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PM NewsBrief: Sept. 13, 2022

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This is the KGOU PM NewsBrief for Tuesday, Sept. 13, 2022.

Republican lawmakers call for investigation into Norman teacher for potential HB 1775 violation

Late last week 14 Oklahoma GOP lawmakers called for the State Department of Education to investigate a former Norman teacher for potentially violating House Bill 1775.

Former Norman English teacher Summer Boismier made headlines following her resignation from Norman High. She says she resigned after sharing a QR code linking students to a banned book resource from the Brooklyn Public Library in New York.

The Republican lawmakers say they’re concerned about a comment she made to Oklahoma City television station Fox 25 about the state’s so-called critical race theory ban.

"I am a walking HB 1775 violation. And one of the sticking points between myself and my previous district is I would do it again," said Boismier.

The law says a teacher can have their license revoked for willfully violating HB 1775. But no teacher has faced that yet. Revocations are typically for serious, felony-level crimes.

A spokesperson for the State Department of Education says the agency has not yet received a complaint regarding a potential HB 1775 violation from any parents in Norman.

Native American life expectancy falls

The Centers for Disease Control has released new information about the average life expectancy for Americans. While the life span for all groups fell, it was even sharper among Native people.

Between 2019 and 2021, the life expectancy for all Americans dropped from 77 years to 76.1 years. But among Indigenous people the expected lifespan dropped close to seven years from 71.8 to 65.2. The reason: COVID-19.

Even though Native people have some of the highest vaccination rates, they also experienced more mortality due to the virus. The CDC blames other chronic and underlying health issues. They also point to the inequities Indigenous people face when seeking treatment-like long traveling distances to hospitals or clinics.

In Oklahoma, a number of Indigenous elders, culture bearers and First language speakers died because of the virus.

Record tribal gaming fees in August

Oklahoma tribal gaming fees reached a record high in August.

The state received nearly $17.9 million in tribal gaming exclusivity fees last month. The previous record was nearly $17.8 million in May of 2021.

Summer is typically a strong season for the tribal gaming industry. A large chunk of business comes from Texans and other travelers.

The record amount is one sign of the region’s continued economic growth despite rising inflation.

Poll for State Superintendent

A new poll shows the Democrat in the race for State Superintendent leading her Republican opponent.

Democrat Jena Nelson has a narrow lead on Republican Ryan Walters, per the Sooner Poll released Monday. The poll was commissioned by OKC and Tulsa TV stations News9 and Newson 6.

Pollsters asked more than 400 likely voters for their preference in the race, and Nelson had support from almost 20% of Republicans, who typically dominate elections in Oklahoma. That was enough to give her a 48% to 43% edge.

Walters is heavily preferred by self-identified conservatives, but Nelson has a big lead with moderates. The two square off on Election Day in November

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