Communications & Public Affairs
April 6, 2020

Wes Carter, Press Secretary
Oklahoma House Democratic Caucus

House Democratic Leader Releases Statement On Historic Session

OKLAHOMA CITY — House Minority Leader Emily Virgin (D-Norman) released the following statement after today’s historic special session.

“Today, in the face of a global pandemic, we passed legislation that concurred with Governor Kevin Stitt’s executive order to declare a health emergency under the Catastrophic Health Emergency Act. This was not a decision that our caucus took lightly, and in the end, we voted for the best option available to face this crisis.

Today’s session was historic, not only because we invoked the Catastrophic Health Emergency Act for the first time in state history, but also because we created and strictly followed health and safety protocols. We felt it was of the utmost importance to continue conducting important state business while remaining vigilant about protecting our health and setting a good example for Oklahomans, and we are confident that we accomplished that today in a bipartisan manner.

We remain disappointed that the governor has not issued a statewide shelter-in-place order, which has been successful in flattening the curve in other states. We’re also concerned that businesses that are not essential have been allowed to continue operating without repercussions.

House Democrats feel strongly that this lack of action is significantly weakening our state’s defense to COVID-19, and we urge him to reconsider.

We also tapped the Rainy Day Fund today so that the governor and the legislature would have more flexibility to address the revenue shortfalls our state is experiencing due to COVID-19.

As this situation progresses, House Democrats will continue to call on the governor to protect Oklahomans. We will also do our best to provide as much transparency to this process as possible.”