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AM NewsBrief: July 1, 2024

This KGOU AM NewsBrief for Monday, July 1, 2024.

Federal Judge Puts Temporary Hold on Oklahoma Immigration Law

A federal judge says Oklahoma’s new immigration law cannot take effect because it undermines federal authority by allowing local police to engage in immigration enforcement. It’s a ruling that aligns with how other courts in other states have handled legal action over similar laws:

Western District Court of Oklahoma Judge Bernard Jones writes in his order that while Oklahoma may have “understandable frustrations” with problems caused by illegal immigration…the state cannot enact policy that undermines federal law.

Had it taken effect, Oklahoma’s House Bill 4156 would have allowed local police to arrest unauthorized immigrants and jail them - a job usually reserved for federal authorities.

The Department of Justice and a group of activists and individuals sued the state promptly after Gov. Kevin Stitt signed the measure into law in April. They say it preempts federal purview over immigration matters.

Jones agrees.

The ruling aligns with the decisions of judges in Texas and Iowa, which recently stopped similar laws there.

Attorney General Gentner Drummond vowed to appeal the decision shortly after the judge's order.

St. Isidore Delays School Opening, Plans To Appeal To U.S. Supreme Court

The school board for the nation’s first publicly funded religious school responded to a recent state Supreme Court decision against it, saying it will appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.

But the state board that authorized St. Isidore’s contract also met - and had trouble getting everyone on board with the court order.

St. Isidore’s board voted unanimously Friday morning.

“The board confirms that the school will delay opening to students at least until the 2025-26 school year as it seeks review by the United States Supreme Court.”

The Oklahoma Supreme Court ruled St. Isidore’s contract was unconstitutional and should be rescinded.

But when the Statewide Virtual Charter School Board also met Friday, member Brian Shellem abstained from the vote to rescind the contract, saying they should wait until the end of the 10 days St. Isidore has to petition for a rehearing.

“We want to be in compliance with the order of the court, but I also want to allow that process to happen because they give us that process. Everything just happened a couple of days ago,” Shellem said.

That meant the vote failed, and because the board is dissolving, it will never take another vote. A new Statewide Charter School Board will take up the mantle. Its first meeting is set for July 9.

Glynn Simmons OK Settlement

The Oklahoma man who was the longest imprisoned U-S inmate to be exonerated is getting some financial relief.

Glynn Simmons will receive $175-thousand dollars from the state of Oklahoma, according to a report by KFOR-TV.

That's the maximum amount allowed.

Simmons spent nearly 50 years in prison for a murder he did not commit.

Simmons' Attorney Joe Norwood told KFOR that Simmons is happy to get the money, but the compensation doesn't seem fair.

"It's, you know, a little more than $3000 a year for being imprisoned in maximum security, yea, it is B.S," said Norwood.

Simmons may get additional compensation. A federal civil rights lawsuit seeking millions of dollars is pending.

A New Name For Will Rogers World Airport

Will Rogers World Airport may be changing its name.

The Oklahoma City Airport Trusts says the airport is considering a name change in February, following a survey conducted earlier this year.

About 6,000 people participated in the survey. Results indicated that only about 19% refer to the airport by its full name.

The Airport Trust says the survey and an external company will help in selecting a new name for the airport.

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