Governor Stitt

Oklahoma Watch

Oklahoma’s state medical board has approved almost 200 doctors for temporary licenses during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

An executive order from Gov. Kevin Stitt allows the board to approve 90-day critical care licenses for out-of-state physicians. As of last week, 192 doctors had been approved.

Many are primary care physicians, but there are also several emergency medicine doctors and specialists from neurologists to infectious disease specialists in the mix. 

Medical board member Dr. Mark Fixley does not expect they will be needed, though.

Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt responded Friday to charges leveled by Republican leaders in the state legislature that recent gaming compacts signed between the state and two tribal governments were unlawful.

Doctors at many hospitals in Oklahoma are performing elective surgeries again.

Gov. Kevin Stitt lifted his order against elective surgeries, effective Friday. Ascension St. John, however, is not among the hospitals performing them again. CEO Mark McBride said doctors have been performing surgeries needed during the ban, but hospital officials thought it prudent to take a couple more days to work out the logistics for elective procedures.

Chris Polansky / KWGS

His hand seemingly forced by Governor Kevin Stitt's easing of restrictions on business closures implemented to slow the spread of COVID-19, Tulsa Mayor G.T. Bynum announced reluctantly on Friday that Tulsa's "Safer At Home" order will expire on Thursday, April 30th. 

Matt Trotter / KWGS

Governor Kevin Stitt's plans to begin opening businesses like salons and restaurants does not include any direction for when to reopen the Oklahoma State Capitol.

The Capitol has been closed to the public since mid-March, when a legislative staffer tested positive for COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus.

Governor Kevin Stitt Facebook page

The president of the Oklahoma State Medical Association said Thursday that he is not confident that Governor Kevin Stitt's plan to begin reopening the state's economy on April 24th is a good idea.

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt overstepped his authority when he signed gambling compacts with two Native American tribes this week, House and Senate GOP leaders said in a joint letter to the governor on Wednesday.

House Speaker Charles McCall and Senate President Pro Tempore Greg Treat said the governor’s inclusion of sports betting is one of several flaws they found in their review of the compacts.

“Sadly, the documents signed yesterday are legally flawed and sow more division than unity,” the two leaders wrote.

Office of the Governor

Gov. Kevin Stitt will begin lifting restrictions intended to slow the spread of COVID-19 in Oklahoma this week.

Stitt said Wednesday new cases and hospitalizations are declining enough to start a phased reopening that follows federal guidelines. Businesses like salons and pet groomers may reopen Friday by appointment only if the cities they’re in have not adopted more stringent measures than the state.

Erin Faulkenberry, CLEET (A1205 cohort)

Like most institutions around the country, Oklahoma's Council on Law Enforcement Education and Training, or CLEET, was forced to scale back in-person instruction at its academy in Ada due to the novel coronavirus pandemic. 

Now, according to executive director Jesus "Eddie" Campa, the agency is ready to slowly begin welcoming cadets back.

"We are allowed to bring them back to the facility, but we want to do that at a slow pace," Campa said at a video conference meeting of the councilmembers on Wednesday. "There's going to be very minimal contact and very minimal exposure."

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

The White House has told governors their leadership is critical in testing for coronavirus and provided a map showing that Oklahoma is one of four states with the lowest testing capacity in the United States.

Whitney Bryen-Oklahoma Watch

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt’s attempt to ban abortions during the coronavirus pandemic cannot be enforced, a federal judge has ruled.

U.S. District Judge Charles Goodwin issued a preliminary injunction late Monday after abortion providers sued Stitt over the ban. The injunction replaces a temporary restraining order that the same judge issued last week that allowed most abortions to continue.

Serge Melki

The Oklahoma State Board of Equalization made official on Monday a $416.9 million revenue shortfall this fiscal year.

While oil prices plunged  into negative territory, that did not worsen the situation.

"We’ve already collected approximately 90% of those revenues with three months remaining, and only two of those months are going to be significantly impacted by this drastic change in pricing," said Oklahoma Tax Commission Executive Director Jay Doyle.

Gov. Kevin Stitt has put a state question to expand Medicaid in Oklahoma on the June 30 ballot.

State Question 802 supporters turned in more than 313,000 signatures last year to qualify the proposal for a statewide vote. It needed 178,000.

Matt Trotter / KWGS

In response to an order from the Oklahoma Supreme Court, a budget board led by Gov. Kevin Stitt will meet Monday afternoon.

House Speaker Charles McCall and Senate President Pro Tempore Greg Treat asked the high court to weigh in on the dispute between them and Stitt. The lawmakers want the court to order the Board of Equalization, chaired by Stitt, to meet and declare a revenue failure.

Chief Justice Noma Gurich also set oral arguments in the case for Tuesday before a Supreme Court referee.

Governor Stitt Facebook page

Speaking alongside his COVID-19 task force outside INTEGRIS Baptist Medical Center Portland in Oklahoma City, Governor Kevin Stitt presented more details on how the state will begin its attempt to reopen its economy.

"I know how badly many of you want to get back to normal, get back to a normal way of life," Stitt said.

"Our cases are trending down and our curve is flattening," Stitt said. "That is great news." But Stitt was also careful to add that there is still a chance that things could take a turn. 

As Oklahoma responds to the COVID-19 pandemic, residents and businesses across the state have been affected by executive orders from Gov. Kevin Stitt.

Attorney General Mike Hunter told lawmakers on Thursday that could create a lot of work for his office in the near future.

"We’re getting a lot of demand letters that we’re trying to handle in a diplomatic fashion, but our assessment is those demand letters are in the nature of laying the groundwork for future litigation," Hunter said.


Gov. Kevin Stitt said Wednesday he and his COVID-19 response task force are working on plans to reopen Oklahoma.

That will start with Stitt lifting a ban on elective surgeries and other minor medical procedures on April 24. Stitt said the state has a sufficient supply of personal protective equipment for health care workers and others that may be exposed to the coronavirus, and hospitals are struggling with the dip in patients.

From Flickr, licensed uncer CC BY 2.0.

Governor Kevin Stitt's proposal to retool Oklahoma's Medicaid system closed its 30-day public input period on Wednesday, but some Oklahomans say the disruption caused by the coronavirus pandemic made that timeframe inadequate for such a consequential policy change.

Matt Trotter / KWGS

Governor Kevin Stitt’s office said last week 404 inmates with sentences commuted to time served will be getting out of prison Thursday, but that’s not the case.

According the the Oklahoma Department of Corrections, 111 inmates will be released.

Others are serving time for felonies other than drug or property crimes that have since been reduced to misdemeanors, and discharging those other crimes requires more steps from the parole board, not just those Stitt took Friday.

Gov. Kevin Stitt appeared on Fox News over the weekend and defended his decision not to issue a statewide shelter-in-place order.

Stitt said his orders telling the elderly and those with compromised immune systems to stay home, prohibiting gatherings of 10 or more people, and closing nonessential businesses are sufficient.

Stitt told "America's News HQ" host Leland Vittert Oklahomans are taking personal responsibility by following social distancing guidelines.

Oklahoma State Capitol

Oklahoma may use hundreds of millions of dollars from savings to deal with the impacts of an oil slump and the pandemic over this fiscal year and the next. While the state has reserves, the amount of the shortfall is unclear.

Josh Goodman, state economic development officer at the Pew Charitable Trusts, says states can get a better picture of potential problems by running budget stress tests, which banks started doing after the federal Dodd-Frank Act.

Tribal leaders from across Oklahoma sent Gov. Kevin Stitt a letter on Friday urging him to issue a shelter in place order for the entire state.

A total of 26 tribal leaders signed the letter, including Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr., Chickasaw Nation Gov. Bill Anoatubby, Choctaw Nation Chief Gary Batton and Muscogee (Creek) Nation Chief David Hill.

Oklahoma Governor's Office

Updated April 10, 7:23 a.m.

Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt on Thursday signed two out of three bills lawmakers sent him this week to close a projected $416.8 million hole in the current fiscal year budget.

Stitt did not sign Senate Bill 199, which would have made $302.3 million in the state Rainy Day Fund available to spend.


Correctional officers, law enforcement, firefighters and other first responders working for the state of Oklahoma are guaranteed up to 80 hours of sick leave for COVID-19 under a new executive order from Gov. Kevin Stitt.

The order clarifies that sick leave provisions in the federal coronavirus relief bill apply to Oklahoma’s first responders. So, they can take that leave if they fall ill, are quarantined or must care for a child if their daycare has closed.

Our guest on ST is Oklahoma Lt. Gov. Matt Pinnell, who joins us to discuss the new brand for the State of Oklahoma: "Imagine That." Pinnell led the lengthy, multifaceted process that came up with this recently-announced brand, which will soon start appearing on t-shirts, stickers, roadside signs, posters at airports, newly-designed license plates, and so on. He describes this brand-development process, and the thinking and planning that went into it, while also explaining what he believes this new brand will accomplish for our state.

Our guest is the veteran and award-winning Oklahoma journalist, John Wylie, former publisher of the Oologah Lake Leader. He recently wrote a blog post -- headlined "Mother Earth's Guardian Angel or Corporate Greed"s Satanic Shield?" -- about the controversy surrounding the now-under-consideration Senate Bill 1003, which would protect internal corporate environmental, health, and safety audits from public exposure or even court view.

In the immediate wake of Governor Stitt's State of the State Address, and as the 2019 legislative session gets underway in OKC, we welcome back to StudioTulsa our longtime colleague David Blatt, who's been the Executive Director of the non-partisan, non-profit OK Policy think tank since 2010. Blatt chats with us in detail about what lawmakers at the State Capitol might attempt or accomplish regarding education, criminal justice, health, economic opportunity, taxes, and the state's budget.