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AM NewsBrief: Mar. 6, 2024

This is the KGOU AM NewsBrief for Wednesday, March 6, 2024.

Oklahoma Presidential Primary Results

Super Tuesday saw Oklahoma voters weigh in on their preferences for presidential candidates. There were no surprises in who the state picked for each of the major political parties.

Donald Trump’s support among Republicans in Oklahoma was clearly demonstrated in his decisive victory with more than 80% of the vote over the former president’s nearest challenger, Nikki Haley.

Likewise, there was no real competition in Oklahoma’s choice on the Democratic side, with incumbent President Joe Biden taking the primary here with more than 70% of the vote.

Neither Biden nor Trump spent any time campaigning in Oklahoma leading up to the vote.

The primary for the Libertarian Party was also decided Tuesday. Chase Oliver’s few hundred votes statewide were enough for the win.

Local Ballot Measures Across Oklahoma

The presidential primaries weren’t the only item on many Oklahomans’ ballots. Local elections were also scattered throughout the state.

In Norman, 33 votes made the difference for the city and OG&E’s franchise agreement. Voters again rejected the agreement after they’d previously said no thanks last year.

In Canadian County, voters expanded the sale of alcohol by the drink to Sunday mornings. 60 percent of voters there approved of expanding sales.

In Logan County, sales taxes will continue to pay for roads, bridges and local fire departments. Voters there approved a trio of ballot measures to continue already existing sales tax levies.

In Wagoner County, voters overwhelmingly rejected eight total ballot measures to raise sales taxes and establish a lodging tax.

Oklahoma Lawmakers Move to Protect Stitt's Cabinet Members Amid AG's Opinion

A bill to protect members of Gov. Kevin Stitt’s cabinet is moving forward. The measure comes in the wake of an attorney general’s opinion.

Oklahoma lawmakers have a message for Agriculture Secretary Blayne Arthur. Rest easy.

Oklahoma’s House of Representatives passed Senate Bill 1196 to specifically allow the person who serves as Commissioner of Agriculture to also serve in the governor’s cabinet as the Secretary of Agriculture.

They did the same for anyone who is a member of a governing board of a college or university and may also hold the Secretary of Education position.

The move is a response to a recent legal opinion by the state’s attorney general that prompted two members of Governor Kevin Stitt’s cabinet to resign from their positions because they also led other government agencies.

The bill passed with a 94-1 vote and now can be heard in the Senate.

Edmond Public Schools' Accreditation Hearing Deferred Amid Dispute Over Library Books

The State Department of Education is holding off on an accreditation hearing for Edmond Public Schools following a dispute over library books. The move comes after the district filed suit against OSDE, State Superintendent Ryan Walters and his Board of Education.

Last month, OSDE threatened to lower Edmond’s accreditation status over a battle about two books in the district’s high school libraries — The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini and The Glass Castle by Jeanette Walls. In response, Edmond asked the Oklahoma Supreme Court to weigh in on whether the State Board of Education has the authority to ban books at schools and for an emergency hearing to prevent OSDE from lowering its accreditation.

The hearing before a Supreme Court referee was scheduled for Tuesday but canceled after the Department voluntarily agreed to stay its accreditation proceedings against the district while the lawsuit played out.

Walters has characterized the district’s attempt to fight back as a “subversion of accountability” and accused EPS of choosing to “peddle porn” — allegations the district’s superintendent denies.

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