For Immediate Release: November 10, 2009
Sen. Kenneth Corn
Sen. Corn Circulating Petition to Call
Legislature into Special Session Over Nutrition Cuts; Names of
Legislators Seeking to Solve Funding Crisis Will be Made public
Sen. Corn's letter
to state lawmakers
Kenneth Corn is seeking the signatures of state lawmakers on a
petition that would enable the Oklahoma Legislature to call itself
into an emergency special session to deal with life-threatening cuts
to the state’s senior nutrition programs and any other problems
being caused by a massive state budget shortfall.
The Poteau Democrat began collecting signatures from fellow
lawmakers last week. Corn already has received signatures from 25
Senate and House Democrats. Corn also is asking every Republican
legislator in the House and Senate to sign the petition.
Corn said the failure of state leaders to stop $7.4 million in
budget cuts to Oklahoma’s various senior nutrition programs was the
reason he began the petition drive. He also is urging all lawmakers
to turn down the per diem legislators get for meal and lodging
expenses during a legislative session if a special session is
“Everyone’s now talking about these cuts. That’s good. There are
many solutions out there, but nothing is really getting done,” Corn
said. “Meanwhile people are going hungry and nutrition centers are
closing. “It’s time for the legislature to do the right thing –
State Department of Human Services officials cut nearly 30
percent of the state’s nutrition program budget about a month ago,
eliminating funding for more than 780,000 hot meals that were
scheduled to be served to the state’s elderly and home-bound
citizens over the next few months. Some senior nutrition centers
have closed because of the budget cuts and more closings are
“I know dozens of other legislators of both parties who feel just
as strongly as I do about this,” Corn said. “I’m giving every member
of the legislature the ability to state clearly where they stand on
this issue and the entire problem of Oklahoma’s revenue shortfall.
“These are life-threatening budget cuts. It’s not enough to admit
a problem exists and then do nothing about it while people suffer.
Fiddling while Rome burns, which is what has been done to date, is
poor leadership in my opinion.”
Corn wants the entire membership of the House and the Senate to
conduct an extensive review of what other budget cuts have already
been made in order to determine what additional action may be needed
to ease the current financial crisis.
Corn is calling for both the House and Senate to meet as a
“committee-of-the-whole” in order to give every member of the
legislature the ability to learn details of existing and planned
cuts and to offer suggestions on what efforts should be made to
lessen the impact of the financial collapse.
Corn remains highly critical of recent DHS pay raises for top
executives which cost approximately $200,000.
“Those raises were wrong, but they are a perfect example of our
problem,” he said. “Right now, no one knows exactly what is
happening to state government. That has to change. How many raises
or other cuts, like those to our senior nutrition centers, have been
implemented that we don’t know about?”
Corn doesn’t like the across-the-board 5 percent per month budget
cuts that state agencies have been forced to make over the last
“We must look at every state agency. Some cuts must be made, but
those cuts must be efficient, effective and made in a targeted way.
We need to use a scalpel to balance the budget – not a gigantic meat
State law gives the legislature the power to call itself into
special session if two-thirds of the members in the House and Senate
call for such a session by signing a petition.
“I will be releasing the names of those Senate and House members
who have signed the petition calling for a special session,” Corn
said. “I believe every Oklahoman has a right to know where their
state senator and state representative stand on the issue of denying
food to senior citizens.”
For more information contact Senator Corn at his Capitol Office
by calling (405) 521-5576 or by email at
For more information contact:
Senator Corn: 405-521-5576