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AM NewsBrief: Oct. 5, 2022

This is the KGOU AM NewsBrief for Wednesday, Oct. 5, 2022.

Stitt signs bill to prevent gender transition services at OU Children's Hospital

A new bill signed into law prevents one Oklahoma hospital from providing gender-affirming services to minors.

Gov. Kevin Stitt signed Senate Bill 3 into law on Tuesday, which gives over $100 million in American Rescue Plan Act Funds to OU Health but also blocks the funding of gender-affirming services for minors at Oklahoma Children’s Hospital.

The Adolescent Medicine Roy G. Biv Program at Oklahoma Children’s provides a range of services from discussing concerns or questions about gender to helping families find surgeons who perform gender-affirming surgeries.

Additionally, Stitt called for the Legislature to ban all gender-affirming surgeries and hormone therapies for minors when they convene next session in February.

Oklahoma wants more students to fill out FAFSA

Completing the Federal Application for Student Aid – commonly called the FAFSA – is important for students who want help paying for college. Oklahoma’s State Regents for Higher Education are trying to get more students to apply.

There’s no firm deadline for applying for the FAFSA, but Oklahoma’s higher ed governing agency is calling on students to get their application in as soon as possible.

Only 42% of Oklahoma’s class of 2022 completed the form. That was a modest increase from 2021, but the state still ranked sixth from the bottom for completing the application.

The FAFSA is important for students applying for financial aid and scholarships in college. It helps determine award amounts and even eligibility for some state aid.

Stitt appoints new Tourism and Recreation director

Gov. Kevin Stitt has appointed a new Tourism and Recreation director.

Stitt has selected Oklahoma Employment Security Commission Director Shelley Zumwalt to oversee the tourism department. In a statement, Zumwalt said she was grateful to have been able to lead OESC during the COVID-19 pandemic and is ready to take on a new challenge.

Zumwalt succeeds former Stitt appointee Jerry Winchester, who resigned in April after multiple investigations began to probe the department's contracts with Swadley's barbecue.

Indian Health Service names new director

Indian Health Service has a new director after going without permanent leadership for more than two years.

Roselyn Tso, a citizen of the Navajo Nation, was confirmed as director of IHS by the Senate. The agency that delivers health care to more than 2.5 million Native people has been plagued by inconsistent leadership. Tso replaces acting director Elizabeth Fowler who has been serving in the position since January of 2021.

She has worked for IHS since 1984 in various roles at the Portland Area and Yakama service units in the pacific northwest. Before this new role, Tso served as the director of the IHS Navajo area-which serves more than 240,000 Native Americans from Arizona, New Mexico, and Utah.

Oklahoma utility company make progress restoring Florida power

OG&E crews have been working around the clock to get power restored in Florida following Hurricane Ian. It’s been over a week since nearly 100 OG&E linemen and support personnel were deployed to the Sunshine State.

Crews have been assisting Florida's largest power utility, Florida Power & Light. Electricity has since been restored to all Melbourne residents, and now crews are directing their attention to Punta Gorda. Power is expected to be fully restored there by late Friday night.

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