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AM NewsBrief: Jan 6, 2023

This is the KGOU AM NewsBrief for Friday, Jan. 6, 2023.

Oklahoma ties to House Speaker race

A pair of Oklahoma’s Congressmen are finding themselves at the center of the House of Representatives fight over who will lead the chamber.

Newly elected Josh Brecheen of Southeast Oklahoma has joined a conservative bloc of Republicans opposing the nomination of California Representative Kevin McCarthy to take on the Speaker’s gavel.

In several rounds of voting, Brecheen was one of a handful of Republicans to vote for Kevin Hern of Tulsa.

Hern cast his votes for McCarthy.

It’s unclear when the speaker’s race will be resolved. Republicans’ narrow majority in the House means only four members can break with the rest of the party for McCarthy to secure the nomination.

In a statement released to reporters, Brecheen says he opposes the status quo in Washington and hopes to “reform reckless spending” by Congress in opposing McCarthy.

Anti-1775 legislation

2021’s legislative session produced House Bill 1775, which prohibits a range of discussions in the classroom on race and sex. One former educator-turned-lawmaker is introducing his own bill to strike 1775 down.

Norman Democratic Representative Jacob Rosecrants filed House Bill 1013, or the “Restoration of Sanity in Education Act.” Two districts, Tulsa and Mustang Public Schools, have been found in violation of 1775 since its implementation, though they both dispute those findings.

Rosecrants says 1775 is political fear mongering with no basis in reality.

"You’re creating that wedge in between teachers and parents, that’s a feature of our new state superintendent, that’s kind of their tactic. And the governor. So they needed something to be able to say, ‘Hey, we’re fighting against this in our schools and here’s how we’re fighting it.’ Well, my thing is you’re fighting against something that never existed in the first place," said Rosecrants.

Rosecrants says it’s unlikely his bill would be signed by the governor, but it’s still important to have these conversations.

Opioid Settlements

Four new settlements in Oklahoma’s opioid litigation will bring more money for crisis remediation.

Attorney General John O’Connor announced new settlements from Walgreens, CVS, Walmart, and Allergan, an opioid manufacturer, add up to more than $226 million, bringing the total amount the state has recovered in opioid settlements to more than $900 million.

Most of Walmart’s settlement will be paid over the next year, while CVS’s settlement will be paid over the next 10 years and Walgreens’ over the next 15.

The settlement funds will be used for prevention, harm reduction, treatment, and recovery services.

Norman cancer center

Plans for a new cancer facility in Norman have been announced.

OU Health and Norman Regional have partnered to build a new cancer care facility on the Norman Regional HealthPlex campus near I-35 and Tecumseh Road. It will be called the OU Health Stephenson Cancer Center at Norman Regional.

According to a news release, the new state-of-the-art facility will combine the full spectrum of medical and radiation oncology services under one roof.

Construction of the 50,000 square foot facility should be complete in 2025.

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