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PM NewsBrief: Aug. 29, 2022

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This is the KGOU PM NewsBrief for Monday, Aug. 29, 2022.

Oklahomans enrolled in SoonerCare eligible for free help in quitting tobacco

The agency that runs SoonerCare, the Oklahoma Health Care Authority, says SoonerCare members qualify for several aid programs.

The agency covers free counseling sessions with doctors for some guidance on quitting. It covers nicotine patches, gum and lozenges with a prescription, as well as medications like Chantix and Zyban.

About 20 percent of Oklahoma’s adults smoke, according to the state’s Tobacco Settlement Endowment Trust.

Number of emergency-certified teachers keeps climbing amid Oklahoma-wide educator shortage

Oklahoma’s State Board of Education approved more than 1,000 emergency certifications for teachers at their meeting last week.

There are now more than 2,500 emergency certified teachers in Oklahoma classrooms.

That’s after the state board of education approved 1,067 new certifications at an August meeting as part of its consent docket.

Emergency certified teachers don’t have all the qualifications to be fully licensed to teach.

Last school year saw a record number of emergency certified teachers and it appears the state will blow past that during this school year.

Oklahoma has long struggled with a teacher shortage. The number of emergency certifications was fewer than 100 in 2010 but has consistently numbered in the thousands for years.

The First Americans Museum receives national recognition

It took nearly 27 years to complete the First Americans Museum. Before it opened in 2021, the site was Oklahoma City Oil Field Number One, which produced massive amounts of oil in the 1920s.

In addition to cleaning up the old production site, hundreds of thousands of old tires needed to be hauled away, and the land needed significant cleaning in order to be usable again.

FAM Staff credit their partnership with Oklahoma City and tribal communities throughout the state.

The museum received two awards from the EPA for giving productive use to a previously contaminated area in a way that stimulates economic development and community engagement.

First Americans Museum features the stories of the state's 39 tribal nations and has been recognized as being a world-class museum.

Mustang Lawmakers seek due process for accreditation warning

Lawmakers representing Mustang are crying foul after the Oklahoma State Board of Education refused to hear the school district's plea to reverse an accreditation warning.

Mustang Representative Brian Hill says he's considering legislation to ensure that schools facing punishment from House Bill 1775 would be given due process to make their case.

His colleague Senator Paul Rosino, who also represents the OKC suburb echoed his sentiments.

Both GOP lawmakers voted to pass HB 1775 -- Oklahoma's bill banning the teaching of controversial topics.

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