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AM NewsBrief: Sept. 20, 2022

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This is the KGOU AM NewsBrief for Tuesday, Sept. 20, 2022.

In her run for governor, State Superintendent Joy Hofmeister proposes $5,000 raise for Oklahoma teachers

State superintendent and Democratic candidate for Governor Joy Hofmeister is calling for teachers to get a $5,000 raise.

Each fall, the state superintendent presents a proposed budget to the Oklahoma State Board of Education. It is routinely rubber stamped before heading to the legislature.

Hofmeister announced Monday morning she would propose a $5,000 teacher pay raise in that document and make achieving it a central pillar of her campaign.

The raise would cost more than $300 million annually.

It’s unclear what the board will do with the proposal. Hofmeister and most of the Governor Kevin Stitt-appointed members on the state board have a frosty relationship.

The legislature will have final say about what the budget will look like anyway, when they consider putting one together next spring.

HIV test program

Oklahoma and federal health officials are working to distribute HIV tests this month.

The Oklahoma State Department of Health issued a release about the program on Monday. It makes self-test kits available for human immunodeficiency virus. It’s a cheek swab test, and can be ordered at endinghivoklahoma.org.

There were about 6,000 Oklahomans living with the virus as of 2019 according to AIDS Vu, a research project within Emory University in Atlanta. The highest case rates are in Tulsa, Oklahoma, Greer and Blaine counties.

OU announces demolition of Adams Tower

The University of Oklahoma plans to demolish Adams Tower next summer, according to a report from the OU Daily.

Adams was originally going to be torn down this winter, but it was put on hold to "avoid leaving a mess for students during spring 2023." OU plans to complete construction on a new dorm by 2025.

Walker Tower will be the next dormitory scheduled for demolition followed by Couch Tower.

The new dorms are part of the university’s Freshman Housing Master Plan.

Stabbings soar at Southeast Oklahoma private prison

Stabbings at a private prison in Holdenville have tripled in the last year.

Oklahoma Watch reports at least 18 people have been stabbed at the Davis Correctional Facility this year - three of which resulted in the death of the victim, including one corrections officer.

Like many Oklahoma prisons, Davis is facing staffing shortages, which leads to prisoners being placed on lockdown and kept in their cells. The high security prison for violent offenders currently has 20 unfilled positions.

A spokesman for CoreCivic, the world’s largest private prison company and owner of the Davis Correctional Facility, says the company is working on increasing staffing levels.

Cherokee Nation VAWA Act

In an effort to combat domestic abuse committed against Native women, the Cherokee Nation is considering legislation to strengthen tribal laws.

Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr. proposed the Cherokee Famly Protection and Violence Against Women Act during his State of the Nation address earlier this month.

"This law will help protect families and the most vulnerable citizens across our reservation."

Last year, the Cherokee Nation created a task force that would help support survivors and worked with Cherokee Nation Marshal to help better address domestic violence calls. A second task force was convened earlier this year.

In March, Congress reauthorized the violence against women act and expanded the types of crimes tribal nations have the authority to prosecute. That revised federal law takes effect in October and will work in conjunction with the law that Cherokee Nation passes.

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