Oklahoma Politics

On this installment of ST, we are discussing State Question 777, the so-called "Right to Farm" proposal, which voters statewide will decide on come November. As was noted recently in a Tulsa World editorial: "Both sides in the debate over State Question 777...have been guilty of excesses in their arguments. The proponents have suggested that only a state constitutional measure could shield cherished rural values of decent working farmers from the meddling hands of bureaucrats and lunatic eco-extremists.

On this edition of StudioTulsa Medical Monday, we run a status check, so to speak, on the Affordable Care Act, both here in our state and nationwide. The ACA, or "Obamacare," which became law in 2010 -- and which really started to take effect in 2014 -- will hold its fourth cycle of "open enrollment" in November. "Open enrollment" is when participants think about renewing their health insurance, making changes to their coverage, and/or buying such coverage for the first time.

The State of Oklahoma continues to top nationwide stats regarding the number of people it incarcerates. According to the U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics, our state ranks second in the nation in its rate of incarceration at 700 per every 100,000 people; the national average is 471. Oklahoma also imprisons women at the highest rate in the country -- at a rate that's more than twice the national average. Come early November, voters statewide will consider two initiatives aimed at reversing these shameful and embarrassing trends.

One of the more closely watched electoral races coming up in the June 28th primary is the surprising campaign for the Republican nomination in Oklahoma's 1st Congressional District. In this race, incumbent Congressman Jim Bridenstine seeks what he says is his "final term." But Tulsa oilman Tom Atkinson has challenged the incumbent in a very competitive race. 

On today's installment of StudioTulsa, we offer a discussion with Tulsa City Councilor G.T. Bynum, who is running for mayor. (Tulsa's mayoral elction will occur on June 28th; we spoke with Mayor Bartlett, who is also running, on yesterday's program.) Bynum was elected to the Tulsa City Council in 2008; he still serves on the Council, representing District 9. As noted at the G.T.

On this edition of ST, we offer a discussion with Tulsa Mayor Dewey Bartlett. Mayor Bartlett is running for re-election to a third term as our city's mayor; the election will happen on Tuesday, June 28th. (On tomorrow's StudioTulsa -- that is, Friday the 17th -- we will feature an interview with Tulsa City Councilor G.T. Bynum, who is also running for mayor.) As noted at the Bartlett campaign's website: "Dewey Bartlett has devoted his life to creating jobs, promoting the energy industry, and working on transportation issues.

"An inadequate budget has state continuing to sink to the bottom." "Legislature cuts budgets for all, except the Legislature." Such have been two recent headlines for editorials appearing in the Tulsa World. On this edition of ST, we look back at the recently completed -- and widely criticized -- Oklahoma Legislative Session, a contentious affair that saw lawmakers cutting spending as well as tax credits, and struggling to find new revenue amid an unprecedented $1.3 billion budget shortfall.

On this installment of StudioTulsa, we welcome Ann Patton back to our show. Patton is known locally for the many years she spent in Tulsa as an author, journalist, and activist; she now lives in Florida. She stops by our KWGS studios to tell us about her latest book, which is called "Unmasked!

In a budget year with a predicted $1.3 billion shortfall, today is a major day in the Oklahoma Legislature; it's the last day (ostensibly) during which the state legislature can consider revenue bills. So far, very few bills have passed that have narrowed the budget gap...and time, of course, is seriously running out at this point. So, what is going through the minds of state lawmakers today? We put this question to Steve Lewis, who joins us by phone from the State Capitol Building.

There are six waterways in eastern Oklahoma that are considered so environmentally and economically significant they're given special consideration and protection from the state. These so-called Scenic Rivers were profiled in a special half-hour radio doc created by StateImpact reporters Joe Wertz and Logan Layden in 2014. This doc was originally aired as a four-part radio series, and we are pleased to re-broadcast it today on StudioTulsa.

On this installment of StudioTulsa, we learn about a fascinating new documentary film depicting the rise and fall of E.W. Marland, the legendary -- and often controversial, and always colorful -- Oklahoma oilman who was also the state's 10th governor. "High Stakes: The Life and Times of E.W. Marland," shot on location in Ponca City, Oklahoma, is the newest creation of co-producers Steve Herrin and Scott Swearingen, who have also made docs about Woody Guthrie, Thomas Gilcrease, and Willard Stone.

On this installment of ST, we speak with Wayne Greene, the editorial pages editor at the Tulsa World. As noted at the World's website, Greene is a "fourth-generation Oklahoman in his third decade with the [newspaper]. As a reporter he covered several bank failures, one prison riot, three executions, and every aspect of state government during four years at the World's state capitol bureau. He became the World's city editor on April 1, 1995, and served in that post for nearly 13 years.

Yesterday at the State Capitol, Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin offered her recommendations to the State Legislature on how to fill next year's estimated $1.3 billion budget deficit. Her "Budget 2.0" provides for exempting Common Education, the Oklahoma Health Care Authority, and Mental Health Services from cuts -- while also exempting cuts in other areas, including higher education -- and offers significant revenue enhancements to the budget as well.

On Thursday of last week, the State Legislature arrived at a deadline for moving legislation forward -- and thus many bills advanced in the Oklahoma Legislature from one chamber into the other, while many other bills were, in effect, killed. On this edition of ST, we discuss several of the bills now moving forward while also offering a review of several of the troubling issues facing state lawmakers more generally (such as the state budget gap, of course). Our guest is Gene Perry, the Policy Director at the non-profit, non-partisan Oklahoma Policy Institute.

On this edition of ST, we are joined by Craig Jones, who is President of the Oklahoma Hospital Association. Given the recent cuts in both Medicare and Medicaid reimbursement, large cuts in federal reimbursement costs for uninsured patients, as well as ongoing transformations in standards of care, medical technology, and qualitative outcomes, times are tough these days for hospitals, especially rural hospitals. Nationwide, 673 rural hospitals are considered "on the edge" -- and here in Oklahoma, it's estimated that more than three dozen rural hospitals are facing a troubled future.

Today marks the beginning of the 2016 legislative session for the State of Oklahoma, and rightly enough, the issue gathering the most attention is the nearly $1 billion gap in the state's budget -- an astounding figure, to be sure. But on today's StudioTulsa, we turn our attention in another important, equally unsettling direction. And it's not a matter of one single troubling issue, actually, but rather a multitude of infractions.

As 2016 gets underway, the most vexing question confronting Oklahoma legislators, policymakers, and various state agency heads is...how will the Sooner State solve the glaring budget hole that Oklahomans will face this year -- and next year. State Finance Director Preston Doerflinger has declared a "revenue failure" for this year, resulting in a 3% cut to all state budgets funded by General Revenue -- and the preliminary projection of revenue for next year sees a shortfall of $900 million out of an approximately $7 billion state budget.

As our state's newly inaugurated legislative session continues, there's been no shortage of bills that've attracted attention from the national media -- for less than favorable reasons -- including bills that would ban "hoodies" or AP History classes, or those that would allow Oklahoma businesses to discriminate against their gay customers or else end civil marriages altogether. What we have not seen -- not yet, anyway -- is a responsible discussion of how to fill a $611 million shortfall in next year's budget.

News flash: Government is broken in Washington. Problems aren't being solved. New solutions aren't being put forward. "Compromise" (as has been so commonly observed) has become a dirty word. Or at least, such is the opinion of many of us. Indeed, poll after poll has found that a large majority of Americans believe government isn't working, and that it's -- on the contrary -- dominated by special interested and partisan gridlock. But...come to think of it...could your average American citizen do any better?

On May 23rd, the Oklahoma State Legislature approved HB 3399, a bill which would, if it became law, withdraw this state from the Common Core State Standards initiative. This bill is now on Gov. Mary Fallin's desk, awaiting her decision; the Governor has until June 7th to sign the bill into law, or veto it, or do nothing (in which case the bill will not take effect).

The Oklahoma Legislature will convene for this year's session on Monday, February 3rd, at noon. Which issues, both greater and lesser, will our state's lawmakers be focused on throughout 2014? We explore that multi-faceted question on this edition of StudioTulsa; our guest is David Blatt, executive director of the OK Policy Institute, which is "a non-partisan independent policy think-tank" you can learn more about here.

(Please note: This interview first aired about a year ago.) We are happy to welcome the acclaimed author (and fifth-generation Oklahoman) Rilla Askew back to our show. Askew received a 2009 Arts and Letters Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and she is a three-time recipient of the Oklahoma Book Award. Her latest novel, "Kind of Kin," is now being published in paperback; it first appeared in hardback in early 2013. Askew joins us to chat about this work.

On this edition of StudioTulsa, we present the second in our two-part series of interviews with the candidates appearing on the ballot for Mayor in the upcoming November 12th general election here in the City of Tulsa. On today's program, we hear from Republican Dewey F. Bartlett, Jr., the current Mayor of our city, who was elected to this post on November 10, 2009, and who is seeking re-election.

Mayoral Candidates on StudioTulsa

Oct 8, 2013

The candidates for mayor will debate the issues on today's StudioTulsa program. Recorded before the Tulsa Kiwanis yesterday, former Mayor Kathy Taylor says if elected Tulsa residents will be getting a refund.

 KATHY TAYLOR:  "It is time to get back to basics. In my first 100 days in office, I will work to refund the green waste fees."

File Photo

On this edition of StudioTulsa on Health, guest host Dr. John Schumann speaks with the president and CEO of the Oklahoma Hospital Association, Craig Jones. About one in three Oklahomans lack adequate health insurance across our state; this means that state hospitals end up administering about $500 million in uncompensated care each year. Why is this the case? And can these numbers be changed? Jones also discusses Oklahoma's refusal to expand Medicaid, and how that decision will affect our hospitals --- as well as its impacts on health outcomes and measurements.

City of Tulsa

On this installment of ST, we offer the third and final interview in our three-part series of conversations with the leading candidates to be Tulsa's next mayor. As per changes to the City Charter that were enacted in 2011, the current race for mayor will be non-partisan, with a primary scheduled for Tuesday of next week: June 11th.

Today on ST, we continue our three-part series of conversations with the leading candidates to be the City of Tulsa's next mayor. As per changes to the City Charter that were enacted in 2011, the current race for mayor will be non-partisan, with a primary scheduled for Tuesday of next week: June 11th.

Today on ST, we begin a three-part series of conversations with the leading candidates to be the City of Tulsa's next mayor. As per changes to the City Charter that were enacted in 2011, the current race for mayor will be non-partisan, with a primary scheduled for Tuesday of next week: June 11th.

Tulsa Public Schools

Voters within the Tulsa Public Schools district will go to the polls on May 14th to vote on a $38 million bond issue devoted to classroom technology as well as safety and security. Looking at facilities across the span of the district, we find that some schools have a student-to-computer ratio of 3:1, while in other schools that ratio is as high as 13:1. This bond will address those disparities, and will also provide funds for sprinkler systems within TPS's oldest schools as well as additional security at various entrances and exits. Our guest today is Dr.

While the debate in Washington, amid these dreaded days of "sequestration," is about whether to increase revenues or cut spending --- or somehow achieve a compromise that does both --- here in Oklahoma, the state legislature is (once again) looking to reduce tax revenues. This comes despite the fact that our state currently has a number of extremely pressing needs vis a vis education, DHS, corrections, and infrastructure --- as well as, of course, the long-term and likewise urgent problem of pension liabilities.