OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — The chairman of Oklahoma's powerful House Appropriations Committee says a deal may be at hand with the Senate on a $200 million state bond issue that would fund repairs to the state's crumbling Capitol and other nearby buildings.
Representative Earl Sears told The Associated Press on Wednesday that a bill containing the proposal will be unveiled soon. His Senate counterpart wouldn't confirm the price tag.
Yellow barricades currently block the Capitol's south steps to prevent pedestrians from being hit by feared falling chunks of limestone and mortar.
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Legislation that would fund stipends for Oklahoma public school teachers has been approved by the same House budget subcommittee that earlier rejected the bill.
Rep. Ann Coody of Lawton asked members of the House Appropriations and Budget Subcommittee on Education Monday to reconsider the bill. The same committee defeated the measure a week ago over concerns about replacing the current system with a performance-pay system.
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — A plan to improve Oklahoma's troubled child welfare services includes seeking 500 new foster families by the end of June 2013 and the restructuring of the Department of Human Services' child welfare staff.
Gov. Mary Fallin, House Speaker Kris Steele and Senate President Pro Tem Brian Bingman praised the five-year plan Friday during a news conference at the state Capitol.
The plan was developed as part of a January settlement agreement reached with a children's advocacy group that sued over DHS' treatment of foster children.
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — The American Civil Liberties Union and a New York abortion rights group are suing on behalf of several Oklahoma doctors to stop an initiative petition that seeks to define a fertilized human egg as a person.
The group filed a protest with the Oklahoma Supreme Court on Thursday that contends the proposed constitutional amendment is unconstitutional because it threatens the rights of women. The group also maintains the proposal violates the state's single-subject rule and that the explanation of the amendment is unclear.
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — A Senate panel has approved a bill to require drug testing for certain welfare recipients.
The bill by Oklahoma City Republican Sen. David Holt passed 5-3 on Monday in the Senate Committee on Health and Human Services, with Democrats opposing the measure. The bill already has been approved in the Republican-controlled House.
Holt removed from the bill an amendment added in the House that would have required drug tests for those seeking elected office. He described that amendment as a "stunt" by those who oppose the concept.
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — State lawmakers are considering legislation that would grant "personhood" status to human embryos.
Members of the Oklahoma House's Public Health Committee are scheduled to debate and vote Tuesday on the Senate-passed measure.
The bill provides embryos and fetuses "all the rights, privileges and immunities" of other citizens. Supporters say it's modeled after a 1986 Missouri law that the U.S. Supreme Court has said is constitutional.
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — House Speaker Kris Steele says he doubts a bill to require the Oklahoma Legislature to be subjected to provisions of the state's Open Records and Open Meetings laws will pass this year.
Steele told reporters it's "unlikely" the bill would be considered before Thursday's deadline for hearing bills on the floor. A House committee already approved the bill by Guthrie Republican Rep. Jason Murphey.
The plan was likely to face resistance in the Senate, where a similar measure was not granted a hearing in committee.
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — The Oklahoma Senate has approved a bill to slash and eventually eliminate the state's personal income tax over the objection of Democrats who maintain it will decimate funding for critical state services.
The Senate voted 30-17 on Monday, mostly along party lines, for a bill that will immediately slash the top state income tax from 5.25 percent to 2.5 percent, beginning in January. Based on a study by conservative economist Arthur Laffer, the bill continues to cut the income tax by one-quarter of 1 percent until it's eliminated by 2022.