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Proposed Legislation Could Bolster Oklahoma's Electric Vehicle Industry

Feb 26, 2020
HB 3112 would allow for engineers specializing in EV battery development to avoid paying some state income tax. HB 3115 would modify an existing law to include companies already established in the state that might consider investments in the EV market.
(Courtesy photo/Cherokee Nation)

Two bills intended to help Oklahoma's electric vehicle industry are moving through the state Legislature. If they become law, EV engineers could avoid paying part of the state income tax if they settle in Oklahoma, and companies that invest in EV technology could receive tax breaks. Journal Record editor Russell Ray discusses the specifics of the proposed legislation. 

Oklahoma Lags Behind Country In Monetary Support For Higher Education

Jan 8, 2020
University of Oklahoma students walk to and from class at the school’s campus in Norman.
Robby Korth / StateImpact Oklahoma

As state funding for higher education has risen across the country, Oklahoma has been one of five states that’s seen a decline in the last five years.

Oklahoma Collects More Use Tax

Nov 27, 2019
According to the U.S. Department of Commerce, internet purchases accounted for 14.3% of retail sales nationwide in 2018. That was up from 12.9% in 2017 and from 11.6% in 2016. Nearly $685 million was collected by Oklahoma in use tax in fiscal year 2019.
(Courtesy Unsplash)

As online shopping grows, "use taxes," or taxes on goods shipped across state lines, are becoming more important to the state's economy. For years, Oklahoma wasn't getting as much revenue from use tax, but that is changing, according to recent reports.  Journal Record editor Russell Ray discusses why use tax is essential, as well as the Supreme Court case and state legislation that brought the state $685 million in use tax revenue last year. 

Oklahoma Invests In Quantum Technology Research

Nov 6, 2019
University of Oklahoma College of Arts and Sciences Dean David Wrobel, center, and OU Interim President Joseph Harroz Jr., right, present Norm Wilson with a replica of Lin Hall, home of the new Center for Quantum Research and Technology.
(Courtesy OU)

The University of Oklahoma is researching a bewildering area of quantum physics that could generate billions of dollars worth of technology over the next decade. Journal Record editor Russell Ray and OU physics professor Alberto Marino discuss how "atomic entanglement" helps technology  -- and how other state entities are supporting OU's efforts. 

Electric Vehicles In Oklahoma May Require An Alternative Tax

Oct 30, 2019
With electric vehicles becoming more commonplace, state and national policymakers are looking for alternatives to fuel taxes that traditionally have been essential funding sources for road and bridge infrastructure projects.
(Courtesy Cherokee Nation)

Electric vehicle sales continue to increase each year, which is leading to less fuel tax revenue for Oklahoma. To preserve infrastructure funding, officials are looking at alternative taxes for EV owners. Journal Record editor Russell Ray discusses why fuel tax revenue is important to the state and what an EV tax could look like.

Oklahoma Businesses Prepare For Permitless Carry

Oct 29, 2019
A sign on Scratch Kitchen & Cocktails in Norman asks patrons not to openly carry firearms.
Drew Hutchinson / KGOU

 

A new state law that allows nearly everyone 21 and older to carry a firearm without training is scheduled to take effect Nov. 1, causing Oklahoma business owners to  re-examine their gun policies. 

 

Advocates Push For Medicaid Expansion In Oklahoma

Oct 17, 2019
Oklahomans Decide Healthcare announced they have collected the required 178,000 signatures to get the question on the ballot.
Jackie Fortier / StateImpact Oklahoma

Oklahoma Medicaid expansion advocates are working to collect the required 178,000 signatures to get the measure on the ballot next year. It would mean extending health insurance to thousands of people—and an estimated $100 million dollar price tag. As StateImpact’s Jackie Fortier reports, Medicaid expansion could be decided at the ballot box or at the statehouse.

Capitol Restoration Project

In this episode of Capitol Insider, KGOU's Dick Pryor and eCapitol's Shawn Ashley discuss several public employee pay raise requests and the state's maintenance backlog. Both could complicate the upcoming budgeting process.

Did Lobbying Efforts Influence Spending On School Panic Button?

Aug 2, 2019
The Rave Mobile Safety app features a large "active shooter" button at the top and other buttons for reporting emergencies such as a fire or medical emergency.
Whitney Bryen / Oklahoma Watch

A $3 million taxpayer-funded program will soon give schools across the state access to a relatively untested “panic button” app that can alert authorities and staff if there is an active shooter, fire or emergency in the school.

Oklahoma Supreme Court chambers
Jacob McCleland / KGOU

The Oklahoma Supreme Court ruled Tuesday a campaign to expand government health insurance for low-income residents can move forward. KGOU's Dick Pryor and eCapitol's Shawn Ashley discuss the court's decision, which came just hours after hearing oral arguments.   

Lobbyist Spending Nears Record Levels

Jun 18, 2019
Members of the Senate are seen nearing the end of a session in May 2018.
Whitney Bryen / Oklahoma Watch

Lobbyists seeking to influence elected officials in Oklahoma continue to spend some of the highest amounts ever in spite of rules intended to curb their practices.

Vaccination has become a dirty word at the Oklahoma Capitol.

Lawmakers adjourned the 2019 legislative session Thursday. StateImpact reporters followed a number of issues this year. They sit down to talk about the bills that made it to the end of the session and those that are in limbo.

Dick Pryor/KGOU

In this episode of Capitol Insider, KGOU's Dick Pryor and eCapitol's Shawn Ashley discuss the Democratic budget proposal for the coming year with House Minority Leader Emily Virgin. Virgin talks about why her caucus wants to reverse income tax cuts and expand Medicaid. 

An optometry office in Duncan, Okla.
Jackie Fortier / StateImpact Oklahoma

A bill allowing optometrists to practice in big-box stores like Walmart is quietly making its way through the state legislature. It may look familiar to Oklahoma voters, who defeated a similar state question last fall.

With a huge freshman class and a promise for less gridlock, Oklahoma lawmakers filed more than 2,800 bills this legislative session. With a third of the session now over, the StateImpact team has an update on some bills we’re following.

Three former legislators who left office in November are now lobbyists, embodying a practice that state ethics officials have unsuccessfully tried to ban in the face of opposition from the Legislature.

Wikimedia Commons

The 2018 midterm elections in Oklahoma confirmed hardened geographic divisions. The state's two largest metro areas favored Democrats, while rural Oklahoma voted overwhelmingly Republican. But rural counties are losing population, overall demographics are changing and redistricting is on the horizon. 

Voters enter the McClain County Election Board building in Purcell on Friday, Nov. 2, the second day of early voting.
Whitney Bryen / Oklahoma Watch

As the popularity of early voting continues to rise, some lawmakers are reviving a plan to make it easier for Oklahomans to vote.

With Low Turnout, Should Oklahoma Kill The Primary Runoff?

Jul 18, 2018
A polling station at Oklahoma County Election Commission offices.
Whitney Bryen / Oklahoma Watch

August will be a pivotal month for Oklahoma politics, with likely a record number of candidates facing off in runoff primary elections.

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