Lawmakers pass bill directing DHS to protect ADvantage waiver


Lawmakers have passed a bill directing a state agency to protect programs from cuts within the Department of Human Services while they attempt to pass a budget plan.

The Oklahoma Senate passed HB 1058 with a 35-0 vote Tuesday morning. The bill passed through the Oklahoma House Nov. 9 and directs DHS to protect the ADvantage waiver and other in-home service programs from cuts. The agency is facing a $69 million hole in their budget and must make the cuts from elsewhere. HB 1058 will now head to Governor Mary Fallin's desk.

The eighth week of the special session began Monday. Lawmakers are attempting to fill a $215 million hole left after a "tobacco cessation fee" was deemed unconstitutional.

Many state agencies face cuts due to the hole but three have been hit the hardest: the Oklahoma Health Care Authority, DHS and the Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services.

The House Joint Committee on Appropriations and Budget also met Tuesday and approved HB 1019. The bill will bring an approximate 2 percent cut in funding to most state agencies. It will also bring in $23 million from the Rainy Day fund, $23 million in carryover funds and $60 million in revolving funds to partially fill the budget hole.

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