Local & Regional

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U.S. House Republicans have positioned their party to pass a tax reform bill without Democrats’ support.

They passed a budget resolution Thursday that will allow the Senate to pass the proposal with only a simple majority, similar to procedures used for recent Affordable Care Act repeal efforts.

Oklahoma Rep. Markwayne Mullin took to Twitter on Wednesday to field questions about the GOP tax plan. He pushed back against a question about the proposal being a tax hike for workers and a tax cut for the wealthy.


Oklahoma U.S. Senator James Lankford has sponsored a bill criminalizing most abortions after 20 weeks.

The House passed the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act on Tuesday. It bans abortion after 20 weeks except in cases of rape, incest or where the mother’s life is endangered. Lankford said the bill catches the U.S. up with the rest of the world.

Matt Trotter / KWGS

House Minority Leader Scott Inman said Thursday there’s a bipartisan budget deal at the capitol.

Hours later, Gov. Mary Fallin said that's not the case.

The Bipartisan Oklahoma Plan Inman announced consists of a $1.50 per pack cigarette tax, a 6 cent gas tax increase, elimination of the wind sales tax exemption, a sales tax on certain services, a 5 percent gross production tax on new wells and undoing income tax cuts for wealthy Oklahomans.

Thursday's top stories:

  • The Oklahoma Health Care Authority could cut Medicaid reimbursement rates 9 percent if lawmakers can't find the agency $70 million soon.
  • In the wake of the mass shooting in Las Vegas, Oklahoma's congressional delegation is not in a rush to take action.
  • You'll soon start seeing tobacco ads in print and on TV, but they won't be selling you the products.

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OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — An Oklahoma man has been arrested after threatening to carry out shootings in Oklahoma City and San Antonio similar to the mass shooting in Las Vegas, police said Wednesday.

Roderick Lamar Robinson was arrested Tuesday on a terroristic hoax warrant at a home in Warr Acres, the Oklahoma City suburb where he lives, said Oklahoma City police Capt. Bo Mathews.

Matt Trotter / KWGS

Oklahoma U.S. Rep. Markwayne Mullin has scheduled a town hall meeting for this Friday, months after canceling a similar event at the last minute.

Mullin canceled a town hall in Tahlequah in April, citing safety concerns.

"Over the past few weeks, we have seen an escalation of protesters at congressional town halls across the nation," Mullin said in a statement then, adding that his staff and the venue couldn't come to an agreement over security.

Friday's town hall will be at 10 a.m. at First Baptist Church, 201 Commercial Road.

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CLAREMORE, Okla. (AP) — An Oklahoma man has been charged with manslaughter almost a year after a collision killed former NFL player Dennis Byrd.

Rogers County court records indicate the charge was filed Wednesday against 18-year-old Zachary Reed of Claremore. The records show a warrant was issued for Reed's arrest but don't indicate whether he is represented by an attorney.

Oklahoma Department of Corrections

A body found in a Jeep parked on the inside shoulder of U.S. 169 near 31st Street early Wednesday is the victim of Tulsa's 68th murder this year.

Jason Harris, 38, was found shot to death in the front seat around 5:15 a.m. Passersby told Tulsa Police they saw the car sitting there as early as 3:45 a.m.

Officers initially found the Jeep's previous owner sold it for cash. They were able to find the owner, 29-year-old Dustin Baker, and determined he was driving at the time of the murder. Baker was arrested.

City of Broken Arrow

An ambitious plan by the City of Broken Arrow to improve its water, sewer and storm water systems means residents will be paying more soon.

City council–approved increases will show up on November bills.

"For an average household using about 7,000 gallons of water per month, they'll see an increase of about $3.75," said city spokeswoman Krista Flasch.

Tulsa Regional Chamber

The Tulsa Regional Chamber leads a group of around 100 elected officials, business leaders and other partners to Fort Worth, Texas, on an annual trip intended to give them ideas to improve Tulsa.

BOK Financial President and CEO and chamber chair-elect Steve Bradshaw said Fort Worth has put a lot of work into revitalizing its riverfront area, and the group is getting ideas for the Arkansas River from that.


If lawmakers don’t find $70 million dollars for the Oklahoma Health Care Authority soon, the agency will have to cut many SoonerCare reimbursement rates 9 percent.

The OHCA has been on shaky budget ground for months.

"I think we would look at the possibility of a provider rate cut in combination, maybe, with some other kinds of cost savings measures. If it's solely a provider rate cut, it translates into about 8 percent to garner $70 million in state dollars," OHCA CEO Becky Pasternik-Ikard said in July.

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You’ll soon start seeing tobacco ads in print and on TV, but they won’t be trying to sell you the products.

These are court-ordered corrective statements coming from tobacco companies after more than 11 years of litigation. They'll address how tobacco companies understated the dangers of their products and marketed them to children.

In the wake of a mass shooting in Las Vegas that killed 59 and injured more than 500, Oklahoma’s congressional delegation is not in a rush to take action.

Authorities said Stephen Paddock used a bump stock to effectively make his rifles fire like automatic weapons. Rep. Tom Cole said he wants to look at the legality of such gun modifications, but he is not in favor of doing anything to otherwise limit the number or kind of guns people can own.

Cole stopped short of saying mass shootings are a price of preserving Second Amendment rights.

Investigation: Drug Court Rehabs Survive on Forced Labor

Oct 4, 2017
Shane Bevel / Reveal

They thought they were going to rehab. They ended up in chicken plants

Carmelo Anthony sizzled in his first game with the Thunder, though Chris Paul and the Rockets look like they will be just fine without him.

Houston overcame Anthony's 19 points in just 20 minutes and Paul George's 15, spoiling their Oklahoma City debuts with a 104-97 victory on Tuesday night in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

NORMAN, Okla. (AP) — An Oklahoma sheriff has dropped his lawsuit against county commissioners and says he's retiring.

Cleveland County Sheriff Joe Lester didn't cite a reason for his decision to retire in his announcement Monday, the Norman Transcript reported. In a letter, he told county commissioners that his retirement is effective immediately.

"I got a texted and emailed (a) letter where Joe is resigning immediately with his signature, and our attorneys were contacted by his attorney saying that he is dismissing the lawsuit," said Darry Stacy, a county commissioner.

Wednesday's top stories:

  • Oklahoma AG Mike Hunter joins 38 other state attorneys general in asking Congress for Medicaid funding for residential addiction treatment.
  • Members of the Oklahoma House may return to the capitol Monday to resume special session budget work.
  • Tulsa to OKC in 25 minutes? Some passenger rail proponents think it's time to jump ahead to high-speed rail.


CLAREMORE, Okla. (AP) — Officials say a jockey who was injured during a race at a northeastern Oklahoma track has died.

The Cherokee Nation says jockey Mario Chavez was injured Saturday at Will Rogers Downs after his horse crashed into the inside rail, throwing him to the ground. Gunnar Enlow, whose family owns the farm where the 42-year-old Chavez worked, says Chavez was pronounced dead at the hospital on Sunday.

Chavez bred and raced horses for 26 years in northeastern Oklahoma. He won the Tulsa State Fair stakes in July.

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NORMAN, Okla. (AP) — Jurors considering the fate of an Oklahoma man convicted of beheading a co-worker and trying to behead another have been warned to avoid news reports of a mass shooting in Las Vegas.

The Oklahoman reports that Cleveland County Judge Lori Walkley told jurors she doesn't want the Las Vegas shooting "to have anything to do" with the sentencing of 33-year-old Alton Nolen of Moore.

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Tulsa County District Attorney Steve Kunzweiler said he asked a judge to order an 18-year-old man accused of killing his parents and three siblings to undergo a full mental health evaluation with a doctor chosen by prosecutors.

Kunzweiler said Tuesday after a closed-door hearing in the case of Michael Bever that Bever's attorneys have submitted a psychological report from their doctor and that the state should get to conduct its own inquiry, but Bever refused to participate.

Matt Trotter / KWGS

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Members of the Oklahoma House are planning to return to the state Capitol Monday to resume a special session if they can finalize a deal to plug an estimated $215 million hole in the state budget.

House Majority Floor Jon Echols emailed members on Tuesday, checking their availability to meet at 1 p.m. Monday.

The House recessed last week when it became apparent there weren't enough votes to support a $1.50-per-pack cigarette tax to help close the budget gap.


How would you like to get to Oklahoma City in 25 minutes?

Some passenger rail supporters think it’s possible with high-speed rail.

At state Sen. Kevin Matthews' interim study on passenger rail Tuesday, McGrath Construction President Jon McGrath said an elevated line could be built along I-44 to allow for trains up to 220 miles per hour. His firm specializes in railroad construction and has been involved in passenger rail projects in more than two dozen U.S. cities.

McGrath said the system would cost up to $3 billion dollars, but the state wouldn’t have to pay that.

Matt Trotter / KWGS

The numbers are in, and the State Department of Education calls Oklahoma’s summer feeding program a success.

Participation in the federally funded program was up 14 percent this year. That means 1.6 million free meals went to kids between May and August. State Superintendent Joy Hofmeister said it wasn’t easy with education funding cuts preventing schools from offering summer sessions, which bring kids to meals.

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An interfaith vigil will be held in Tulsa tonight for victims of the Las Vegas shootings. The event at All Souls Unitarian Church is co-hosted by Moms Demand Action. Senior Minister at the Church, Reverend Marlin Lavanhar, says the vigil is to come together to grieve but also to demand action against senseless deaths and gun violence. Moms Demand Action is a group formed after the Sandy Hook shootings of 20 elementary school students. The organization calls for what group members term ‘sensible gun control’ measures.

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Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter has joined other state attorneys general in asking Congress to allow Medicaid funding for residential addiction treatment.

The Road to Recovery Act eliminates the Institutions for Mental Diseases exclusion from Medicaid. The exclusion was part of the original Medicaid legislation and is used to keep federal funding from supporting inhumane asylums.

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OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — A divided Oklahoma Supreme Court has overturned part of Oklahoma's workers' compensation law concerning how workers are compensated for their on-the-job injuries.

The court handed down the 5-3 decision with one recusal on Tuesday in a lawsuit filed by Hobby Lobby Stores employee Brandon Gibbon, who was injured in a fall at work in 2014.

Tuesday's top stories:

  • With tough decisions to make on a new eight-year plan, the Oklahoma Department of Transportation will focus on major corridors through 2025.
  • Former Tulsa police officer Shannon Kepler will face a fourth murder trial for the 2014 death of Jeremy Lake.
  • Economic growth continues for a 10th straight month in a nine-state region that includes Oklahoma.

University of Central Oklahoma

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Oklahoma Supreme Court Justice Joseph Watt plans to retire at the end of the year after 25 years on the state's highest court.

The 70-year-old Watt announced his retirement, effective on Dec. 31, in a letter to Gov. Mary Fallin on Monday.

Former Gov. David Walters appointed Watt to the Supreme Court on May 17, 1992, and he has served two terms as chief justice, from 2003 until 2007.

A native of Altus, Watt was appointed to a special district judge's seat in Jackson County in 1985 and was elected associate district judge in 1986.

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — The University of Oklahoma Board of Regents has begun the search for the university's next president.

The board met Sunday in Oklahoma City, where they accepted President David Boren's resignation. Boren announced last month that he'll step down once his successor is named. He's been the university's president for 23 years.

Oklahoma Department of Corrections

NORMAN, Okla. (AP) — An Oklahoma jury has recommended multiple life sentences on assault and battery charges for a man who beheaded a co-worker in 2014, though he still faces the death penalty for his murder conviction.

Alton Nolen was convicted Friday for killing one co-worker and trying to kill another at a food processing plant in Moore, a suburb of Oklahoma City.

KWTV reports jurors agreed Monday that Nolen should serve three life sentences plus 130 years in prison on charges stemming from his attack on the co-worker who survived.