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AM NewsBrief: Oct. 6, 2022

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This is the KGOU AM NewsBrief for Thursday, Oct. 6, 2022.

Health and Human Services Secretary speaks out against Oklahoma’s efforts to prevent transgender minors from receiving gender-affirming care

Oklahoma American Rescue Plan Act funding stipulations have garnered attention from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra spoke out against Oklahoma’s recent efforts to prevent transgender minors from receiving gender-affirming care in the state.

In a tweet published the day after Governor Kevin Stitt signed Senate Bill 3, which blocks ARPA funding from being used for gender-affirming medical services for minors at OU Children’s Hospital, Becerra says interfering with potentially life-saving care for transgender and nonbinary youth is dangerous and negligent.

Research from the Trevor Project, a LGBTQ+ youth suicide prevention nonprofit, shows gender-affirming care such as hormone therapy is associated with reduced suicide risk.

OWRB Water for 2060 Award

Nominations are open for the Water for 2060 Excellence Award, which recognizes exceptional contributions to water use efficiency and conservation of Oklahoma’s freshwater resources.

The award is presented by the Oklahoma Water Resources Board. It recognizes projects implemented within the last five years that demonstrate achievement in a few areas: minimizing freshwater use, showing measurable outcomes, is innovative in the field and includes a demonstration of the processes and results.

The idea behind Water for 2060 is from the passage of a 2012 bill that set a state goal of consuming no more fresh water in 2060 than was consumed in 2010.

Awards are divided into three categories: public water supply, energy and industry, and crop irrigation and agriculture production.

Past winners include a farm with innovative irrigation techniques, a city with a drought-resilient water supply, and a producer who grows water-efficient hybrid crops.

Western Heights resists state control of district

The school board for Southwest Oklahoma City school district Western Heights has long fought state intervention in its district. They will continue to have to deal with it following a Supreme Court decision earlier this week.

Western Heights’ school board has resisted state control of their district for months.

The board sued the state after it suspended the district’s former superintendent and put in a new one.

Oklahoma’s Supreme Court unanimously agreed that was lawful in a more than 50-page ruling.

Justices cited gross fiscal and operational mismanagement in the district in the past.

The Oklahoman has reported the district has spent more than half-a-million dollars on attorney fees in resisting the state and state control. Almost 90 percent of the district’s students are classified as economically disadvantaged.

Voter registration deadline for November General Election

The deadline to register to vote for the November General Election is nearing.

According to the Oklahoma State Election Board, the deadline to register to vote or update your registration before next month’s election is Friday, Oct. 14. Applications must be received or postmarked by that day.

Applications can be found at all County Election Boards, most tag agencies, post offices and libraries. They are also available on the OK Voter Portal website at elections.ok.gov.

October is SIDS awareness month

October is Sudden Infant Death Syndrome awareness month, and earlier this year, the American Academy of Pediatrics released its first updated set of recommendations since 2016.

The state department of health reports that while health outcomes for Oklahoma’s newborns have improved in the past decade, SIDS remains one of the top three causes for infant death in the state, alongside accidental suffocation and strangulation in bed.  

SIDS is the sudden and unexpected death of a baby younger than 1 year old. 

The health department’s Infant Safe Sleep Coordinator, James Craig, says AAP’s updated recommendations clarify older rules and provide guidance on products that didn’t have any before. 

“They [AAP] specifically say that any weighted sleep product - blankets, sleepers, sleep-sacks, swaddles - should not be placed on or near the sleeping infant.”

Other recommendations include warnings from using cardiorespiratory monitors which are worn on an infant’s foot and updates to “tummy time” which helps with muscle development and reaching developmental milestones. 

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