The House Joint Committee on Appropriations & Budget (JCAB) today, moved on a special funding package which authorizes the transfer of existing state money to fill a few months of current services for the Dept. of Mental Health & Substance Abuse Services (ODMHSAS).
While not a full fix, it does allow the important operations to continue through the winter, until the 2018 Regular Session can apply a more permanent solution. The funds total about $25 million.
On Tuesday, I visited with several members of the House leadership, urging them to get this transfer on the House Calendar. Eventually I was able to spend a few moments with Majority Floor Leader, Jon Echols.
Jon has been incredibly receptive and accomodating to me told me that the Gov. insisted that her tax package be the only legislation on the House calendar. He was highly doubtful of the package getting a necessary 75% support.
But Echols gave me his assurance that when the Fallin plan fails, that He will work with the Speaker to get the funding bill on the calendar and voted on within the week. Minutes ago he fulfilled that promise.
There are larger issues, and long term problems to fix. But at least the disruption is hopefully avoided. We will continue to advocate for the important role of public health & safety in our state govt. We all believe there are less expensive and more humane solutions than the jail cells that too many of our suffering fellow citizens are being abused in.