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PM NewsBrief: May 9, 2024

This is the KGOU PM NewsBrief for May 9, 2024.

Governor Hosts Second Budget Summit

Gov. Kevin Stitt and legislative leaders are meeting this afternoon to negotiate the state budget.

The group met Monday and subcommittees continued work on line item issues the past few days.

Senate Pro Tem Greg Treat says he expects some progress today, but not a final budget agreement.

“A lot of things that the House was saying on Monday that they thought they had an agreement on before, we'll probably see some agreement on that because it's gone through our process,” Treat said. “And so, I think we'll make pretty good progress today, if the other sides are still where we think they are."

Treat says the Senate won't approve another tax cut unless the House shows the state can afford it with recurring revenue.

The legislative session runs through May 31.

OKC City Council Set May 14 Public Hearing On Proposed Hotel Tax Increase

The Oklahoma City Council is set to hold a public hearing May 14 on a proposed election to raise the hotel tax.

The proposal would increase the hotel tax to 9.25%, up from the current 5.50%.

The council is expected to vote on the proposal May 21.

If the ordinance passes, a citywide election will be held Aug. 27.

The city projects the increase would bring in an additional $11 million.

Revenue from the tax would go towards tourism promotion and improvements at the OKC Fairgrounds and Convention Center.

Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals Approves Extension of Time Between Executions

After a request from the State Attorney General and the Director of the Department of Corrections, the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals has voted to increase the time between future executions.

In January, AG Gentner Drummond and DOC Director Steven Harpe filed a joint motion with the court to increase the interval between executions to 90 days, saying the current pace of executions is unsustainable and puts undue stress on DOC staff.

On Tuesday, the court voted to approve the request.

Two of the five judges voted against increasing the time in between executions — including Gary Lumpkin, who said DOC staff need to “suck it up” at a hearing in March.

This follows the court approving a change from four weeks between executions to 60 days last year at Drummond’s request.

In addition to having more time in between them, the court decided future executions will be scheduled individually rather than in phases.

The last execution of the current phase is that of Wade Lay on June 6.

USDA Offers Assistance For Farmers, Ranchers Tornado Losses

The U.S. Department of Agriculture is offering disaster assistance to farmers and ranchers affected by recent tornadoes.

The programs will help restore crops, land, infrastructure, livestock losses and damages.

Depending on the assistance program, eligible producers can obtain low-interest emergency loans, receive payments for excess livestock deaths and get money for feed and grazing losses.

USDA officials encourage those involved in risk management programs like Federal Crop Insurance, to contact their crop insurance agent or Farm Service Agency office.

Although funding is available some programs have different application, notice or request deadlines.

Steve Kouplen is the state executive director of the USDA Farm Service Agency in Oklahoma.

He said once the severe weather’s impact is evaluated on operations, people should contact their Farm Service Agency county office.

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