Oklahoma Medicaid office: Update address or lose benefits

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Oklahoma's Medicaid agency is warning its SoonerCare members to keep current their address on file with the agency or risk losing their health care benefits.

The Oklahoma Health Care Authority sent out a public reminder Wednesday of the new rule that was signed by Gov. Kevin Stitt last week. The agency says it intends to launch outreach efforts through social media and through outbound phone calls to SoonerCare recipients after hours and on weekends.

Agency officials say the new rule is needed to comply with federal guidelines. But advocates for the poor have criticized the policy, saying low-income people move more frequently and that many members will be wrongfully cut from the programs.

About 20 percent of Oklahoma's population, more than two-thirds of them children, currently are enrolled in Medicaid .


Opioid drug defendants ask Oklahoma judge to end case

NORMAN, Okla. (AP) — The defendants in Oklahoma's trial against drugmakers are asking a judge to rule in their favor, arguing the state has failed to prove they're responsible for the opioid epidemic.

Attorneys for consumer products giant Johnson & Johnson and Janssen Pharmaceuticals filed a motion for judgment Wednesday after the state rested its case.

Oklahoma called its last witness on Tuesday, a former sales representative for Johnson & Johnson. The drugmakers' case is expected to take about four weeks.

Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter has called Johnson & Johnson and its subsidiaries a "kingpin" responsible for the state's ongoing opioid epidemic.

Johnson & Johnson attorney John Sparks says the state is seeking damages from the company without any evidence that it caused the problem.


New law extends Oklahoma's Fourth of July fireworks season

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — A new state law allows Oklahoma fireworks vendors to stay open longer for this year's Independence Day celebrations.

CNHI Oklahoma reports that Senate Bill 635 took effect Monday and allows licensed retailers to sell from June 15 to July 6 or the first Sunday after July 4 — whichever comes later. Previously the state required retailers to shut down by July 6.

Oklahoma law continues to allow licensed manufacturers, distributors or wholesalers to sell year-round.

Republican state Sen. Mark Allen authored the measure. He said it's intended to help vendors make more cash. Some give that to charities.

Julie L. Heckman of the American Pyrotechnics Association says consumer firework sales this year could exceed $1 billion. From 80% to 95% of fireworks revenue comes around the Fourth of July.


Manhunt in Missouri for Oklahoma pair after child found dead

ALTUS, Okla. (AP) — A manhunt was underway Wednesday in Missouri for a couple wanted on child abuse and other charges after authorities in Oklahoma found one of their children dead and three others in critical condition.

St. Louis police on Tuesday asked for the public's help in locating Hakim Mustafa Moore, 27, and Robin Alexander, 29.

The couple's last known address was in Altus, Oklahoma, about 640 miles (1,030 kilometers) from St. Louis. Police in Altus received a tip that Alexander and Moore had fled to St. Louis to avoid capture after an arrest warrant was issued June 10.

The U.S. Marshals Service was assisting in the search.

Authorities haven't released details of the child's death and the other children's ailments.

St. Louis police said the three who were found alive in Oklahoma are in the custody of the state, but authorities have not released information about when they were discovered or the circumstances of their discovery.

The couple also has a fifth child who was born in a hotel room and has not been located, St. Louis police said. They did not say where the hotel is or when the child was born.

St. Louis police deferred questions to Altus police, where a department spokesman wasn't available for comment Wednesday. The town is located in southwest Oklahoma near the Texas border.

Moore is wanted for failing to appear in court to answer charges of child abuse, child neglect and enabling child neglect, according to St. Louis police and the sheriff's office in Jackson County, Oklahoma, where Altus is located. He's also wanted on a separate warrant of failing to appear on a charge of obstructing an officer.

Alexander is wanted for failing to appear on a charge of child abuse and two counts of child neglect.