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January 23, 2013

Budget chairman eyes pay hikes for DHS workers

TULSA — The head of a House budget panel says pay raises for field workers at the Department of Human Services will be a priority for lawmakers as they look to boost funding for the state agency.

Following a joint House and Senate budget committee hearing on Tuesday, Rep. Jason Nelson said merit-based pay increases for workers in the child welfare, developmental disabilities and family support divisions will be among his top priorities for the agency.

The Department of Human Services has about 7,200 employees and received more than $600 million in state funding last year.

State lawmakers boosted the agency's budget by $50 million last year as part of a settlement agreement with a child advocacy group that sued over the treatment of children in state custody.

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