Oklahoma State Senate Communications Division
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma 30 For Immediate Release: February 3, 2003 Clip Standingroomonly in Senate Chambers for public hearing on budget cuts for programs for the severely disabled Sen Robert M. Kerr and Sen Pres Pro Tempore Cal Hobson at public hearing Senate Subcommittee Holds Public Hearing
On Possible Cuts For Severaly Disabled The Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Human Services held a public hearing in the Senate Chamber to address concerns about possible budget cuts to programs providing inhome services for severely disabled Oklahomans. Several thousand disabled Oklahomans and their families depend on those services and are deeply concerned about what would happen if the programs were cut as a result of the states budget shortfall. This is a very real concern for Oklahomans who want their loved ones to be able to remain in their own homes. What we hope to do with this hearing is to look at those concerns and to try to find other ways to fund these programs so they can continue to live with dignity, explained Senator Robert M. Kerr, chairman of the subcommittee. Several parents, providers and advocates urged state officials to look elsewhere for programs to cut suggestions ranged from caps on care to a possible rate cut, to a provider tax. Many testified a loss of these services would be disastrous for their loved ones. Karen Daughety of El Reno was among those parents who came to the hearing. She is worried about what would happen to her son and other severely developmentally disabled Oklahomans if they lose their inhome care. Most of the people now are in safe, secure environments and to force them into multiple living arrangements just doesnt work, said Daughety. Some parents said they actually feared for their childrens lives if their children were forced into different living arrangements because of program cuts. The problem is real. Weve got to look at every bit of money available to the state of Oklahoma and try to find ways to avert these cuts, said Senator Kerr, DAltus. Senate President Pro Tempore Cal Hobson told the packed chamber, This is not about politics. This is about a group of Oklahomans who need our help. Thats what we should do.