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PM NewsBrief: May 25, 2023

This is the KGOU PM NewsBrief for Thursday, May 25, 2023.

Plan To Extend Tribal Nations’ Tobacco, Tag Compacts Moves Ahead

The Oklahoma Senate Wednesday moved forward a plan to extend Native American tribal nations’ tobacco and tag compacts – without the approval of Gov. Kevin Stitt.

Lawmakers are aiming to extend existing compacts with tribal nations for tobacco and car tags by one year. Many of those compacts are set to expire in the coming months.

The move comes amid stalled negotiations between Stitt and the tribes.

Choctaw Nation Chief Gary Batton told The Oklahoman the terms Stitt brought to the table were a “non-starter.”

Leaders of the state’s five largest tribes endorsed Stitt’s Democratic opponent Joy Hofmeister last year. That move came after Stitt unsuccessfully tried to re-negotiate the state’s gaming compacts with tribal leaders.

The bill would mean existing tobacco and tag compacts would run through December 2024, giving time for Stitt and the tribal nations to repair their fraught relationship. But if that can happen remains to be seen.

New FDA Rule For Livestock Owners

Oklahoma livestock owners are being urged to familiarize themselves with their veterinarians following a new Food and Drug Administration rule.

Starting next month, the FDA will require a prescription for obtaining antibiotics for animals, a move that supporters say will help reduce antibiotic use.

A spokesperson for the Oklahoma Veterinary Board says there is a shortage of large animal veterinarians in the state.

The board is encouraging farmers and ranchers to seek out and establish relationships with veterinarians to comply with the new FDA rule.

Oklahoma Senate Approves Maternity Leave For State Employees

The Oklahoma Senate has approved a measure that allows maternity leave for state employees.

The Senate Bill 16-X gives 6 weeks of paid maternity leave for Oklahoma’s full time state employees after the birth or adoption of a child.

Duncan Republican Sen. Jessica Garvin introduced the reform at the start of the 2023 session. Garvin praised her colleagues for supporting the policy.

"You know as a Republican we always talk about being pro life, well this is part of that. We’ve got to support families after the birth and not just through birth," said Garvin.

Garvin also says this will help with recruitment and retention of state employees.

"This is a huge benefit and a huge win for state employees, this incentivizes people to come in to work for state agencies and when we are able to hire and recruit and retain high quality employees in state agencies that helps with government efficiency."

The benefit would be available to state employees who have been on the job for at least two years. The bill now moves to the house.

West Nile Virus Detected In Oklahoma County

Health officials warn recent rain brings an increased risk for mosquito-borne illnesses like West Nile Virus.

The Oklahoma City-County Health Department confirmed two positive mosquito pools carrying the West Nile Virus in Oklahoma County this week.

Officials suggest residents take extra precautions by avoiding mosquito bites and reducing habitats where mosquitos live and breed, like standing water.

Basics to reduce mosquito habitats: Empty buckets, flowerpots, wheelbarrows, and old tires from holding standing water. Empty and refill birdbaths and your pet’s outdoor water bowl daily.

For standing water sources that cannot be drained, OCCHD recommends microbial larvicides, commonly called “Mosquito dunks,” that kill mosquito larvae before they emerge as adults. They are available at hardware or home improvement stores.

West Nile symptoms include fever, headache, body aches, and sometimes a rash.

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