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AM NewsBrief: Sept. 14, 2022

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This is the KGOU AM NewsBrief for Wednesday, Sept. 14, 2022.

Pregnancy coverage for Medicaid

Gov. Kevin Stitt has come out in support of expanding Medicaid coverage for new mothers. Oklahoma could soon implement two new policies aimed at improving maternal health outcomes.

The two policies are recommendations from a task force Stitt formed to explore how best to support unplanned pregnancies in the state. Right now, Medicaid offers coverage to pregnant Oklahomans through 60 days postpartum. One policy would extend that to one year of postpartum coverage.

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists has been a vocal supporter of that policy. Many complications from pregnancy can continue postpartum and can be life threatening. That includes infections, blood clots, and heart conditions.

The other proposal would increase the income cutoff from 138% of the federal poverty level to 205% of it. For example, that would mean instead of having to make less than about $31,000 annually for a family of three, it would be less than $47,000.

The Stitt Administration can get the ball rolling on these policies, but federal regulators would have to sign off.

Poll shows narrow gap between Kevin Stitt and Joy Hofmeister in Oklahoma governor's race

A new poll released Tuesday shows Gov. Kevin Stitt has a thin lead on his opponent State Superintendent Joy Hofmiester. StateImpact’s Robby Korth reports on the governor’s race.

The poll shows if the election were today, 43.7% of voters would prefer Stitt and 42.7% would prefer Hofmeister. It was conducted by Sooner Poll and commissioned by News9 and Newson6.

The incumbent Republican is missing out on a small chunk of likely GOP voters who say they prefer his Democratic challenger, while a tiny fraction of surveyed Dems say they’d vote for Stitt.

Hofmeister switched from the Republican Party to the Democratic Party earlier this year in her bid to challenge the governor. The two will face off in November. For StateImpact, I’m Robby Korth.

Independent Ervin Yen is polling just below 4% and Libertarian Natalie Bruno is polling just under 3%.

Stitt creates Emergency Drought Commission

Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt issued an executive order Monday in an effort to bring relief to farmers experiencing drought.

The executive order creates an Emergency Drought Commission which will use relief funds to help cover the costs of losses due to the drought, such as crops and livestock.

The commission will include the state’s Secretary of Agriculture, Blayne Arthur - as well as leaders of Oklahoma’s Conservation Commission and the Water Resources Board.

All 77 counties in Oklahoma are currently under a state of drought, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor.

Choctaw Nation approves new budget for 2023

The Choctaw Nation Tribal Council has approved a new budget for 2023. It’s a 15% increase over the current year.

The $2.1 billion budget will pay for new homes, more dental care and burial expenses for tribal members among other services.

Choctaw Nation Chief Gary Batton says the increase in spending is a sign of financial stability for the tribal nation especially as increased costs and inflation make thing more expensive.

Revenue for Choctaw Nation in the fiscal year is projected to be higher because of increases in commerce and healthcare as well as money from the Choctaw Casino and Resort's new Sky Tower addition in Durant.

New food to try at the Oklahoma State Fair

Well, it’s that time of year again. The fair is back and with that comes the smells and tastes of fair food from corn dogs and funnel cakes to cotton candy and popcorn. Of course, vendors are always excited to show off new foods to try.

Pizza On A Stick is offering a Pickle Pizza this year. Chicken Bacon Ranch Waffle Sticks are available from Waffle Chix--or, maybe your taste buds can handle the Hot Cheetos Loaded Fries found at Boki the Sirloin Hut.

Craving something sweet? There’s the Apple Churro Bites at Project Krave and the Giant Banana Split Pie is available at Cutie Pies.

That’s just a sampling of some of the new food the fair has to offer this year. You’ll find the full list here. The fair runs Sept. 15-25.

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