Oklahoma

Environment, Education, Energy: Policy to People

Audio

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.

Continue Reading

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.

Continue Reading

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?

Continue Reading

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.

Continue Reading

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.

 

Continue Reading

Faith And Firearms: Oklahoma Churches And Legislators Grapple With Security In Age Of Mass Shooters

Jim McBride leads a church security training at First United Methodist Church in Newkirk.

Quinton Chandler / StateImpact Oklahoma

Jim McBride leads a church security training at First United Methodist Church in Newkirk.

Gunshots ring through the chapel of First United Methodist Church. An instructional video simulating shooting rampages plays on a projector screen hanging above the pulpit between two banners that read “Good Shepherd” and “Lion of Judah.”

Continue Reading

People With Developmental Disabilities May Face Organ Transplant Bias

Henry Weathers had a heart transplant 10 years ago, when he was five years old. His parents are worried he may not get another, due to bias.

Jackie Fortier / StateImpact Oklahoma

Henry Weathers had a heart transplant 10 years ago, when he was five years old. His parents are worried he may not get another, due to bias.

New research suggests people with intellectual disabilities are being turned down for organ transplants because of their disability. A growing effort to take human bias out of the decision highlights a little-known area of medicine.

Shiny red hearts decorate the tables at a restaurant in Moore. It looks like a Valentine’s Day party, but tonight the decor is literal: It’s the 10-year anniversary of Henry Weather’s new heart. Continue Reading

Wind Companies Reconsider Oklahoma As Lawmakers Roll Up Economic Welcome Mat

A line of wind turbines near Seiling, Okla.

Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

A line of wind turbines near Seiling, Okla.

The Dewey County Courthouse is one of the newest in Oklahoma. The offices are spacious, and the courtroom has fresh carpet and shiny wood trim. County Commissioner M.W. “Junior” Salisbury is excited to play tour leader.

“I’m pretty proud of our little courthouse here,” he says. “I really, really am.”

Officials figured they would need 25 years to pay it off, but it took less than five. One major reason: wind farms.

Continue Reading

One Way To Relieve Overcrowded Prisons: Make Lock-Up A Last Resort For Probation Violations

A group of people stand outside a courtroom at the Oklahoma County courthouse.

Quinton Chandler / StateImpact Oklahoma

A group of people stand outside a courtroom at the Oklahoma County courthouse.

More than 30 people sit uncomfortably on hard, wooden benches under the watchful eyes of Judge Tim Henderson. It’s late morning in Henderson’s courtroom at the Oklahoma County courthouse. Some people have been waiting for hours.

Most of these people are on probation, and they’re anxiously waiting for their chance to make a deal. Judge Henderson says these people broke their plea agreements.

Continue Reading

Experts Say Oklahoma’s Opioid Plan Does Little to Expand Treatment

Janet Cizek, CEO of the Center for Therapeutic Interventions in Tulsa speaks to an employee.

Jackie Fortier / StateImpact Oklahoma

Janet Cizek, CEO of the Center for Therapeutic Interventions in Tulsa speaks to an employee.

Drug overdose deaths in Oklahoma increased 91 percent over the last decade and a half, prompting the state to form a task force charged with a daunting goal: Brainstorm a plan to guide the state out of an opioid epidemic that kills three Oklahomans nearly every day.

The Commission on Opioid Abuse released its final report in January.

“The sort of clear and present danger is overprescribing and oversupply, and that was the focus of what we looked at,” Attorney General Mike Hunter, who headed the nine-member commission, said in an interview with StateImpact. Continue Reading

About StateImpact

StateImpact seeks to inform and engage local communities with broadcast and online news focused on how state government decisions affect your lives.
Learn More »

Economy
Education