Oklahoma

Environment, Education, Energy: Policy to People

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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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.

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Oklahoma Superintendent Speaks Out About His District’s Decision To Let Teachers Carry Guns

A demonstration in Washington, D.C., organized by Teens For Gun Reform in the wake of the Feb. 14, 2018, shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla.

Lorie Shaull / Flickr/CC BY-SA 2.0

A demonstration in Washington, D.C., organized by Teens For Gun Reform in the wake of the Feb. 14, 2018, shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla.

Oklahoma lawmakers enacted legislation in 2015 that lets school employees, including teachers, carry guns on campus. Okay Public Schools, near Tahlequah, appears to be the only district in the state that uses the law to arm its staff.

Superintendent Pete Hiseley did not work for the district in 2015 when the Okay Public School Board agreed to let school employees carry guns.

“I can’t speak for all the reasons that this policy was put in place,” he said, “I can only speculate it was for the betterment and protection of our students and our staff.”

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State Regulators Expand Guidelines To Address Uptick In Fracking-Linked Earthquakes

Updated guidelines from the Corporation Commission affect energy companies fracking wells in western Oklahoma oil fields.

Oklahoma Corporation Commission

Updated guidelines from the Corporation Commission affect companies fracking wells in western Oklahoma oil fields.

Oklahoma oil and gas regulators are expanding rules designed to reduce earthquake activity triggered by fracking. Updated guidelines released Tuesday by the Oklahoma Corporation put new requirements on companies operating in two of the state’s most booming oil fields.

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One Oklahoma Student Plans For An Uncertain Future As DACA Deadline Looms

The principal at U.S. Grant High School in Oklahoma City wants undocumented students to feel safe in school, so he put "Dreamers Welcome" signs throughout the building.

Emily Wendler / StateImpact Oklahoma

The principal at U.S. Grant High School in Oklahoma City wants undocumented students to feel safe in school, so he put "Dreamers Welcome" signs throughout the building.

When President Donald Trump ordered an end to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program last September, he put 700,000 immigrants’ futures in jeopardy.


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New Curriculum Gives Schools Online Tools To Teach Race Riot History That’s Often Glossed Over

The curriculum on the Tulsa Race Riot includes discussions on articles, video clips and photos, including this one of the flourishing Greenwood District before the riot.

Tulsa Historical Society And Museum

The curriculum on the Tulsa Race Riot includes discussions on articles, video clips and photos, including this one of the flourishing Greenwood District before the riot.

The Tulsa Race Riots lasted 2 days. Thirty-five blocks of black neighborhoods were destroyed and at least 39 people died. Historians now agree it was among the worst episodes of racial violence in U.S. History. However, State Senator Kevin Matthews, D-Tulsa, says many Oklahoma teachers often brush over the topic, or teach it incorrectly. He hopes a new Tulsa Race Riot curriculum can change that.

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Environmental Groups Fight State’s Effort To Regulate Coal Ash On Its Own

Environmental groups, activists and residents urged the EPA not to approve the state's plan to regulate coal ash at a public hearing in February 2018.

Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

Environmental groups, activists and residents urged the EPA not to approve the state's plan to regulate coal ash at a public hearing in February 2018.

Environmental groups and concerned residents this week told federal officials the Oklahoma agency charged with protecting air, land and water lacked the resources and rules to manage a state-run plan to regulate coal ash.

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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.

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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

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