Regional News

Oklahoma-based tribes say followed rules on Freedmen rights

Leaders and representatives of five Oklahoma-based tribes have told a U.S. Senate committee they have followed treaties and court rulings regarding the citizenship of Freedmen and that the federal government should respect their sovereignty. Freedmen were the freed Black people enslaved by the Cherokee, Seminole, Choctaw, Muscogee (Creek) and Chickasaw nations. They were guaranteed the rights of tribal citizens under separate 1866 treaties with the United States. Many say only the Cherokee recognize the citizenship of Freedmen descendants. Senate Indian Affairs committee chair, Democrat Sen. Brian Schatz, says the goal of the committee is to begin conversations and educate the committee and public about the issue.

Court: Kansas election chief's software change violated law

The Kansas Court of Appeals has ruled that the state's top elections official violated the state's open records law when he had office computer software altered so that it could no longer produce data sought by a voting-rights advocate. The decision directed a trial-court judge to order Secretary of State Scott Schwab to reverse the change so that the software can again produce a statewide report on provisional ballots. Those ballots are cast when election officials have doubts about whether someone is eligible to vote. The data was sought by founder Davis Hammet of the voting-rights group Loud Light. The appeals panel said Schwab's action improperly concealed a public record.

Gov. Parson issues emergency order in response to drought

Missouri Gov. Mike Parson has issued a drought alert in response to a drought that is significantly affecting the state, particularly in the south. The governor said Missouri is taking several steps, including providing farmers access to water at state parks and conservation areas. State park officials also are identifying land that might be suitable for hay for farm animals. Director of Agriculture Chris Chinn said almost 75% of Missouri is in a drought, with 35% in a severe to extreme drought. The order issued Thursday is for 53 counties, most in southern Missouri. Parson said the state also is seeking federal help for the state's farmers.

Oklahoma motorcycle officer fatally struck while on patrol

Authorities say a suburban Oklahoma City motorcycle police officer was killed when he was struck from behind while on patrol. Police in Edmond say 38-year-old Sgt. C.J. Nelson died Tuesday after being struck by a pickup truck just outside the Edmond city limits in Oklahoma City. Police in Oklahoma City say Nelson was stopped with other vehicles at a traffic light when they were struck by a truck driven by 54-year-old Jay Stephen Fite. No other injuries were reported. Jail records show Fite is being held without bond on a warrant alleging second-degree murder or manslaughter. Jail records do not list an attorney who could speak on Fite’s behalf.