The University of Central Oklahoma could be the home of the medical examiner’s office under a bill that passed a Senate subcommittee this morning. Senate Bill 1337 would move the office from its current location near the OU Health Science Center to UCO’s Forensic Science Institute.
Sen. Anthony Sykes, R-Oklahoma City, filed the bill in hopes that a change in location would help improve the troubled office.
“We’re hoping this would get the office on the right track,” Sykes said.
The office, which performs autopsies for criminal and civil cases, lost its accreditation in June and has been embroiled in controversy since last year.…
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Highlights of Capitol-related happenings yesterday:
- A federal appeals court ruled that some parts of Oklahoma’s controversial anti-illegal immigration laws are enforceable, but others aren’t. The ruling paves the way for continued challenges of the law spurred by the infamous House Bill 1804, which was authored three years ago by Rep. Randy Terrill, R-Moore. Read the story.
- The state Corporation Commission will furlough employees. Read the story.
- The state’s chief medical examiner was put on leave by the agency’s board – yet another blow to the embattled agency.…
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House Bill 3202, which would remove criminal penalties against equine dentists, or teeth floaters, passed a House committee today.
The House Agriculture and Rural Development Committee approved the measure, 11-3. It now goes to the full House.
More than 75 people, mostly horse owners, jammed into a committee room and part of an overflow room to show their support for equine dentists.
The bill’s author, Rep. Don Armes, R-Faxon, said there are not enough licensed veterinarians in the state to offer equine dentistry for the approximately 325,000 horses in Oklahoma.…
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Journalists and open government advocates in Oklahoma are following a bill scheduled to be heard in the Senate Judiciary Committee today at 2 p.m.
Senate Bill 1753 seeks to make confidential the dates of birth of public employees, which are currently open under the state Open Records Act. The bill was filed by Sen. Debbe Leftwich, D-Oklahoma City.
Dates of birth are a key component used by reporters and others to conduct accurate background checks of people. We’ve written a couple stories lately about this issue that are linked below.…
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A major disagreement on how much should be tapped from the state’s savings account to balance the current 2010 fiscal year budget developed just hours after the governor opened this year’s legislative session with the annual State of the State address.
Gov. Brad Henry warned and advised legislators several times in his 34-minute speech to use targeted cuts when trying to balance this fiscal year’s budget, which is expected to come up about $530 million short. More cuts will be made in the 2011 fiscal year budget, which is 20 percent, or $1.3 billion, less than the $6.6 billion in state money lawmakers had available to spend last year.…
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Insurance Commissioner Kim Holland announced today that she will seek re-election this year. NewsOK has the story.…
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At his press conference this afternoon following Gov. Brad Henry’s state of the state, Senate President Pro Tempore Glenn Coffee, R-Oklahoma City, said he would go back to practicing law when the session was over.
“Something to help pay for college for four kids,” he said.
At one time, some observers talked about Coffee running for a higher office. Last year when pressed about his plans for 2010, he would coyly avoid the question.
In the run-up to this session, Coffee has been frank and today pointed out that both Legislative leaders, Coffee and Speaker of the House Chris Benge, R-Tulsa, and the governor are not seeking an office in the 2010 election.…
Read the rest of Coffee says he’ll return to law after session
Here’s the promised wordcloud of Gov. Brad Henry’s final State of the State speech. As expected, budget is among the big words. Full text as provided by Henry’s office is below wordcloud.
Members of the House and Senate, Lt. Governor Askins, President Pro Tempore Coffee, Speaker Benge, Honorable Justices of the Supreme Court, distinguished Cabinet and elected officials, honored guests and my fellow Oklahomans and friends:
Facing Crisis with Resolve
As I stand before you today to deliver my final State of the State address, I am honored and humbled to have worked with you – my respected colleagues and friends – to improve the lives of Oklahomans.
Read the rest of 2010 State of State wordcloud
Education was the big theme when Gov. Brad Henry gave his first State of the State address seven years ago. During his final State of the State speech this morning, the big buzzword will undoubtedly be budget (or lack thereof).
Here’s a look at Henry’s past State of the State speeches through wordclouds generated from the transcript of those speeches. We’ll post a wordcould of the 2010 State of the State speech later today.
(Wordclouds are text-driven graphics that display words based on their prominence in a body of text.…
Read the rest of Past States of the State
NewsOK users can expect a great deal of coverage on the Web site today for Gov. Brad Henry’s State of the State address and the first day of the legislative session.
Capitol Bureau reporter Julie Bisbee will live chat during the address, while Capitol Bureau reporter Michael McNutt will cover the speech. Check NewsOK.com before the 12:30 p.m. address for an advance story from McNutt. Once the address starts, we’ll also post the text of the speech.
In addition, check Tuesday’s edition of The Oklahoman for more coverage of the speech and stories from the start of the session.…
Read the rest of Today’s political coverage