Mary Fallin

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Last week, the Oklahoma House of Representatives fell five votes shy of passing a tax bill that would have shut down the Special Legislative session and prevented the need for steep budget cuts.

As KGOU reports, the plan was supported by advocates from the health care, education, and public policy sectors. But the widespread support of nurses and teachers wasn’t enough. The tax plan would have eased the state’s budget woes by raising taxes on gasoline, tobacco products, beer, and oil and gas wells.

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The State of Oklahoma imprisons twice as many women as any other state, reports The Atlantic.

A recent documentary made by two filmmakers working on behalf of The Center for Investigative Reporting set out to uncover why Oklahoma has such a staggeringly high incarceration rate for women.

usbotschaftberlin / Wikimedia Commons

Oklahoma’s budget crisis is threatening to eliminate important services for many of the state’s neediest residents. Three weeks ago, Gov. Mary Fallin convened a special session of the Oklahoma Legislature to address the budget gap.

But, as The Tulsa World reports, the special session has yet yielded only three weeks of closed-door meetings—and no answers to the budget dilemma. According to those familiar with the closed-door meetings, a deep political divide has paralyzed the process.

Tulsa2185 / Wikimedia Commons

Last week marked the first week of Oklahoma’s special legislative session, which was convened by Governor Mary Fallin to allow lawmakers to deal with business left unfinished during the regular session.

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Oklahoma’s efforts to plug its massive budget gap were dealt a serious blow this week by the state Supreme Court.

As Oklahoma Watch reports, earlier this year, the state Legislature passed a $1.50 per-pack cigarette fee that was supposed to bolster the state’s finances.

But last week, the state Supreme Court ruled that the fee was unconstitutional.

Stephen Pingry / Tulsa World

Oklahoma began its new budgetary year on Friday, and Gov. Mary Fallin published an editorial in the Stillwater News Press defending her state’s accomplishments. While she acknowledged that the past session was challenging, she asserted that Oklahoma lawmakers were able “to fund core mission services such as education, health and human services, and public safety.”

Duncan Banner

Those who choose to drink and drive in Oklahoma will soon face a tougher penalty.

As The Duncan Banner reports, Governor Mary Fallin has signed a law that will result in an ignition interlock on all Oklahoma offenders’ vehicles after their first offense. Previously, the state only required the interlock for multiple offenders and first-timers with a .15 blood-alcohol level.

Logan Layden / StateImpact Oklahoma

Last week Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin signed into law a new budget, and green groups were cheered to see what appeared to be a boost in funding to environmental agencies.

However, as StateImpact reports, it appears those funding boosts were nothing but smoke and mirrors.

Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

Back in 2012 when voters swept a wave of Tea-Party Republicans into power, Oklahoma lawmakers looked admiringly to their neighbor to the north. Gov. Sam Brownback and his fellow Kansans had begun drastically cutting taxes in expectation that the move would result in a windfall of state revenue.

Oklahoma governor signs state budget into law

Jun 5, 2017
OKLEGISLATURE.GOV

Gov. Mary Fallin last week signed Oklahoma’s Fiscal Year 2018 state budget into law.

As KGOU reports, Fallin signed the $6.8 billion budget that keeps funding flat for 16 state agencies, including the Department of Education and the Oklahoma Health Care Authority, and cuts funding for all other state agencies by an average of 4 percent.

KFOR

Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin is growing  frustrated with the slow pace of criminal justice reform in her state.

As KFOR reports, last week Fallin lamented the fact that 10 separate criminal-justice bill had failed to make it to her desk.

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Yesterday HPPR looked at the balance of power among Republicans and Democrats in state legislatures across the High Plains. Today we thought we’d have a look at the tally when it comes to governorships and national officeholders in our listening region.

Jim Beckel / The Oklahoman

Attempts in the Oklahoma Legislature to fix the state’s massive budget shortfall fell apart this weekend, reports The Oklahoman.

Both chambers had hoped to reach a last minute deal to avoid a special session. But by the end of Saturday it was clear that Oklahoma lawmakers were not going to find enough common ground to avoid working overtime.

KFOR

The Oklahoma Senate drew praise from Governor Mary Fallin this week, after passing several measures aimed at improving criminal justice efforts in the state.

As KFOR reports, the eight reforms passed this week were initially recommended by a task force convened by the Governor last year. In her State of the State address earlier this year, Fallin urged lawmakers to consider the proposals.

KGOU

Oklahoma lawmakers continue to struggle with how to lessen the state's onerous budget shortfall.

As KOSU reports, Oklahoma's budget gap is inching back up toward the billion-dollar mark. Governor Mary Fallin has suggested a dramatic change to the state sales tax to eliminate certain exemptions, in hopes of turning the ship around. She says her long-term goal is to change the tax system to better fit the modern world.

Aurelijus Valeiša / Creative Commons

Amazon will soon begin charging a sales tax in the Sooner State, reports The Oklahoman.

The online retailing behemoth will start collecting the tax beginning on March first. But, unfortunately, those extra collected funds will not go toward easing the burden of Oklahoma’s massive budget shortfall.

That’s because the extra Amazon revenue was already built into Oklahoma’s budget estimates.

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The State of Oklahoma reported a $141 million budget surplus this month, reports KOCO. The extra funds will be distributed to state agencies based on need, as determined by the 2016 fiscal year budget.

State of Oklahoma

Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin unveiled the state’s new license plate this month, and some have been critical of the plate’s design.

As News on 6 reports, the new license plate features a starkly-outlined scissor-tailed flycatcher against a light blue background. The scissortail is the state bird of Oklahoma. Some Oklahomans had trouble identifying the bird on the plate, with one interviewee suggesting it was a dove, and another asking if it was a peacock.

Cliff Owen / AP photo

A controversial pro-life bill has passed both houses of the Oklahoma Legislature and is heading to the desk of Governor Mary Fallin. The bill would revoke the license of any doctor who performs an abortion, Reuters reports. Democratic opponents say the measure is unconstitutional. They’re promising a legal battle if the Governor signs the bill.

Fallin has not yet indicated her intentions regarding the measure. The bill would strip any doctor who performs an abortion of his or her medical license.

ncronline.org

Whatever state you live in, you might be wondering if your governor is gearing up for a run at the White House—or maybe it hasn’t occurred to you to ponder the possibility. In any case, The Texas Tribune has devised a handy flow chart to help you determine your governor’s political aspirations. I plugged the names of some High Plains governors into the chart, and here’s what I came up with.

Jacob McCleleand / KGOU

In the midst of Oklahoma’s budget crisis, Gov. Mary Fallin has adopted a one-time fix to fund the state’s public schools and prisons over the next year. The solution involved dipping into what is known as the state’s “Rainy Day Fund,” reports member station KGOU. Last week the governor signed two supplemental funding bills that would take $78 million dollars from Oklahoma’s constitutionally mandated savings account.

Logan Layden / StateImpact Oklahoma

The tiny town of Corn, Oklahoma, in Washita County has big problems. The lagoon that’s supposed to hold the town’s wastewater has holes in it, reports member station KOSU. Repairing the lagoon will take hundreds of thousands of dollars. And Corn doesn’t have the money. The tiny community will need to take out a loan to fix the water problem.

KOCO

Oklahoma appears to be in even more budgetary trouble than previously thought, reports KOCO. Last Thursday it was announced that the state’s budget deficit had ballooned to more than $1.3 billion. The new budget deficit is 13 percent larger than December’s estimate of about $900 million. In the face of the massive budget hole, Senate GOP leaders proposed suspending millions of dollars' worth of tax subsidies.

Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin has approved the transfer of well over a million dollars from the state emergency fund to strengthen Oklahoma’s earthquake response. The money will go toward researching the state’s recent earthquake surge, and toward regulating the oil and gas activity that’s likely causing it.

OK.gov

It’s been a tough year for Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin. And things won’t be getting easier anytime soon. When the Legislature convenes in February, it will face a projected budget shortfall of almost a billion dollars, reports Politico.

Oklahoma Fails to Plan for Hard Times

Dec 19, 2015
Joe Wertz / Governor Mary Fallin and other state leaders watch a PowerPoint presentation of state revenue projections in 2014.

Oklahoma has been experiencing a budget crisis since the price of oil plummeted. But much of the problem is the state’s own fault, reports member station KOSU and the Associated Press. Even when Oklahoma's economy was roaring thanks to an oil boom, the state was slashing taxes. During the good times, the state was expanding class sizes and eliminating teachers because costly tax cuts were eating up surplus revenue. Republican Gov.

Fallin Proposes Water Conservation Group

Dec 9, 2015
Public Domain

Oklahoma governor Mary Fallin has revealed a new idea to save water—and reduce earthquakes. Member station KGOU reports that Fallin has announced a new panel called the “Water for 2060 Produced Water Working Group.” The idea is to find ways to meet the state’s goal of using less freshwater in 2060 than was used in 2010.

Oklahoma Lags Behind Nation in Solar Usage

Aug 3, 2015
U.S. Department of Energy / National Renewable Energy Laboratory

In Oklahoma, oil and gas are king. The state is also a powerhouse when it comes to wind energy, ranking fourth in the nation.  But when it comes to solar energy, the state has some catching up to do, according to StateImpact, a reporting project of NPR stations. Oklahoma’s deficiencies in the area of solar energy have nothing to do with the sun, and everything to do with state policy.

Sue Ogrocki

A new process for administering the death sentence in Oklahoma was signed into law recently.

The practice of lethal injection has been traded for a new process involving an inert gas that replaces the inmate’s available oxygen with nitrogen and is delivered via mask or a bag placed over the face.

Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

State finance official in Oklahoma are worried about the plummeting price of crude.  State ImpactOklahoma reports they are projecting budget cuts and potential job losses.

In the oil field, some energy companies are slashing spending while others try to weather what they hope will be a short downturn.

Gov. Mary Fallin met with top officials in December to certify tax revenues for state budget planning.  Estimates now show a revenue loss of about $300 million.  If oil prices stay low, state agencies could face steep cuts.

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