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Today In The News
Senate panel passes six teacher pay raise bills: A Senate panel on Wednesday passed six measures that would increase teacher pay. The bills move to the full Senate Appropriations Committee for consideration. State officials expect to have $868 million less to spend in crafting the fiscal year 2018 budget, but legislative leaders have said increasing teacher pay is a priority. Senate Bill 97, by Sen. Micheal Bergstrom, R-Adair, would provide a $1,000 raise the first year, a $2,000 raise the second year and a $3,000 raise the third year [Tulsa World].
Plans to change voter-approved drug laws face backlash: Some Republicans in the Oklahoma Legislature are pushing back against voter-approved changes in November to soften drug possession penalties, arguing that voters didn’t know exactly what they were doing when they approved the initiatives with nearly 60 percent of the vote. Several proposals have been introduced this year by tough-on-crime Republicans who want to undo some of the changes approved by voters just a few months ago, including one bill to reinstate felony penalties for some drug possession crimes that easily cleared a House committee on Wednesday. Those plans are riling up voters who approved the changes and said they are fed up with Oklahoma’s overcrowded and underfunded prisons [Associated Press].
Immigration agents arrest more than a dozen in central Oklahoma: An immigration attorney said the threshold of who is picked up by immigration officials has been lowered by the new administration. “It’s wide open who they go after,” Michael Brooks Jimenez said. He represents five of the eight men picked up by immigration agents with the fugitive task force this week in Purcell. Authorities told KOCO 5 that more than a dozen undocumented immigrants were arrested in central Oklahoma. “When (agents) go to arrest someone, if they encounter anyone else they think might not be documented, they pick them up as collateral damage,” Brooks Jimenez said [KOCO].
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