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AM NewsBrief: June 28, 2024

This is the KGOU AM NewsBrief for Friday June 28, 2024.

Superintendent Ryan Walters Announces Mandate on Bibles in Classrooms

State Superintendent Ryan Walters says he’s mandating the Bible be taught in every classroom.

Walters announced a far-reaching policy change at Thursday’s state board of education meeting and spoke more on it afterward:

With the mandate today, we’re the first state in the country to require the Bible be in every classroom and the Bible be taught from in every classroom.

But Walters seemed to backtrack in a memo to school districts and comments to reporters. He clarified the mandate will only apply in social studies and English, and only in fifth through twelfth grades.

The state attorney general’s office says Oklahoma law already allows Bibles in the classroom, and it does not read the mandate as requiring the Bible to be taught. Under the law, the responsibility for determining instruction materials and curriculum lies with school districts.

Oklahoma Executes Richard Rojem For 1984 Killing

Oklahoma carried out an execution Thursday for its longest-serving death row inmate.

Richard Rojem, 66, died by lethal injection at the state prison in McAlester.

He was sentenced to death for the 1984 kidnapping, rape and murder of his former stepdaughter, Layla Cummings.

Cummings' relatives witnessed the execution and had State Attorney General Gentner Drummond read a statement.

"Today marks the final chapter of justice determined by three separate juries for Richard Rojem's heinous acts nearly 40 years ago, said Drummond. "We understand this is not easy for anyone. We put faith and trust into our criminal justice system to do the right thing, and allow us to feel safe and protected, and to give us the closure that is long overdue."

This was the state’s second execution of the year, and no others are scheduled.

Oklahoma City Leaders Begin Planning For Hosting 2028 Olympic Events

Oklahoma City is expected to host softball and canoe slalom events during the 2028 Summer Olympics.

Mayor David Holt addressed the media Thursday to provide a few more details.

Mayor Holt discussed the public reaction to the Olympics coming to OKC, and seemed relieved to finally be able to talk about it after years of behind the scenes efforts.

“The reaction to the news in OKC has been nothing short of euphoric. I have had the opportunity to experience these emotions for a bit longer. Six years, in fact,” Holt said.

“But I can attest that the excitement doesn’t wane. For a kid who grew up in OKC, the prospect of our city hosting LA28 Olympic events is amazing and historic,” Holt continued.

Los Angeles is the official host city for the 2028 Summer Games, and the process isn’t complete. The plan for venue sites still needs to be approved by the LA City Council.

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