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AM NewsBrief: Sept. 8, 2022

This is the KGOU AM NewsBrief for Thursday, Sept. 8, 2022.

ACLU sues over SB 615

The ACLU is representing three Oklahoma students and their families and suing the state over its transgender school bathroom ban policy.

Senate Bill 615 says students in Oklahoma public schools must use the bathroom of their gender assigned at birth. A team of attorneys on the case argue this violates the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and Title IX. They argue the law signed by Governor Kevin Stitt in May is discriminatory toward transgender students based on their identities.

Oklahoma banned trans students from using the bathroom corresponding with their claimed gender identity this school year. The state says it will penalize public school districts up to five percent of their annual state aid if they are found to allow trans students to use the bathroom of their choice.

Oklahoma City library asks for help identifying portraits

The public library system in Oklahoma City is hoping to solve a mystery.

Recently family of former Oklahoma City portrait photographer Teizo Yamagishi contacted the Metropolitan Library System about some portraits by the late Yamagishi found in storage.

Special Collections Librarian Judie Matthews says the portraits look to be from a particular decade.

"Judging from the fashion and the styling I'm thinking the majority are from the 1950s and some in the 1960s."

Yamagishi was born in Japan around 1900 and moved to Seattle for work to learn more about photography. During World War II, he and his family were sent to a Japanese American detention camp in Idaho. Later Yamagishi set up a photo business in Oklahoma City.

Matthews says she hopes people will take a peek at the discovered portraits supposedly of then-prominent Oklahomans and see if anyone looks familiar.

"We've created a website with scans of these photos hoping the public can take a look and see if they recognize a family member or an old family friend or maybe even themselves in one of these photos."

See the portraits at metrolibrary.org/tacy.

Cherokee Nation announces minimum wage increase, more paid family leave

The Cherokee Nation—one of the largest employers in northeast Oklahoma—is increasing minium wage and paid family leave.

Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr. says the nation expects to have a $15 per hour minimum wage by 2025. Meanwhile, Oklahoma’s state minimum wage has remained at the federal level of $7.25 an hour since 2009.

The Cherokee Nation’s updated family leave policy now provides up to two weeks of paid leave for new fathers. Foster parent paid leave was doubled from five days to 10 days.

Cherokee Nation names National Treasures

As Cherokee Nation celebrated the signing of its constitution last week, the tribe announced three newly named National Treasures.

Barbara Adair, Weynema Smith and Lena Stick were all selected as this year's recipients for their work in basketry and language preservation.

The title of national treasure is bestowed upon individuals who keep art, language and Cherokee culture and traditions alive.

The three were honored during Cherokee National Holiday. The tribe first started honoring these culture keepers in 1988.

Oklahoma County to invest millions in upgrading first responder communication equipment

Oklahoma County is investing millions in communication upgrades for first responders.

The Oklahoman reports over $4 million from the county’s share of ARPA funds will be used to update first responder’s radio systems.

According to the county’s emergency management director, firefighters and police at many smaller agencies aren’t able to communicate across jurisdictions under the current system, leading to a delay in response times.

The upgrade will allow departments to talk across the so-called Oklahoma City Metro Public Safety System and improve communications reliability.


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