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AM NewsBrief: July 20, 2022

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This is the KGOU AM NewsBrief for Wednesday, July 20, 2022.

Record-breaking temperatures around the state

As an extreme heat wave grips Oklahoma, climate experts reported record-breaking highs around the state on Tuesday.

Oklahoma City officially reached a high of 110 degrees yesterday afternoon, surpassing the daily record of 109 set back in 1936.

The Oklahoma Mesonet reported that all 120 sites in the state recorded temperatures at or above 102 by yesterday afternoon, a first in the network's history since its 1994 inception.

Meteorologists say temperatures should dip slightly today, but no significant cooldown in the forecast for the state.

Excessive heat warning continues for large portion of the state

An excessive heat warning remains in effect today for central, eastern and southern Oklahoma.

The National Weather Service says extreme heat and humidity will increase the potential for heat related illnesses especially for those working or participating in outdoor activities.

To be prepared, drink plenty of fluids, stay in an air-conditioned room, stay out of the sun and check up on relatives and neighbors.

If you work or spend time outside, take extra precautions and, when possible, reschedule strenuous activity to early morning or evening.

To reduce risk during outdoor work, you should wear lightweight, loose fitted clothing, and schedule frequent rest breaks in shaded or air-conditioned environments.

And, know the signs and symptoms of heat exhaustion and heat stroke.

Anyone overcome by heat should be moved to a cool and shaded location, and if they are suffering from heat stroke call 911 immediately.

Oklahoma City reinstates Human Rights Commission

Oklahoma City will have a human rights commission for the first time since the 90s.

The Oklahoma City council voted 5-4 to reestablish a human rights commission on Tuesday. The previous commission was disbanded in 1996 over disagreements about whether to extend protection to LGBTQ+ residents.

Following the police killing of George Floyd in 2020, Mayor David Holt created a task force to plan for a new human rights commission.

The new commission will consist of nine city council suggested and mayor appointed members who will address discrimination complaints.

Holt says commission members will be appointed in the upcoming months.

The Kiowa Tribe welcomes new leadership

Lawrence Spottedbird and Jacob Tsotigh won the offices of chairman and vice chairman after running on a ticket focused on long term vision and stable leadership for the tribe. Tsotigh was a sitting tribal council member when he won.

He says the previous administration wasn't being transparent about spending of COVID relief money and had a tense relationship with the Kiowa Legislature.

"Our Kiowa citizens have been frustrated for the past three years because of the corruption that they have seen and because of the lack of openness and transparency that the previous administration played provided," said Tsotigh.

Former Chairman Matthew Komalty cited poor health in his decision not to run for re-election as Chairman. Komalty's term was plagued by corruption allegations, an attempted impeachment and federal investigation into tribal spending.

Recently signed legislation aims to make it easier for blind Oklahomans to vote

Gov. Kevin Stitt has signed House Bill 1711 that will allow legally blind voters to vote by electronic absentee ballots, if they are unable to vote at their precinct on Election Day.

Eligible voters will be able to use their personal computers to mark accessible absentee ballots, which then must be returned to their county election board secretary using the absentee ballot process.

The bill outlines that an unqualified person who applies for an absentee ballot intended for voters who are blind will be guilty of a felony. The law goes into effect on July 1, 2023.

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