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PM NewsBrief: Apr. 3, 2024

This is the KGOU PM NewsBrief for April 3, 2024.

State Leaders Urge Preparations For Eclipse-Watching Trip

As the solar eclipse draws closer on April 8th, Oklahoma officials are issuing some tips and guidelines.

The state is expected to see an influx of travelers trying to get into the narrow path of totality in southeastern Oklahoma.

State Transportation Director Tim Gatz is urging drivers not to block roadways.

“We have a lot of rural two-lane highways that don’t have a safety shoulder on them. So there is nowhere to pull off. And please don’t stop in the roadway during the eclipse and take pictures or anything like that,” Gatz said.

Travelers are also encouraged to have a full tank of gas in case they get stuck in congestion for an extended period of time.

State Tourism Director Shelley Zumwalt said visitors may want to pick up a paper map as well.

“You will have places-especially in our state parks-where you won’t have service. Be prepared. Take a map with you,” Zumwalt said.

She says maps can be found at all Tourism Information Centers.

The state expects up to 70-thousand people to gather in and around McCurtain County for the eclipse.

Senate Committee Approves Controversial Immigration-Related Bill

State lawmakers are one step closer to sending a controversial immigration bill to the governor’s desk.

The Senate Judiciary Committee approved a measure Tuesday that targets state-funded resources that support people in the country illegally.

House Bill 3071 threatens to cut funding to state and non-governmental organizations that knowingly support people living in the United States without permission.

Republican Sen. David Bullard is carrying the bill through the Senate. He amended it to include the word “monetary.”

“The idea of just being a benefit was a little bit too broad. We were looking at, stopping those, monetary benefits, which narrows the bill considerably,” Bullard said.

Opponents of the bill say they appreciate the added specificity, but still worry about how state agencies and nonprofits will implement its provisions.

It passed committee with a 10-2 vote.

Canoo Faces Financial Struggles Despite State Incentives

Electric vehicle company Canoo set up shop in Oklahoma last year, when it opened a manufacturing plant in Oklahoma City and a battery facility in Pryor.

A new regulatory filing shows the company is on a bumpy financial road, even with millions of dollars in state incentives.

Canoo generated nearly $900,000 in revenue in 2023.

A chunk of that came from the state of Oklahoma, which purchased the first three Canoo vans manufactured here.

But even after factoring in those sales, Canoo lost nearly $800 million dollars over the last two years and expects “continuing losses for the foreseeable future.” That’s according to the company’s required 2023 financial report to federal regulators.

Those filings also say Canoo’s expenses have included millions of dollars in private jet flights for its CEO.

Canoo has been promised $115 million in incentives from Oklahoma City, the state government and the Cherokee Nation.

Canoo says it’s created more than 100 jobs in Oklahoma, which is home to about one-fifth of the company’s total workforce.

Funeral Service For Lt. Gen. Thomas Stafford Set For Friday

Tributes are planned this week for astronaut and Weatherford native Lt. General Thomas Stafford.

The aerospace pioneer will lie in state today and tomorrow from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. at the Stafford Air and Space Museum in Weatherford.

A funeral service is planned for 10 a.m. Friday at the First Baptist Church in Weatherford.

The museum plans to live-stream the service on its Facebook page, and will be closed that day.

Stafford commanded the Apollo 10 moon mission and achieved a legendary career in the space and aerospace industries.

He died last month at the age of 93.

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