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AM NewsBrief: June 12, 2023

This is the KGOU AM NewsBrief for Monday, June 12, 2023.

Gov. Kevin Stitt Endorses Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis For President

Oklahoma’s governor endorsed a presidential hopeful over the weekend. Florida Gov.Ron DeSantis held a rally Saturday on the outskirts of Tulsa where Gov. Kevin Stitt sang his praises.

"We need the next president to be in office for eight years. We’ve got to defeat Joe Biden. I believe Ron DeSantis is the right guy," Stitt said.

Last year current Republican presidential frontrunner nominee Donald Trump endorsed Stitt. Despite Trump’s legal troubles, he still had supporters at the rally held at the F&E Creek Event Center near Catoosa. 15-year-old Cane Webb said he still likes Trump but he is torn.

“I like what DeSantis has been saying. I feel like he’s young and would make a good choice as president,” said Webb.

Stitt and DeSantis continued on the campaign trail together, putting in an appearance at the Ponca City Rodeo Saturday night.

Special Session Continues

The state legislature has adjourned its regular session for the year, but the special session continues. The House is expected to convene today, but the Senate won’t. Quorum Call publisher Shawn Ashley explains.

"Legislative leaders said in May when they called the special session that they would hold it open so they could come back to the Capitol to override any vetoes of special session bills issued by Gov. Kevin Stitt," said Ashley. "Gov. Stitt vetoed two special session bills. Both these bills provide tribes the opportunity to extend their tobacco tax and motor vehicle tax compacts through 2024."

The Senate hasn’t agreed on a date to reconvene, or even if it wants to override those same vetoes. Both bills got enough votes originally to override Stitt’s vetoes.

Norman Residents To Vote On Water Rate Increase

This week, Norman residents will vote on whether to raise their water rates. City officials say they need the extra money to replace aging water lines and improve water quality.

A rate hike would raise most customers’ bills by about $5 a month. City officials say that would generate almost $7 million per year, which the city could use to improve its water lines.

Norman Utilities Director Chris Mattingly says this has been the city’s worst year on record for line breaks.

"With our budgets being low, we're only able to go in and patch and repair and then fix the damage that the blowout does. But we're not able to really schedule pipe replacements in a preventative fashion," said Mattingly.

Norman gets most of its water from Lake Thunderbird, but about a quarter comes from municipal wells. The city needs funds to chlorinate that water or it won’t be in compliance with state and federal water standards.

Norman is the only large city in Oklahoma that requires a city-wide vote to raise water rates.

The special election will take place on Tuesday, June 13.

OU Softball Coach To Receive Statue On Campus

The University of Oklahoma’s softball coach is set to receive a well-deserved honor—a statue in her likeness on campus. The OU softball team and the city had a celebration Saturday for the women’s softball team winning their third straight national championship. During the celebration, OU athletic director Joe Castiglione made an announcement that Coach Patty Gasso, who is in her 29th season with the Sooners, will get her own statue on campus property.

"We do things we try to keep secret for a while, but she just won’t let us keep a secret, so tonight I’m just breaking it out. We're going to have a statue for Coach Gasso next year," said Castiglione.

Last week's win against Florida State was Gasso’s seventh national championship with the Sooners.

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