a car parked in front of Oklahoma State Capitol: A district judge in Oklahoma County ordered the state to resume unemployment benefits to residents who lost their jobs due to the ongoing pandemic.An Oklahoma judge has ordered the state to restore the $300 weekly federal unemployment benefits that Republican Governor Kevin Stitt discontinued in late June.

Oklahoma County District Judge Anthony Bonner Jr. on Friday granted a preliminary injunction filed by state citizens against Stitt in a lawsuit seeking to reinstate the extended unemployment payments, according to The Oklahoman. The judge also ordered the state to immediately instruct U.S. Labor Department officials to resume administering the funds to eligible jobless individuals.

At least 17 Republican governors terminated federal pandemic-related unemployment assistance provided for individuals under the CARES Act, which was later extended through President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion stimulus package, out of fear it could discourage people from returning to work.

The Century Foundation estimated that their decisions would cost 4.1 million Americans up to $10.8 billion in unemployment benefits. Citing workforce shortages, Stitt said in May that the federal pandemic-related unemployment benefits would end June 26 amid a decline in coronavirus cases. On the same day, he announced a new executive order that would provide people with a $1,200 back-to-work incentive.

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