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PM NewsBrief: Sept. 7, 2022

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This is the KGOU PM NewsBrief for Wednesday, Sept. 7, 2022.

Oklahoma set to receive nearly $9 million from JUUL Labs settlement

A settlement with an e-cigarette company will lead to a payout for several states and territories, including Oklahoma.

JUUL Labs has agreed to pay nearly $440 million to 34 states and territories following a two-year multi-state investigation into the company for marketing their nicotine products to youth and using misleading packaging.

Oklahoma Attorney General John O’Connor announced in a press release the state will receive just under $9 million from the settlement.

The company also agreed to a strict set of marketing and distribution standards that restrict the content and placement of their ads and limit where and how much of their product can be sold to prevent the advertisement and sale of their products to young people.

JUUL has said it isn’t acknowledging any wrongdoing as a result of the settlement.

ACLU Sues Over SB 615

The ACLU is representing three Oklahoma students and their families and suing the state over its transgender school bathroom ban policy.

Senate Bill 615 says students in Oklahoma public schools must use the bathroom of their gender assigned at birth. A team of attorneys on the case argue this violates the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and Title IX. They argue the law signed by Governor Kevin Stitt in May is discriminatory toward transgender students based on their identities.

Oklahoma banned trans students from using the bathroom corresponding with their claimed gender identity this school year. The state says it will penalize public school districts up to five percent of their annual state aid if they are found to allow trans students to use the bathroom of their choice.

Oklahoma just had the hottest summer in over ten years, heat expected into September

As the western U.S. continues to experience record breaking heat, Oklahoma just had its hottest summer on record in over ten years.

According to State Climatologist Gary McManus, this summer’s statewide average temperature was 82.7 degrees—2.6 degrees above normal. It went down as the hottest climatological summer in the state since 2011.

Drought also remained a concern. At one point last month, more than 92% of the state was under severe drought or worse.

Relief in the immediate future appears bleak. The latest outlook from the Climate Prediction Center indicates a below average chance for precipitation in Oklahoma, and temperatures may once again turn even hotter by the middle of September.

While the odds for another 100-degree afternoon in Oklahoma City is waning, it's not impossible. The National Weather Service says the latest 100 degree day on record is Sept. 30.

New COVID boosters will soon be available for Oklahomans

Oklahomans will soon have access to the new COVID-19 booster shots formulated to target specific sub-variants.

The Oklahoma City-County Health Department says they have the new Moderna vaccine in stock and they are expecting the Pfizer booster in the next few days.

A spokesperson for the health department says they hope to roll them out later this week or early next week.

You can find more information and make an appointment online at vaccinate.Oklahoma.gov.

Cherokee Nation Principal Chief reflects on tribal sovereignty, health of citizens in State of Nation speech

In his annual state of the nation address, Cherokee Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr. spoke about investments in language and culture, the impacts of the McGirt case, the increase in the tribal nation's criminal justice system and the threat to sovereignty saying that some political leaders want the tribe from 100 years ago, not Cherokee Nation of 2022.

He also touted major investments in health care-including the construction of a new hospital, improvements in existing clinics and a new drug addiction treatment center as a result of the opioid crisis.

"We will build a new drug treatment center by Cherokees for Cherokees and we are making the opioid industry pay for every penny of it."

Cherokee Nation settled with opioid drug manufacturers for a record $75 million in 2021.

Because of a rebound COVID-19 infection, Hoskin Jr. was unable to give this year’s address in person at the Cherokee National Holiday celebrations in Tahlequah. It was the first time the events returned fully since the pandemic began in 2020.


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