Matt Trotter

Reporter

Matt Trotter joined KWGS as a reporter in 2013. Before coming to Public Radio Tulsa, he was the investigative producer at KJRH. His freelance work has appeared in the Los Angeles Times and on MSNBC and CNN. 

He has a master's degree from Arizona State University, where he spent a semester on the first reporting staff of Cronkite News Service's Washington, D.C., bureau. As a grad student, he won awards for multimedia journalism and in-depth TV reporting.

Matt is from Southern California, so he's slowly following Route 66 across the United States. He would have made it Chicago by now, but he's not a fan of long drives.

Ways to Connect

File photo

The George Kaiser Family Foundation announced a new slate of pledges for A Gathering Place for Tulsa.

Nineteen new donors are contributing more than $14 million in all toward the riverside park. The money will fund park features and programming.

"Very important aspects to continue to allow us to really make the kind of investments and create the kind of features you'll never have seen before here in Tulsa, so we're really excited about that," said Gathering Place Executive Director Jeff Stava.

Matt Trotter / KWGS

A bill initially presented as a way to give retired teachers cost-of-living pension adjustments goes to the governor.

The House passed the Pension Improvement Act after some back-and-forth over the fact it deals with all Oklahoma state retirement systems.  Rep. Todd Thomsen said cost-of-living adjustments may not be the only thing a proposed new revolving fund pays for.

"It's for the improvement of the pension funds," Thomsen said. "And that could be reducing the liability or that could be by providing a COLA, so one of the two may be the most important at the time."

Tulsa city officials are learning about public inebriation centers: places people who may have passed out in public from drugs or alcohol without committing a crime.

Mental Health Association Oklahoma CEO Mike Brose said police officers can drop them off there rather than spend a couple hours booking them into jail.

"The average length of time that police officers or law enforcement are in and out of there is somewhere in the range of 10 to 30 minutes," Brose said. "So, they're back in duty, doing what we want them to do, [which] is fight crime."

Oklahoma Policy Institute

About two-thirds of Oklahoma voters in a new poll favor income tax increases to deal with the state budget crisis.

Gene Perry with Oklahoma Policy Institute said 67 percent of those surveyed want a top rate of 6.65 percent restored for individuals earning more than $150,000 and couples earning more than $300,000.

Matt Trotter / KWGS

Tulsa Public Schools got a gold star Friday from the U.S. Secretary of Education for work to reduce its number of student assessments.

Education Secretary John King praised a TPS study group that halved the number of district tests students must take. King said he's seen districts with as many as four nearly identical reading tests.

Matt Trotter / KWGS

The Tulsa County Jail expansion is on schedule for a December wrap-up.

Cells began arriving this week for two new wings containing 288 beds. One of those wings is specifically for inmates with mental health problems.

"It's kind of exciting to see forward progress on what we're doing and to see the completion as it's gone through its stages as to the housing units that are pretty important to Tulsa County and the sheriff's office as well to deal with the mental health issues that we have going on with our inmate population," said Chief Deputy Michelle Robinette.

KWGS News

City of Tulsa Water and Sewer Department Director Clayton Edwards proposed Thursday raising water rates 6 percent and sewer rates 9 percent for the next fiscal year.

If the increases are approved, residential customers classified as low users would see their bills go up about 10 cents a day, average users 19 cents and high users about 29 cents.

Edwards is asking for the increases for several reasons. There’s debt service to keep up with, improvements to continue and costly federally mandated repairs to avoid. He mentioned another reason people may not consider.

A proposal to stop upcoming Medicaid reimbursement cuts by raising cigarette taxes has the backing of two Oklahoma health care associations.

The Oklahoma Hospital Association and the Oklahoma Association of Health Care providers want lawmakers to approve a $1.50 per pack tax hike, which would raise $182 million — enough to halt reimbursement cuts slated for June 1.

Brett Coble with Westbrook Healthcare, a nursing home in Waurika, said the alternative is dire.

Oklahoma House

Oklahoma representatives voted down Wednesday a Senate bill requiring detailed monthly financial reports from the state’s school districts.

The reports would go to local school boards and be posted online within seven days of a district's submission to its board. Supporters said taxpayers have a right to know how districts are spending money.

Jenks Republican Chuck Strohm told his colleagues to temporarily think of school districts as publicly traded companies.

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Oklahoma lawmakers want to see a program that gives high school students a career- or college-ready endorsement on their diplomas.

The House narrowly passed the measure Tuesday, sending it to the governor’s desk. Rep. Jason Nelson wanted Rep. Scott Martin's assurance they weren’t creating a graduation loophole.

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