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AM NewsBrief: Nov. 23, 2022

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This is the KGOU AM NewsBrief for Wednesday, Nov. 23, 2022.

OKC Council votes not to consider an ordinance that would have criminalized homeless encampments

A set of ordinances to criminalize homeless encampments will not receive further consideration from the Oklahoma City Council.

The ordinances would have allowed police to fine or arrest people who did not leave a homeless camp when ordered. The use of a heating device would be enough to qualify an outdoor place as an encampment.

Councilman Mark Stonecipher proposed the ordinances at Tuesday’s city council meeting. The vast majority of community members who spoke during over two hours of public comment were against it. They cited concerns about the morality, legality and effectiveness of criminalizing unhoused people rather than funding programs to house them.

Mayor David Holt condemned the ordinances and thanked local housing advocates for their contributions to the meeting.

"If this conversation continues, I’d love to see those subject matter experts who have demonstrated their effectiveness and expertise as an integral part of future conversations," said Holt.

The council, including the ordinances’ cosponsors, voted unanimously to strike the ordinances from further consideration.

Hay shortage means high costs for Oklahoma ranchers as winter arrives

Despite recent drops in temperatures, the effects of drought are still being felt by Oklahoma’s farmers and ranchers. Producers are looking for ways to feed their cattle through the winter as hay supplies dwindle.

During a normal harvest season, ranchers typically set aside some forage foods, like hay, to keep their cattle fed throughout the winter.

But because of this year’s drought… many producers across Oklahoma haven’t been able to grow and stock up on hay for the winter… which means it will cost them more to buy feed for their cows.

David Lalman is a beef cattle specialist for Oklahoma State Univerisity’s Extension… he says the drought pushed ranchers to make tough decisions earlier this year.

“A lot of ranching operations started to have to sell some of their cow-calf inventory because they just didn't have any feed for those cattle or standing forage for those cattle.”

The drought, less cows, high feed costs—Lalman says a combination of all of these factors might make the beef people purchase online or from the grocery store a little pricier.

Native voters in Midterms

A D.C. public policy institute is tracking new data about how Native Americans voted during the last election.

The Brookings Institute has found that during the 2022 midterm elections, Native Americans voted for Democrats in both house and senate races across the country-although slightly less than in the 2020 Presidential race.

The institute's report shows that abortion and reproductive rights were one of the motivators for Native women to support Democratic candidates this election cycle. Reproductive rights only slightly trailed the cost of living and the economy as big motivators for voting.

And while Democratic candidates fared well with Indigenous voters, the report showed that BOTH parties don't pay enough attention to Native American issues.

Oklahoma Turnpike Authority purchased oppositional domain names ahead of ACCESS project rollout

The Oklahoma Turnpike Authority is coming under fire for purchasing domain names that oppose its $5 billion ACCESS turnpike program.

During proceedings of a lawsuit alleging the OTA violated the state’s Open Meeting Act, an email was produced that showed an OTA official directing its public relations firm to buy up 23 oppositional domain names, two weeks before the rollout of the ACCESS project.

Some examples of the websites are StopAccessOklahoma.com and NOTA.com. The OTA denies allegations the move was an attempt to silence opposition, but says it’s common industry practice to ensure the public gets accurate information.

StateImpact asked OU Public Relations professor Jensen Moore about this, and she wrote while it is standard practice to buy domains that could defraud or misinform the public, it is not standard practice to purchase names of hypothetical oppositional organizations. “From a public relations standpoint, this is unethical of the OTA to do because they are purposely attempting to limit any information that publics need to make decisions about this project.”

Residents reminded to keep FOG out of the sewer this holiday season

Municipalities are reminding residents to not dump fats, oils and greases, or FOG, down the drain this Thanksgiving. Officials say dumping these liquids down the drain can clog sewer lines and cause costly repairs to you and the city.

Residents are urged to pour liquid FOG, such as turkey grease or melted butter, into an aluminum can or other lidded container, then place it in the freezer until it becomes solid. You can then toss the container into your regular trash.

Cities also remind residents to put all solid food remnants into the trash and not in your sink’s garbage disposal.

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