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Lawmakers Eye Changes at Facilities for Disabled (May 17, 2011)

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — The Oklahoma Department of Human Services would be required to develop a plan to change or discontinue operations at two state-operated facilities that care for about 250 of the state's most severely disabled Oklahoma residents.

A bill approved Tuesday in a Senate committee would require DHS to submit a plan to the Legislature by Jan. 1, 2012.

The sponsor of the bill, Republican Sen. Patrick Anderson, says he expects the department to consider moving residents into residential-style group homes operated by private contractors.

But Anderson acknowledges some family members of residents in the facilities in Enid and Pauls Valley bitterly oppose the plan.

Several Democrats opposed the bill. Sen. Jim Wilson says the state is obligated to take care of its most vulnerable residents.

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