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Today In The News
Senate kills bill to prevent cities from protecting LGBT community: The Oklahoma Senate on Thursday killed a bill that would have nullified city of Tulsa ordinances offering protections against discrimination based on gender identity and sexual orientation in housing and employment. Senate Bill 694, by Sen. Josh Brecheen, R-Coalgate, failed by a vote of 18 for and 25 against. It requires 25 votes in the Senate to pass a measure. Brecheen held the bill on a motion to reconsider the vote by which it failed. That motion failed as well, by 15 for and 28 against [Tulsa World]. After the bill failed, the author of a second measure to allow businesses to discriminate against gay people withdrew his proposal [NewsOK].
DHS Director: Oklahoma budget cut scenarios range “from the terrible to the unthinkable”: Unless lawmakers find new revenues to close their budget shortfall, Oklahoma is looking at unprecedented cuts to the most basic services of state government, including those for the most vulnerable seniors, children, and people with disabilities. Even before next year’s budget, the Oklahoma Department of Human Services (OKDHS) will run out of money in May to pay for in-home care of 25,000 seniors and individuals with severe disabilities unless the Legislature acts quickly to provide supplemental funds [OK Policy]. Cuts to programs and services would include eliminating some or all of the staff positions and contracts associated with those programs [Tulsa World].
Agencies: Potential cuts are alarming: Legislators required all state agencies to report how a 14.5-percent budget cut would affect them. On the whole, it would mean more than 1,000 layoffs and a severe drop in services. Agencies have already seen millions drop out of their budgets. They’ve already let thousands of employees go, initiated hiring freezes and capped services. But as 2018’s fiscal year looms with the threat of an almost $900 million shortfall, everyone is looking at what else they can cut. They aren’t mincing words [Journal Record].
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