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Thousands rally at Oklahoma capitol amid looming budget cuts

October 24, 2017

Marlon Smith of Oklahoma City holds a sign as demonstrators pack the rotunda in the state Capitol to protest pending cuts to health and social services programs in Oklahoma City, Tuesday, Oct. 24, 2017. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Thousands of people are packing the Oklahoma Capitol to urge legislators to block pending cuts to health and social services programs.

Demonstrators donned green hats and chanted “save our services” as they thronged the fourth-floor rotunda asking lawmakers to restore funding for the mentally ill, the disabled, and poor children and seniors. The Oklahoma Highway Patrol estimated a crowd of about 2,000.

The Legislature resumed its special session Tuesday as it looks for ways to shore up a $215 million hole in the budget. The shortfall emerged when a $1.50-per-pack cigarette tax was ruled unconstitutional because it didn’t receive a required three-fourth’s vote of the Legislature.

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