StateImpact Oklahoma


The arid American West marches east, changing climate and agriculture

The 100th Meridian passes through Oklahoma and splits the continent in two. An explorer and geologist in the late-1800s suggested this map line marked the start of the arid American West. Scientists now say he was right — and that climate change is moving it, which could have profound effects on farmers and ranchers.

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Tulsa nonprofit teaches parenting skills to help mothers and children beat addiction and avoid prison

A nonprofit helping mothers avoid prison and recover from addiction also helps them rebuild relationships with their children.

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Awakened by walkout, educators and parents organize to elect politicians that support their vision for public schools

Many educators in Oklahoma say the teacher walkout awakened them to the importance of staying informed, and voting. Now, these teachers, principals and school officials are not only working to educate themselves, but are also organizing into groups with the goal of enacting widespread political change.

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Regulations may cap sky-high air ambulance bills, but companies say they could limit critical care

Air ambulances are exempt from health care billing regulations.
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Statewide vote approaches with advocates and police at odds over medical marijuana’s perceived benefits and threats 

Law enforcement agencies around the state say medical marijuana poses real safety concerns. If State Question 788 passes, they want strong rules to govern medical marijuana use.

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Anxiety about teacher pay-raises grows as tax repeal effort builds and legal questions mount

This past legislative session lawmakers passed a $430 million tax package in order to fund teacher pay raises. Now a group called Oklahoma Taxpayers Unite is working to overturn the tax increases. This has created a lot of uncertainty for school leaders who now wonder if they’ll be able to afford the teacher raises they fought so hard for.

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After veto, county sheriffs insist the state still owes jails money for housing inmates.

County sheriffs heavily supported a bill they hoped would mean larger reimbursements to county jails that hold state prison inmates and a more transparent reimbursement system. The governor vetoed the bill leaving the debate between county sheriffs and the state unresolved.

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Hospital replaces pamphlets with conversations to get parents to stop smoking

Fragile NICU babies are at risk of complications from smoking caregivers
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Galvanized by walkout, Oklahoma teachers enter crowded election year with promises to prioritize schools

At least 80 teachers are running for office in 2018.
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Oklahoma prisons overflow as inmates say ‘no’ to parole

Roughly two out of three parole-eligible inmates opt-out of parole hearings. State officials say this contributes to prison overcrowding and hurts their outcomes after they are released.

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