Amy Lester, Oklahoma Impact Team
OKLAHOMA CITY -- Agency heads are starting to feel the pinch, just a week after the budget announcement at the Capitol. The Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs is suffering one of the largest cuts.
"I negotiated hard to keep as much of that money as I could because, obviously, I feel the need. We've got so many pressing needs," said R. Darrell Weaver, OBN director.
OBN will receive a 33.8% cut, which is equal to $1.85 million. As a result, the agency will lose three education officers. They will readjust how to deal with prescription drug issues, the increasing number of meth labs and Mexican cartels, since there's less money to go around.
"We're on the front lines of good versus evil, in my opinion and I think we have to keep pressing. Oklahomans are dying everyday with some of these issues we're battling and hopefully we'll have some of those funds restored," said Weaver.
Weaver plans to keep an open dialogue with the legislative leaders. He hopes lawmakers will give the agency additional funding, as the economy rebounds.
"We have strong support at the Capitol, great friends there and I understand what they're up against with the shortfalls," said Weaver. "I believe we can go back and talk in the future as the economy turns around and gets more positive, I think they'll have an ear to giving some of this money back to us."
Other agencies received an even larger cut. The Council on Judicial Complaints will have a 67% cut. But, a new fee on civil cases should make up for that loss. The Secretary of State's office will receive no state appropriated dollars, because of its 100% budget cut. They will evaluate all expenditures and may not fill positions when people retire.