July 31, 2015

Incarcerated adults may soon have access to grants

Incarcerated adults may soon be able to access federal grants after the U.S. Education Department announced Friday it would suspend the nearly 20-year old ban that prohibited inmates from accessing Pell grants, the federal subsidy for low-income students.

Education Secretary Arne Duncan and Attorney General Loretta Lynch revealed Friday the department would suspend the ban and restore some prisoners’ ability to access Pell grants through a pilot program.

The Education Department has the ability through a provision in the Higher Education Act to suspend certain rules, like the Pell grant ban, to study their effectiveness.

The pilot program will focus on collecting data on recidivism rates. The USDE will put out a call for proposals from colleges that want to participate in the pilot. If successful, the plan could expand beyond a pilot.
 

 

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July 31, 2015

A bill transferring the implementation of art

A bill transferring the implementation of the Oklahoma Art in Public Places Act from the Oklahoma Historical Society to the Oklahoma Arts Council went into effect July 1 and the council’s director of marketing and communications said the agency is currently “getting up to speed and looking at different projects that have been in a pipeline during the moratorium.”

The program will not change, said Gavin. “We’ll just pick it up and go with it from there.”

“The way the legislation was written, it’s pretty structured and there’s not a whole lot that we need to alter,” he said.

HB1824 states the purpose of the program is to enhance public construction and encourage state and cultural development.

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July 31, 2015

The chair of the House Energy and National Resourc

The chair of the House Energy and National Resources Committee believes it is past time that the United States remove its self-imposed ban on the exportation of oil.

This sentiment from Rep. Weldon Watson, R-Tulsa, follows an earlier announcement by U.S. House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, on Wednesday that he would support a push to end the ban which dates back to the 1970s. Boehner’s statement comes at a time when another potential deal could lift a ban placed on oil from Iran.

Watson said this is a federal issue, but one that could prove to be very beneficial to Oklahoma and its economy. It’s not secret, he said, that the price of oil has a direct impact on a loss of jobs in the state.

“It would be great for Oklahoma, it would be great for the companies and most importantly it would be great for employment,” he said.

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July 31, 2015

Twelve bills passed during the 2013 and 2014

Twelve bills passed during the 2013 and 2014 legislative sessions have taken or will take effect this year.

Eleven of those bills were passed in 2014. Two-thirds of the bills took effect Jan. 1. Only one of the bills passed by the 54th Legislature and signed by Fallin comes from the 2013 legislative session: House Bill 2201. The bill, by Rep. Randy Grau, R-Edmond, and Sen. Brian Bingman, R-Sapulpa, creates the CompSource Mutual Insurance Company Act.

The bill also was unique because portions of it took effect Jan. 1, but it also required CompSource to take certain actions in 2014 in advance of becoming a mutual insurance company.

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July 30, 2015

A “lively discussion” is expected during inter

A “lively discussion” is expected during an interim study examining the Legislature’s process for reviewing and approving administrative rules, Rep. George Faught said.

Faught, R-Muskogee, chairs the House Administrate Rules Committee that will hear H15-007, a legislative review of the administrative rules process. Members of the Senate Rules Committee also are expected to attend.

“Several agencies already have expressed an interest in the study and participating in it,” Faught said Thursday. “So, I expect we will have a lively discussion.”

Faught said he requested the study after the Legislature failed for the second consecutive year to consider an omnibus rules resolution.
 

 

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July 30, 2015

The National Conference of State Legislators

The National Conference of State Legislators will host an Oklahoma State Legislator during its annual legislative summit. Rep. Lewis Moore, R-Arcadia, will join a professor and a state representative of Washington State on stage to discuss issues regarding marijuana and federalism.

Moore’s 30-minute talk will discuss mainly the state’s sovereignty to create its own laws without an overreaching federal government. If Oklahoma chooses to keep marijuana illegal, the laws mandated should lie within the state’s borders, he said.
 

 

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