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AM NewsBrief: June 13, 2024

This is the KGOU AM NewsBrief for Thursday, June 13, 2024.

State Supreme Court Sides With Tulsa in 1921 Race Massacre Reparations Lawsuit

Oklahoma’s highest court has rejected reparations for the last survivors of the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre. Justices say a legal bar was not met.

Viola Fletcher and Lessie Benningfield Randle are both over 100-years-old. They brought a public nuisance lawsuit against the city of Tulsa and other entities for participating in the massacre.

Attorneys for the survivors argued the legacy of the massacre, which may have killed as many as 300 residents of Tulsa’s Greenwood neighborhood, has left ongoing problems that local government must answer for.

In an 8 to 1 decision, the court rejected that argument, stating, in part, that the survivors could not come up with a solution to their grievances.

The court acknowledged the complaints were “legitimate,” but said they ultimately did not fall within the scope of a public nuisance.

The survivors first brought their lawsuit in Tulsa, but Judge Caroline Wall dismissed their case last year (2023).

Oklahoma Senate Adjourns Abruptly Without Voting on Governor's Nominee for College Board

The Oklahoma Senate gaveled in for the fourth special session of this legislative cycle yesterday Wednesday and gaveled right back out again.

Senate Pro Tem Greg says the Senate won’t take shortcuts in vetting the governor’s nominee for the Board of Regents for Agricultural and Mechanical colleges.

Treat says there are questions about the nominee’s qualifications for the role.

Gov. Kevin Stitt summoned the state senate back to the Capitol for a special session to confirm his latest nominee for Oklahoma’s rural college board of regents. But Senators sped through it in under seven minutes and without taking a vote.

Treat says there are questions about whether Stitt’s nominee, Mike Holder, is qualified for the position.

"There's some pretty specific statutory language dealing with the Oklahoma agricultural mechanical colleges about employment – income derived there. And then there's a requirement for a majority of the board members to derive their majority of their income from agriculture. And we're just still in the investigative stage there to make sure Mr. Holder fits those requirement," Treat said.

Treat says if Stitt thought the Senate would “rubber stamp” his nomination in one day, he was wrong. Senators will abide by the constitution and consider Holder, Treat says, but on their time – not the governor’s.

The Senate adjourned to the call of the chair, allowing them to convene again at their discretion to take the vote.

Some Oklahoma Colleges Adding AI Degree Programs

From science fiction to reality, artificial intelligence is weaving itself into daily life, including in higher education.

The Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education are introducing artificial intelligence degree programs at three of the state’s schools.

Southwestern Oklahoma State University and the University of Oklahoma will offer a bachelor’s degree in AI. Rose State students will be able to get a two-year associate’s in AI and machine learning.

The new degree programs are part of a greater effort in Oklahoma to push artificial intelligence education.

In May, the state partnered with Google to provide free digital skills trainings for all Oklahomans, including an AI essentials course that teaches users how to use AI responsibly and leverage it in the workplace.

More than 19,000 jobs in Oklahoma currently require AI skills. That number is expected to grow over the next decade.

Cherokee Nation Proclaims June as Pride Month, Emphasizing Equity for All Citizens

June is Pride Month and the Cherokee Nation has made recent steps toward equity for all citizens.

“I do hereby proclaim June 2024 as Pride Month in the Cherokee Nation reservation,” said Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr.

Monday marked a significant milestone in the Cherokee Nation. Hoskin signed a declaration emphasizing all Cherokee citizens should be respected no matter whom they love.

“There are young people right now … that who they see when they look in the mirror is worthy of condemnation. But I want them to know more than anyone else, that the Cherokee Nation and the Cherokee people love you and that we see you," Hoskin said.

The Cherokee Nation legalized same-sex marriage in 2016, following the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2015 ruling.

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