Oklahoma pubcasting survives important Senate panel vote

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Legislation to save the Oklahoma Educational Television Authority “narrowly squeaked out of a Senate panel” on Tuesday (April 4), reports the Tulsa World. With the crucial vote tied 4-4, Sen. Bill Brown changed his nay to a yay. “I did not realize this sunset bill means OETA could not even go out and raise private money,” he said. “This is not an appropriations bill. It just keeps them operating. My stance changes on that because my deal is that I would love to see them go out and raise private money and operate as a private company. But if this bill doesn’t pass, they don’t even make that. So, I would like to change my vote from a no vote to a yes vote.”

The bill reauthorizes OETA as a state agency until its next sunset review in 2016. If the measure had failed, it would no longer exist after July 1.

Brown also said he would vote against a state appropriation for OETA.

OETA receives about $3.8 million from the state and raises some $8 million each year.

The bill now goes to the full Senate.