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oklahoma legislature

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.

AP Photo/Bill Waugh

In this episode of Capitol Insider, KGOU’s Dick Pryor and eCapitol’s Shawn Ashley discuss what Todd Lamb’s loss means for the remaining gubernatorial candidates.

Oklahoma state Rep. Kevin Calvey, R-Oklahoma City, speaks during a news conference in Oklahoma City, Tuesday, July 19, 2016. Calvey is term-limited out of the House, and 12 Republicans are vying to replace him.
Sue Ogrocki / AP Photo

Ahead of the June 26 primary election, KGOU’s Dick Pryor and eCapitol’s Shawn Ashley are joined by University of Oklahoma political scientist Keith Gaddie to discuss the nearly 600 candidates running for office ahead this year in Oklahoma.

Breaking Down The Impact Of The 2018 Legislative Session

May 8, 2018
Whitney Bryen / Oklahoma Watch

The curtain fell Thursday night on the 2018 session of the Oklahoma Legislature, leaving indelible memories of chanting crowds and heated rhetoric.

This spring’s session – as well as the concurrent special session that carried over from last year – was dominated by the teacher walkout and the intense debate over tax increases to pay for teacher raises and to boost public education funding.

But lawmakers’ actions went well beyond those critical issues.

AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki

Governor Mary Fallin signed the first state-funded pay raise for Oklahoma teachers  in 10 years on Thursday, March 29, but many educators will still march on the Capitol on Monday.

 

eCapitol’s Shawn Ashley explained that legislators were able to pull off the political feat by suspending rules to expedite the legislative process.

Storme Jones / KGOU

State Rep. Josh Cockroft says he was surprised at the lack of financial oversight in agencies like the Oklahoma State Department of Health.

In an interview with Capitol Insider’s Dick Pryor and Shawn Ashley, Cockroft, who is chairing a special investigative committee looking into the health department, said the committee has received more than 60 tips about mismanagement across multiple state agencies.

“It's concerning. You would never run a business like that,” Cockroft said.

 

FILE- Oklahoma State Capitol
Brent Fuchs / The Journal Record

As the Oklahoma legislature wraps up its sixth week in special session, only one bill has made it to Governor Mary Fallin’s desk. The House of Representatives and Senate passed a bill to appropriate $23.3 million from the state’s “rainy day fund” for the Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services.

 

 

Capitol Insider: The $215 Million Question

Sep 8, 2017
Oklahoma state capitol
Jacob McCleland / KGOU

Will the Oklahoma Legislature get behind a cigarette tax in the upcoming special session?

Capitol Insider

Jul 3, 2017
State of Oklahoma

This is the Manager’s Minute.

The legislative session is over, but there’s still a lot to talk about coming from the state capitol.

Legal challenges may lead to a rare special session.

State budget cuts have forced agencies to change the way they operate and the services they provide.

And, campaigns are already starting for statewide elections in 2018.

So, to help you stay informed about Oklahoma government and politics, we invite you to listen each week to the Capitol Insider with eCapitol news director Shawn Ashley.

Oklahoma State Senate

Two bills that would require stricter oversight of various state tax credits and incentives have cleared a Senate committee.

The Senate Finance Committee approved both bills by Senate President Pro Tem Brian Bingman on Tuesday. The measures now proceed to the full Senate.

Oklahoma House of Representatives Chamber
http://www.oklegislature.gov/

Oklahoma lawmakers will have more than 2,000 bills and resolutions to consider when they convene next month.

Thursday afternoon was the deadline for filing bills to be considered by the 2015 Oklahoma Legislature. Legislative officials say 1,219 bills and 26 joint resolutions were filed in the House. A total of 815 bills and 32 joint resolutions were filed in the state Senate by the deadline.

Oklahoma House of Representatives Chamber
http://www.oklegislature.gov/

Oklahoma legislators are filing bills for consideration from several directions. There is no indication which of these will be seriously consider, among the over 230 bills filed so far.

The proposed legislation ranges from a prohibition for agency heads leaving office from hiring new employees, to a screening of emergency patients waiting to be transported by EMS teams to determine if they are not stable enough to be transported.

Another draft bill would allow victims of domestic violence to bring forth evidence from other relevant cases to a proposal to eliminate four government agencies.

One proposed law would prevent a family member or caretaker convicted of neglect, abuse, exploitation or other crimes against an “elderly” or disabled person from inheriting from the victim or receiving any portion of their estate. Another draft law would allow teachers to exempt from taxes 25% of their income.

Other bills include a prohibition against lasers if they are pointed at airplanes, a proposal to eliminate the state senate to create a unicameral legislature, a ban on texting while driving, allowing multi-religious symbols in schools for winter celebrations, and allowing legislators to carry firearms after a CLEET course.

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