Oklahoma Capitol Almanac

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Associated Press

Posted on March 27, 2013 at 9:05 PM

Updated Thursday, Mar 28 at 1:04 AM

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Okla. State Bureau of Investigation investigating threats to author of horse slaughter bill

The Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation is looking into threats made against a state representative who authored a bill to allow the slaughter of horses in Oklahoma.

The OSBI confirmed Wednesday it's investigating threats targeting Republican Rep. Skye McNiel of Bristow.

McNiel says the threats have been troubling but says she refuses to "play into their hands." She says she has turned over emails, Facebook messages and telephone recordings to the OSBI.

Threats to a public official can be a felony crime and are one of the few crimes over which OSBI has original jurisdiction.

The horse slaughter bill passed the Senate on Tuesday and is heading to Gov. Mary Fallin, who has indicated she'll sign it.

The bill was fiercely opposed by animal rights groups across the country.

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Okla. group opposing common core education standards rallies at state Capitol

A group opposed to a set of public education principles known as common core state standards are rallying at the state Capitol and urging legislators to overturn them.

About 100 people attended the rally Wednesday sponsored by Restore Oklahoma Public Education.

Common core standards include basic requirements for students to learn in math, English, history, social studies and science.

But speakers at Wednesday's rally contend the standards are part of a plot by the federal government to take over education in Oklahoma.

Paul Blair, the pastor of Fairview Baptist Church in Edmond, says the standards are a "dangerous Trojan horse" tied to a United Nations organization.

Laverne Republican Rep. Gus Blackwell says the standards were implemented in Oklahoma with the lure of federal money that Oklahoma never received.

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Oklahoma House budget committee approves new teacher bonus plan amid concern

A plan to tie teacher bonus pay to a new evaluation program has cleared a House committee despite concern the proposal will replace a separate incentive for teachers who receive National Board Certification.

The House Appropriations Committee voted 13-10 Wednesday for the bill to provide a $1,000 bonus for "superior" rated teachers under the new Oklahoma Teacher and Leader Effectiveness Evaluation System, or TLE. Teachers receiving a "highly effective" ranking would get a $500 bonus.

Some members opposed the program because it aims to replace the current system that awards nationally board certified teachers a $5,000 annual stipend. New applicants to that program no longer are receiving the stipend after the Legislature first suspended it in 2010 because of statewide budget cuts.

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Online:

Senate Bill 316: http://bit.ly/16YZFkA

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Okla. House Democrats condemn proposed Education Dept. change; Dept. calls it misunderstanding

A small political battle has developed between some House Democrats and the State Department of Education over Oklahoma's academic standards.

Rep. Jerry McPeak and three other representatives said at a news conference Wednesday that the department is trying to throw the legislature out of the process of reviewing and approving changes to standards for history, math and other subjects.

Department spokeswoman Sherry Fair calls it a misunderstanding. She says the department simply wants to take those academic standards out of the lengthy list of department rules because any rule changes must be sent the Legislature.

Fair says without the proposal, routine academic adjustments must go through an unnecessarily long process every time there is an adjustment.

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Okla. Sierra Club chapter opposes UN Agenda 21 bill, calls measure 'conspiracy theory'

The Oklahoma chapter of the Sierra Club is opposing a so-called "Agenda 21" bill to limit cities and counties from entering into agreements with United Nations-accredited organizations.

The bill by Bethany Republican Rep. Sally Kern already passed the House and has been assigned to the Senate Energy Committee. It would limit the activities of groups connected to Agenda 21, a plan developed by the U.N. to help cities and countries become more environmentally sustainable.

The plan has been criticized by conservative activists who contend it is an attempt to take over private property.

The Sierra Club's Oklahoma chapter President David Ocamb called the bill a "ridiculous conspiracy theory."

Senate Energy Committee Chairman Sen. Cliff Branan says he hasn't decided whether to hear the bill.

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House Bill 1412: http://bit.ly/14ogMN6

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