Governor selects

former chief justice

OKLAHOMA CITY — Gov. Kevin Stitt chose a former chief justice of the Oklahoma Supreme Court to serve as the next member of the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education.

Steven W. Taylor was appointed by Stitt on Wednesday morning to serve a nine-year term on the state’s coordinating board for higher education. The appointment is subject to Senate confirmation.

Taylor served as a member of Oklahoma Supreme Court from 2004 to 2016 and served as chief justice for two years beginning in 2011.

“Chief Justice Taylor has been a dedicated public servant for the people of Oklahoma his entire career,” Stitt said. “He has a passion for education and a love for our great state. He will be an impactful addition to the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education as we work to move our state forward.”

Taylor earned an undergraduate degree at Oklahoma State in political science and later earned a law degree from the University of Oklahoma.

In his more than 20 years as a trial judge, he presided over more than 500 jury trials, including the state trial of the Oklahoma City bombing case. Taylor also serves on the board of directors of the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation and the Oklahoma City National Memorial.

The state regents oversee the academic standards of higher education in Oklahoma while determining functions and courses of study at state colleges and universities, grant degrees, and approve each public college’s and university’s allocations, as well as tuition and fees within the limits set by the Oklahoma Legislature.

— The Oklahoman


Authorities fan out

across Muskogee County

MUSKOGEE (TNS) — About 150 law enforcers fanned out before dawn Wednesday across Muskogee County in an attempt to find and arrest people identified during a yearlong investigation as taking part in a violent drug distribution network.

Ten of 40 people named either in federal indictments unsealed Wednesday or charging information filed in Muskogee County District Court were jailed before the sweep began. All but a dozen had been arrested when U.S. Attorney Brian Kuester provided information about the investigation, arrests and charges during an early afternoon press conference.

Kuester said his office presented evidence during the course of several months to a federal grand jury, which on March 13 returned indictments for 11 defendants accused of conspiring to distribute methamphetamine. The indictments, which were unsealed Wednesday, also allege crimes that include drug distribution, possession with intent to distribute, firearms violations and a witness-tampering conspiracy.

Another 29 defendants identified during the multi-agency investigation face state charges in Muskogee County District Court. State charges include conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine and unlawfully using a communication facility to commit the alleged drug crimes.

— Muskogee Phoenix