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PM NewsBrief: July 12, 2023

This is the KGOU PM NewsBrief for Wednesday, July 12, 2023.

Heat Wave Coming

Much of the state is under an excessive heat warning until 9 p.m. tonight.

Despite recent rainy weather, Oklahoma will likely have a heat wave in the coming weeks.

National Weather Service forecasters say unusually warm waters in the Gulf of Mexico will contribute to persistent, oppressive humidity that will spread from the coast all the way up to the southern plains in Oklahoma.

That means very high low temperatures and a lack of nighttime cooling. Heat indexes will likely climb in the coming weeks, easily reaching triple digits across the state.

Forecasters say that hot weather will stick around, continuing through at least the middle of next week.

In the meantime, Oklahomans may want to monitor for signs of heat exhaustion and heat stroke - including nausea, dizziness and confusion. And be sure to stay hydrated.

Oklahoma Falls In Annual Business Rankings

Oklahoma has dropped down in an annual ranking of best states for business.

According to CNBC’s annual report on best states for business, Oklahoma is now in the top 10 - worst, this after being 32nd just two years ago.

The ranking also found Oklahoma to be among the worst in the nation for education and quality of life.

The state ranked 49th in the category for life, health and inclusion.

But the report wasn’t all doom and gloom. The state finished in the top five for states with the best cost of living and the cost of doing business within its own borders.

Oklahoma also finished relatively high for infrastructure.

North Carolina ranked for the second year in a row as the top state for business; the lowest was Alaska.

Gov. Kevin Stitt Creates Criminal Justice Task Force

Gov. Kevin Stitt has created a new criminal justice task force.

Stitt signed an executive order Tuesday creating the Modernizing Operations through Data and Evidence-based Restoration Now, or MODERN Justice Task Force.

The task force will include representatives from all three branches of the state government as well as a representative from the Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services and a victim advocate.

The Justice Action Network, a nationwide bipartisan criminal justice reform organization, praised Gov. Stitt’s executive order in a news release, saying this task force will continue the work of the RESTORE Task Force from 2019.

The task force will provide recommendations on how to reduce crime and recidivism while enhancing public safety to the state Legislature in 2024.

Oklahoma Launches Online Voter Registration System

The state now has an online voter registration system.

It took the State Election Board eight years to set up the program.

When Oklahomans register to vote online their data is cross-matched with a state ID.

In 2015, the state legislature approved then-Oklahoma City Senator David Holt’s bill authorizing the election board to create this online system.

Technical issues at the Department of Public Safety pushed back the registration system’s completion date.

Election officials say that delay put implementation outside of their control.

Legislation stalled to place a deadline of March 2021 on the launch.

Back in 2015, Holt said an online system is more secure and has better fraud protection. Holt hoped that online registration would also draw in younger voters.


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