Due to the downturn in the economy, the budgets of all state agencies have been cut equally. The budget of the Oklahoma Department of Human Services is dependent upon state and federal funds. To avoid losses in federal funding, DHS was forced to disproportionately absorb all of the state budget cuts in certain programs. One of the areas that has been hit the hardest by the DHS cuts is the funding of senior nutrition centers around the state.read more.
Sen. Patrick Anderson sent Governor Brad Henry a letter Wednesday asking him to use the Governor's discretionary funds to help replace the cuts in funding to the state's senior nutrition programs. Due to recent revenue shortfalls, the Department of Human Services approved a $7.4 million cut to these programs, which will go into affect November 1.
Senator Anthony Sykes, (R-Moore), Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Public Safety and Judiciary, says a recent analysis by the Department of Corrections (DOC) of costs of public prisons vs. private prisons is based on assumptions and does not appear to take into account key factors that cannot be ignored.read more.
The Council of Presidents and the Oklahoma State Regents have honored Senate President Pro Tempore Glenn Coffee and Majority Leader Todd Lamb for their dedication to strengthening Higher Education in Oklahoma. The senators were praised for their continued support for higher education and have been named recipients of the 2009 Distinguished Service Award.
Higher Education Chancellor Glen D. Johnson said Coffee and Lamb were very deserving of the honor.
Five Republican Senators scored a perfect 100 and twelve scored a 90 or above on the annual legislative scorecard released by the Research Institute for Economic Development (RIED), giving Oklahoma Senate Republicans an average score of 88.6, making the highest number of pro-business and pro-prosperity senators in the history of the RIED report.read more.
With the latest revenue report showing no sign of improvement, Senator Jim Wilson hopes Republicans will be more open to addressing the escalating expense of the convoluted health care system. Wilson, D-Tahlequah, said this would relieve a big strain on state agency budgets and prevent future cuts from affecting critical state services.
State Senator Sean Burrage and State Representative Ben Sherrer vow to fight a decision by the Office of Juvenile Affairs to terminate its contract with the Thunderbird Regimented Training Program Bravo Company in Pryor. The two lawmakers agreed the decision is a devastating blow to at-risk boys all over Oklahoma who come to the program seeking a second chance at turning their lives around.read more.
Fears Cuts will Cost State More Over Time and Leaves Thousands of Oklahoma’s Most Vulnerable Citizens Hungry
Democratic Leader Charlie Laster called on Senate President Pro Tempore Glenn Coffee (R-Oklahoma City) and Speaker of the House Chris Benge (R-Tulsa)today to do everything in their power to reverse a decision made last week by the Department of Human Services to cut $7 million from a program aimed at providing hot meals for Oklahoma’s most vulnerable senior citizens.
The Oklahoma Veterans Council awarded Majority Floor Leader Todd Lamb on Tuesday with the “Senator of the Year” award for his continued commitment to veterans throughout the State of Oklahoma.
This award is given to the Senator who has been dedicated to assisting the Oklahoma Veterans Council in meeting the needs of veterans in the State Legislature.
Sen. Jim Wilson said he will introduce legislation for the upcoming session to prohibit health insurance companies from classifying domestic violence as a pre-existing condition. Wilson, a Democrat from Tahlequah, began working on the measure after recent reports stating Oklahoma was one of only eight states that allowed insurance companies to deny claims based on the pre-existing condition of domestic violence.
State leaders were called upon today to immediately meet in special session to stop more than $7 million in budget cuts that will lead to the closing of senior nutrition centers statewide and imperil the lives of thousands of Oklahoma’s oldest citizens, state Sen. Kenneth Corn said today.