Oklahoma City, OK 73105
For Immediate Release: February 22, 2006
Senator Debbe Leftwich urges a committee hearing on
her Department of Aging measure along
with members of the Silver-Haired Legislature.
L-R: James Crowder, Larry Hendricks, Dorothy Cassel,
Charles Campbell, Sen. Leftwich, Donna Campbell, Rowena
Scott-Johnson and James Spencer.
Sen. Leftwich and Silver Haired Legislature Call for
Hearing on Dept. of Aging Bill
Leftwich and members of the Oklahoma Silver Haired
Legislature are calling for a hearing on a bill to create
a stand-alone Department of Aging before the clock runs
out and the bill is dead for the session.
Leftwich first introduced Senate Bill 809 during the
2005 session. The measure then was assigned to the Senate
Appropriations Subcommittee on Human Services, but was
never given a hearing. However, the legislation is still
considered to be a “live” bill until the
2006 deadline for committee action. Thursday is the
last day the Human Services subcommittee is scheduled
to meet to consider Senate bills for this session.
“Creating a one-stop-shop for seniors is not a
new idea. For several years the Oklahoma Silver Haired
Legislature has asked lawmakers to create a single agency
to serve our older Oklahomans. Right now the services
they depend on are spread throughout more than half
a dozen different agencies,” said Leftwich, D-Oklahoma
City. “It just creates layer upon layer of bureaucracy
and frustration for those needing help.”
Currently, various programs for older Oklahomans are
administered by several agencies, including the Department
of Human Services, the Oklahoma Health Care Authority,
the Health Department, the Department of Mental Health
and Substance Abuse Services, the Department of Transportation
and the Oklahoma Employment Security Commission.
“It is literally a maze that can leave an individual
frustrated to the point of giving up on getting the
services they need. I’ve personally helped constituents
try to get access to programs and I know how frustrating
it can be. We need to cut through the red-tape and turf
wars and really do something to help our seniors instead
of throwing up barriers,” Leftwich said.
Charles Campbell of Bethal Acres was among those speaking
in favor of the bill at a Wednesday afternoon press
conference at the State Capitol. Campbell is the past
president of the Oklahoma Silver Haired Legislature’s
“It’s very confusing and aggravating—especially
when seniors call what is listed as a hotline at a state
agency only to get a pre-recorded menu. When they finally
do speak to a live person, they’ll often end up
being transferred several times only to find they still
aren’t speaking to the right agency to help with
their particular problem. It shouldn’t be this
way,” said Campbell.
Leftwich said according to the National Conference of
State Legislatures, at least 20 other states and the
District of Columbia have independent agencies to handle
aging services. She said the demands for aging services
are expected to increase dramatically over the next
few years as the “baby-boomers” begin entering
“The time to begin work on creating a Department
of Aging is now. Elected officials like to say they
are in support of programs that help our older citizens.
Well, this is a darn good way to prove that isn’t
just talk. I would urge all Oklahoma who care about
this issue to let their legislators know Senate Bill
809 needs to be heard before it’s too late,”
To contact your State Senator, go to www.oksenate.gov
and select “Senators” and follow the link
with your State Senator’s name for contact information.
If you don’t know who your Senator is, click on
the “Senators” tab and then follow the “Find
Your Senator” link.
more information contact:
Senator Leftwich's Office - (405) 521-5557