Senator Kenneth Corn, (D-Poteau) Chairman of Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Public Safety and Judiciary, made the following comments in response to a statement by House Republicans John Trebilcock and Gus Blackwell concerning the public safety crisis in Oklahoma.
“Senate leaders are more than willing to meet anytime to work out a bi-partisan agreement with House leaders as soon as they are willing to address the emergency situation in a special session, and not simply talk about next year.
“Throughout negotiations with House leaders, the only thing they were willing to discuss was waiting until next year – something Senate Democrats were not willing to do.
“Senate Democrats believe we have an obligation to address this crisis now, and that waiting until February is irresponsible and puts Oklahoma lives in jeopardy.
“The Senate passed a bi-partisan funding plan more than two months ago. During the special session in late August not one single Republican voted against the Senate plan to add 150 correctional officers to Oklahoma prisons and increase starting salaries from $20,000 to $24,000 annually. I am not sure it gets more bi-partisan than that.”