- Ada, Oklahoma

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.

“It’s time to move the process forward,” she said.

The new guidelines say commercial buildings will have to be registered within 12 months of becoming vacant. A property undergoing rehabilitation will have to be registered only if it is vacant for more than six months after a building permit is issued.

There are exceptions for property that is for sale and being marketed. 

Owners of vacant buildings will be required to pay registration fees and annual renewal fees. 


Information from: The Oklahoman,

Data: OK women earned 17 pct. less than in men in 2012


OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics says Oklahoma women earned 83 percent as much as their male counterparts in 2012. 

The Oklahoman reports ( the statistics rank Oklahoma 10th in the country. The state exceeded the national average for the third time since the agency started tracking wage and salary data by gender in 1987. 

Nationwide, women earned 80.9 percent as much as men in 2012, based on figures from the Census Bureau’s monthly population surveys of about 60,000 households. 

In 2012, Oklahoma women posted their second-highest wage ratio. 

Lynn Gray with the Oklahoma Employment Security Commission says he was surprised to see Oklahoma’s ratio was so high last year. He says Oklahoma’s energy jobs tend to skew the ratio because women typically don’t work in those occupations.