Governor Stitt

Matt Trotter / KWGS

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt’s chief of staff is planning to step down at the end of the month to pursue opportunities closer to his family in Tulsa, the governor announced Thursday.

Chief of Staff Michael Junk’s last day on the job will be July 31.

Electric car maker Tesla Inc. has picked the Austin, Texas, area as the site for its largest auto assembly plant employing at least 5,000 workers.

The new factory will build Tesla’s upcoming Cybertruck pickup and will be a second U.S. manufacturing site for the Model Y small SUV, largely for distribution to the East Coast.

Baishampayan Ghose

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt overstepped his authority when he reached a casino gambling agreement with two Native American tribes, the state Supreme Court ruled Tuesday.

In a 7–1 decision, the high court determined the compacts Stitt signed with the Comanche Nation and Otoe-Missouria Tribes are “invalid under Oklahoma law.”

KWGS News file photo

The State of Oklahoma has expanded the number of hospitals in its COVID-19 surge plan, Gov. Kevin Stitt announced Tuesday, adding an estimated 340 beds.

Mercy Hospital and Norman Regional Health System are now offering beds at sites in addition to OSU Medical Center in Tulsa, OU Medical Center and other hospitals.

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Democratic lawmakers in the Oklahoma House of Representatives are pushing back against Gov. Kevin Stitt's announcement that he will award $10 million of federal coronavirus education funding to private schools.

Appearing on Fox News days after becoming the first governor in the country known to have tested positive for COVID-19, Gov. Kevin Stitt said that catching the virus himself hasn't impacted his response to the pandemic in Oklahoma.

"You know, I don't think so," Stitt told Fox host Leland Vittert on Saturday. "From the very beginning I've told Oklahomans the reason we've issued 30 executive orders was really to flatten the curve and build hospital capacity, make sure we had PPE for our health care workers. And Oklahomans have done that."

Center for Public Integrity

Tulsa Mayor G.T. Bynum and a spokesperson for Tulsa Health Director Dr. Bruce Dart said neither of them had received communications from Gov. Kevin Stitt or the federal government regarding a recently uncovered White House document dated July 14th recommending that the Tulsa metropolitan area take stricter steps to combat the coronavirus.

Facebook / Mayor G.T. Bynum

Update 9:20 a.m.: This story, photo, and headline have been updated to reflect that the ordinance has been signed by the mayor and is now in effect.

Tulsa Mayor G.T. Bynum has signed an ordinance that requires adults to wear face coverings in many public settings, in an attempt to slow the spread of COVID-19 among a skyrocketing number of cases and hospitalizations.

Updated July 15, 2:55 p.m. with information about Lt. Gov. Matt Pinnell.

Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt announced Wednesday morning he has tested positive for the coronavirus.

Stitt appears to be the first governor in the U.S. to contract COVID-19. He is tested regularly and said he received his positive result on a test administered Tuesday, after he participated in a meeting of the Commissioners of the Land Office that involved Lt. Gov. Matt Pinnell, Agriculture Secretary Blayne Arthur and other officials.

Chris Polansky / KWGS News

Mayor G.T.

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Despite rising numbers of confirmed cases and hospitalizations due to COVID-19 infections in Oklahoma, Republican Gov. Kevin Stitt said Thursday he remains opposed to mandating that residents wear masks.

“I’m going to protect the freedoms in Oklahoma,” said Stitt, who rarely wears a mask in public, even when he’s around groups of people. “I’m not comfortable with mandating masks. It’s not something that I would do.”

Chris Polansky / KWGS News

The City of Stillwater and the Catholic Archdiocese of Oklahoma City are the latest entities in Oklahoma to require the wearing of masks in an attempt to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. 

The Stillwater City Council voted unanimously Thursday for an ordinance that requires face coverings to be worn in places like schools, churches, gyms, restaurants and bars, among others. 

Oklahoma rolled out on Thursday the latest piece of its coronavirus response: a COVID alert system.

"It’s a tiered, colored system similar to that of a weather warning system that communicates risk level and information at a county level. The intent of this alert system is to protect health and lives while enabling social and economic activity to resume in the different phases of the pandemic," said Oklahoma Commissioner of Health Dr. Lance Frye.

Chris Polansky / KWGS News

With COVID-19 infection rates soaring both in Tulsa County and statewide, Mayor G.T. Bynum struck a familiar note at a Wednesday press conference, exhorting Tulsans to wear masks while also maintaining that he does not believe a policy requiring them is currently necessary.

"The reason we haven't done it yet to date is because we have not been told that there is just no other option and we have to do it," Bynum said.

Bynum has previously said he would implement such a policy if advised to do so by Dr. Bruce Dart, director of the Tulsa Health Department.

Office of the Governor of New York

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has added Oklahoma to a list of states with "increasing community spread" of COVID-19, and will require visitors arriving from Oklahoma to quarantine for 14 days.

In a Tuesday press release, Cuomo announced that Oklahoma, Delaware and Kansas join 16 other states that meet New York's metric for the travel advisory.

Twitter / @GovStitt

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — New gaming compacts have been signed with two additional Indian tribes, according to Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt.

Twitter / @GovStitt

TULSA, Okla. (AP) — Tesla CEO Elon Musk has made a visit to Tulsa, which is being considered as a site for the automaker’s new U.S. assembly plant.

Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt said on social media Saturday morning that he’d had a “great” visit with Musk on Friday in Tulsa, and included photos of himself and others talking with Musk under a tent on the proposed site.

Yes on 802

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Oklahoma voters narrowly decided on Tuesday to expand Medicaid health insurance to tens of thousands low-income residents, becoming the first state to amend its Constitution to do so.

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Speaking at the Capitol shortly after Oklahoma reported its largest ever single-day jump in COVID-19 infections, Gov. Kevin Stitt committed to not implementing -- or even considering -- a mandatory masking policy, even if the coronavirus pandemic continues its upward trend in the state.

"I will not consider or reconsider mandating masks. We believe in freedoms," said Stitt, who briefly donned a face covering at the press conference. 

Governor Stitt Facebook page

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Two of Gov. Kevin Stitt’s key cabinet members at the forefront of the state’s response to the coronavirus pandemic announced Monday they are stepping down to return to their full-time jobs.

Office of the Governor

Gov. Kevin Stitt on Thursday said he still does not support State Question 802, the ballot question to be voted on by Oklahomans on Tuesday regarding whether the state's Medicaid program should be expanded.

"It's going to be either raising taxes, which I'm not going to be for, or it's going to be cutting services from other state agencies" like education and public safety, Stitt said on how the state would fund the expansion if passed by voters.

Facebook / Governor Kevin Stitt

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — The president of the state medical association on Thursday called for Oklahoma to require that face masks be worn at businesses and in public places, as the state health department reported 438 new coronavirus cases and three additional deaths.

The Oklahoma State Department of Health said at least 11,948 residents have been infected and 375 of them have died due to COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus. 

Facebook / Gov. Kevin Stitt

The Oklahoma State Department of Health is urging anyone who attended President Donald Trump's Saturday campaign rally or any of several recent protests against racism and police violence to be tested for COVID-19.

"Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH) is urging Oklahomans who have chosen to attend large-scale gatherings in recent weeks to seek out testing for COVID-19, even if symptoms are not present," a statement released on Sunday reads. It also instructs Oklahomans to be tested prior to attending any future large gatherings.

As new COVID-19 infections skyrocket in Oklahoma, Gov. Kevin Stitt defended Saturday's Trump campaign rally in Tulsa.

Appearing on Fox News on Friday, Stitt was asked how he responds to public health officials who have said the rally should be postponed.

National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases

Oklahoma on Thursday smashed its record for new COVID-19 cases set just the day before.

The State Health Department reported 450 new cases Thursday — a 5% jump — bringing the state’s total to 9,354. There are more than 1,900 active infections.

The numbers were reportedly delayed because a technical problem at the state health department and did not come out until after Gov. Kevin Stitt participated in a small business round table with President Donald Trump at the White House, where he said Oklahoma is one of the first states to safely reopen.

1921 Tulsa Race Massacre Centennial Commission

Gov. Kevin Stitt said on Wednesday President Donald Trump’s potential visit to the Greenwood District ahead of his campaign rally this weekend is "in flux."

"I don’t know if the president is going to go to the Greenwood District now. It was a request that I made early but because of the Juneteenth celebration, with the Secret Service it could be problematic to have the president go there because some things have to be disrupted and shut down for a presidential visit," Stitt said.

Visitation at nursing homes and other long-term care facilities in Oklahoma may resume Monday under a phased approach, according to an executive order by Gov. Kevin Stitt.

"It is important we take a measured and responsible approach to allowing visitors to our nursing homes and long-term care facilities, just as we did with the rest of our state," Stitt said in a statement. "This guidance will allow us to continue to protect the health and lives of Oklahomans while allowing them to safely resume valuable interactions with their loved ones."

Facebook / Governor Kevin Stitt

Oklahoma Rep. Regina Goodwin (D-Tulsa) said this week that she took two major exceptions with Gov. Kevin Stitt's Sunday roundtable discussion on race, put together in the wake of nationwide protests over police killings of Black Americans following the death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police last month.

PickPik

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — The federal government approved new gambling compacts between Oklahoma and two tribal nations, Gov. Kevin Stitt announced on Monday, but the governor still remains locked in a legal dispute over tribal gambling with other tribes and legislative leaders from his own party.

The compacts between Oklahoma and the Otoe-Missouria Tribe and the Comanche Nation were both “deemed approved” by the U.S. Department of the Interior following the expiration of a 45-day review period.

Stuart Ostler / Oklahoma Capitol

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Oklahoma’s Republican legislative leaders asked the state Supreme Court on Thursday to settle whether Gov. Kevin Stitt overstepped his authority when he reached deals with two Native American tribes to allow sports gambling.

That was Attorney General Mike Hunter’s conclusion in a formal opinion and letter to the U.S. Interior secretary last month.

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