Oklahoma

Environment, Education, Energy: Policy to People

House Passes Bill To Raise Teacher Pay, Union Says “April 2 is still on”

In a late-night attempt to stave off a statewide teacher walkout, the Oklahoma House passed a series of bills that gives teachers a $5,000 to $7,000 raise – depending on their experience.

The package of bills also raises pay for school support staff and state employees, however it’s not clear if the legislation – as written – is enough to keep teachers from descending on the Capitol on April 2nd.

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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.”

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Oklahoma Plans To Resume Executions With Nitrogen Gas

Attorney General Mike Hunter and Corrections Director Joe Allbaugh speak at a March 2018 press conference about the state's plans to use nitrogen gas to execute death row inmates.

Quinton Chandler / StateImpact Oklahoma

Attorney General Mike Hunter and Corrections Director Joe Allbaugh speak at a March 2018 press conference about the state's plans to use nitrogen gas to execute death row inmates.

Oklahoma wants to start executing prisoners again and officials want to use nitrogen gas. Oklahoma would be the first state to use nitrogen for an execution.

The state ordered a moratorium on executions in October 2015 after major problems with three lethal injections.

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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

Oklahoma Opioid Deaths Continue To Rise

Narcan, also known as Naloxone is an opiate overdose antidote.

Jackie Fortier / StateImpact

Narcan, also known as Naloxone is an opiate overdose antidote.

New data released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggests drug overdose deaths declined in some states — but not in Oklahoma.

Drug overdose deaths dropped in 14 states, making health officials hopeful that policies aimed at curbing the death toll may be working. But preliminary numbers from CDC show drug overdose deaths in Oklahoma rose by 12 percent, to 844 people. That’s higher than in previous years, but not by much. Continue Reading

Fallin and DAs Champion Criminal Justice Legislation, But Reform Advocates Are Asking What The Bills Do

Gov. Mary Fallin, district attorneys and legislators announced an agreement on criminal justice legislation at a March 5 press conference.

Quinton Chandler / StateImpact Oklahoma

Gov. Mary Fallin, district attorneys and legislators announced an agreement on criminal justice legislation at a March 5 press conference.

Gov. Mary Fallin on Monday announced a compromise between district attorneys and Republican lawmakers on six bills they say will reduce Oklahoma’s prison population while maintaining public safety.

One criminal justice reform advocacy group is criticizing the timing of the announcement because the bills’ language still hasn’t been made public.

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Oklahoma Teachers Union To Announce Plan For Statewide Walkout

Oklahoma teachers rallied in support of the Step Up Oklahoma plan on February 12, 2018. The plan would have provided $5,000 teacher pay raises, but failed in the House.

Emily Wendler / StateImpact Oklahoma

Oklahoma teachers rallied in support of the Step Up Oklahoma plan on February 12, 2018. The plan would have provided $5,000 teacher pay raises, but failed in the House.

The state’s largest teachers union, the Oklahoma Education Association, says they will announce the details of a statewide teacher walkout on Thursday.

Alicia Priest, the president of the OEA, says years of failed attempts by the legislature to increase education funding and teacher pay have forced the organization to consider the walkout.

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