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AM NewsBrief: Aug. 4, 2023

This is the KGOU AM NewsBrief for Friday, Aug. 4, 2023.

Interim Study On Inclusion Of God In Founding Documents

An interim study to examine the role of God in founding documents has been approved.

The state House of Representatives has approved an interim study by Republican Representatives Chris Banning and Kevin McDugle to examine God in founding documents like the Declaration of Independence, the U.S. Constitution, and the Pledge of Allegiance.

In a press release, Banning said the inclusion of God in founding documents suggests a national -quote- “religious heritage” and that students should have a set-aside space for faith in schools.

This follows the approval of what would be the country’s first publicly funded religious charter school here in Oklahoma and a subsequent lawsuit from the Oklahoma Parent Legislative Action Committee.

Nearly Half Of Oklahoma's Rural Hospitals At Risk Of Closing

Almost half of Oklahoma’s rural hospitals are at risk of shutting down, according to a new report from a national health policy group.

The Center for Healthcare Quality and Payment Reform finds 37 of Oklahoma’s 78 rural hospitals are at risk of closing.

The report shows that’s because of serious financial problems, including losses of inpatient services and low monetary savings.

It estimates these hospitals can only financially support themselves for the next six to seven years.

Rich Rasmussen is the president and CEO of the Oklahoma Hospital Association. He says the closure of a rural hospital comes with wide-ranging impacts.

“You have the risk of loss of jobs, the economic stimulation that the hospitals create, and the impact on patients would result in having to travel further for their care," said Rasmussen.

Thirty-one rural hospitals have closed nationwide since the start of 2020.

Tulsa's Capital Improvement Funding Package

Tulsa city leaders are campaigning for a capital improvement funding package going before voters.

Mayor G.T. Bynum says one major focus is city buildings.

"We saw a police department headquarters where when our police department leadership turns on the water brown water comes out," Bynum said. "We saw elevators used to transport prisoners that are extremely small and routinely break down."

About $270 million would be used for city buildings. About $814 million would be designated for street repair, housing and equipment upgrades. Early voting has started. The campaign is on the ballot August 8th.

Oklahoma's Tax Free Weekend Is Here

Oklahoma’s tax-free weekend starts today Friday.

Articles of clothing or footwear less than $100 are exempt from state and local taxes this weekend. This includes online shopping and at retail locations. Tax free weekend begins today and runs through Sunday.

The Oklahoma Tax Commission says the weekend benefits consumers and retailers. However, critics argue the weekend isn’t that beneficial to the economy. The Oklahoma Policy Institute estimates the holiday will cost the state $7 million.

Oklahoma is one of 18 states that will hold a tax free weekend this year.

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