“It is also illegal,” ACLU files lawsuit to protect disabled Oklahomans

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OKLAHOMA CITY - The special session may have ended, but many vital services remain in jeopardy.

Friday, the ACLU announced they are taking action to ensure disabled Oklahomans get the care they need.

"We just had to file a lawsuit against two public officials here in Oklahoma, and that is the director of the Department of Human Services, as well as the CEO of the Oklahoma Health Care Authority,” said ACLU legal director, Brady Henderson.

Henderson says it is nothing personal against either official; it is the overall picture.

"What the suit is about is the state of Oklahoma failing to provide proper disability services so that people with disabilities can live in the community rather than be forced into institutions,” he said.

Which is exactly what Lance and Sherry Davis say will happen to their son.

"If we lose our services, Sherry will probably have to lose her job, and we'll probably have to move out of our house,” Lance Davis said. "We want to be able to have our son live in our house with us, and if we lose those services, he'll no longer be able to do that.”

Earlier this month, families across the state received a notice alerting them that their services would be terminated on December 1 with no alternative options or right of appeal. The ACLU says that is not only wrong, but illegal.

"It is also illegal,” Henderson said. “We believe that it violates both the Americans with Disabilities Act, as well as the Rehabilitation Act."

The Davis family is not the only Oklahoma family to get the letter. The Jennings family from Duncan also received a letter about the services their son receives, as well as Rebecca Jones of Rush Springs, who wheeled her son around the state capitol to ask lawmakers why.

The ACLU filed the class action lawsuit Friday in federal court in Oklahoma City and will be filing a motion for preliminary injunction, which is an emergency filing to make sure nobody loses services on December 1.


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