil and gas production.

The Oklahoma Senate is now considering a package of bills to increase tax revenue to give raises to teachers and public employees. Among the targeted increases are taxes on oil and gas. On Tuesday, the energy industry showed up to the capitol to rally against the proposal.

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