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Oklahoma Watch

Oklahoma Watch Oklahoma Watch is a nonprofit news organization that produces in-depth and investigative journalism on important public-policy issues facing the state.

Oklahoma Watch, a statewide media nonprofit, was formed in 2010 to produce investigative journalism on the state’s most significant social welfare issues. Oklahoma Watch publishes its content on a website, oklahomawatch.org, and
distributes stories, data and multimedia to more than 100 Oklahoma news outlets for republication or broadcast. It also conducts public forums on important issues and provides training and work experience to students in journalism and marketing/public relations.

Oklahoma Watch, a statewide media nonprofit, was formed in 2010 to produce investigative journalism on the state’s most significant social welfare issues. Oklahoma Watch publishes its content on a website, oklahomawatch.org, and
distributes stories, data and multimedia to more than 100 Oklahoma news outlets for republication or broadcast. It also conducts public forums on important issues and provides training and work experience to students in journalism and marketing/public relations.

Operating as usual

The $8-million Bridge the Gap Digital Wallet program used federal coronavirus relief funds to distribute $1,500-grants t...
05/17/2022
Democrats Call for Education Secretary Walters to Resign Over Handling Of Relief Program - Oklahoma Watch

The $8-million Bridge the Gap Digital Wallet program used federal coronavirus relief funds to distribute $1,500-grants to families. The grants were supposed to be used to purchase school supplies and laptops, but hundreds bought TVs, gaming consoles, home appliances and other items.

Democrats in the House of Representatives on Wednesday called on Gov. Kevin Stitt to ask the state secretary of education to resign over his handling of a federal COVID-19 relief program for students.

Oklahoma doesn’t collect data on the average jail stay or racial makeup of its detention centers. The state also doesn’t...
05/16/2022
How a Lack of Data Hinders Oklahoma Justice Reform Efforts - Oklahoma Watch

Oklahoma doesn’t collect data on the average jail stay or racial makeup of its detention centers. The state also doesn’t track decisions made by 27 district attorney’s offices, including the initial charging of crimes, plea agreements, and bail recommendations.

Criminal records are public records, and it’s simple enough to keep up with a single case and actions of criminal justice stakeholders like prosecutors and judges. It’s much more difficult to aggregate data from all criminal cases and draw reasonable conclusions.

Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt’s actions regarding his appointees to the Pardon and Parole Board have been “grossly impro...
05/15/2022
Grand Jury Criticizes Gov. Kevin Stitt, Pardon and Parole Board Over Commutation Processes - Oklahoma Watch

Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt’s actions regarding his appointees to the Pardon and Parole Board have been “grossly improper” and the board’s commutation process was focused on speed over public safety, according to an Oklahoma County grand jury report.

Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt’s actions regarding his appointees to the Pardon and Parole Board have been “grossly improper” and the board’s commutation process was focused on speed over public safety, according to an Oklahoma County grand jury report.

NEW: Grand jury report alleges Oklahoma's Pardon and Parole Board's "overall push was ‘volume’ over anything else." "Cor...
05/13/2022
Grand Jury Criticizes Gov. Kevin Stitt, Pardon and Parole Board Over Commutation Processes - Oklahoma Watch

NEW: Grand jury report alleges Oklahoma's Pardon and Parole Board's "overall push was ‘volume’ over anything else."
"Corners were cut and processes were ignored in order to get the highest number of people onto the commutation dockets."

Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt’s actions regarding his appointees to the Pardon and Parole Board have been “grossly improper” and the board’s commutation process was focused on speed over public safety, according to an Oklahoma County grand jury report.

Do you think any of the bills that failed to pass should be reconsidered? Or are there other proposals you would like to...
05/12/2022
Attempts to Restrict State Questions Fail to Pass - Oklahoma Watch

Do you think any of the bills that failed to pass should be reconsidered? Or are there other proposals you would like to see?

A package of bills that would've made it harder for state questions to get on the ballot, or pass on Election Day, are among the bills no longer moving forward this session.

House Democrats on Wednesday called on the governor to ask  Secretary of Education Ryan Walters to resign following an i...
05/11/2022
Democrats Call for Education Secretary Walters to Resign Over Handling Of Relief Program - Oklahoma Watch

House Democrats on Wednesday called on the governor to ask Secretary of Education Ryan Walters to resign following an investigation into the Bridge the Gap Digital Wallet program. https://oklahomawatch.org/2022/05/11/democrats-call-for-education-secretary-walters-to-resign-over-handling-of-relief-program/

Democrats in the House of Representatives on Wednesday called on Gov. Kevin Stitt to ask the state secretary of education to resign over his handling of a federal COVID-19 relief program for students.

"Oklahomans foot the bill for the preparation of this report,” said Kathryn Gardner, an attorney for the Reporters Commi...
05/10/2022
State Officials Refuse To Release A Report On A Troubled Relief Program Where Parents Purchased TVs And Smartwatches - Oklahoma Watch

"Oklahomans foot the bill for the preparation of this report,” said Kathryn Gardner, an attorney for the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press. “They should know what it says, especially since it concerns the expenditure of millions of taxpayers dollars meant to support the public education system during the COVID-19 pandemic.”

An attorney for the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press says the state has given no valid reason to keep the report secret or delay its release.

No agency in Oklahoma collects aggregate data on the average jail stay or racial makeup of detention centers. The state ...
05/09/2022
How a Lack of Data Hinders Oklahoma Justice Reform Efforts - Oklahoma Watch

No agency in Oklahoma collects aggregate data on the average jail stay or racial makeup of detention centers. The state also doesn’t track decisions made by 27 district attorney’s offices.

Criminal records are public records, and it’s simple enough to keep up with a single case and actions of criminal justice stakeholders like prosecutors and judges. It’s much more difficult to…

New from Oklahoma Watch and The Frontier: Oklahoma is keeping secret a review of a pandemic relief program where some fa...
05/06/2022
State Officials Refuse To Release A Report On A Troubled Relief Program Where Parents Purchased TVs And Smartwatches - Oklahoma Watch

New from Oklahoma Watch and The Frontier: Oklahoma is keeping secret a review of a pandemic relief program where some families spent money intended for school supplies on video game consoles and barbecue smokers.

An attorney for the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press says the state has given no valid reason to keep the report secret or delay its release.

New podcast episode: we discuss our open records lawsuit against the state, the Tulsa police controversy involving a 70-...
05/04/2022
Long Story Short: The Latest Watchdog Journalism on Public Funds and Policing - Oklahoma Watch

New podcast episode: we discuss our open records lawsuit against the state, the Tulsa police controversy involving a 70-year-old woman experiencing a mental health crisis and how cash for students and teachers paid for video games, TV sets and Christmas trees. Ted Streuli hosts.

Topics: Oklahoma Watch's open records lawsuit against the state. Investigating the governor's use of federal education relief funds. Tulsa police's handling of a 70-year-old woman in mental health…

On the House and Senate floors, there was no debate or opposition again as lawmakers quickly give the green light to the...
05/04/2022
With the Stroke of a Pen, Stitt Vetoes Government Transparency Proposal - Oklahoma Watch

On the House and Senate floors, there was no debate or opposition again as lawmakers quickly give the green light to the government transparency measure.

Gov. Kevin Stitt stopped the move in its tracks this week when he vetoed the proposal.

After the state has loosened its financial disclosure requirements over the years, a proposal to add more transparency fails after Gov. Kevin Stitt vetoes popular legislation.

New: Millions of federal dollars. A no-bid contract to a for-profit, out of state company. A choice to forgo guardrails ...
05/02/2022
Stitt Gave Families $8 Million For School Supplies in the Pandemic; They Bought Christmas Trees, Gaming Consoles and Hundreds of TVs - Oklahoma Watch

New: Millions of federal dollars. A no-bid contract to a for-profit, out of state company. A choice to forgo guardrails against fraud in order to empower parents. What could go wrong? New story from Oklahoma Watch and The Frontier.

Oklahoma gave a Florida company a no-bid contract to distribute $18 million in pandemic relief money as a test-run for school vouchers. Now federal investigators are eyeing the deal.

Oklahoma Watch has filed a lawsuit against the Office of Management and Enterprise Services over its decision to keep $1...
04/27/2022
Oklahoma Watch Files Transparency Lawsuit Against State Agency Over Federal Relief Funds - Oklahoma Watch

Oklahoma Watch has filed a lawsuit against the Office of Management and Enterprise Services over its decision to keep $18 billion in applications for federal coronavirus funding a secret.

#transparency #FOI #okgov #okleg #ARPA

Oklahoma Office of Management and Enterprise Services
Freedom of Information Oklahoma
The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press

Oklahoma Watch has filed a lawsuit against the Office of Management and Enterprise Services over its decision to keep $18 billion in applications for federal coronavirus funding a secret.

“I’m running against Senator James Lankford because he proved on 1/6 that he was a part of the group that wanted to over...
04/22/2022
Education Watch: Running Classrooms, Running for Office - Oklahoma Watch

“I’m running against Senator James Lankford because he proved on 1/6 that he was a part of the group that wanted to overthrow the government. And I don’t think somebody who’s trying to overthrow the government should sit in the United States Senate.”

Why a Tulsa teacher is running for U.S. Senate against James Lankford.

Senate Bill 1204 proposes creating a 30-member Oklahoma Commission on Race and Equality. The governor and majority leade...
04/19/2022
Oklahoma Commission on Race and Equality Proposal Fails Again - Oklahoma Watch

Senate Bill 1204 proposes creating a 30-member Oklahoma Commission on Race and Equality. The governor and majority leaders of the Senate and House would each appoint seven members. #okleg

State Sen. George Young has proposed similar legislation multiple times, again failing to receive a committee hearing this session.

Hundreds of candidates are headed to the State Capitol this week to formally file for 2022’s set of state, federal and j...
04/13/2022
What to Watch During Oklahoma's Candidate Filing Period - Oklahoma Watch

Hundreds of candidates are headed to the State Capitol this week to formally file for 2022’s set of state, federal and judicial elections. Here’s what you need to know.

Many candidates have announced plans to run for one of the many federal, state and judicials races on the ballot. They have to file for office during a three-day window that starts Wednesday.

Address

Oklahoma Watch 500 North Broadway Ave., Ste LL10
Oklahoma City, OK
73102

General information

Oklahoma Watch is a nonprofit, tax-exempt, 501(c)(3) corporation whose mission is to produce in-depth and investigative journalism on public-policy issues facing the state. Put succinctly, our mission is: Through investigative journalism, uncover and examine the most significant quality-of-life issues facing Oklahoma, with a focus on the vulnerable. Amplify the voices of those who have none. Promote understanding and discussion of critical policy issues. Help develop the journalists and journalism of the future. In practice, we dig beneath the surface of issues of public importance, provide insightful analysis and reveal meaningful trends, facts, issues, underlying causes and possible solutions. We are nonpartisan and strive to be balanced, accurate and comprehensive. We collaborate with university journalism colleges or schools, especially the University of Oklahoma’s Ga***rd College of Journalism and Mass Communication, to help train future journalists and promote the career of journalism.

Opening Hours

Monday 9am - 5pm
Tuesday 9am - 5pm
Wednesday 9am - 5pm
Thursday 9am - 5pm
Friday 9am - 5pm

Telephone

+14055942429

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Searchable or visualized data, presented on a special web page or with other content.

Public forums on key issues, featuring leaders and experts.

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Comments

State agencies have asked for money from the state’s $1.87 billion fund from the federal government for #COVID19 relief. But Oklahoma officials are keeping the details a secret. -- Paul Monies at Oklahoma Watch reports.
Our friends at Oklahoma Watch allow republishing of their top-rate investigative work. This is the first of what will be ongoing, curated, republishing of state and Capitol reporting that impacts our readers in the OKC metro.
This week on Across the Desk, Kit talks about several kooky and outlandish bills designed to kill the medical ma*****na industry in the state of Oklahoma. Some increase penalties by 3x the amount... Another that forces anyone wanting a ma*****na business to submit a question to be put on the ballot to put it up for a vote, But it can only be put on the ballot during a General Election.. And more ways (R)s are trying to kill that 'free market' that they are always praising about..
Governor Stitt welcomed legislators back to the Capitol on Monday with the State of the State Address. Oklahoma Watch offers a great review of the speech, complete with annotations of laws or past actions referenced and explained. Stitt has made it clear that he believes the state should support education outside of the public school system. OKPLAC contends that most "school choice" concepts that send public funds to private entities are not designed to serve all kids. Supporters of "school choice" are content to leave some kids behind for the benefit of others. We believe students and families should have educational options, but public funds should be protected for public services. OKPLAC will continue to advocate for strong, innovative, equitable public schools that truly serve ALL kids. (If you're not already, now is a good time to join our Advocacy Alert email list: https://actionnetwork.org/forms/add-me-to-the-advocacy-email-list/)
Dozens of bills filed in advance of Oklahoma’s 2022 legislative session seek to change how, when and where Oklahomans vote. Oklahoma Watch
This week Kit talks about several bills proposed by Oklahoma Republicans into the State Legislature designed to make Public education harder for teachers, administrators, and students... All in a bid to kill the Public school system in Oklahoma, or at least make it really hard for someone to want to work, or learn, there... And seven of these bills are from just two Senators... A bills on 'Wellness Scholarships' so you can make the State pay for your child's private school education if the public school they go to requires mask or vaccine mandates. And the private school? The can still have the mandates.... A bill that protects a students 'closely held religious beliefs' if a teacher or staff does anything directly, or indirectly, that would offend a person's religious views... It's kooky, It's clowny, and it's this week on Across the Desk.....
Did you know that our legislators are exempt from the Open Records Act and are filing legislation to make it harder and more expensive for the public to access documentation? We need to demand greater transparency and accountability from our state leaders, and I am thankful for organizations like Oklahoma Watch that work to bring sunlight to our legislative process.
To keep the heat on, the state’s biggest gas company, Oklahoma Natural Gas, made a last-minute decision: It purchased fuel from the wildly expensive spot market at nearly 600 times the usual price. Click the link to read more in this Oklahoma Watch and Floodlight story at enidnews.com.
This week on Across the Desk, Kit talks about Oklahoma Governor Stitt's E.O. on letting other State Departments foot the bill for education by allowing employees from those other Departments to be 'Guest Educators' while still being paid from the payroll of their respected Departments... It all has to do with the Republican plan for Education.. And it's a classic.
A study from the nonprofit research group found a strong link between the urban-rural divide and vaccination rates (with more rural areas having lower vaccination rates). But it concluded that counties with greater shares of white evangelical Protestants have lower rates of vaccination. Meanwhile, it found counties with more religious diversity, a greater share of white Catholics or more religiously unaffiliated Americans — an increasingly common group also referred to as the “nones” since they don’t subscribe to any specific religious belief — have seen higher vaccination rates. Rev. Shannon Fleck, executive director of the Oklahoma Conference of Churches, said it can be difficult for church leaders to navigate the pandemic in a way that doesn’t turn off a portion of their congregation. “It’s vital to remember that Jesus was all about protecting the vulnerable and making sure people are cared for with love and respect,” she said. “A lot of the arguments around the vaccine are centered around personal liberty issues, and I just don’t think Jesus would be on board with that.” Read the full Oklahoma Watch article below. https://oklahomawatch.org/2021/12/20/as-some-oklahoma-churches-push-vaccines-others-sow-misinformation-doubt/
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, there are 110,023 Mexican nationals living, working and paying taxes in Oklahoma, and more than 106,000 of them live in Oklahoma City. All of them count on services from the consulates in Little Rock, Ark., Dallas or Kansas City, Mo. Learn more in this Oklahoma Watch story: