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PM NewsBrief: May, 5, 2023

This is the KGOU PM NewsBrief for Friday, May 5, 2023.

U.S. Supreme Court Halts Richard Glossip’s Execution

Death row inmate Richard Glossip’s execution has been stayed again, this time by the U.S. Supreme Court. The decision comes less than two weeks away from Glossip's execution date.

The Supreme Court granted Richard Glossip’s application for stay of execution on Friday.

Glossip filed the application following the Oklahoma Pardon and Parole Board’s split vote at his clemency hearing late last month, which resulted in no recommendation for clemency.

Glossip was given the death penalty after being convicted of the 1997 murder-for-hire of Barry Van Treese. However, recent investigations have found evidence which calls Glossip’s guilt into question.

Glossip has received an unprecedented amount of support from Oklahoma lawmakers and officials, including Attorney General Gentner Drummond, who supported both his application for clemency and for stay of execution.

The Supreme Court’s order stays the execution pending existing petitions from Glossip.

Public Education Roundtable A No Show Event

State Superintendent Ryan Walters and Senate Pro Tem Greg Treat planned to hold a public roundtable with the governor and Speaker of the House Thursday to hash out education funding proposals. But, it all fell apart.

At a news conference Thursday afternoon, Treat said he backed out of the discussion when he learned it would be just Walters and him.

McCall refused the invitation, calling it “political theater.”

Treat says McCall is being disingenuous in how he characterizes the plans on the table.

McCall claims a big part of the Senate plan is unfunded - Treat says that’s not true and seems intentionally misleading.

Another major sticking point for McCall is a plan that would give smaller and rural districts more money per student than larger districts.

Treat says his senators met with their House counterparts and presented an alternative path to get rural schools more money, this time through a more equitable funding formula adjustment.

“What was told, relayed to me was they said, ‘You all are so caught up on the policy end of this, you’ve got to realize that we’ve got rural members that we’ve made promises to, we’ve got to have a political win here.’ And that was not in our interest. Our interest was trying to get the right policy and to help kids,” Treat said.

Treat says he’ll continue pressing for an open discussion.

MMIP Day Raises Awareness

Today is Missing and Murdered Indigenous Persons Day.

Organizations across Oklahoma have been calling for more accountability around this issue, that they're calling a crisis.

Oklahoma has some of the highest rates of domestic violence in the country; many of the victims are Indigenous.

Kayla Woody is the prevention specialist for House of Hope, an organization run by Citizen Potawatomi Nation. They help Native and non-Native survivors of domestic violence.

“There is a lot of gaps between those different entities working together,” Woody said.

Last month, local organizations including House of Hope gave blistering testimony to the Not Invisible Act Commission saying that the response to MMIP cases were inadequate and that local law enforcement needed more education on the issue.

“There's a different process that needs to be taken when Native individuals are experiencing these types of crimes or when homicides are happening,” Woody said.

Oklahoma has recently passed two laws to help in MMIP cases: Kasey's Act, which is an alert system for missing Indigenous Adults and Ida's Law: designed to get state, federal and tribal officials on the same page and solve MMIP cases.

Soaking Rain This Week Helps Oklahoma Drought

Drought still persists across northwestern Oklahoma, but recent soaking rain has helped put a dent in the dry conditions.

Areas experiencing the two highest levels of drought decreased by about ten percent, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor report. But State Climatologist Gary McManus says there’s still a way to go.

"It’s not just the northwest, most of the state has bigger deficits over the last 365 days. Remember, we had that horrible flash drought last summer. The deficits really built during that time frame, and we don’t get out of those quickly. We do need repeated rainfall events like we’ve seen over the last few weeks," said McManus.

And we may see that. McManus says the precipitation outlook is leaning above normal. He says that’s significant considering this is our wettest time of the year, and the last few years have favored dryer conditions.

"So just getting that equal odds for above, below or near normal precipitation. I think that’s a win for itself, "McManus said.

McManus says we’ve now come out of the La Nina weather pattern and are now in what are considered neutral conditions, which hopefully will continue to bring more drought relief.


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