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AM NewsBrief: May 25, 2023

This is the KGOU AM NewsBrief for Thursday, May 25, 2023.

Eco-Friendly Refinery Coming To Cushing

A $5.6 billion refinery is coming to Cushing.

The city and company promise the facility will be more eco-friendly than existing refineries.

Southern Rock Energy Partners says when the refinery opens in 2027, it should only produce 5% of the greenhouse gas emissions and use a tenth of the water a normal refinery would.

If all goes according to plan, the facility will only use renewable energy to power the refining process.

The City of Cushing says it expects the project to create hundreds of jobs and generate $13 billion in economic benefits over its first decade.

Cushing beat out a site near the Gulf Coast in Texas for the refinery.

This announcement comes just days after a company called Enel unveiled plans to build a $1 billion solar panel factory in Inola, about 70 miles east of Cushing.

Oklahoma Senate Approves Maternity Leave For State Employees

The Oklahoma Senate has approved a measure that allows maternity leave for state employees.

The bill gives 6 weeks of paid maternity leave for Oklahoma’s full time state employees after the birth or adoption of a child.

Duncan Republican Sen. Jessica Garvin introduced the reform at the start of the 2023 session. Garvin praised her colleagues for supporting the policy.

"You know as a Republican we always talk about being pro life, well this is part of that. We’ve got to support families after the birth and not just through birth," said Garvin.

Garvin also says this will help with recruitment and retention of state employees.

"This is a huge benefit and a huge win for state employees, this incentivizes people to come in to work for state agencies and when we are able to hire and recruit and retain high quality employees in state agencies that helps with government efficiency."

The benefit would be available to state employees who have been on the job for at least two years. The bill now moves to the house.

Former Oklahoma County Jail Inmate To Receive $3M

Oklahoma County commissioners have agreed to pay $3 million to settle an excessive use of force case stemming from a 2017 incident.

A former inmate of the Oklahoma County jail will receive $3 million in a settlement after suing the Board of County Commissioners, former Sheriff P.D. Taylor, and three guards.

In the lawsuit, Torrance Gene Jackson claims he was slammed to the ground and held in an unapproved wrist lock by one guard while two others observed after he was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence in 2017. As a result, the lawsuit also claims Jackson was diagnosed with quadriplegia and is permanently paralyzed.

An internal investigation by a sheriff’s lieutenant found the guard’s use of force was disproportionate and his use of unapproved techniques came with the possibility of injury.

Plan To Extend Tribal Nations’ Tobacco, Tag Compacts Moves Ahead

The Oklahoma Senate Wednesday moved forward a plan to extend Native American tribal nations’ tobacco and tag compacts – without the approval of Gov. Kevin Stitt.

Lawmakers are aiming to extend existing compacts with tribal nations for tobacco and car tags by one year. Many of those compacts are set to expire in the coming months.

The move comes amid stalled negotiations between Stitt and the tribes.

Choctaw Nation Chief Gary Batton told The Oklahoman the terms Stitt brought to the table were a “non-starter.”

Leaders of the state’s five largest tribes endorsed Stitt’s Democratic opponent Joy Hofmeister last year. That move came after Stitt unsuccessfully tried to re-negotiate the state’s gaming compacts with tribal leaders.

The bill would mean existing tobacco and tag compacts would run through December 2024, giving time for Stitt and the tribal nations to repair their fraught relationship. But if that can happen remains to be seen.

Livestock Owners Encouraged To Seek Out Veterinarians Following New FDA Rule

Oklahoma livestock owners are being urged to familiarize themselves with their veterinarians following a new Food and Drug Administration rule.

Starting next month, the FDA will require a prescription for obtaining antibiotics for animals, a move that supporters say will help reduce antibiotic use.

A spokesperson for the Oklahoma Veterinary Board says there is a shortage of large animal veterinarians in the state.

The board is encouraging farmers and ranchers to seek out and establish strong relationships with veterinarians to comply with the new FDA rule.


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