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PM NewsBrief: Sept. 20, 2022

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This is the KGOU PM NewsBrief for Tuesday, Sept. 20, 2022.

HIV test program

Oklahoma and federal health officials are working to distribute HIV tests this month.

The Oklahoma State Department of Health issued a release about the program on Monday. It makes self-test kits available for human immunodeficiency virus. It’s a cheek swab test, and can be ordered at endinghivoklahoma.org.

There were about 6,000 Oklahomans living with the virus as of 2019 according to AIDS Vu, a research project within Emory University in Atlanta. The highest case rates are in Tulsa, Oklahoma, Greer and Blaine counties.

In her run for governor, State Superintendent Joy Hofmeister proposes $5,000 raise for Oklahoma teachers

State superintendent and Democratic candidate for Governor Joy Hofmeister is calling for teachers to get a $5,000 raise.

Each fall, the state superintendent presents a proposed budget to the Oklahoma State Board of Education. It is routinely rubber stamped before heading to the legislature.

Hofmeister announced Monday morning she would propose a $5,000 teacher pay raise in that document and make achieving it a central pillar of her campaign.

The raise would cost more than $300 million annually.

It’s unclear what the board will do with the proposal. Hofmeister and most of the Governor Kevin Stitt-appointed members on the state board have a frosty relationship.

The legislature will have final say about what the budget will look like anyway, when they consider putting one together next spring.

Stabbings soar at Southeast Oklahoma private prison

Stabbings at a private prison in Holdenville have tripled in the last year.

Oklahoma Watch reports at least 18 people have been stabbed at the Davis Correctional Facility this year - three of which resulted in the death of the victim, including one corrections officer.

Like many Oklahoma prisons, Davis is facing staffing shortages, which leads to prisoners being placed on lockdown and kept in their cells. The high security prison for violent offenders currently has 20 unfilled positions.

A spokesman for CoreCivic, the world’s largest private prison company and owner of the Davis Correctional Facility, says the company is working on increasing staffing levels.

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