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PM NewsBrief: Oct. 13, 2022

This is the KGOU PM NewsBrief for Thursday, Oct. 13, 2022.

Stitt's plans to replace the governor's mansion

Oklahoma City TV station KFOR reported Tuesday Gov. Kevin Stitt has worked on secret plans to replace the governor’s mansion with a multimillion dollar home on the same property.

The state completed a $2 million, taxpayer funded renovation of the mansion last year. But before that, the home was in need of updates. Stitt and his family don’t live there, instead residing in a $2.7 million dollar home in Edmond.

The plan, KFOR reported spearheaded by Stitt, would build a new home on the property worth upwards of $6 million. And a nonprofit was quietly raising the funds, even requiring board members to sign nondisclosure agreements about the plan.

Following the report, Stitt told reporters he has been in talks about raising private funds to build a new home on the governor’s mansion property that is ADA compliant for future first families.

"This is something that may happen. It will not benefit Gov. Stitt," said Stitt.

Stitt says he thinks the story is being stirred up by his political opponents. Recent polling shows his race with Democrat Joy Hofmeister is getting tighter.

U.S. Supreme Court denies Oklahoma petitions

The United States Supreme Court denied two Oklahoma petitions seeking to define who is a Native American, in an attempt to claw back more jurisdiction over crimes in the wake of the McGirt decision.

The requests focused on the the state’s appeals in the cases of Robert Eric Wadkins and Emmitt Sam, who were not enrolled in a tribal nation when they committed their crimes, though both men are Indigenous. Oklahoma asked the Supreme Court to rule that an Indian is only someone who is formally enrolled in a federally recognized Indian tribe. The ruling would have dramatic ramifications throughout the country-not just in Oklahoma.

Leonard Powell of Jenner and Block, who represented the men, says this is a victory.

"I perceive this to be part of Oklahoma's efforts to overrule or limit McGirt," Powell said. 

During the Supreme Court's blockbuster last term, the court narrowed criminal jurisdiction when it ruled in Oklahoma's favor in the Castro-Huerta decision which says the state can prosecute crimes committed by non-Native people against Native people when they occur within reservation boundaries.

Clemency denied for Oklahoma death row inmate

An Oklahoma inmate on death row for killing his girlfriend’s three-year-old child almost 30 years ago did not receive a recommendation of clemency Tuesday.

In a 4-1 vote, the Pardon and Parole Board did not recommend clemency for death row inmate Richard Fairchild.

Fairchild’s lawyers say his abusive childhood and the multiple brain injuries he sustained both as a boxer and in the military contributed to the brutality of his murder of three-year-old Adam Broomhall. Additionally, neuropsychologist Dr. Barry Crown testified to Fairchild’s diagnosis of schizophrenia which has worsened over the years.

Representatives from the Attorney General’s office say Fairchild had a history of being abusive and clearly intended to hurt or kill Broomhall.

Relatives of the victim requested the board not recommend clemency.

Fairchild is scheduled to be executed on Nov. 17.

The Muscogee Nation Department of Health partners with the University of Oklahoma to provide general surgery services

Muscogee Nation Department of Health (MCN Health) and the OU-TU School of Community Medicine have announced a collaboration to increase healthcare access for Indigenous people and community members. Faculty will begin performing surgery services later this fall.

Council Oak Comprehensive Healthcare in Tulsa was bought by Muscogee Nation in 2021-the facility was a former Cancer Treatment Center of America and currently offers care for minor emergencies, primary care and monoclonal antibody infusion treatments for COVID-19.

Muscogee Nation's Secretary of Health Shawn Terry says the move will increase healthcare access for citizens and non-citizens.

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