The Associated Press
OKLAHOMA CITY — Oklahomans who are tardy on renewing their vehicle license tags face higher fees starting Wednesday.
Other new laws taking effect Wednesday increase penalties for a variety of crimes and ban the tattooing of eyeballs.
Motorists late on renewing their license plate tags used to pay a penalty of 25 cents a day after a 30-day grace period. That is increasing to $1 a day — up to $100.
The legislation was enacted during the final days of the 2009 Legislature to raise $14.4 million for rural infrastructure projects.
It was agreed to by leaders after rural legislators protested a budget plan that discontinued $15.5 million in funding for the Rural Economic Action Plan.
Under the original budget plan, the money was set aside for transportation, mainly for rural bridge repair.
Another new law makes first-offense domestic abuse a felony if prosecutors can show a pattern of physical violence.
The legislation also increases penalties for possession and distribution of child pornography and prohibits sex offenders from being ice cream truck vendors.
Another anti-crime law increases the maximum sentence for kidnapping from 10 years to 20 years.
That law also expands the definition of rape by instrumentation by deleting “consensual” as an element of the crime if a school employee or other public employee is accused in a case involving a person under 20 years old.
Under another new statute, a person driving with a suspended license can be charged with a felony and sentenced to up to five years in prison if involved in an accident causing serious injury or death.
Senate President Pro Tem Glenn Coffee, R-Oklahoma City, said the new laws should not appreciably increase the number of people going to prison.
In the past, Board of Corrections members have criticized lawmakers for passing or expanding felony laws without increasing funding to operate overcrowded prisons.
The Associated Press
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Miners earn top seed in district American Legion tourney
The Joplin Miners are the No. 1 seed for this week’s Triple-A District 15 Tournament at Carl Junction.
Rep. Reiboldt withdraws from debate about farming amendment
Southwest Missouri Democrats on Wednesday will sponsor a program on the Right to Farm Amendment, but it unclear if there will be a debate on the measure.
Oklahoma lawmaker not upset by convict’s delayed death
State Rep. Brian Renegar, D-McAlester, said his thoughts turned to Clayton Lockett’s murder victim when he learned Lockett had died of a heart attack shortly after his formal execution was halted because of problems with the lethal drug injection process.
Oklahoma governor orders review of failed execution
Gov. Mary Fallin ordered a thorough review Wednesday of the botched lethal drug execution of a convicted murderer that left him writhing and grunting. But the governor said executions will continue in Oklahoma, and the review by the state Department of Public Safety is to determine if medical and other protocols were followed in the failed execution of Clayton D. Lockett.
Party on? No local love in Princeton Review rankings
There's no love for Missouri Southern State University, Pittsburg State University or Crowder College in the new rankings issued by the Princeton Review. Which, given many of the survey categories, isn't necessarily a bad thing.
Gov. Nixon declares state of emergency in Missouri
Gov. Jay Nixon today declared a state of emergency in Missouri in response to severe winter weather that began early this morning, bringing hazardous travel and the possibility of power outages.
Publicist: Andy Williams dies
According to a publicist, Emmy-winning TV host and 'Moon River' crooner Andy Williams has died.
Lions climb into share of MIAA men's basketball lead
Without taking the floor, Missouri Southern has climbed into a first-place tie in the MIAA men’s basketball race.
2.6 magnitude earthquake recorded in Oklahoma
The U.S. Geological Survey has recorded a 2.6 magnitude earthquake near Wellston in central Oklahoma.
No injuries or damage is reported.
Audit: $108,000 taken from Missouri Veterans Commission
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — A former employee of the state auditor’s office embezzled nearly $108,000 while working as an accountant for the Missouri Veterans Commission, the state auditor alleged Monday.
Stacy Griffin-Lowery was fired by the Veterans Commission in March 2008 and pleaded guilty three months later to a misdemeanor theft charge. She repaid the state $17,665, the auditor’s office said.
But Missouri Auditor Susan Montee on Monday accused Griffin-Lowery of swiping an additional $90,192 by getting reimbursed for cash advances and purchases made on her personal credit card.
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