Oklahoma City, OK 73105
For Immediate Release: January 19, 2010
Sen. Kenneth Corn
Corn Introduces Legislation To Restore Funding
For Senior Nutrition Centers
Senator calls for action on meal measure
during first week of legislative session
State Sen. Kenneth
Corn is calling for “immediate action the first week of
the legislative session” on his proposal to restore nearly $4.7
million in budget cuts made late last year to senior citizen
nutrition meal programs around the state.
Corn wrote Senate Bill 2065 in order to swiftly return the
funding once the Legislature convenes February 1. His measure would
take money needed to restore the cuts from the state’s Rainy Day
Fund. Legislators have about $660 million in the emergency fund
which they can use to pay for critical services and programs, such
as the meal program.
In addition, Corn also has introduced SB 1808 which will
guarantee a minimum of $7.4 million in meal program funding through
most of 2011.
State Department of Human Services officials cut $7.4 million –
about 30 percent of the program budget – from meal program funding
in November after the state developed a more than $1 billion revenue
shortfall. The drop is a result of America’s crumbling economy.
Corn’s bill would restore $4.66 million to ensure the program
runs at full capacity for the remainder of the fiscal year which
ends June 30.
To date, thousands of senior citizens who depend upon the meals
for a majority of their daily food intake have lost access to
hundreds of thousands of meals. At least 51 nutrition centers have
closed because of the funding cuts and an estimated 161 have
drastically reduced services. A total of nearly 800,000 fewer meals
will be served from November of last year through June 2010 – unless
the budget cut is restored.
“For more than two months Oklahoma’s elected leadership used
excuse after excuse for not calling a special session to address
this critical issue,” the Poteau Democrat said. “Now there are no
more excuses. Legislative leaders and Gov. Henry have all said they
support these programs and our senior citizens. Now we will see if
they really do.”
Once the session begins, Corn said his legislation could wind
through the legislative process within a week. “The Legislature
could get this critical funding back to our senior citizens who need
it in less than 15 days – if they just will.”
Corn and Sen. Tom Ivester, D-Elk City, camped out in a tent near
the Capitol steps last year to bring attention to the cuts. “No one
was talking about this tragedy. No one was doing anything. No one
would lead, so Sen. Ivester and I thought someone needed to step up
and try to get things done.
“What kind of message did it send to people and the rest of this
nation when the first thing we allowed to be cut in tough economic
times was meals for senior citizens?” Corn asked.
“What kind of message does it send to everyone right now if we
now refuse to act swiftly to restore the cuts? Is that the kind of
state people want Oklahoma to be?”
Corn circulated a petition among legislators last year that
would have given them the power to call themselves back into session
to deal with the meal program cuts before Christmas. Virtually every
Democratic state senator and representative signed the petition.
However, Republicans banned together and refused to sign the
petition, derailing all efforts to solve the problem for more than
For more information contact:
Sen. Corn: 405-521-5576