To The Editor:
Half of the voting members present at last week’s state House Long Term Care & Senior Services Committee meeting, chaired by Republican Rep. Jadine Nollan, voted to kill a vital missing link in the death and injury investigation process for Oklahoma’s most vulnerable senior and disabled populations.
The amendment was a request of the Oklahoma Silver Haired Legislature Alumni and was considered a “friendly amendment” by the Senate author of SB 218, Sen. AJ Griffin, R-Guthrie.
The legislature would not pass a bill this session to increase staffing levels in our #1 Worst Nursing Homes and now they won’t even vote to at least provide answers to the families as to why their loved ones were beaten, tortured and died. Vulnerable adults in Oklahoma are being abused at record levels.
What is wrong with us?
We claim to be law abiding god-fearing people but our state has become a place just too unsafe for children, the elderly and the disabled.
Just because people are frail and elderly doesn’t mean we as a culture are free to adopt a mindset of rationalizing away their demise with such callous disregard ” to say that these lives are going to end soon and that the nature of their death when suspicious is not of any consequence.
I am appalled that three of the members of this committee saw fit to take away this opportunity to establish an independent arm to assist our existing agency bureaucracies that are both overworked and underfunded.”
Rep. Bobby Cleveland, District 20, R-Norman, had the courage and compassion to vote for the amendment along with Rep. Jeannie McDaniel, District 78, D-Tulsa, and Rep. George Young, District 99, D-Oklahoma city.
On behalf of all of our seniors and the disabled, I thank them.
Those who voted against the measure were Chairman Jadine Nollan, District 66, R-Sand Springs, Rep. Chuck Strohm District 69, R-Jenks, and Rep. Mike Ritze, District 80, R-Broken Arrow.
Sincerely, Richard Morrissette, Oklahoma City
Editor’s Note: This is adapted from a press release and statement circulated to members of the Capitol press corps by Rep. Morrissette of District 92 after the defeat of his amendment to establish a board similar to the Child Death Review Board. For more information about Morrissette’s work, read this CapitolBeatOK news story.