Capitol Insider | KGOU

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.

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Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

With summer approaching, Oklahoma is quickly moving toward resumption of pre-COVID life. In late May, Governor Kevin Stitt issued an executive order rescinding mask mandates in state buildings. The order also prohibits state agencies from requiring COVID-19 vaccinations for admission to state facilities. Previously, Stitt had ordered that schools, colleges and universities could not require vaccinations or masks. With the expiration of his state emergency order, Oklahoma is also returning to in-person meetings to comply with the Open Meeting Act. KGOU's Dick Pryor and eCapitol's Shawn Ashley discuss how the state is resuming "normal" operations in this week's Capitol Insider.

Governor Kevin Stitt wanted to use a managed care approach to handle Oklahoma's Medicaid program, SoonerCare, with expansion of Medicaid mandated by a vote of the people in 2020. Legislators were skeptical and placed limits on the approach through passage of Senate Bill 131. Now, the Oklahoma Supreme Court has weighed in and invalidated the managed care approach altogether in litigation brought by the Oklahoma State Medical Association, Oklahoma Dental Association, Oklahoma Osteopathic Association, Oklahoma Society of Anesthesiologists and the Oklahoma Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics. KGOU's Dick Pryor and Shawn Ashley discuss what happened and what's likely to result in this week's Capitol Insider.


By law, the Oklahoma legislature must end each year's legislative session by the last Friday in May at 5:00 p.m. The 2021 legislative session ended just a little early - the House and Senate each adjourned Sine Die on Thursday morning. KGOU's Dick Pryor and eCapitol's Shawn Ashley discuss the final few days of the session in this week's Capitol Insider.

Legislative Service Bureau (LSB) Photography

With the General Appropriation and other revenue bills sent to the governor, Oklahoma's 2021 legislative session is near the end. Lawmakers are looking at adjourning by Wednesday, a couple of days in advance of the legally-mandated conclusion. In this Capitol Insider segment, KGOU's Dick Pryor and eCapitol's Shawn Ashley discuss how legislators are bringing the session to a close.


There is one thing Oklahoma legislators are required to do every year: craft and pass a state budget. Budget talks usually come together in the waning days of the legislative session and it was no different this year. KGOU's Dick Pryor and eCapitol's Shawn Ashley talk about the proposed fiscal year 2022 budget and what it does in this week's Capitol Insider.

Legislative Service Bureau (LSB) Photography

At least 35 bills have been introduced nationally that would limit or prohibit transgender women from competing in women's sports events. One of those bills is under consideration in Oklahoma. The issue is especially relevant in states vying for NCAA championship events because the NCAA has indicated it may take the legislation into consideration when selecting sites. Oklahoma City has been the long-time host of the Women's College World Series, which is scheduled to begin this year on June 3 at USA Softball Hall of Fame Stadium in Oklahoma City. KGOU's Dick Pryor and eCapitol's Shawn Ashley discuss the Oklahoma legislation and more in this week's Capitol Insider.

Legislative Service Bureau (LSB) Photography

It was that kind of week at the state Capitol. It was a week when a state senator was called out on the Senate floor by the chaplain during an opening prayer for derogatory comments the senator made against the Vice President of the United States - suggesting, without evidence, that she traded sexual favors for political advancement. The comments drew considerable backlash and prompted an unusual legislative executive session to discuss possible action on the matter. And, that was not necessarily the biggest story of the week. KGOU's Dick Pryor and eCapitol's Shawn Ashley discuss increased partisan polarization occurring over the last several days at the House and Senate in the latest Capitol Insider. 

Legislative Service Bureau (LSB) Photography

Republicans hold an overwhelming super-majority in both houses of the Oklahoma legislature. In the House of Representatives, the advantage is 82-19. Democrats have limited influence, but still play a role in the governing process. In this Capitol Insider segment, KGOU's Dick Pryor and eCapitol's Shawn Ashley talk to House Minority Caucus Chair Cyndi Munson, D-Oklahoma City, about the Democrats' approach to the legislative session.

Legislative Service Bureau (LSB) Photography

With just over a month left in the 2021 Oklahoma legislative session, we pause to discuss what it's really like to be a legislator. State Senator Darrell Weaver, (R) Moore, was an agency director before being elected to the State Senate. That gives him unique perspective on the governing process. Weaver tells KGOU's Dick Pryor and eCapitol's Shawn Ashley what really goes on "inside the walls" at the State Capitol in this segment of Capitol Insider.

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.