StateImpact Oklahoma

StateImpact Oklahoma is a collaboration of KGOU, KOSU, KWGS and KCCU. Jackie Fortier and Quinton Chandler travel the state to report on energy and the environment, education, health, and criminal justice — and the intersection of government and everyday Oklahomans.

StateImpact Oklahoma is funded with private contributions from listeners and readers. Donate here.

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Melissa Lau is preparing for the coming school year. She teaches 6th grade science in Piedmont, just northwest of Oklahoma City. Inside her classroom, she’s laid out over thirty cross sections from the trunks of red cedar trees. Each ring represents one year of growth. Lau calls them “tree cookies.”

Chris Landsberger / The Oklahoman

The federal government is seeking its slice of Oklahoma’s recent $270 million settlement with Purdue Pharmaceuticals, and the bill could be millions of dollars.

Claire Donnelly / StateImpact Oklahoma

Nearly all Oklahoma residents – about 93 percent – live within 20 miles of a flood control dam, according to the Oklahoma Conservation Commission.

The state has the largest number of watershed dams in the country.

Courtesy: Spencer Bryan / Bryan & Terrill Law

When a private citizen’s civil rights are violated by the government, typically, they have the opportunity to sue, but under a recent Oklahoma Supreme Court decision, that might not be the case for inmates in Oklahoma jails and detention centers.

Jackie Fortier / StateImpact Oklahoma

The first case in a flood of civil litigation against opioid drug manufacturers is in its third week in Oklahoma.

Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter’s suit alleges Johnson & Johnson, the nation’s largest drugmaker, helped ignite a public health crisis that has killed thousands of state residents.

Caroline Halter / StateImpact Oklahoma

Oklahoma has slashed funding for higher education by over 25 percent since 2008. In response, each public university has raised tuition, but the cuts have had a disproportionate effect on the state’s 11 regional institutions and the students they serve.

Quinton Chandler / StateImpact Oklahoma

Multiple polls show the majority of Oklahoma voters support criminal justice reforms.

Survey data commissioned by Oklahoma Public Radio stations for the Oklahoma Engaged project also suggest a majority of voters believe the state’s sentencing laws need to be reworked.

Ryan LaCroix / KOSU

This session was far less contentious than last session in part because lawmakers were working with a budget surplus. Oklahoma teachers didn’t stage any walkouts, but education was still a dominant topic.

Jackie Fortier / StateImpact Oklahoma

A case that could signal the outcome of a flood of litigation against opioid drug manufacturers begins May 28th in Oklahoma.  

The bench trial is poised to be the first of its kind to play out in court.

Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter’s suit alleges Johnson and Johnson and Teva pharmaceuticals helped ignite a public health crisis that has killed thousands of state residents.

Ryan LaCroix / KOSU

Oklahoma lawmakers are facing a deadline to finish their work in the next three weeks.

The most important duty before the 2019 legislature ends is crafting a budget for the 2020 fiscal year, which starts on July 1. But, so far, nothing has been released.

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