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AM NewsBrief: June 15, 2023

This is the KGOU AM NewsBrief for Thursday, June 15, 2023.

OU Raises Tuition

The University of Oklahoma is raising tuition for the third year in a row, and other state universities are following. The 3% tuition hike was approved at Wednesday’s Board of Regents meeting.

OU attributes the hike to increased costs and employee raises amid a rapidly inflating economy.

So what does that mean for Sooner students? If you’re an Oklahoman attending OU next year, you can expect to pay about $5 more per credit hour. If you’re coming from outside of Oklahoma, expect to shell out nearly $22 more per credit hour. Different rates apply for Law and Health Sciences Center students.

Rogers State University will also see a 2% tuition bump for in-state students and 1% for out-of-state.

Cameron University is raising its tuition as well, by nearly 3%, but it’s eliminating fees to balance out the costs to students.

Also at the meeting, OU President Joe Harroz was approved for a $100,000 bonus.

The regents took up their business at the PostOak Lodge near Tulsa, instead of one of its usual on-campus locations for public meetings. That’s drawn criticism, pointing out the vote to raise tuition rates happened at a retreat getaway that normally charges around $2,000 a day. A records request has been filed for the costs of the meeting.

Illinois River Watershed Remediation Plan Postponed

A decades-long court battle between Oklahoma and poultry corporations in Northwest Arkansas has been extended once again.

Then-Attorney General Drew Edmondson filed the lawsuit against poultry producers in Arkansas in 2005, saying chicken waste was polluting the Illinois River Watershed in Oklahoma.

After 18 years, a federal judge ruled in Oklahoma’s favor in February. He ordered the involved parties to develop a plan for restoring the watershed and limiting future pollution. The clean-up plan was originally due in March, but that deadline was extended to June 16th. Now, Kelly Bostian reports for the Tulsa World the deadline has been extended once again.

At the request of Oklahoma’s current Attorney General Gentner Drummond, the state and poultry producers will go through mediation with a retired judge and submit an update two weeks after that concludes.

Drummond told Bostian that negotiations have gone back and forth, but he hopes the mediation will help the poultry corporations and the water advocates find common ground.

Board of Chiropractic Examiners Veto

The Oklahoma Legislature failed to extend the sunset date for the Board of Chiropractic Examiners. KGOU’s/OPMX’s Hannah France reports on how the board will continue to operate despite this.

One of the several bills Gov. Kevin Stitt vetoed in response to the Senate not adopting his tax and education agenda was Republican Senator Julie Daniels’ Senate Bill 60, which would have extended the sunset date for the Board of Chiropractic Examiners until 2026.

While the board is now set to expire on July 1 of this year, it is allowed to continue operation as normal for the next year. However, lawmakers will need to take an override vote or pass new legislation next year to ensure the board can continue operation past July 1, 2024.

Alleged Chemical Attack At A Jones Farm

A farm in Jones could be the site of a chemical attack, leaving dying crops and financial loss behind.

Michael Ruzycki believes his farm was targeted with some kind of plant poison earlier this week. The chemical killed much of his produce, totaling over $100,000 in damages.

"We’re just going to be as positive as we can about this situation. The community, the support that we’ve seen, has just been overwhelming," said Ruzycki.

Ruzycki has filed a report with the Oklahoma City police department in hopes to find the person responsible. The Department of Agriculture will visit the farm this week to discover what exactly was sprayed on the crops.

For now, Ruzycki Farms will sell flowers and evaluate how to move forward. Community members and customers are supporting the family through Go-Fund-Me.

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