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AM NewsBrief: July 25, 2022

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This is the KGOU AM NewsBrief for Monday, July 25, 2022.

National news outlet reports Oklahoma librarians instructed to not discuss abortion

A national news outlet is reporting Oklahoma City-area librarians were told last week to avoid talking about abortion with patrons.

Vice Magazine reported Oklahoma County’s Metropolitan Library System sent a memo to librarians suggesting they avoid using the term abortion.

Vice reported, “If a staff member gives any information on how to obtain an abortion, then that person may be found personally liable.”

The memo comes in the wake of the state’s near-total abortion ban signed into law by Gov. Kevin Stitt in May and the overturn of Roe vs. Wade in June.

The system has since responded and clarified its guidance to librarians, to only supply factual information about laws and not give opinions on the topic to patrons.

CDC, ACIP approve Novavax COVID-19 vaccine under Emergency Use Authorization

Federal regulators have approved another COVID-19 shot. It will be available in Oklahoma in August.

The agencies signed off on the Novavax vaccine series for those 18 and older. Like the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, it requires two shots.

Novavax uses older vaccine technology. It contains pieces of the virus: proteins. The body identifies those proteins and develops an immune response to them.

The earlier shots used mRNA technology, which delivers genetic instructions on fighting the vaccine.

Myths about mRNA technology contributed to vaccine hesitancy, so public health officials are hopeful Novavax’s availability will increase COVID vaccination rates.

In a press release on Friday, Commissioner of Health Keith Reed said that vaccines are the best way to prevent severe infection on hospitalization from COVID-19, and he encouraged anyone interested to contact their health provider.

Governor's office sharply criticized for management of federal education funds

In the latest episode of KGOU’s Capitol Insider, Quorum Call’s Shawn Ashley discusses the federal audit into how the Stitt Administration spent COVID-19 relief funds that were meant for education. That audit found more than $650,000 were misspent on things like televisions and Christmas trees. The state blames a contractor for the errors, but…

“According to the inspector general's office, Oklahoma did not take advantage of an internal control option in that vendor's programing, nor did it perform a review of the initiative's expenditures. As the recipient of the GEER funds, the inspector general said Oklahoma was responsible for ensuring that its grant funds were used properly,” said Ashley.

Hear the full interview on this week’s edition of Capitol Insider and on the Capitol Insider Podcast. New episodes drop on Friday afternoons.

Quapaw Nation election results

Quapaw voters went to the polls on Saturday and re-elected their current chairman Joseph Byrd.

Amidst the sound of generators and a game of horseshoes near the Quapaw Nation Pow wow grounds, Guy Barker anxiously waited for messages from an election observer inside the Quapaw Nation's headquarters to tell him of the first batch of results.

"It's a hand count—so it's a slow process,” said Barker.

Around 10pm, the results were finally announced.

Byrd was reelected for another term as chairman. But Guy Barker ended up losing his secretary treasurer seat to challenger Wena Supernaw by 15 votes. And, longtime business committee member Lloyd Buffalo was unseated by challenger Mike Shawnee by 34 votes.

Out of roughly 1500 eligible voters - only 621 Quapaw citizens cast their ballots in person or absentee.

Reached after the final vote, Barker said he wished his opponent well and looks forward to developments in the Quapaw Nation.

A special election for another open seat on the business committee will be held in September.

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