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PM NewsBrief: Sept. 21, 2022

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This is the KGOU PM NewsBrief for Wednesday, Sept. 21, 2022.

Oklahoma Supreme Court rules school masking requirements don't need governor approval

Oklahoma’s Supreme Court ruled a ban on mask mandates in schools that relies on action by the governor is unconstitutional. The ruling affirms local control, while leaving much of a 2021 law intact.

The Oklahoma State Medical Association had sued the state over Senate Bill 658.

That law passed in 2021 does a lot of things, but perhaps the most controversial was a ban on school boards enacting mask mandates unless the governor declared a state of emergency due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The 23-page ruling says the law “usurped” local control. And the Oklahoma constitution is clear that local governments have the right to autonomy.

It’s unclear what the ruling does to change the reality on the ground. An injunction filed last year permitted school districts to enact mask mandates that allow opt-out provisions. However, few Oklahoma school districts took that action and masking mandates are pretty much nonexistent across the country.

Drought affecting state's pumpkin crop

The extremely hot weather could affect Oklahoma’s pumpkin crop this year.

State-grown pumpkin patches may be scarce due to the high heat and drought. Well above-average temperatures have created unkind growing conditions that have forced some farmers to import their pumpkins from the north.

Not only has drought limited the fall harvest production, but experts say the heat and humidity will likely speed up the decaying process of pumpkins, especially if they're left outside.

Oklahoma County jail trust appointees

Two new people have been appointed to the Oklahoma County jail trust.

The Oklahoman reports the Board of County Commissioners unanimously appointed Pastor Derrick Scobey and former Pardon and Parole Board chair Adam Luck to the Oklahoma County jail trust Monday.

Scobey is the pastor at Ebenezer Baptist Church in Oklahoma City. He was arrested for impeding traffic during a prayer vigil for former death row inmate Julius Jones last November, after which he spent less than an hour in the Oklahoma County jail.

Luck resigned from the Pardon and Parole Board in January due to a difference of opinion on the death penalty with Governor Kevin Stitt. Luck recently spoke at an event for advocacy group Conservatives Concerned about the Death Penalty in which he challenged Oklahoma lawmakers to rethink their position on capital punishment.

Oklahoma City to fund new office for emerging film industry

The city of Oklahoma City plans to fund a new office to promote the state's film industry.

The city will provide $750,000 in economic development funds over the next three years to launch the Oklahoma City Film & Creative Industries Office that will promote and support the emerging film industry in our state.

Officials say the new office will address economic development on two fronts – recruiting big projects that bring in big dollars and supporting local filmmakers so they can succeed and stay in Oklahoma.

Services also will include workforce development strategies for the industry and implementation of the Oklahoma City Film Incentive Program.

Cow birth simulator educates Oklahoma State Fair visitors

The Oklahoma State Fair showcases the state’s agriculture industry, but it also gives people a look behind the scenes at some of the things producers deal with.

When a cow has trouble giving birth, they need a person to help them deliver the calf.

Dr. Barry Whitworth is a veterinarian with Oklahoma State University’s Extension Service — and he’s passionate about hands-on education, like what producers and student veterinarians experience with a calving simulator.

It gives them an opportunity to practice what they may have to encounter when they have cows. The nice thing about this simulator, I mean we can open it up, they can look inside, we can show them how cow the calves can be positioned inside.”

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, heifers and cows need help calving about 10% of the time.

Whitworth says showcasing the cow birth simulator at the state fair gives people a chance to learn more about where their food comes from.

The future of Bedlam football

The annual Bedlam football series between Oklahoma and Oklahoma State will end once the Sooners join the Southeastern conference.

According to an article from Action Network Tuesday, both universities' athletics directors told the sports news outlet the long-time rivalry game will end once OU leaves the Big 12 for the SEC, which is currently scheduled to happen after the 2024-2025 academic year.

OU Athletics Director Joe Castiglione told Action Network Oklahoma State hasn’t shown interest in scheduling any future football games, so Oklahoma is moving on to fill future non-conference openings.

Oklahoma State AD Chad Weiberg told the network playing Oklahoma presents logistical issues under the current scheduling structure.

Castiglione also noted the Sooners have limited availability for OSU on their future non-conference schedules. He said at some point the Sooners and Cowboys may play “down the road,” but he isn’t optimistic about the near future once OU leaves for the SEC.


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