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State News

December 5, 2013

State News Roundup

Oklahoma City — Fallin order supports common core

 

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Gov. Mary Fallin has issued an executive order in support of education standards in math and English known as Common Core and says she hopes the order will ease fears that the standards represent a federal takeover of public education.

Fallin signed the executive order Wednesday. It states the federal government will have no input in the formulation of the standards and that the state will be responsible for deciding how to test student performance.

The standards were developed by the National Governors Association, which is currently chaired by Fallin. They have already been adopted in 45 states, including Oklahoma where there is growing opposition to them, especially among some conservative House legislators.

 

OKC council approves vacant building registry

 

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Oklahoma City will create a registry of abandoned buildings to try to reduce the negative impact they have on city neighborhoods. 

The city council voted unanimously Tuesday to adopt the proposal that will require owners to register most residences that have been vacant for more than 30 days, The Oklahoman reported in a story published Wednesday. 

There are more than 12,000 vacant and abandoned buildings in Oklahoma City, according to a study released earlier this year.

The study said run-down houses and commercial buildings push everyone’s property values down. It also found that owners of blighted properties pay an average of about $112 annually in taxes while owners of occupied homes paid more than $1,200. 

Commercial property managers and realtors voiced concerns about the proposal, and city councilors ultimately loosened some of the requirements for commercial buildings. 

Darla Cheek, of the Oklahoma City Metro Association of Realtors, said the plan was “still very fuzzy.” Creek and others urged the council to defer action.

State Rep. Kay Floyd, a Democrat who represents near-northside neighborhoods, said the proposal had been improved in response to comments made at a public hearing last month.

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