Bill to keep Talihina Veterans Center passes committee
State House Rep. Jim Grego, R-Wilburton, announced today (Feb. 26, 2019) his bill that would stop the transfer of an Oklahoma Veterans Center from Talihina passed out of the House Rules Committee.
House Bill 1149 would repeal previous legislation that authorized the transfer of the center. The bill passed 6-2 in committee and is now eligible to be heard by the entire House. Yes votes were Jon Echols, Andy Fugate, Chris Kannady, Lundy Kiger, John Pfeiffer and Zack Taylor. No votes were Matt Meredith and Josh West.
“I’m thankful to each of the committee members who voted in support of this bill,” Grego said. “Hopefully we can get this measure heard on the House floor.
House Judiciary Committee Chair, Rep. Chris Kannady, who is a veteran, issued the following statement about the bill:
“Representative Grego and I are continuing conversations regarding the future of the Talihina Veterans Center and how our state can best serve our veterans while ensuring rural Oklahoma has access to good jobs. Representative Grego is a strong leader for District 17, including my family and my hometown, and I appreciate his willingness to address difficult issues.”
Rep. Grego thanked Rep. Kannady for his support as he continues negotiations on this matter.
“This issue is of extreme importance to our veterans and to all of us in Southeast Oklahoma,” Grego said.
It was announced last fall the Oklahoma Veterans Commission and the Oklahoma Department of Veterans Affairs would move the 175-bed, long-term veterans care center from Talihina to Sallisaw within the next three to five years. The center employees about 275 people. HB1149 would keep the center in Talihina.
A copy of the bill is attached to this article. Follow the bill online at www.oklegislature.gov/BillInfo.aspx?Bill=HB1149.
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