Capitol Insider | KGOU
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Capitol Insider

Fridays at 4:49 and 6:49 p.m. and Mondays at 6:50 and 8:50 a.m.
  • Hosted by Dick Pryor

A weekly feature produced by KGOU in partnership with eCapitol, an Oklahoma City-based legislative news and bill tracking service. KGOU general manager Dick Pryor talks to eCapitol news director Shawn Ashley, elected officials and newsmakers about legislative matters in the state of Oklahoma.

Ways to Connect

While some bills gain a lot of attention during the legislative session because of their provocative content or passionate debate, many more "under the radar" bills address government programs and policies that affect large numbers of people and their everday lives. Some of these are "request bills" that are proposed to a lawmaker by their constituent and others seek to fix a problem or update a law that has become outdated. This week, KGOU's Dick Pryor and eCapitol's Shawn Ashley highlight four bills to watch that have received little attention but that could have a consequential impact on quality of life in Oklahoma. 

Legislative Service Bureau (LSB) Photography

In his 2021 State of the State Address, Governor Kevin Stitt had one major "ask" for Oklahoma education: changing the state's student transfer rules and public school funding formula. He received his wish before the calendar turned to April. As KGOU's Dick Pryor and eCapitol's Shawn Ashley explain, the bills moved quickly and the governor has already signed them into law.

Robby Korth - StateImpact Oklahoma

The State Board of Education voted 4-3 to accept an offer to settle a lawsuit with the Oklahoma Public Charter Schools Association after State Superintendent Joy Hofmeister warned that the settlement was unconstitutional. KGOU's Dick Pryor and eCapitol's Shawn Ashley discuss that story and more from the last week at the state Capitol in Capitol Insider.

Legislative Service Bureau (LSB) Photography

The week of March 15th was an abbreviated week for Oklahoma legislators due to spring break. The House of Representatives took off on Wednesday and Thursday; the Senate did not work on Thursday. Typically, Friday is a regular day off for legislators until the final month of the session. Lawmakers have an ambitious schedule ahead of them with eight weeks down and ten weeks to go. KGOU's Dick Pryor and eCapitol's Shawn Ashley discuss how the next few weeks are shaping up in Capitol Insider. 

Oklahoma Watch

In an Executive Order issued Friday, March 12, Governor Kevin Stitt extended Oklahoma's state of emergency in all 77 counties due to COVID-19, but ended restrictions on events and masking in state government buildings. The Executive Order noted Oklahoma has reported 431,366 novel coronavirus cases, but added that 24% of Oklahomans have received at least one vaccination. The new order will remain in effect for thirty days. The governor also updated the state's guidelines for visitation in long-term care facilities.

NIAID Coronavirus Prevention Network/National Institute of Health

Oklahoma legislators have a busy week ahead with each house needing to address approximately 300 bills by the Thursday, March 11 deadline. Expect some late nights at the Capitol over the next few days. Also soon, Governor Kevin Stitt is expected to provide clarification on regulations concerning the state's ongoing COVID-19 response. His latest executive order is set to expire on March 15. KGOU's Dick Pryor and eCapitol's Shawn Ashley discuss that deadline facing the governor's office, and more, in this week's Capitol Insider.

Legislative Service Bureau (LSB) Photography

With the first deadline looming for passing or rejecting legislation, the Oklahoma legislature moved quickly to make up for time lost during the recent snowstorm and extreme cold. The highest profile cases gave an indication of the direction the session is heading - toward stronger states rights and less federal control while further restricting abortion, protests and limitations on statements made on social media.

State Department of Education

Everyone is eager for schools to offer more in-person classroom instruction, and with vaccinations becoming available for teachers and staff that goal is edging closer to reality. Coronavirus has not only forced schools, teachers, parents and students to adjust, but it has led to a re-examination of the future of education. State Superintendent Joy Hofmeister discusses what lies ahead for Oklahoma schools with KGOU's Dick Pryor in Capitol Insider. 

2021 State of the State address
Legislative Service Bureau (LSB) Photography

In a wide ranging interview shortly after his State of the State address, Governor Kevin Stitt discussed his goals for the 2021 Oklahoma Legislative Session with KGOU's Dick Pryor and eCapitol's Shawn Ashley. In part one of the interview (first broadcast on February 5), Stitt discussed state-tribal relations; in part two he talked about education, economic development, government regulation, the state's coronavirus response, his relationship with the Oklahoma House of Representatives and Senate and 2021 policy priorities. This interview was conducted on February 4, 2021. 

Legislative Service Bureau (LSB) Photography

Oklahoma's 2021 legislative session is off and running following Governor Kevin Stitt's annual State of the State address. In his speech, he identified several issues the legislature needs to focus on in the year ahead and most important among them, he said, is the relationship between Oklahoma's government and the sovereign Native American nations within the state. In the first of a two-part Capitol Insider interview on the upcoming legislative session, the governor discussed how questions raised by the U.S. Supreme Court decision in the McGirt v. Oklahoma case may be resolved. 

Shawn Ashley, eCapitol

Oklahoma's 2021 legislative session officially began on organizational day, January 5, but the 58th Oklahoma Legislature returns to begin the bulk of its work on Monday, February 1. That day, Governor Kevin Stitt will provide his priorities for the year ahead and give lawmakers their first glimpse at the executive budget. While the executive budget is largely a ceremonial document, it lays out the governor's proposed guidelines for spending each year. KGOU will present a live broadcast the State of the State address beginning at 12:30 p.m. on Monday, February 1. KGOU's Dick Pryor and Shawn Ashley discuss what to expect in this Capitol Insider. 

Legislative Service Bureau (LSB) Photography

On Thursday, Oklahoma lawmakers completed the rush to pre-file bills and joint resolutions for the upcoming 2021 legislative session. The volume of legislation indicates we can expect an ambitious session when the legislature resumes on February 1. KGOU's Dick Pryor and eCapitol's Shawn Ashley discuss the work just ahead as ideas move toward becoming laws. 

NIAID Coronavirus Prevention Network/National Institute of Health

As the Spring 2021 school semester is beginning, Governor Kevin Stitt issued new recommendations regarding quarantining of students who have come in contact with a person who may have COVID-19. Under the new guidelines, schools are allowed to lift quarantine requirements if enforcing mandatory mask usage and social distancing unless the person in question shows symptoms of the virus.

Legislative Service Bureau (LSB) Photography

The first week of 2021 was one of the most stunning weeks in American politics. Controversies over the presidential election, special elections in Georgia that shifted the balance of power in the U.S. Senate, Electoral College confirmation of a new administration in the White House and an unprecedented ransacking of the U.S. Capitol by a riotous mob made it an historic week for the ages. Through all the turmoil, legislators in Oklahoma remained focused on preparations for the legislative session that begins on February 1st. KGOU's Dick Pryor and eCapitol's Shawn Ashley discuss how state lawmakers plan to do their work in 2021.

Sen. Lonnie Paxton, R-Tuttle

In Part Two of their discussion on redistricting, KGOU's Dick Pryor and eCapitol's Shawn Ashley talked to the two legislative leaders tasked with completing the complicated process by the end of the 2021 legislative session. This Oklahoma Engaged report follows the results of the General Election in November, 2020 and how the new legislature will set the political playing field for the next ten years.

Rep. Ryan Martinez, R-Edmond

The 2021 Oklahoma legislative session doesn't begin until February, but already members of the Senate and House of Representatives are working on one of the biggest challenges of the year: redistricting. In the first of two Oklahoma Engaged Capitol Insider segments, KGOU's Dick Pryor and eCapitol's Shawn Ashley discuss how the chambers will handle redistricting with the two legislators who are spearheading the effort.

Oklahoma State Department of Health

For months, infectious disease experts have warned of a big surge in COVID-19 cases in the fall and winter. Cases and deaths have gone up dramatically across the nation and Oklahoma has seen its numbers rise, as well. With the holidays upon us, and vaccines just now reaching high-risk groups, KGOU's Dick Pryor and eCapitol's Shawn Ashley asked Oklahoma's interim commissioner of health, Dr. Lance Frye, about the state's response and plan for the new year. 

As Oklahoma's coronavirus death toll passed 2,000, the Oklahoma State Department of Health reported a stunning 3,900 new positive COVID-19 cases on Friday (Dec. 11, 2020). The additional cases push the state's cumulative case total to 229,353 and bring the rolling seven-day average up to 2,925. With cases surging, state officials are taking new steps to reduce the spread. KGOU's Dick Pryor and eCapitol's Shawn Ashley discuss in Capitol Insider.

OHCA

In an unprecedented year for health care around the world, the Oklahoma Health Care Authority has had to adjust to serve Oklahoma's significant uninsured population. Adding to that challenge was Oklahoma voters' decision in June, through Constitutional Amendment, to require the state to expand Medicaid next year. In this week's Capitol Insider, Kevin Corbett, the chief executive officer of Oklahoma's Medicaid agency, tells KGOU's Dick Pryor and eCapitol's Shawn Ashley how the Oklahoma Health Care Authority is handling 2020 with an eye toward 2021.

Oklahoma Capitol Restoration Project

The restoration team completed exterior work on the Oklahoma State Capitol in March, and now the Capitol Restoration Project is heading into its final phase. Begun in 2015, the extensive restoration is expected to conclude next summer, after adjournment of the 2021 legislative session, and be ready for official reopening in 2022. In this Capitol Insider segment Capitol Project Manager Trait Thompson discusses recent progress and what remains to be done as the Oklahoma legislature prepares to return for its 2021 session. 

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