In a recent report by the Oklahoma Aging Partnership (OAP), the majority of Oklahoma State Senate Democrats were recognized for their perfect voting record on matters important to older Oklahomans. The report gave 20 perfect scores – 18 of which went to Senate Democrats.
“I think this report says a lot about the trust Oklahoma’s Greatest Generation places with Democrats in the Senate,” Morgan said. “I am extremely proud of the Senate Democratic caucus for their tireless effort on behalf of a generation of folks who truly deserve the very best representation possible.”
Morgan said the OAP is a non-partisan partnership that includes American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) of Oklahoma, Oklahoma Alliance on Aging, Oklahoma Silver Haired Legislature Alumni Association and the Oklahoma State Council on Aging. The OAP released its first ever report showing how legislators voted on specific measures. Legislators were recognized for their support of measures improving safety and standards in long-term care facilities as well as a statewide program to help seniors receive discounted or free prescription medication.
“No Oklahoman should have to choose between buying their medication and putting food on the table,” Morgan said. “What message are we sending our seniors when we are asking them to choose between buying a life saving medication or heating their homes? Family values, at their very root, are making sure seniors don’t have to make those hard choices.”
Morgan said the Senate Democrats led the fight in the legislature for issues important to older Oklahomans. He said Senate Democrats played a pivotal role in bringing targeted tax cuts to veterans, tougher standards for nursing homes, affordable prescriptions for those who need help the most and grandparents rights.
“A great leader in our country once said that a moral test of government is how that government treats those in the twilight of their lives,” Morgan said. “Oklahoma Senate Democrats have proven through our record of fighting for issues important to older Oklahomans that we are the caucus in the Oklahoma Legislature that Oklahoma’s Greatest Generation calls upon to get things accomplished on their behalf.”
Morgan said two of the bills that were highlighted in the OAP report that would have provided seniors with more affordable prescription drugs and lower home energy costs were SB SB 977 and SB 720 both by Senator Tom Adelson (D-Tulsa).
Adelson carried SB 977, known as the Prescription Drug Reimportation Act, for Governor Brad Henry. The bill would have allowed licensed pharmacist throughout Oklahoma to procure prescription drugs from Canada at a lower cost to those who truly need help the most. The bill passed the Senate but never received an up-or-down vote in the Republican controlled House of Representatives.
Adelson also authored SB 720, which would have created the Helping Oklahomans Pay for Energy (HOPE) task force. The HOPE task force would have reviewed the design of the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), allowing for more Oklahomans to receive help on their home energy bills. The bill passed the Senate after receiving only one no vote by a Republican senator, but failed to even muster a hearing in the House.
“Obviously these two bills are very important to older Oklahomans who live on fixed incomes trying to make ends meet,” Morgan said. “With the rising cost of energy causing such a strain on the pocketbooks of every working family in Oklahoma, this is an issue that Senate Democrats intend to pursue with great passion during the 2006 legislative session.”
Morgan concluded by saying anytime there is a discussion about legislation that impacts seniors, the discussion centers around veterans, parents, grandparents, friends and neighbors.
“These people have spent a lifetime caring for others, raising future generations of Oklahomans, fighting for our freedom and investing in Oklahoma communities,” Morgan said. “And anytime Senate Democrats have the opportunity to vote on a measure that improves their quality of life, you can bet that it is a vote of which they are extremely proud.”
Senators receiving a perfect score on the OAP report include:
· Senator Tom Adelson (D-Tulsa)
· Senator Randy Bass (D-Lawton)
· Senator Bernest Cain (D-Oklahoma City)
· Senator Kenneth Corn (D-Poteau)
· Appropriations Chairman Johnnie Crutchfield (D-Ardmore)
· Senator Mary Easley (D-Tulsa)
· Senator Judy Eason McIntire (D-Tulsa)
· Majority Leader Ted Fisher (D-Sapulpa)
· Senator Earl Garrison (D-Muskogee)
· Assistant Majority Leader Jay Paul Gumm (D-Durant)
· Assistant Majority Leader Robert Kerr (D-Altus)
· Senator Charlie Laster (D-Shawnee)
· Senator Daisy Lawler (D-Comanche)
· Senator Debbe Leftwich (D-Oklahoma City)
· Senator Richard Lerblance (D-Hartshorne)
· Senator Susan Paddack (D-Ada)
· Senator Frank Shurden (D-Henryetta)
· Senator Charlie Wyrick (D-Fairland)