Kevin Stitt

Provided / The Oklahoman

State lawmakers are asking the Oklahoma Supreme Court to step into a budget fight between the legislature and Governor Kevin Stitt.

On Tuesday afternoon, leaders from the state House and Senate filed a petition calling on the governor to hold a Board of Equalization meeting and declare a revenue failure. The failure is necessary to move money out of the state's Rainy Day Fund, to fully fund state government for the next two months, lawmakers said.

On Monday, the U.S. Department of Education announced Oklahoma will receive $40 million in emergency block grant funds to disburse to the state's education system because of COVID-19.

The funding comes courtesy of a provision in the recently passed federal CARES Act, which will dole out $2.2 trillion dollars in stimulus funding in response to the pandemic.

Governors of all 50 states and Puerto Rico were given $3 billion in the act to distribute as grants. Governor Kevin Stitt will be able to decide where the $40 million Oklahoma is receiving will go.

This Week in Oklahoma Politics, KOSU's Michael Cross talks with Republican Political Consultant Neva Hill and ACLU Oklahoma Executive Director Ryan Kiesel about the battle between the Governor and lawmakers over $500M in supplemental funding passed overwhelmingly by the legislature and the governor's health emergency gets approves allowing him to suspend any laws and regulations interfering with response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

 

Provided / The Oklahoman

Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt's budget battle with the legislature continued Thursday when he held a press conference panning House of Representatives leadership.

Provided / The Oklahoman

Updated 9:19 p.m.

In front of piles of boxes filled with gloves, gowns and face shields, Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt on Tuesday said he and the rest of the state are working around the clock to manage the threat of the novel coronavirus.

Oklahoma Senate

Oklahoma lawmakers passed several bills on Monday to fill a budget shortfall and give Governor Kevin Stitt emergency powers during the health crisis.

Three bills that passed overwhelmingly by the House and Senate would take $500 million from the state’s Rainy Day Fund to fix a $416 million hole in the current fiscal year budget.

Oklahoma lawmakers are heading into a special session Monday. The House and Senate are taking up Governor Kevin Stitt’s emergency declaration that would give him broad authority to waive normal statutory requirements.

House Majority Floor Leader Jon Echols says this allows state government to speak with one voice to coordinate first responders, additional hospital resources and other emergency needs. The Oklahoma City Republican says the governor has assured lawmakers this is not an attempt to take over state or local government.

Ken Boyd / KOSU

Governor Kevin Stitt has opened a door for Oklahoma school districts to pay their hourly support employees during statewide school closures.

In an updated executive order Thursday, Stitt eased constitutionality concerns some schools had about being able to pay support staff. Unlike teachers or administrators, their pay is not protected.

For the second consecutive day, Governor Kevin Stitt urged any Oklahoman with symptoms of COVID-19 or anyone who has been in contact with someone who has symptoms to get tested for the virus. In his Thursday press conference, he also told public and private labs to loosen restrictions on testing.

Until Wednesday, the state had strict guidelines on who was eligible to be tested. Those restrictions included healthcare workers and seriously ill people who had already been hospitalized.

Acute Disease Service, Oklahoma State Department of Health.

Get the latest information on COVID-19 infections and deaths in Oklahoma here.

Four more Oklahomans have died due to COVID-19, increasing the state's death toll to 34. The deaths reported Thursday include:

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