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AM NewsBrief: Aug. 9, 2022

This is the KGOU AM NewsBrief for Tuesday, Aug. 9, 2022.

As new school year starts, a record number of emergency certified teachers will lead classrooms

Oklahoma will have a record number of emergency certified teachers heading into the new school year.

More than 1,400 educators will be teaching with an emergency certificate on the first day of school.

Oklahoma’s State Board of Education approved a record number of those certificates at its July meeting.

Emergency certified teachers don’t have all the qualifications to be fully licensed to teach in a classroom.

Last school year saw an annual record 3,600 emergency certified teachers. Oklahoma has roughly 45,000 teachers overall.

The state has long struggled with a teacher shortage. The number of emergency certifications was fewer than 100 in 2010 but has consistently numbered in the thousands for years.

Department of Corrections director to step down

The man who oversaw the return of executions in Oklahoma is retiring.

According to the Associated Press, Department of Corrections Director Scott Crow says he will be stepping down from office on Oct 31. While he didn’t give a reason, Crow says it was one of the most difficult decisions he’s encountered.

He was appointed by Gov. Stitt in 2019 following nearly 25 years with the agency and helped in securing the drugs to resume lethal injection after a hiatus of almost seven years.

State lawmakers ask AG for a new hearing for death row inmate

Oklahoma lawmakers have signed a letter to the attorney general for a new hearing in the case of death row inmate Richard Glossip.

The Associated Press reports nearly 60 legislators sent a letter to Attorney General John O’Connor saying new evidence could prove Glossip is innocent.

O’Connor’s office didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment, but prosecutors in his office have urged the Court of Criminal Appeals to reject Glossip’s request for an evidentiary hearing.

Glossip is scheduled to be executed Sept. 22. His clemency hearing before the Oklahoma Pardon and Parole Board is set for Aug. 23.

Cherokee Nation expands housing assistance

The Cherokee Nation is expanding funds to assist citizens with housing payments.

The Cherokee Nation’s Housing Assistance Fund is being expanded to help citizens who are still experiencing financial hardship due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The fund was created by the Housing Authority of the Cherokee Nation at the beginning of the pandemic with funding from the U.S. Department of Treasury.

To be eligible, the homeowner or their cohabitating partner must be a citizen of the Cherokee Nation and the home must be in a county covered in whole or in part by the Cherokee Nation.

More information and applications can be found at hacn.org.

Inflation Reduction Act passes, heads to the House

The Senate Committee on Indian Affairs is hailing the passage of the Inflation Reduction Act as a big win for tribal nations across the country to fight climate change.

The bill includes $272.5 million to mitigate the impacts of drought, help tribal fisheries and provide home electrification among other things.

Senator Schatz, a Democrat from Hawaii and the chair of the committee says tribes have "the place-based knowledge needed to develop effective climate change and energy solutions."

The bill now heads to the House where it is expected to pass.

Southwest Power Pool issues resource advisory

The Southwest Power Pool is issuing a resource advisory beginning at noon Tuesday.

Oklahoma’s power grid operator says the resource advisory is being declared due to hot weather and resource availability uncertainty. However, the advisory does not require the public to conserve energy.

SPP says it anticipates the advisory will end at 10 p.m. on Wednesday.

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