Governor Stitt

Gov. Kevin Stitt has reportedly lured another City of Tulsa employee to his office.

City Coronavirus Relief Funds Program Manager Clay Holk will serve as director of a state grant management office, overseeing federal funds for pandemic response and expanding economic opportunity in Oklahoma.

Mayor G.T. Bynum confirmed Holk's departure on Friday. He praised Holk's work at the city to manage a record level of federal funding.

Sonic

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt announced Wednesday that his chief operating officer, John Budd, will step down effective July 2.

Budd was the state’s first COO and a member of Stitt’s cabinet since he took office.

With the legislative session having just wrapped up, Budd said it was a “good time for me to move on to my next journey.”

Before joining the Stitt administration, Budd was chief strategy and business development officer for Oklahoma City-based Sonic Corp.

The Oklahoman

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Oklahoma state agencies will be barred from requiring a mask or coronavirus vaccination as a condition of being allowed to enter a state building or office under an executive order signed by Gov. Kevin Stitt.

“It is time to return to normal,” Stitt said in a statement after signing the order Friday. “Every Oklahoman must have access to all government services whether or not they choose to be vaccinated or wear a mask.”

Courtesy

Gov. Kevin Stitt hosted dozens of students at the capitol Tuesday afternoon to tout a broad range of education policy changes made during this legislative session.

Some of the bills sent to the governor addressed school transfer and funding formula changes he asked for, restored education funding cuts made last year and added more on top of that, and — in the words of some Republican lawmakers — banned the teaching of critical race theory. Another measure increased tax credits available for organizations providing private-school scholarships.

Gov. Kevin Stitt

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt signed key legislation Monday to implement a $9 billion spending plan for the fiscal year beginning July 1.

The general appropriations bill Stitt signed outlines state funding for various agencies.

Courtesy

Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt confirmed Monday the state is pulling the plug on federal enhanced unemployment benefits on June 26.

Congress funded the additional $300 a week payments through early September by passing the American Rescue Plan. Oklahoma Employment Security Commission Executive Director Shelley Zumwalt said state officials carefully considered their options.

TULSA, Okla. (AP) — The commission formed to observe the 100th anniversary of the Tulsa Race Massacre announced Friday that it had booted Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt from his seat on the panel a week after he signed a bill outlawing the teaching of some race and racism concepts in public schools.

Oklahoma Capitol Restoration

After a week of speculation, Republican state leaders announced Thursday afternoon a high-level agreement on an $8.3 billion budget.

Gov. Kevin Stitt said the plan goes back to goals he laid out in February during his state of the state address.

"No. 1 was to make Oklahoma a top-10 place for business, No. 2 was to deliver Oklahomans more for their money and No. 3 was always to invest in our fellow Oklahomans, and I believe this budget has accomplished all three of those items," Stitt said.

Illustration by Marlin Lavanhar (via The Black Wall Street Times)

On this edition of ST, we're pleased to speak with Marlin Lavanhar, a Unitarian Universalist minister who's been based at All Souls Church here in Tulsa since 2000. A longtime social justice activist and tireless human rights advocate, Lavanhar recently launched a series of editorial cartoons focused on the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre -- and on the urgent need for reparations to be conveyed to those directly affected by this vast, tragic, century-old crime.

The 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre Centennial Commission has told Gov. Kevin Stitt it will consider him to have resigned as a member if he doesn’t respond to their invitation to discuss his signing of a bill Republicans have pushed as a ban on teaching critical race theory. 

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Two of the most powerful Native American tribes in Oklahoma said Monday they’ve reached an agreement on federal legislation that would address concerns over criminal jurisdiction in light of a recent U.S. Supreme Court decision.

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Oklahoma has secured a $2.6 million refund for the purchase of a malaria drug once touted by President Donald Trump as an effective treatment for COVID-19, a state official said Friday.

Attorney General Mike Hunter said the state the state will receive the refund under an agreement with FFF Enterprises, a California-based medical supply wholesaler.

Pixnio

Gov. Kevin Stitt signed a bill late Friday similar to ones Republicans across the country are pushing as bans on critical race theory in their states’ schools.

House Bill 1775 bans Oklahoma teachers from teaching concepts like one race or sex is inherently superior to another, or that anyone should feel any form of psychological distress based on their race or sex. 

Gov. Kevin Stitt

Food security advocates said Thursday that Gov. Kevin Stitt's ending of Oklahoma's declared state of emergency amid the COVID-19 pandemic means as many as 168,000 Oklahomans could soon see an abrupt drop-off in nutrition benefit payments. 

Gov. Kevin Stitt announced late Monday he has signed an executive order to rescind the COVID-19 state of emergency in Oklahoma effective Tuesday.

The emergency declaration was set to expire May 11.

In a video message, Stitt pointed to the state's seven-day average of new cases and hospitalizations both being down more than 90% from their early January peaks.

"Because Oklahomans used personal responsibility to protect themselves, their families and our most vulnerable, the data shows COVID-19 is no longer an emergency," Stitt said.

Courtesy

Gov. Kevin Stitt signed into law Monday three bills aimed at banning abortion in Oklahoma.

Organizations Gather to Support Victims of Crime

Apr 23, 2021

The US Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Oklahoma hosted a “Day of Hope” Friday at Tulsa’s Promenade Mall.

The purpose was to pass safety and victim resources to the public. One organization in attendance was Coffee Bunker, a nonprofit advocating for veterans. Coffee Bunker Chaplain Greg Bilbruck said for him the event was about solidarity.

“We’re out here with the United States Attorney’s Office, the Sherriff’s Office, Muscogee Creek Nation. We’re here just to support victims and try to get justice for them,” said Bilbruck.  

Chris Polansky / KWGS News

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt signed a bill Wednesday to crack down on protesters by increasing penalties for blocking roadways and granting immunity to motorists who kill or injure rioters.

The bill was one of 44 bills signed into law by the Republican governor and one of a series of GOP-backed proposals across the country aimed at cracking down on protesters.

Oklahoma Watch

A week after the leader of the Oklahoma Senate said his chamber and the Republican caucus would not be involved in a plan to eliminate the state’s corporate income tax, Gov. Kevin Stitt told a virtual round table he still wants it done this session.

Speaking to the Oklahoma Small Business Association on Friday, Stitt referred to a report by pro-business think tank the Tax Foundation that ranks Oklahoma 30th in business tax climate.

A state lawmaker who vowed to fight Gov. Kevin Stitt’s plan to let for-profit companies manage Oklahoma’s expanding Medicaid program took action on Wednesday.

Rep. Marcus McEntire (R-Duncan) amended Senate Bill 131, which dealt with dialysis, to instead require the Oklahoma Health Care Authority to oversee services to thousands of newly eligible enrollees starting July 1.

Governor's office

Gov. Kevin Stitt wasted no time in signing bills to implement major education policy reforms he asked for in February during his state of the state address.

Lawmakers passed House Bill 2078 and Senate Bill 783 on Wednesday. Stitt signed the bills hours later.

Courtesy

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Oklahoma’s Republican Gov. Kevin Stitt announced Tuesday that he’s hiring a $120,000-per-year staffer in Washington, D.C., to advocate on the state’s behalf and help protect federal funding.

The governor’s office said Christina Gungoll Lepore will help identify federal grant opportunities, communicate the state needs in real time, collaborate with the offices of other governors and “push back on burdensome federal regulations and initiatives which could negatively impact the State.”

Courtesy

With COVID-19 vaccinations now available to all Oklahomans 16 and older, Gov. Kevin Stitt took his turn.

Stitt received the one-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine from a state health department nurse Marcia Castellanos-Aymat in front of reporters Monday afternoon at the capitol after a news conference.

Polling has identified Republican men as the group least likely to get vaccinated. Stitt, who had COVID-19 in July, said he waited until more vulnerable Oklahomans were able to get vaccinated.

Facebook / Turning Point USA

Appearing before a packed, almost entirely maskless crowd of young conservatives in an Edmond ballroom on Tuesday, Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt boasted about his handling of the COVID-19 pandemic.

"We are about freedom in the state of Oklahoma," Stitt told an applauding crowd at an event hosted by national conservative organization Turning Point USA. "[I am] one of only nine governors that did not shut down, that did not do mask mandates."

Courtesy

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Gov. Kevin Stitt announced Monday the selection of Oklahoma City lawyer and philanthropist Tricia Everest as his new public safety secretary.

Everest currently chairs the Oklahoma County Jail Trust that oversees jail operations. She previously worked as an assistant attorney general from 2004 to 2010.

As public safety secretary, Everest will oversee 55 state agencies, including the Department of Public Safety, Department of Corrections and Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation.

Oklahoma Watch

A state Senate committee on Monday moved several of Gov. Kevin Stitt’s nominees for state health officials one step closer to confirmation, advancing them to the floor.

Those included Oklahoma Health Care Authority CEO Kevin Corbett to serve as state secretary of health and mental health. OHCA is currently in the middle of a transition to outsourcing management of the state’s Medicaid program as requested by Stitt. Sen. Jessica Garvin (R-Duncan) told Corbett a majority of the legislature still opposes that move.

Chris Polansky / KWGS News

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — As the coronavirus swept across Oklahoma and the nation last spring, Gov. Kevin Stitt’s office was inundated with correspondence from frightened residents seeking stricter lockdowns to control the spread of the virus.

Gov. Kevin Stitt plans not to renew statewide COVID restrictions expiring tomorrow.

Stitt said during a Thursday news conference with good progress on vaccination and new cases and hospitalizations down to early summer levels, he believes a mask requirement in state buildings and 50% capacity limits on certain events are no longer needed.

Oklahoma State Department of Health

With COVID-19 vaccine eligibility now expanded to the vast majority of Oklahoma adults, the state health department is urging everyone who qualifies -- including community and government leaders -- to seek out their shots as soon as possible. 

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