Articles written by Paul Monies

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Tax cuts, tribal relations dominate Stitt's State of the State address

Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt implored lawmakers to send him tax cuts and said the continuing fallout from the McGirt decision’s effect on tribal-state relations risks state unity, an assertion that left representatives of many of the state’s tribes...


National Guard deployment to Texas border paid for by disaster response funds

Oklahoma spent more than $544,000 for the state’s National Guard to help secure the U.S. border with Mexico, money that came from a disaster fund typically used for National Guard response to tornadoes and other extreme weather events. Republican...

 By Paul Monies    Local    December 29, 2023

After slow start, opioid settlement money expected to flow to cities and counties

Money from legal settlements against opioid manufacturers, distributors and retailers will finally start to trickle out to Oklahoma cities and counties in 2024, almost four years after lawmakers set up a board to administer the funds. More than 250...

 By Paul Monies    Local    November 26, 2023

Treasurer criticizes pension system for taking exemption his office exercised

Oklahoma Treasurer Todd Russ has publicly criticized one of the state’s largest pension funds for taking an exemption to a new law forbidding state pension funds from doing business with financial companies perceived to be hostile to the oil and...


Sprawling superagency tasked with technology and services needs overhaul, report finds

Oklahoma’s superagency that handles information technology, budgeting, employee management and state office buildings has little budget transparency of its own and needs to do a better job of responding to agencies it provides services, a...


Broadband providers raise coverage concerns over millions in relief funding

Millions in broadband funding could be further delayed after some companies and board members raised concerns about duplicating efforts in areas of Oklahoma already served by internet service providers. The Oklahoma Broadband Office, which is oversee...


Governor, legislative leaders strike 'monumental' public education funding deal

After months of wrangling and the week-long efforts of mediation by a retired Oklahoma Supreme Court justice, the state’s GOP leaders announced what they called a “monumental” education funding package on Monday. The $785 million in additional... Full story

 By Paul Monies    Regional    April 30, 2023

Oklahoma lawmakers try for second year to expand pregnancy help

Oklahoma lawmakers continue to be frustrated with a vendor hired to help pregnant women for expanded services under the state's Choosing Childbirth Act. The slow pace of getting money to nonprofit...


Q&A: Oklahoma attorney general's quick start includes marijuana enforcement and spending investigations

New Republican Attorney General Gentner Drummond hasn’t wasted any time in his first month in office. Drummond, an attorney and banker from Tulsa, has taken over from local district attorneys several pending investigations of state spending. Among...

 By Paul Monies    Regional    May 29, 2022

Audit questions slowness of Oklahoma support for abortion alternatives

As Oklahoma’s Republican lawmakers pass the nation’s strictest anti-abortion laws, an internal audit by the Oklahoma State Department of Health shows the agency has serious concerns about the performance of a vendor selected to provide... Full story


Oklahoma deems billions in federal Covid relief fund applications a secret

Oklahoma’s purchasing director has decided almost $12 billion in applications for federal money under last year’s Covid-19 funding package for states should stay secret as the Legislature and Gov. Kevin Stitt’s administration consider projects...

 By Paul Monies    Local    January 30, 2022

What to know about Oklahoma Natural Gas' new storm charges

Customers of Oklahoma Natural Gas will be paying an extra $7.80 per month for the next 25 years under a plan approved Tuesday by the three-member Oklahoma Corporation Commission. The fee will go toward paying almost $1.4 billion in natural gas costs... Full story


Paying $1.4 billion over snow storm

When Neil Crittenden heard that an extreme winter storm was about to hit Oklahoma last winter, he did what officials advised him to do and kept his heat on and water running so that his pipes wouldn’t freeze. The 40-year-old Oklahoma City resident... Full story

 By Paul Monies    Regional    July 25, 2021

Oklahoma Coronavirus cases, hospitalizations spike again as vaccination efforts stall

Coronavirus cases and hospitalizations are spiking again in Oklahoma, just weeks before the start of a school year that was supposed to be a return to normal. The midsummer surge began in the past month and followed the rapid spread of the Delta...

 By Paul Monies    Regional    April 18, 2021

Oklahoma's hydroxychloroquine shipment took a detour to a Pryor pharmacy

It’s been a long, strange trip for Oklahoma’s $2.6 million shipment of hydroxychloroquine, bought a year ago as a once-promising treatment for COVID-19. The 1.2 million doses of the drug normally used to treat lupus, rheumatoid arthritis and...

 By Paul Monies    Regional    March 14, 2021

Vaccinations, drops in Covid-19 cases create optimism in Oklahoma

State public health officials are feeling optimistic about the pace of vaccinations and lower cases and hospitalizations from Covid-19, leading to changes this week in Oklahoma's nursing home... Full story

 By Paul Monies    Regional    March 5, 2021

Oklahoma health officials look to refine pandemic death reporting

The late-2020 surge in coronavirus cases, hospitalizations and deaths left many of the state’s tracking systems behind as providers responsible for updating reports concentrated on providing patient care ahead of filling out reports. It was...


Staff shortages at Oklahoma's relocated Public Health Lab cause testing delays

Staff shortages and equipment transition for the relocated Public Health Lab in Stillwater have caused state health officials to outsource certain tests to private labs, and in some cases to a public...


Active Covid-19 cases fall in Oklahoma, death reports remain high

Active coronavirus cases and Covid-19 hospitalizations remained high this week but began to decline even as the state’s death toll from the pandemic accelerated. By last Friday, Jan. 22, there were more than 32,000 active coronavirus cases...


Oklahoma on track for worst month of pandemic

By Friday, Jan. 15, the state had recorded more than 57,000 new cases of coronavirus in the first two weeks of 2021. There were 436 reported Covid-19 deaths so far in January, already higher than the... Full story

 By Paul Monies    Local    January 10, 2021

Hospitalization increase leads Integris to open its COVID-19 wings at Portland campus

A surge in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations in Oklahoma City has led Integris Baptist Medical Center to open its Portland Avenue campus to treat patients with the coronavirus. The hospital system s...

 By Paul Monies    Local    January 10, 2021

Virus spread continues as vaccine roll out gains pace in Oklahoma

On Friday, the state recorded its largest daily case increase, adding more than 5,200 cases to bring the total to more than 320,000 cases since the virus was first recorded in March. The death toll...

 By Paul Monies    Local    December 31, 2020

Oklahoma advises those infected with Covid-19 to do own contact tracing

As active coronavirus cases remain above 30,000 in Oklahoma, the state health department says its contact tracers are having to prioritize calls and will advise most people with confirmed cases to do their own contact tracing. In addition, the state... Full story


After 1,600 deaths and counting, mask mandate remains flashpoint in Oklahoma

A masked Gov. Kevin Stitt walked into a roomful of masked reporters at the Oklahoma Capitol, sat down at the head of a conference table and removed his mask. Flanked by his health commissioner and a... Full story


Coronavirus continues march across Oklahoma as hospitalizations set record

Coronavirus hotspots emerged across the state in the past week as hospitalizations reached a new record since the pandemic began. Active cases hit 24,091 on Friday, according to the latest tally from the Oklahoma State Department of Health. That...


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