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.

Ways to Connect

Unprecedented absentee mail-in and in-person voting is occurring in Oklahoma and around the nation leading up to General Election Day, November 3rd. KGOU and its Oklahoma public radio partners are planning comprehensive coverage on election night - both on-air and online. KGOU will broadcast national coverage from NPR beginning at 7:00 p.m. while simultaneously hosting a "second screen experience" online at Oklahoma results and expert analysis will be available there for engaged voters via tablet, smart phone and computer. 

Oklahoma Democratic Party

New voter registrations in 2020 show the Republican Party out-pacing the Democratic Party by a large margin in Oklahoma. The party that held a firm group on Oklahoma politics for a century now faces an uphill battle to grow its influence in what has become a deep red state. With election day nearing, KGOU's Dick Pryor and eCapitol's Shawn Ashley talk to Oklahoma Democratic Party Chair Alicia Andrews about Democrats' approach to the 2020 election. 

Oklahoma GOP

Already sporting a 270,000 registered voter lead over Democrats in Oklahoma at the beginning of 2020, the state GOP has seen a big surge in registrations heading into the November 3rd General Election. KGOU's Dick Pryor and Shawn Ashley discuss that and more from the GOP perspective with Oklahoma Republican Party Chair David McLain. 

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

On Friday, October 9, the State Department of Health reported the largest one-day total for number of new coronavirus cases in Oklahoma - 1,524. The new number pushed the seven-day rolling average for new cases in Oklahoma to 1,075. And, statewide hospitalizations reached a record high for the second time in a week.

State of Oklahoma

Oklahoma's State Auditor and Inspector Cindy Byrd said she is "deeply concerned" as she announced the initial findings of a five-year audit of Oklahoma's largest school district, Epic Charter Schools. KGOU's Dick Pryor and eCapitol's Shawn Ashley discuss the report and how it might affect charter schools in Oklahoma in this Capitol Insider segment.


Mail-in absentee voting has already begun in Oklahoma's 2020 General Election. State Election Board Secretary Paul Ziriax discusses the procedures for voters to follow to make sure their votes count amid the coronavirus pandemic with KGOU's Dick Pryor and eCapitol's Shawn Ashley. 

In this July 9, 2020 file photo, Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt speaks during a news conference in Oklahoma City. Stitt, the first governor in the nation to test positive for the coronavirus, says he has donated plasma to help other virus patients recover.
Sue Ogrocki / AP

Coronavirus again dominated news coming out of Oklahoma's state capitol, as Governor Kevin Stitt pointed to positive trends in the state and questioned data being used by the Trump Administration's Coronavirus Task Force. KGOU's Dick Pryor and eCapitol's Shawn Ashley discuss the latest on the state of Oklahoma's COVID-19 response in this week's Capitol Insider.

NIAID Coronavirus Prevention Network/National Institute of Health

Like much of the rest of the nation, Oklahoma is still trying to manage the spread of coronavirus. While deaths remain relatively low, White House metrics show the Oklahoma trend line is among the most troubling in the nation. KGOU's Dick Pryor and eCapitol's Shawn Ashley discuss the latest numbers and how COVID-19 is affecting the state's prison population.

COVID-19 has affected almost every aspect of life, including the arts. In this Capitol Insider segment KGOU's Dick Pryor and eCapitol's Shawn Ashley talk about the affect of coronavirus on arts events and education in Oklahoma with the executive director of the Oklahoma Arts Council, Amber Sharples.

NIAID Coronavirus Prevention Network/National Institute of Health

Beginning in late June and continuing for several weeks, the White House Coronavirus Task Force warned state leaders that Oklahoma was in the "red zone" for coronavirus transmission. However, despite growing urgency from the White House for the state to adopt new, stricter policies, the recommendations have been largely ignored.  

State of Oklahoma

Although the legality will likely be questioned, the state of Oklahoma has entered into compacts with two more Native American tribes. KGOU's Dick Pryor and eCapitol's Shawn Ashley discuss that story and the latest on the state's coronavirus response as schools prepare to open, in the latest Capitol Insider.

Oklahoma Municipal League

Health, safety and economic concerns in the age of COVID-19 are forcing municipalities across the state of Oklahoma to adapt and make some difficult decisions. KGOU's Dick Pryor and eCapitol's Shawn Ashley discussed the reality facing cities and towns with Mike Fina, executive director of the Oklahoma Municipal League.


Oklahoma's unemployment rate has more than doubled in the past few months as COVID-19 and weakness in the energy sector have combined to put increasing numbers of workers out of jobs. In just over two months, the Oklahoma Employment Security Commission has expedited the claims process and dramatically reduced the pending claim backlog. KGOU's Dick Pryor and eCapitol's Shawn Ashley talked to OESC interim executive director Shelley Zumwalt about the agency's big challenges and how the agency is changing to meet the demand.

official state portrait
State Department of Education

Oklahoma school districts are nearing time to welcome students back for classes. The pressure is building for students to return to the classroom, but the COVID-19 pandemic has forced a reevaluation of teaching methods and how to keep students, staff and teachers safe. State Superintendent Joy Hofmeister discussed the critical issues involved and how Oklahoma schools are planning to operate during the fall with KGOU's Dick Pryor and eCapitol news director Shawn Ashley.

Oklahoma State Department of Health

With coronavirus surging across the U.S. and the number of cases growing in Oklahoma, interim Commissioner of Health Colonel Lance Frye discussed the current situation in the state with KGOU's Dick Pryor and eCapitol's Shawn Ashley.

Oklahoma State Department of Health

The state of Oklahoma and three Native American tribes have signalled cooperation after the U.S. Supreme Court decision in McGirt v. Oklahoma raised concerns about jurisdiction for enforcement of criminal laws. Details still have to be worked out, but the move is a step toward a negotiated settlement. The news was not so encouraging regarding COVID-19 in the state. As schools work toward opening in the fall, coronavirus cases surge and the state's economic "re-opening" is called into question. KGOU's Dick Pryor and eCapitol's Shawn Ashley discuss the latest developments. 

The last day of the 2019-20 U.S. Supreme Court term saw the justices make a much-anticipated decision in a case involving criminal prosecutions in Oklahoma. In a 5-4 decision in McGirt v. Oklahoma, the Court determined that for the purposes of federal criminal law, tribal lands within the state are considered reservations. KGOU's Dick Pryor and eCapitol's Shawn Ashley discuss the landmark decision. 

Oklahoma Watch

On June 30th, Oklahoma voters narrowly passed State Question 802 to expand Medicaid in the state. The vote not only placed the issue in the state Constitution, but gave an indication of the Oklahoma political landscape in the 2020 election year. KGOU's Dick Pryor and eCapitol's Shawn Ashley discuss the fallout of the 802 vote in the latest Capitol Insider.


Normally, this would be the time of year when many Oklahomans hit the road to enjoy the outdoors or beat the heat. Certainly, they would be making plans for celebrating Independence Day. This year, however, the COVID-19 pandemic has caused most people to reevaluate their social plans, and forced the state of Oklahoma to adjust its strategy for rolling out a new brand to encourage business development and tourism. Lieutenant Governor Matt Pinnell discussed the "Imagine That" campaign and the impact of coronavirus on the state with KGOU's Dick Pryor and eCapitol's Shawn Ashley in the latest Capitol Insider.


With less than two weeks to go before the 2020 Oklahoma Primary Election, KGOU's Dick Pryor and political science expert, Dr. Keith Gaddie, professor of journalism and architecture at the University of Oklahoma, discuss what to expect on election day.