Oklahoma Capitol

State flags fly outside the dome of the Capitol in Oklahoma City. MATT BARNARD/Tulsa World file

At least one rural Oklahoma lawmaker is not happy with the state Department of Education’s rules for four-day school weeks.

“We expected reasonable waiver rules, and we want academic accountability, but we think the rules proposed are unfair and unobtainable,” said state Rep. Ty Burns, R-Morrison.

State leadership began pushing to eliminate four-day school weeks after unfavorable publicity when districts went to them during revenue shortfalls several years ago. Some smaller districts say they want to continue the shorter weeks as a teacher recruiting tool and because their patrons prefer them.

Last week the Department of Education, at the direction of legislation approved last year, issued conditions under which districts could continue four-day weeks. For the most part, this involves proving the shorter weeks do not harm student learning.

“We think the four-day schedule is working in rural Oklahoma for many of our schools,” Burns said.

Campaigns and elections: State Rep. Monroe Nichols, D-Tulsa, and former Rep. Cory Williams, D-Stillwater, are among Democratic presidential candidate Mike Bloomberg’s Oklahoma campaign staff.

Nichols is listed as senior adviser, Williams as political director. Former state Democratic Party executive director Sarah Baker was previously announced as state director. In a press release, the campaign said it plans to have a dozen staffers and three field offices in the state in the weeks leading up to Oklahoma’s March 3 primary.

Bloomberg’s Tulsa office at 3334 E. 32nd Place is expected to open Feb. 8.

Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren is also staffing up for the Democratic presidential primary.

Tulsa native AC Facci was named Warren’s state organizing director, and the campaign says field personnel are on the ground in Oklahoma City, Norman, Stillwater and Tulsa. Facci has run legislative campaigns and worked for Planned Parenthood Great Plains and Planned Parenthood Great Plains Votes in Oklahoma City.

State Sen. Stephanie Bice, R-Oklahoma City, reported fourth-quarter contributions of nearly $300,000 to her campaign in the 5th Congressional District Republican primary.

One of Bice’s chief competitors, businessman David Hill, reported $205,000 in fourth-quarter contributions.

Meetings and events: Tulsa World cartoonist Bruce Plante will be featured speaker at the monthly meeting of Heart of the Party, the Tulsa Chapter of the Oklahoma Federation of Democratic Women, 6:30 p.m. Monday at Baxter’s, 717 S. Houston Ave.

Medical marijuana advocates say they have a 10 a.m. Thursday rally at the Capitol to voice their concerns about legislation filed for the session that begins Monday.

How to become a Democratic National Convention delegate and Tulsa County’s March 10 ballot issue to allow Sunday liquor store sales will be discussed at the Tulsa Democratic Party luncheon club, which meets at 11:30 a.m. Feb. 14 at Baxter’s, and at the dinner club, 6:30 p.m. Feb. 18 at Johnny Carino’s, 6364 E. 41st St.

The League of Women Voters is taking nominations through Feb. 28 for its Madam President event. Scheduled for May 7, the event recognizes 10 women who could be president. Nominations are being accepted at lwvmadampresident.com.

Bottom lines: Sen. Dave Rader, R-Tulsa, was elected chairman of the Senate Republican Caucus. ... State Rep. Ben Loring, D-Miami, filed legislation to repeal the House and Senate’s exemptions from the state Open Meetings and Open Records Act. ... The Oklahoma Insurance Department recently donated seven shotguns from its fraud division to state law enforcement agencies, including the Coweta and Kiefer police departments. ... State Sen. Joseph Silk, R-Broken Bow, who is also a candidate in the 2nd Congressional District, complained bitterly about online attacks by “unnamed pro-life leaders” against his bill to outlaw abortion in the state in defiance of federal court decisions.


Randy Krehbiel 918-581-8365


Twitter: @rkrehbiel

Randy has been with the Tulsa World since 1979. He is a native of Hinton, Okla., and graduate of Oklahoma State University. Krehbiel primarily covers government and politics. Phone: 918-581-8365

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