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PM NewsBrief: June 14, 2024

This is the KGOU PM NewsBrief for June 14, 2024.

Gov. Kevin Stitt Issues Executive Order to Prepare Oklahoma for Possible Indo-Pacific Conflict

Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt is preparing the state for possible conflict between the United States, its Indo-Pacific allies and The People’s Republic of China.

The governor’s latest executive order directs the agency managing state assets to take preemptive and protective action… against potential cyberattacks coming from China.

Stitt’s Executive Order mandates the Office of Enterprise and Management Services, or OMES, to annually audit the state for vulnerabilities to attacks from the Chinese Communist Party, and to implement solutions to combat such attacks preemptively.

Those attacks could be cybersecurity breaches of state agency networks and systems, threats to state or national economic security and public health, or the disabling of electric and water infrastructure, Stitt writes.

In the justification for the executive action, Stitt points to federal cybersecurity and intelligence officials' claims that China is at the top of a list of aggressive “foreign adversaries” engaging in the cyber espionage of Americans.

An assessment of the state’s vulnerabilities is to be delivered to the governor and legislative leadership within 90 days of Thursday’s order to be followed by the state’s divestment from at-risk assets.

OG&E Reduces Rate Hike Request

OG&E plans to propose a reduced rate hike to the Oklahoma Corporation Commission on Monday.

The request of $126 million cuts the utility company’s initial request by more than half.

OG&E was seeking an increase that would have raised the average monthly residential bill by $19 per month.

Now, the average increase will be about $9.50.

The utility also dropped a request to change the cap on shareholder return on earnings.

Oklahoma Group Reacts to U.S. Supreme Court Decision Preserving Abortion Pill Access

The U.S. Supreme Court dismissed a case in a unanimous ruling Thursday that would have restricted access to the abortion-inducing drug mifepristone.

The court ruled the case’s plaintiffs lack the right to sue the FDA based on its approval of the drug and decisions to ease access to it.

Tamya Cox-Touré, a co-chair for the Oklahoma Call for Reproductive Justice, said she’s happy the drug is still available to everyone. But she said future cases could be made against the drug.

Cox-Touré also says she’s concerned by how Oklahoma considered policies this session that would have restricted abortion-inducing drugs.

“Even with our very extreme ban, legislators and policymakers are still trying to find ways to make it more difficult for people to make decisions about when to become pregnant," said Cox-Touré.

Medication abortions accounted for over 60% of all abortions in the U.S. in 2023.

New Effort To Increase Threatened River Fish Population

Arkansas River shiners are silvery minnows that can only be found in one Oklahoma river.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has a plan to change that.

Arkansas River shiners need 135 miles of uninterrupted river or stream to breed, and that’s hard to come by these days.

A century ago, Arkansas River shiners lived all across the Southern Great Plains. But since then, people have dammed up rivers to create lakes and straightened them out for urban development.

Today the fish don’t even live in their namesake river. The species has been listed as threatened since 1998 and is currently only found in the Canadian River in Western Oklahoma.

Last week, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s regional office in Tulsa announced a plan to help Arkansas River shiner populations recover.

That includes protecting the fish’s current habitat and introducing shiners back to some of the streams they used to live in.

The goal is to maintain at least three populations of the fish into the future.

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