Tags: Virus Outbreak | Oklahoma

Oklahoma's GOP Gov. Stitt Granted Sweeping New Powers

Oklahoma's GOP Gov. Stitt Granted Sweeping New Powers
Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt (Nate Billings/The Oklahoman via AP)

Monday, 06 April 2020 11:33 AM

The Oklahoma House granted sweeping new powers to the governor Monday to respond to the deadly coronavirus outbreak.

The House met in special session and approved the resolution under the never-before-used Catastrophic Health Emergency Act, which gives Gov. Kevin Stitt the authority to temporary suspend laws and regulations that interfere with the state's ability to respond to the outbreak.

It also gives the governor the authority to redirect state employees and other resources, including state funds, from one agency to another, among other things. The measure now heads to the Senate, which is expected to approve it.

Some House and Senate members wore masks and gloves as they filed onto the floor in groups of 10 or less to cast their votes. Some members in the House also voted by proxy, a move authorized under new rules approved last month.

For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia, or death.

The House and Senate are expected to convene in regular session later Monday to approve tapping the state's Rainy Day Fund to shore up an estimated $416 million hole in the state budget for the fiscal year ending June 30.

The number of coronavirus cases in the state surpassed 1,200 Sunday and four more people died of COVID-19, the Oklahoma State Department of Health reported. There are at least 1,252 cases and 46 COVID-19 deaths, and health officials expect that number to continue to rise.

President Donald Trump declared a major disaster in Oklahoma on Sunday, making more federal funding available for recovery efforts.

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US
The Oklahoma House granted sweeping new powers to the governor Mondayt to respond to the deadly coronavirus outbreak.
Virus Outbreak, Oklahoma
288
2020-33-06
Monday, 06 April 2020 11:33 AM
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