Greg Treat

Jose Pablo Iglesias / Unsplash

Two tribes signed new agreements this week that would begin sports betting and table games. That led to criticism from the state legislature and the state attorney general. Both argue the Governor doesn’t have the authority from the legislature to authorize these new forms of gaming. 

 

Governor Kevin Stitt and Oklahoma's Attorney General Mike Hunter tussled over compact signed with the Comanche Nation and the Otoe-Missouria Tribe on Tuesday to begin sports betting and banked table gaming, such as blackjack, craps and roulette.

Provided / The Oklahoman

State lawmakers are asking the Oklahoma Supreme Court to step into a budget fight between the legislature and Governor Kevin Stitt.

On Tuesday afternoon, leaders from the state House and Senate filed a petition calling on the governor to hold a Board of Equalization meeting and declare a revenue failure. The failure is necessary to move money out of the state's Rainy Day Fund, to fully fund state government for the next two months, lawmakers said.

Oklahoma Senate

Oklahoma lawmakers passed several bills on Monday to fill a budget shortfall and give Governor Kevin Stitt emergency powers during the health crisis.

Three bills that passed overwhelmingly by the House and Senate would take $500 million from the state’s Rainy Day Fund to fix a $416 million hole in the current fiscal year budget.

For the second consecutive day, Governor Kevin Stitt urged any Oklahoman with symptoms of COVID-19 or anyone who has been in contact with someone who has symptoms to get tested for the virus. In his Thursday press conference, he also told public and private labs to loosen restrictions on testing.

Until Wednesday, the state had strict guidelines on who was eligible to be tested. Those restrictions included healthcare workers and seriously ill people who had already been hospitalized.

Vaccination has become a dirty word at the Oklahoma Capitol.

Public health policies that drew little attention for decades are now so politically toxic that few lawmakers want to take a recorded vote on the issue. And fewer still feel comfortable talking about updates to the state’s vaccination schedule or getting rid of certain vaccine exemptions. Even bills mandating vaccine information for adults are shot down as they wend their way through the legislative process.

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.

Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

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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.

Jackie Fortier / StateImpact Oklahoma

Energized by new conservatives on the U.S. Supreme Court, abortion opponents believe that the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision that legalized abortion in the U.S. could be overturned. If that happens, the regulation of abortion returns to the states. Some state legislatures led by liberal Democrats, such as New York, have decided to protect the right to an abortion.

The new anti-abortion tilt of the U.S. Supreme Court has inspired some states to further restrict the procedure during the first trimester of pregnancy and move to outlaw abortion entirely if Roe v. Wade ever falls. But the rush to regulate has exposed division among groups and lawmakers who consider themselves staunch abortion opponents.

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