PM NewsBrief: March 20, 2023
This is the KGOU PM NewsBrief for Monday, March 20, 2023.
Oklahoma’s AG Seeks Additional Time To Resolve Poultry Litter Lawsuit
Oklahoma Attorney General Gentner Drummond is requesting more time to reach an agreement on an 18-year-old lawsuit with poultry companies over environmental damage to the Illinois River Watershed and Lake Tenkiller.
Attorney General Drummond will have 90 more days to negotiate a deal with 11 companies and their subsidiaries to mitigate poultry litter pollution in northeast Oklahoma. The deadline had been March 17, after a judge decided in favor of Oklahoma in the lawsuit earlier this year.
Drummond said in a press release productive and lengthy discussions are ongoing, and that the poultry industry has made significant improvements in litter abatement in the years since the lawsuit was filed. He said he’s hopeful a plan can be crafted that "protects Oklahoma natural resources without placing unreasonable burdens on the companies."
Hundreds Gather At State Capitol To Protest Against Release of Patient Health Information
Hundreds of Oklahomans marched to the Oklahoma State Capitol Saturday to advocate for mental health privacy. The group protested a proposed state rule that would require mental health providers to disclose patient names and diagnoses information to regulators and other health professionals through a health information exchange.
The providers argued that the rule would violate patients' rights under federal law and that sharing confidential information across a statewide health information exchange system would violate their own ethical codes.
The proposed rule is set to be considered for adoption by the Oklahoma Health Care Authority on Wednesday, March 22, and if adopted, all healthcare providers would be required to connect to the exchange system by July 1.
The healthcare authority argues that the exchange would benefit all Oklahomans and improve the healthcare delivery system's efficiencies.
OU Health Data Breach
OU Health is notifying 3,000 patients that their protected health information may have been compromised after an employee's laptop was stolen at the end of last year.
The stolen information may include patients' names, social security numbers, driver's license numbers, dates of birth, medical record numbers and account numbers, among other personal information.
OU Health is sending out letters in the mail to notify possible victims.
Oklahoma House To Reconsider Student Corporal Punishment Bill
We reported last week on the failure of legislation to ban corporal punishment for disabled public school students in Oklahoma — a bill one sponsor called a “no-brainer.” It’s not dead after all. Quorum Call’s Shawn Ashley tells KGOU general manager Dick Pryor the measure will be reconsidered.
"Now, there were more votes for the bill Tuesday than there were against it. But a bill must receive 51 votes to pass so it failed 45-43. Since it was spring break week a number of members were absent," Ashley said.
A motion to reconsider must be brought up today for the bill to stay alive. It will be a busy week at the legislature with a looming Thursday deadline for bills to be heard in their chamber of origin. You can hear Dick Pryor and Shawn Ashley’s full conversation on the Capitol Insider podcast.
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