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Business group joins lawsuit in defense of Oklahoma governor’s order ending federal jobless benefits early

Last updated on August 2, 2021

The NFIB Small Business Legal Center is asking the Oklahoma Supreme Court to uphold Gov. Kevin Stitt’s decision to withdraw early from federal supplemental unemployment benefits.

Stitt issued an executive order pulling Oklahoma out of the federal pandemic-related program that provides $300 in weekly payments to unemployed workers on top of state benefits, citing the struggles businesses were having hiring.

Stitt’s order led to lawsuits challenging his authority to pull out of the Congressionally approved program, which expires in September.

“We believe it was well within Governor Stitt’s authority to end the state’s participation in a federally funded program that he has determined discourages some people from reentering the workforce and frustrates Oklahoma’s economic recovery,” Karen Harned, executive director of NFIB’s Small Business Legal Center, said in a statement.

NFIB filed an amicus brief with the Oklahoma Supreme Court supporting Stitt against the lawsuits.

“The supplemental benefits were essential early in the pandemic when social distancing and other COVID-19 restrictions forced employers to scale back and displaced workers couldn’t find new jobs because no one was hiring,” NFIB State Director Jerrod Shouse said in a statement. “One year later, businesses are hiring, but they’re struggling to find enough workers. Ending the additional benefits now would encourage more people to reenter the workforce and enable small businesses and other employers to meet the increasing needs of their customers.”

According to NFIB, 46% of small business owners nationwide reported job openings they couldn’t fill.

This article was originally posted on Business group joins lawsuit in defense of Oklahoma governor’s order ending federal jobless benefits early

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