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Articles written by Trevor Brown

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 By Trevor Brown    Local    December 6, 2019

With prison staff shortage, Oklahoma looks to hire teenagers as guards

Teenagers, fresh out of high school, could be hired to guard and oversee hardened criminals in Oklahoma’s chronically overcrowded and understaffed prisons. In a little-noticed action, the Oklahoma Board of Corrections passed a set of legislative re...

 
 By Trevor Brown    Local    October 24, 2019

As new gun law approaches, seizures of firearms in largest cities keep rising

The number of illegally used or owned guns taken off the streets in Oklahoma's two most populous cities continues to be on the rise. Data from the Oklahoma City and Tulsa police departments show gun...

 

What comes next after opioid ruling?

-Oklahoma Watch Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter said there is no question Monday was a “day of reckoning” for pharmaceutical companies that helped accelerate the spread of dangerous opioids across the country. Minutes after Cleveland County...

 
 By Trevor Brown    Regional    July 5, 2019

Oklahoma air quality dips after years of steady gains

Oklahoma's air may be getting worse. The newest data from the Environmental Protection Agency shows air quality throughout much of the state was down during each of the past two years. That bucked a... Full story

 

Working in background, lawyer reaps fees in opioid case

Attorneys in the state's sprawling opioid lawsuit have bragged that they slept on cots in their offices and went through millions of pages of evidence. But one private attorney in the case, a former... Full story

 
 By Trevor Brown    Regional    April 4, 2019

Oklahoma prepares to purge thousands of inactive voters

Election officials are gearing up to remove tens of thousands of Oklahomans from the state’s voter rolls – a controversial practice voting-rights advocates say can lead to disenfranchised voters. Oklahoma is one of seven states that allow...

 

Medicaid work proposal could prove a high hurdle for ex-felons

Like many other Oklahomans who have a criminal conviction, Lena Chatmon has struggled to rebuild her life since pleading guilty to motor vehicle-related and larceny charges in 2017. Chatmon, 21, who lives in Tulsa, is unemployed and said many employe...

 

Outreach could affect rural areas

Oklahoma bucked expectations as enrollment on the federal health-care marketplace climbed to a record level for the upcoming year. Federal data released Wednesday showed about 150,000 Oklahomans signed up for health care coverage during the 45-day Af...

 
 By Trevor Brown    Regional    May 13, 2018

Hand-picked group to begin wielding powers over state agencies

A small group of unelected citizens, all appointed by Republican state leaders, will soon be exercising significant powers to decide how the state’s top agencies spend their funding and which services they should provide. Legislators and Gov. Mary...

 
 By Trevor Brown    Regional    April 8, 2018

High-earners' tax break could be key to ending teacher walkout

A controversial proposal to end a tax break that benefits fewer than 18,000 Oklahomans – the vast majority of whom make upwards of $200,000 – is at the center of the debate over how lawmakers can find more money for education and potentially end...

 

Non-Christian denominations could be shut out of House chaplain program

Faith leaders are looking for answers after a Republican legislator issued guidelines that could block a large swath of the state's religious community from leading lawmakers in prayers that kick off...

 
 By Trevor Brown    Regional    July 23, 2017

State's Obamacare waiver would assess fee on 1.7M Oklahomans

Oklahoma is preparing to unveil a $350 million plan designed to reduce health insurance premiums and avert a scenario where the state is left with no provider offering plans on the federally run marketplace. But the effort comes with a catch: The...

 

Donations, lobbying reflect influence of oil and gas industry

In recent weeks, Oklahoma's budget stood in limbo for a time as Republicans and Democrats battled over how much to raise gross production taxes on oil and gas wells. But a third party was at the...

 
 By Trevor Brown    Regional    May 4, 2017

State budget deal remains elusive after new proposals unveiled

Republican lawmakers have introduced their first big-ticket revenue bills, with a month remaining in the legislative session. But committee votes and lawmakers’ comments show it will be a tough task to find consensus – even within the Republican...

 
 By Trevor Brown    Regional    April 6, 2017

As victims' rights law makes ballot, other states grapple with pitfalls

Oklahoma House members’ unanimous vote Tuesday to put a constitutional amendment expanding crime-victims’ rights on the 2018 ballot suggests the need for it is obvious and indisputable. “Marsy’s Law,” as it is called, would amend the...

 

State looks to roll back required health-care benefits

The fate of health coverage for thousands of Oklahomans continues to hang in the balance despite the failure of Republicans to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. GOP leaders pulled their health-care proposal Friday after it was clear there w...

 
 By Trevor Brown    Local    March 3, 2017

In search of a grand bargain: Ways to bridge budget gap

As Oklahoma’s 2017 legislative session enters its fourth week, one thing is abundantly clear: Republicans, Democrats and Gov. Mary Fallin are nowhere close to a budget deal. The Legislature and governor’s office have until the end of May to sign...

 

Time to panic? Policymakers, public divided on 'dire' budget warnings

Moments after explaining how another state revenue failure will require millions of dollars of mid-year budget cuts, Secretary of Finance Preston Doerflinger issued a warning to lawmakers and top state officials. “I don’t know how much more I...

 

Did gerrymandering give Republicans dominance in legislature?

A recent federal court ruling could open a new wave of redistricting challenges across the country. And that includes Oklahoma, where Republicans now control 78.5 percent of the statehouse seats ...

 

Calculating Oklahoma's efficiency gap

To calculate the efficiency gap for legislative elections in 2014 and 2016, Oklahoma Watch compiled the total votes cast for each district’s Republican and Democratic candidates, plus the total combined vote. For uncontested races, a total vote num...

 

A redder, and greener, Legislature faces steep challenges

Republicans built further on their dominance of the state Legislature on Tuesday by securing a net gain of four House seats and three Senate seats. The change was relatively slight, but contrasted with intensive efforts this year by Democrats, educat...

 
 By Trevor Brown    Local    November 6, 2016

Q&A on 'Right to Farm' question

A ballot measure, State Question 777, would place in Oklahoma’s constitution a “right to farm,” setting new limits on elected officials’ ability to pass laws that might infringe on farming rights. Farming, in this case, refers to...

 
 By Trevor Brown    Local    October 9, 2016

Federal ruling may end nursing homes' no-lawsuit agreements

A new federal ruling could settle a long-disputed question of whether Oklahoma nursing homes can force patients or their families to sign away their rights to sue in court as a condition for admission. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services...

 

Okla. polling, fundraising data hints at tighter Trump win

Recent polling and fundraising numbers seem to confirm that Donald Trump will likely win Oklahoma’s seven electoral votes this November. Trump has now outraised Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton in the state for the third consecutive month. And...

 

In Oklahoma, child care providers are closing their doors

After 23 years in the child-care industry, Laura Hatcher is edging toward a decision she doesn't want to make. The 51-year-old Antlers resident runs one of the four licensed day-care facilities in... Full story

 

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