Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Bill Protecting Aging, Disabled Funding Passes Senate

State Rep. John Bennett (R-Sallisaw) announced Tuesday the passage of a bill that will protect funding for elderly or disabled adults who receive services through the Department of Human Services (DHS).

Bennett is the original author of House Bill 1058, which will require DHS to fully fund the ADvantage Home and Community-based waiver program that allows aging or disabled adults to receive services and medication in their homes instead of having to move into nursing homes at a higher cost. The bill passed the state Senate on Tuesday morning and now awaits the governor’s signature.

“I will always fight for the elderly,” said Bennett. “We’ve told our health care agencies all along that we would ensure they received their funding no matter how we had to do it with our current budget. It makes me so angry that they used scare tactics against these people who rely on these core government programs. They used these people as pawns to try to force the legislature to give them money they’d been assured of receiving. That’s shameful.”

Bennett said he was raised by his grandparents, who survived on the income they received from their small dirt farm and their monthly $500 Social Security check and because of his background, he has long been a supporter of the elderly who need assistance.

Another bill authored by Bennett, House Bill 1027, would ensure Highway Patrol troopers are not furloughed or limited in the number of miles they drive per day. The Department of Public Safety previously threatened to furlough troopers and limit them to 100 miles per day of driving while performing their duties. This bill will ensure the department will have to find other areas for efficiencies and not cut from the core service provided by troopers, Bennett said.

The bill passed the House Joint Committee on Appropriations and Budget on Tuesday morning and can now be considered on the House floor.

“This bill protects our troopers to do their job so they can protect the rest of us,” Bennett said. 

“These are two areas of government I am most passionate about – protecting our elderly and providing public safety. These are functions that government absolutely must always ensure,” Bennett said. 

Sally Maxwell, Senior News Director

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