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News Brief: Week of Feb. 3-9


Controversy in Virginia

Both the governor and lieutenant governor of Virginia are facing calls from prominent lawmakers to resign, one for dressing in a blackface costume and the other over allegations of sexual assault.

Gov. Ralph Northam apologized for appearing in a racist photo on Feb. 1 but recanted this statement a day later, saying he made prior racial mistakes but did not pose in the photo printed next to his name in the 1984 Virginia Military Institute yearbook.

In an interview with CBS News on Saturday, Northam said he would not step down from his position anytime soon, adding, “I really think that I’m in a position where I can take Virginia to the next level.”

Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax, next in line for the governorship if Northam were to resign, is facing allegations of sexual assault from two accusers.

On Feb. 4, California professor Vanessa Tyson released a statement detailing how Fairfax sexually assaulted her at a Boston hotel room during the 2004 Democratic National Convention.

On Friday, a second accuser stated Fairfax raped her while attending Duke University in 2000.

Fairfax said Friday the allegations are false, and he has no plans to resign.

Trump gives State of the Union

President Donald Trump gave his second State of the Union Address on Tuesday, calling for increased unity among Democrats and Republicans and stronger border security.

The message—touching on subjects including taxes, international trade and abortion—was well received by 76 percent of viewers, according to a poll conducted by CBS. However, audience members polled were 17 percent more likely to identify as a Republican than the general population, according to CNN.

A heartwarming moment came at the beginning of the address when Trump and members of Congress sang “Happy Birthday to audience member Judah Samet, a survivor of both the Holocaust and Tree of Life Synagogue mass shooting, who turned 81 years old.

Border security deadline approaches

Bipartisan talks to reach a border security deal by the Feb. 15 deadline have stalled, once again putting the livelihoods of hundreds of thousands of federal government workers and contractors in jeopardy.

An informal deadline of Feb. 11 was set by Congress in order to pass the legislation without waving procedural rules, but communication between Democrats and Republicans has stopped, according to the New York Times.

The government will shut down once again beginning Feb. 16 if no deal is reached.


Constitutional carry bill passes committee

A bill, which would allow Oklahoma residents to purchase and carry a gun without training or a background check, passed a House committee on Thursday, setting the stage for the House and Senate to vote on it.

A similar measure was approved by the House last year but later vetoed by then-Gov. Mary Fallin.

Gov. Kevin Stitt said earlier this month he will sign such as a measure, adding, “We are going to be a state that protects the Second Amendment.”

According to Stitt, the bill should give private businesses the right to ban firearms from their establishments.

Oklahoma County Jail ruled unsafe for mental health patients

Citing a recent pattern of suicides and self-harm attempts, Oklahoma County Special Judge Geary Walke ruled the Oklahoma County Jail unsafe for mental health patients on Friday.

The decision comes a month after 29-year-old inmate Krysten Michelle Gonzalez died in her jail cell while awaiting placement in a mental health facility.

Court officials will now use alternative methods of supervision, such as GPS monitoring, in order to keep up with mental health patients.


The Oklahoma Christian department of music will host their annual Valentine’s Day Cabaret event Feb. 14-16.

Tickets for the show, featuring songs from “The Greatest Showman” and “Hamilton,” may be purchased online or at the campus box office.

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