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Oklahoma State Senate
Senator Jay Paul Gumm, D-Durant
State Capitol Room 586
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma 73105
(405) 521-5586


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For Immediate Release: February 16, 2009

Sen. Jay Paul Gumm
Senator Jay Paul Gumm

Senate Committee Approves Gumm’s Measure to Create Children’s Cabinet

The Senate Rules Committee on Monday approved legislation intended to streamline services for state agencies and organizations that serve Oklahoma children. Senate Bill 697 by Sen. Jay Paul Gumm would create Oklahoma’s first-ever Children’s Cabinet to recommend and implement policies to improve the health and well-being of children.

Gumm said the legislation would ensure that state agencies are efficiently implementing resources through a shared vision for Oklahoma’s youth.

“The Cabinet will allow us to bring everyone to the table to reach consensus on comprehensive plans, maximizing revenue at no additional cost to the state,” said Gumm, D-Durant. “By taking this step, we can make a positive impact on the lives of thousands of Oklahoma children. Our children are our most precious resource, and we must do better for them.”

Gumm noted that Oklahoma ranks low in a number of areas related to children’s health, safety and education. Oklahoma is among the ten worst states in infant mortality rates, teen death rates and child poverty. Child abuse and neglect has increased 7.4% over the last 14 years, while the state’s child poverty rate increased 13% over the past six years.

“Nothing is more important for state leaders than to remove the barriers that can prevent our children from living healthy lives and maximizing their potential,” Gumm said. “It’s time for a more proactive approach to one of our state’s most pressing issues. I’m pleased the committee approved the bill.”

The Children’s Cabinet would be comprised of 15 top ranking officials who agencies have interests in children’s policy in Oklahoma. Support staff for the Cabinet would be provided by the Oklahoma Commission on Children and Youth.

The measure will advance for consideration by the full Senate.

For more information contact:
Sen. Gumm's Office: 405-521-5586

Inon: Horizontal Blue Band

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