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Lawmakers in both the state House and Senate are passing lots of bills ahead of a deadline Thursday. Legislation has to win approval in its chamber where it started to keep alive. This round-up from the Associated Press reflects many bills on their way to passage through Tuesday night and some that failed.

Topics include: abortion, prison worker pay, the American Indian Cultural Center and Museum, privatization of workers' compensation insurance, pay increases for special education teachers and more requirements for people running for office.

Abortion Restriction Bills Advance in House

Mar 13, 2013

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) A pair of bills that make it more difficult for girls younger than 18 to have an abortion without notifying their parents have easily cleared the Oklahoma House. The House on Tuesday approved the bills that would limit the ability of teenage girls to have a judge allow them to get an abortion without parental consent.

Abortion Restriction Bills Advance in House

Mar 13, 2013

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) A pair of bills that make it more difficult for girls younger than 18 to have an abortion without notifying their parents have easily cleared the Oklahoma House.   The House on Tuesday approved the bills that would limit the ability of teenage girls to have a judge allow them to get an abortion without parental consent.

Lawmakers Approve Another Tax Cut Bill

Mar 13, 2013

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — A plan backed by Gov. Mary Fallin to slash the state's top personal income tax rate has cleared the Oklahoma House.

The House voted 65-30 Tuesday to cut the top rate to 5 percent from 5.25 percent, beginning Jan. 1. The bill now heads to the Senate for consideration.

The Senate approved a separate measure on Monday to cut the rate to 4.75 percent and offset much of the lost revenue with the elimination of various exemptions and deductions.

Pro-Horse Processing Groups Meeting Today

Mar 13, 2013
Close up of the eye of a horse.
busse / Flickr (Creative Commons)

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Supporters of legislation that would allow for a horse slaughtering plant in Oklahomaplan to rally at the state Capitol.

The Oklahoma Farm Bureau is slated to hold the event Wednesday morning at the state Capitol to support bills that would pave the way for a horse slaughtering facility in the state.

The Oklahoma Quarter Horse Racing Association has also issued a statement saying it supports the "concept of the slaughter of horses in Oklahoma."

State Revenue Drops Below Expected Figures

Mar 12, 2013
Tddy's

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Oklahoma's secretary of finance says state income tax refunds and a drop in natural gas production reduced general revenue fund receipts last month.

Secretary of Finance and Revenue Preston Doerflinger said Tuesday that collections totaled about $255 million in February. That's almost $29 million below collections in February 2012 and $20 million lower than the official estimate upon which this year's budget is based.

Making It Private: State Workers' Compensation

Mar 12, 2013
neckandback / Flickr

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — The Oklahoma Senate has approved legislation to privatize the state's nonprofit workers' compensation agency.

The Senate passed the measure Tuesday by a vote of 36-11. It heads to the House, where a similar bill is pending.

The bill by Senate President Pro Tem Brian Bingman of Sapulpa would convert CompSource Oklahoma from a state entity to a private company owned by its policyholders. Supporters say a state agency should not by competing with private insurers.

Native American Museum Fate Remains Uncertain

Mar 12, 2013
The American Indian Cultural Center and Museum near the intersections of I-40 and I-35 in Oklahoma City.
American Indian Cultural Center and Museum

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — The Oklahoma Senate has approved legislation that would transfer management of the unfinished American Indian Museum from the museum's board to another agency.

The Senate voted 26-20 for the measure Tuesday and sent it to the state House for consideration.

Prison Worker Pay Hike Fails

Mar 12, 2013
Kenny Breedlove / Flickr

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — A bill to provide a 5 percent pay increase for Oklahoma's prison workers has stalled in a House committee.

The House Calendar Committee on Tuesday tabled the bill by Darcoma Republican Rep. Jeff Hickman. Aside from a 5 percent pay hike for all prison workers, the bill would have boosted the starting pay for correctional officers from $11.83 per hour to $14 per hour. It would have cost about $12.2 million annually and was the top request by the Department of Corrections for additional funding.

First Oklahoma Execution of 2013

Mar 12, 2013

McALESTER, Okla. (AP) — Oklahoma executes man for 1999 death of Tulsa-area woman that began 3-state killing spree.

Abortion Restriction Bill Passes House

Mar 12, 2013

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — A pair of bills that make it more difficult for girls younger than 18 to have an abortion without notifying their parents have easily cleared the Oklahoma House.

The House on Tuesday approved the bills that would limit the ability of teenage girls to have a judge allow them to get an abortion without parental consent.

The first bill by Democratic Rep. Rebecca Hamilton of Oklahoma City would require parental notification in all cases, except for medical emergencies or if the girl was a victim of sexual or physical abuse by a parent. It passed 80-12.

Anadarko Tech Company Busted for Gambling Software

Mar 12, 2013
photo of slot machine
Frank Bonilla / Flickr

ANADARKO, Okla. (AP) — An Oklahoma technology company owner accused of supplying illegal gaming software to outlets in Florida has been arrested in connection with a multistate gambling scheme.

Attorney General Scott Pruitt's office says 37-year-old Chase Egan Burns appeared in Caddo County District Court Tuesday as a fugitive from Florida. He's charged in Florida with racketeering, conspiracy and multiple counts of the sale or possession of slot machines, conducting a lottery and keeping a gambling house.

Residents Pay Widely Ranging Rates for Water

Mar 12, 2013

You turn the tap and out comes water, but what does it cost? It's a common resource that is priced in ways that may be surprising.

Senate Approves Income Tax Cut

Mar 11, 2013

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) - The Oklahoma Senate has approved a plan to reduce the state's top personal income tax rate by one-half of 1 percent and offset most of the lost revenue by eliminating or changing dozens of exemptions in the tax code.

The Senate voted 33-13 on Monday for the bill by Tulsa Republican Sen. Mike Mazzei. The vote was mostly along party lines, with Republicans favoring the measure.

Okla. Receives "D" Grade for Legislative Openness

Mar 11, 2013

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) - Despite recent upgrades in technology by the Oklahoma Legislature, a national group has given the state a grade of ``D'' for how well legislative information is made available to the public.

Oklahoma Senate Holds Closed-Door Session

Mar 11, 2013

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) - In a break from its customs, the Oklahoma Senate went into a closed-door session and removed observers and reporters from the gallery.

Senate President Pro Tem Brian Bingman requested the Senate go into executive session during Monday afternoon's session. Senate Democratic leader Sean Burrage then agreed to Bingman's motion.

Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

Gov. Mary Fallin told members of the Oklahoma City Chamber she supports many of the changes contained in workers' compensation law making its way through the legislature.

"Oklahoma's ranked among the top states in the nation on workers' compensation premium costs," Fallin said. "I've told our legislators, and our Pro Tem, and our Speaker, 'If you get a bill to my desk that does those things, I am very supportive of moving toward an administrative system.'"

Fallin's comments on Feb. 21 were the first to endorse the plan outlined in a bill by Senate President Pro Tempore Brian Bingman of Sapulpa.

Person on bench at bus stop
Ed Shadid

 The BMW question is one Jarrett Walker received when helping a city determine the most effective form of public transit for its residents, an idea he calls "abundant access."

Walker's article in the Atlantic dealing with the problem of "bus stigma" contains many of the points he presented to about 500 people at a public transit town hall in Oklahoma City.

Fallin, Attorney Win "Black Hole" Award

Mar 11, 2013

Two newspapers and a state lawmaker received FOI  Oklahoma's top awards during the organization's Sunshine Week activities.

The Marian Opala First Amendment Award was presented Saturday to the Enid News & Eagle. The Ben Blackstock Award went to the Bartlesville Examiner-Enterprise.Republican state Rep. Jason Nelson was presented the  Sunshine Award for opening the doors of secrecy at the Department of Human  Services.FOI Oklahoma gave Governor Mary Fallin and her attorney, Steve Mullins, the Black Hole Award for what is considered damage to the public's right to know about governmental activity.

Brant Morrell

A giant spider currently stands guard outside the Sam Noble Oklahoma Museum of Natural History, its 8 large eyes watching visitors as they enter. Once inside, over-sized beetles, butterflies and other insects dominate the space, as part of the “Bugs…Outside the Box” exhibit.

These intricate sculptures, created by Italian artist Lorenzo Possenti, can be up to twenty times larger than their tiny counterparts. The exhibit challenges human beings to create a connection between themselves and the massive bugs.

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