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The Oklahoma House has approved a bill to let schools send home extra food with needy kids.

Oklahoma City Democrat Jason Dunnington said right now, schools — his kids' included — often end up throwing out uneaten, extra food from breakfast and lunch.

"One in four children in Oklahoma suffer from food insecurity, and this is just a common-sense way of trying not to waste good food, send that home with kids that need it for themselves and their families," Dunnington said.

Dunnington co-authored House Bill 1875 with Guthrie Republican Sen. AJ Griffin.

After lengthy debate, an Oklahoma Senate panel advanced a bill Wednesday to let Oklahomans get identification compliant with 2005's federal REAL ID Act.

Lawmakers forbid state participation in the REAL ID Act’s implementation 10 years ago. House Bill 1845 lets Oklahomans choose compliant or non-compliant driver licenses and ID cards. Shawnee Republican Sen. Ron Sharp said there are some flaws in the bill, but it’s time to act.

Saturday Night Fever

 

Get out you white suit... Dancing in public is now legal in Henryetta.

City leaders voted Tuesday to abolish an ordinance that forbids dancing within 500 feet of a place of worship. The dance ban also prohibited dance halls within 500 feet of a church or public school.

In February, resident Joni Insabella decided to host a dance above her store. The city's Chamber of Commerce posted about the event and called Insabella a rule breaker on Facebook.

After the event was cancelled, Mayor Jennifer Clason decided to look over the ordinance.

 

While serving as Oklahoma's attorney general, new Environmental Protection Agency chief Scott Pruitt was in frequent contact with fossil fuel companies and special interest groups working to undermine federal efforts to curb planet-warming carbon emissions.

This was shown by emails released under court order late Tuesday after an Oklahoma judge ruled that Pruitt had been illegally withholding his official correspondence from the public for the last two years.

In the local news:

  • The latest on the Oklahoma Budget.
  • The Tulsa School Board welcomes a new member.
  • A Helmerich Park vote is delayed by the City Council.

Healthline

 

 Legislation that would ban smoking in vehicles containing children has cleared an Oklahoma House committee.

The House Public Health Committee voted 7-1 Tuesday for the bill by Democratic Rep. Donnie Condit of McAlester. It now goes to the full House for a vote.

The bill would make it illegal for the driver or a passenger in a motor vehicle to smoke cigarettes, pipes or cigars if a child is present in the vehicle. The fine for violating the anti-smoking measure would be $20, the same as the penalty for a seat-belt violation.

Tulsa County Booking Photo

 

 Arraignment has been delayed for a Tulsa man on first-degree murder and hate crime charges in the killing of his Lebanese neighbor.

Arraignment for 62-year-old Stanley Vernon Majors in the shooting death of 37-year-old Khalid Jabara that was scheduled Tuesday was postponed until March 21.

Online court records do not list a reason for the delay, but it comes six days after the initial judge recused himself from the case and Majors' attorneys filed documents saying they will pursue an insanity defense.

State of Oklahoma

 

 Thirteen more rank-and-file Republican legislators have announced their opposition to Gov. Mary Fallin's plan to expand the existing state sales tax to dozens of services that are currently exempt.

A news release Tuesday from the Oklahoma House says 27 House and Senate members have publicly said they are opposed to Fallin's sales tax proposal.

The state faces a budget shortfall of nearly $880 million and Fallin has proposed expanding the sales tax, along with increases in the tax on cigarettes and motor fuel.

 

 A spokesman for the Oklahoma attorney's office says the agency has gone above and beyond a judge's order to turn over documents related to new Environmental Protection Agency leader Scott Pruitt's communications with energy companies.

Spokesman Lincoln Ferguson said Tuesday that the office had turned over emails and other documents that the Wisconsin-based Center for Media and Democracy sought for more than two years. Ferguson says other documents were turned over to the Oklahoma judge.

Richardson Law Firm

 

Former federal prosecutor Gary Richardson says he's formed an exploratory committee for next year's governor's race.

Richardson, who donated more than $2 million to his own campaign for governor in 2002, announced plans Tuesday for his exploratory committee.

Richardson ran as an independent in 2002 against Democrat Brad Henry and Republican Steve Largent and won more than 14 percent of the vote in the race that was won by Henry. Richardson said Tuesday that he'll "explore the viability of a run for the GOP nomination" next year.

KWGS News

Revenues are "pathetic" and Oklahoma is "out of tricks," Finance Secretary Preston Doerflinger told the State Board of Equalization.

The board certified Tuesday an $878.2 million budget hole — $10 million dollars deeper than it was two months ago —and declared fiscal year 2017's first revenue failure.

Revenues declined from 4.4 percent below estimates in December to 5.7 percent below this month. State Treasurer Ken Miller said forecasting is difficult with an economy reliant upon commodities.

KWGS News File Photo

A news conference is set for Friday morning at the Greenwood Cultural Center to  announce the 1921 Tulsa Race Riot Centennial Commission.

KWGS News File Photo

Here are the first two parts of our special news series:  

In the local news:

  • The Tulsa City Council considers what to do with Helmerich Park.
  • Mike Hunter will replace Scott Pruitt as Oklahoma's Attorney General.
  • Another revenue failure is expected for Oklahoma.

 

Oklahoma revenue officials are likely to declare a revenue failure when a state board meets Tuesday to certify the amount of state revenue lawmakers have to appropriate next year.

Preliminary figures from the Office of Management and Enterprise Services indicate collections by the general revenue fund are projected to fall 5.7 percent below estimates.

Legislation to phase in a $6,000 raise for Oklahoma teachers over three years has been approved by a state House committee although lawmakers don't know how to pay for it. The House Appropriations and Budget Committee voted 26-2 Monday to send the measure to the House floor for a vote. The bill by Republican Rep. Michael Rogers of Broken Arrow calls for a $1,000 pay raise next year, $2,000 the following year and $3,000 in the third year.

State of Oklahoma-File photo

 

Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin has appointed Secretary of State Mike Hunter to replace former Attorney General Scott Pruitt, who was tapped by President Donald Trump as administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency.

Fallin appointed Hunter on Monday, four days after Pruitt resigned following his confirmation by the U.S. Senate as EPA administrator.

Hunter served as first assistant attorney general under Pruitt until Fallin appointed him secretary of state and special legal counsel last year. Hunter takes over as attorney general immediately.

Matt Trotter / KWGS

A foundation has been set up to accept private dollars on behalf of the Tulsa County Sheriff’s Office.

"Law enforcement personnel, professional training, top-notch equipment and a transparent, community response requires additional funding to accomplish the goal of providing the best public safety in Tulsa County," said Tulsa County Sheriff’s Foundation Chairman Tim Harris.

The initial goal is $300,000 in private donations to fund body cameras for all deputies and to hire someone to oversee a new citizens advisory board.

Matt Trotter / KWGS

An Oklahoma senate panel approved a bill Monday to prevent city and county governments from outdoing state laws on employment and public accommodations.

The bill initially prevented local governments from going further than any state law. A committee substitute focused it on employment and public accommodations laws.

Senate Bill 694 author Sen. Joshua Brecheen sparred with Sen. Kay Floyd over the need to preemptively protect business owners' expression of sincerely held religious beliefs through refusing service to LGBTQ people.

File photo-Tulsa Police

The Tulsa Police Department has released the names of the three officers involved in last Friday afternoon’s fatal shooting of a rape suspect.  The Police Department identified the officers as:

·      Jered Metzger, 29, an officer since 2012.

·      Greg McClintock, 44, an officer since 2000.

·      Chad Murtaugh. 38, an officer since 2006.

Crowd Expected For Council Park Meeting

Feb 20, 2017
Google Street View

The Tulsa City Council will meet in a special session on Tuesday. The members will consider if to abandon nine acres of Helmerich Park in South Tulsa. The move is seen as a step toward selling the land to a developer.

The land is on the southwest corner of 71st and Riverside Drive. The developer has offered $1.4 million for the property to build a sporting goods store. It is said to be an REI facility, but the company has not confirmed that. The firm has no stores in the state.

OKC Memorial

 

 A water leak caused by heavy rainfall has forced the temporary closure of the Oklahoma City National Memorial Museum.

Museum spokeswoman Mary Ann Eckstein says the museum is closed Monday after a thunderstorm caused a leak in an adjacent structure that spread into the structure. Eckstein says museum officials hope to reopen Tuesday.

Executive Director Kari Watkins says none of the museum's artifacts was damaged and that they are all protected from further leaks.

State of Oklahoma-File photo

 

Oklahomans won't vote until next year on whether to legalize medical marijuana, but a state lawmaker has already introduced legislation that would set the framework if sales of the drug are approved.

State Rep. Eric Proctor of Tulsa has introduced a measure that's nearly an exact replica of what's being considered in neighboring Arkansas, where medical marijuana was legalized by voters last November.

This is part one of a three part series looking at the craft of journalism.

In the local news:

  • The fate of an Oklahoma Veterans' home is uncertain.
  • Workers dismissed for taking off without notification for a 'Day Without Immigrants' are hired by another restaurant.
  • Tax hike proposals may be in trouble in the legislature.

 

Native Americans are hoping President Donald Trump doesn't forget them as he promises to put "America first."

Tribes across the country have been reaching out to the Republican administration since it took office last month, saying they're ready to help it achieve its campaign promises.

Among them are five large tribes in Oklahoma as well as a tribe in Massachusetts seeking reservation lands for a $1 billion resort casino.

The Children's Society

 

A federal report indicates more children were abused or neglected by foster parents in Oklahoma in 2015 than any other state in the nation.

The child maltreatment report by the Children's Bureau of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services says there were 150 confirmed cases of children abused or neglected by Oklahoma foster parents in 2015. The Oklahoman reports that's 121 more than Texas, which has more than seven times as many people, and 34 more than California, which has 10 times as many as people.

KWGS News Photo

 

Police are asking for the public's help in finding a purple suitcase that may contain remains of a 25-year-old Colorado woman after her former boyfriend was arrested in Oklahoma on a murder charge.

The Boulder Daily Camera reports police in Colorado believe that partial remains found in Okmulgee, Oklahoma, on Wednesday were those of Ashley Mead. She disappeared from Boulder, Colorado, this month.

Investigators in the two states say they believe other remains might have been left in the suitcase somewhere between Louisiana and Oklahoma.

Oklahoma Department of Veterans Affairs

 

Federal and state investigations are underway into the choking death of a man with later-stage dementia at the Oklahoma Veterans Center in Talihina.

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, the Oklahoma Department of Human Services and the Oklahoma Department of Veterans Affairs have launched separate investigations into the Jan. 31 death of 70-year-old Leonard Smith. Smith died in the nursing home's locked-down, special-needs unit.

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