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AM NewsBrief: June 21, 2024

This is the KGOU AM NewsBrief for Friday, June 21st, 2024.

OHLAP deadline

Oklahoma high school students have only a few weeks left to enroll in the state’s tuition scholarship program. The deadline for Oklahoma’s Promise is July 1.

Oklahoma’s Promise, also known as OHLAP, is available for students who were in 8th through 11th grades during the 2023 to 24 school year. July 1 is the last day that upcoming 12th graders can enroll. To be eligible, students’ families must meet the annual income limits: $60,000 a year for families with up to two dependent children, $70,000 for families with three or four dependent children, and $80,000 for families with five or more dependent children.

The scholarship covers tuition at any Oklahoma public university or college for up to five years, or for a maximum of 129 credit hours. It can also be used for some of the tuition at accredited private colleges in Oklahoma or public career tech centers for certain programs. To stay eligible, students have to attend class regularly, take college prep courses and maintain a GPA of at least 2.5, among other requirements. To apply, visit okpromise.org.

Oklahoma Works job fair

About 450 people are losing their jobs because Marietta’s Dollar Tree Distribution Center can’t reopen for the “foreseeable future” after a powerful tornado ripped through the building. But Oklahoma Works is making an effort to help them find new employment.

The Ardmore Convention Center is packed with people looking for a new job. They’re here for the Dollar Tree Distribution Center Rapid Response and Hiring Fair Event.

David Wade was a housekeeper at the center that was destroyed by an EF-4 tornado in April.

"I was housekeeping so, I had to walk the whole building," Wade said. "Well, I think one trip around is a mile. Yeah so I did that at least, I don't know, five to ten times a day, every day. Yeah, that's a lot of walk in. So there's a lot of memories."

Wade had worked at the center for 10 years and planned to retire there. But now, he’s looking for leads.

Roughly 50 employers, organizations and entities registered for the event.

It’s been tough for major employers in South Central Oklahoma recently. A Michelin Tire Plant in Ardmore announced it will also stop tire production in 2025. About 1,400 people are expected to lose their jobs there, too.

Gender markers lawsuit

A lawsuit concerning Governor Kevin Stitt’s 2021 executive order prohibiting the state health department from amending the gender markers on the birth certificates of transgender Oklahomans was dismissed last year. Now, the dismissal has been reversed.

On Tuesday, the U.S. 10th Circuit Court of Appeals reversed U.S. District Judge John W. Broomes’ dismissal of a lawsuit that alleges Stitt’s executive order is unconstitutional as it violates transgender Oklahomans’ rights to equal protection and freedom of speech.

The lawsuit, which was brought by three transgender Oklahomans represented by New York-based law firm Lambda Legal, seeks to compel the health department to change the gender marker on a person’s birth certificate upon request.

Stitt’s executive order also prohibits the state health department from issuing birth certificates with nonbinary gender markers. In 2022, he signed into law the country’s first ban on nonbinary gender markers on state-issued birth certificates.
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