The most desired outcome in the form of an end to the uncertainty for residents at the Southern Oklahoma Resource Center is still in a state of limbo, but as of Tuesday, another attempt to drastically reduce the campus was denied.
What began as a frantic attempt to buy more time by disapproving the plan for the former state school through a resolution, HCR 1030, introduced Monday has proven successful on both the floor of State House of Representatives and the State Senate, according to State Sen. Susan Paddack. Originally introduced by State Rep. Lisa J. Billy, it was successful that first day and then Tuesday at the Senate and means going from 242 residents to 112 residents by August 2013 at both SORC and NORC in Enid has effectively been rejected by elected officials.
“It’s a huge deal for all the residents that they don’t have to be a part of a plan that does not meet all of their needs,” Paddack said in a phone call before the senate voted on the resolution. “It’s a good day when this passes.”
This amounts to a return to the drawing board where a new plan which is more favorable can be created with collaborations from those like Paddack and Billy. Areas of focus in the past they could return to include putting in place necessary sprinkling systems in residential buildings not currently up to code and building homes on campus to replace inefficient buildings over a longer term.
The DHS plan was also scheduled to be once again discussed by the Oklahoma Commission for Human Services at their meeting Tuesday before being sent for consideration to legislators, but was put on hold pending the state legislator’s vote, according to Ann Dee Lee, DHS DDSD public relations officer. Though this now means this plan is no longer up for consideration, two of the commissioners, Steven Dow and Michael L. Peck have started work on their own plans to be introduced at a later date.
“We cast votes every session that impact people’s lives. But for those of us who have gotten to know these families and their loved ones, we have gained deep understanding of what is at stake here,” said Billy, in an e-mail sent from the communications division of the state capitol. “Senator Paddack and I are profoundly grateful for the support of the House and Senate on our legislation.”