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PM NewsBrief: Dec. 18, 2023

This is the KGOU PM NewsBrief for Monday, Dec. 18, 2023.

Federal Judge Dismisses Tulsa Challenge To Enforce Indigenous Driver's Speeding Ticket

The federal courts have once again sided with the tribes over whether Tulsa can prosecute traffic citations against Native drivers.

U.S. District Judge William P. Johnson has dismissed the case of Hooper v. City of Tulsa.

Justin Hooper, a Choctaw citizen, sued the city after a Tulsa police officer gave him a speeding ticket in 2018.

The judge ruled in his dismissal that the Curtis Act — a pre-statehood law used to dissolve tribal governments that the city was using to contest the lawsuit — no longer applies to Tulsa.

In an interview with OPMX, Hooper said he believed the ticket was processed in the wrong legal system.

Nobody’s getting away with anything, and I don’t even believe I should get away with speeding," Hooper said. "I just believe that people need to be in the right jurisdiction."

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 2020 that eastern Oklahoma is still an Indian reservation, meaning Native defendants must be prosecuted in tribal or federal courts.

Mayor G.T. Bynum has argued the issue at the heart of Hooper’s case is having two sets of laws for different groups of people.

Shawnee Commissioners To Vote On Ordinance Banning Sitting, Lying Down In Downtown Area

A month after passing an ordinance requiring a permit to feed the homeless, the city of Shawnee will vote on a proposal to ban sleeping outdoors.

The City Commissioners of Shawnee will vote Monday on whether to prohibit sitting and lying down in the city’s downtown area.

According to the city manager’s office, violations of the ordinance could lead to a fine.

The city manager’s office also says the ordinance would not apply to people having a medical emergency, people participating in or watching public events, using provided private or public seating, or waiting in line for goods and services.

This follows an ordinance similarly affecting the downtown area requiring a permit for feeding operations, which are defined as “organized and deliberate preparation and/or serving of food to four or more individuals for free” taking effect last month.

The first offense comes with a $250 fine and the inability to apply for a permit for one year.

The meeting will be held at 6 p.m. at Shawnee City Hall.

Stitt Takes Aim At DEI Programs Through Executive Order

Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt’s executive order last week doesn’t ban diversity equity and inclusion programs in the state, including at universities, but does limit DEI programs that show preference toward a particular race, color, ethnicity or national origin. If it seems a bit confusing, that’s because it is.

The new policy was the subject of conversation during the latest edition of KGOU’s Capitol Insider, where Quorum Call’s Shawn Ashley highlights several of the exemptions to the order:

"One exemption, for example, covers accreditation standards. Oklahoma Higher Education Chancellor Allison Garrett told a Senate interim study in October that the organizations that accredit colleges and universities as well as individual programs often have some sort of DEI requirement," said Quorum Call Publisher Shawn Ashley. "This exemption would allow those schools and programs to meet those requirements. Garrett also mentioned that even athletic organizations like the NCAA have diversity and inclusion standards that would have to be met, which would also be exempted under this order."

You can hear the full conversation between Shawn Ashley and KGOU general manager Dick Pryor on Capitol Insider at KGOU.org.

Prairie Surf Media To Move Out Of Cox Center

The Oklahoma City Public Property Authority is meeting this week to discuss ending the city's lease with Prairie Surf Media at the old Cox Center.

Currently, the media company uses the facility as a film studio. Prairie Surf Media has a lease there until the end of 2025.

The authority will vote Tuesday to notify the film studio it will no longer be able to use the facility.

City officials say the company is aware of the resolution.

The move appears to make way for a new $900 million arena voters approved last week.


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