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Today In The News
Year after Costello’s death, mental health spending lags: Oklahoma spends less money on its mental health system than it did the day Labor Commissioner Mark Costello died. On Tuesday, the anniversary of his death, Costello’s widow Cathy said the state’s lack of investment in treatment for residents with brain disorders is heartbreaking. …At a tree planting ceremony outside the Oklahoma Department of Labor building, Cathy Costello and three of her children shoveled dirt into a hole where a redbud tree will grow in honor of their slain husband and father [NewsOK]. The FY 2017 budget adds to the cost of mental illness in Oklahoma [OK Policy].
DHS forced to make changes to SNAP program due to budget cuts: Benefits provided to low-income Oklahomans is being slowed after statewide budget cuts, the state agency overseeing the program said. The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, better known as SNAP, is changing the way it replaces cards. Cards were available immediately, but now cards have to be provided through a third party, delaying them for a week. In a typical month, about 25,000 cards are issued. Of those, 15,000 represent replacement cards [FOX25]. More than 1 in 4 Oklahoma children rely on SNAP to get enough to eat [OK Policy].
Oklahoma Public Safety Department considers furloughing troopers: The Department of Public Safety is considering 23-day furloughs for state troopers and civilian employees as the agency struggles with budget problems, officials said Wednesday. DPS Commissioner Michael Thompson has requested a $12 million budget supplement. He said that without this emergency funding, his agency will not be able to maintain present levels of staffing and operations, which have been reduced after millions of dollars in budget cuts the last two years [NewsOK]. Fifty-nine of 73 state agencies receiving state appropriations saw a further cut in FY 2017, following midyear cuts in FY 2016 [OK Policy].
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