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Oklahoma State Senate
Communications Division
State Capitol
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma 73105

For Immediate Release: March 3, 2010

Sen. Kenneth Corn
Sen. Kenneth Corn

Senior Meals Agreement Saves Programs Next Year
Program move to a different agency means state budget will never again be balanced on the back of senior citizens, Sen. Corn says

An agreement on the fate of Oklahoma’s senior meals programs means the critical initiatives that feed more than 60,000 elderly Oklahomans will continue to be funded next year, Sen. Kenneth Corn said Wednesday.

In addition, legislators have agreed to move the meal programs from control of the state Department of Human Services to another agency to prevent future catastrophic cuts like the ones that nearly destroyed the program over the last few months.

“Today Senate Democrats reached agreement with the Republican leadership of the Senate that senior meal programs will be funded next year,” Corn, D-Poteau, said. “No longer will Oklahoma’s state budget be balanced on the back of the most vulnerable citizens in our communities.”

Corn and other Senate Democrats have been involved in a pitched fight to save the senior meals programs and to restore as much of the $7.4 million in cuts that have nearly destroyed the programs over the last few months.

Earlier this week, after voting for nearly $400 million in emergency funding for schools, public safety and health care, Senate Democrats stalled two bills that would have completed efforts to fix a massive $1.3 billion 2010 state revenue budget collapse.

The programs feed seniors more than one million meals each year. Seniors who receive the meals are usually unable to afford the food they need to survive or can no longer prepare their own meals. The meals are either delivered to homes or seniors gather at local senior meal centers to be fed.

The programs are likely to be moved to the control of a state agency like the Department of Commerce.

Corn said each side in the dispute compromised enough to reach an accord.

“This is the first time since the cuts were announced last year that the Republican leadership has considered Democratic concerns about this issue,” he said. “Everyone compromised enough to find a solution that will allow us to move forward and help the people of Oklahoma.”

Corn pledged to closely monitor senior meal program legislation and will continue to work diligently to guarantee the maximum funding possible for next year.

“Meal programs are critical to tens of thousands of Oklahoma’s oldest and most needy citizens. My Christian faith requires that I do all within my power to help those among us who are the weakest and most vulnerable – and I intend to keep on doing that.”

For more information contact:
Sen. Corn: 405-521-5576


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