OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – An Oklahoma County judge granted a preliminary injunction filed against Gov. Kevin Stitt, ordering him to reinstate the extension on the weekly $300 CARES Act federal unemployment benefits that he ended.
Oklahoma County District Judge Anthony Bonner Jr. made the decision Friday in response to a lawsuit filed by Oklahomans against the state for ending the federal unemployment benefits early. Brendan McHugh, co-counsel for the petitioners, argued that some 74,000 Oklahomans are still relying on the extra $300 a week.
Stitt said in May the added federal benefits were disincentivizing people from working. He announced federal benefits would end three months early, while also offering a $1,200 back-to-work incentive.
Bonner further said that Stitt, on behalf of the Oklahoma Employment Security Commission, is prohibited from withdrawing the State of Oklahoma from the unemployment benefits offered through the CARES Act until the court gives final judgment on the merits of the lawsuit or until the program expires, which is currently set for Sept. 6, 2021, or whichever occurs first.
“Oklahoma shall notify the US Department of Labor immediately to reinstate and administer the federal unemployment benefit programs,” Bonner said.