It is the time of year when legislators file their legislation for the next session. Every so often I feel it important to write an article which describes the process by which a bill becomes law.
In January, the state will issue its financial statements for the 2016 fiscal year. These are perhaps the most important documents produced by state government. They will show the actual effect of the energy sector’s downturn on state government spending.
Earlier this year, the attentive listener may have overheard the following emanating from their local politician: “I sure hope I don’t have an opponent this year. It would be nice to have a free pass this time.”
Last week I wrote some advice to new office holders based on lessons I’ve learned over the past few years. Here is some more, for what it is worth.
It is at this time of year when the House of Representatives benefits from the inclusion of the new members, collectively known as The Freshmen.
Last Tuesday I took note of a rather exciting event. Hidden in the news of election day, only careful observers noted a press release from the incoming Speaker of the House. He used the occasion to announce something exceptional: he will reduce the amount his office spends on personnel by nearly $500,000.
This is the time of year when many of last session’s approved legislative initiatives take effect. Traditionally, this means many new laws are going into place. All too often, these are unnecessary laws that create additional fees, new government debt and inappropriate spending, unnecessary and confusing regulation, or worse. Unfortunately, this year is no different. […]
I have learned much about human behavior and individual character by watching and observing legislators — especially during the chaotic “deadline weeks.”
Imagine the scenario of the business owner who manages his business in a flurry of hurried and ill-thought-out decisions. Actually, this may not be too hard to imagine as I suspect you have seen the bad outcomes from those who operate their business in this manner. They gain a bad reputation and are likely to […]
Earlier this year I wrote about one of the major factors which led to state government’s recent “day of fiscal reckoning.” I described the decades of financial malfeasance by state officials such as their action of giving away retirement system benefits with no way to pay for them.
Many taxpayers believe the Legislature operates as described in American Government class. They learn that a bill becomes law after first being approved in a committee, then by votes in the House and Senate, and finally being signed by the Governor.
Those who visit the capitol at lunch or dinner time are likely to notice the dependency/entitlement mindset of some of its occupants. The careful observer may overhear the efforts of lawmakers to enjoy a first class meal at someone else’s expense: “Let’s find a lobbyist to take us out,” or “I’ve got XYZ lobbyist lined […]
The power to appropriate money provides the Legislature with one of the strongest tools with which they exercise input over state agency conduct. In some respects, this is a role which makes the Legislature the most powerful branch of state government.
Last winter I took a phone call with great news. It was a call from a new House candidate in another district who said, “Jason, I have made a decision. I am not going to accept lobbyist money.”
Several years ago, a legislator approached my seat in the House chamber.
“Good housekeeping always involves throwing out some junk.” This statement was the response of a friend as he replied to last week’s article about the need for repealing old laws. His statement has application far beyond the discussion of repealing old laws.
State Representatives Jason Murphey and Mark Lepak, who currently serve as the Chair and Vice-Chair of the House State Government Operations Committee respectively, are taking note of an important milestone in the effort to unify Oklahoma state government’s information technology resources.
I am a big fan of the CSPAN online video library and archive. The archive contains numerous State of the State addresses — the annual speech by the Governor to the Legislature in which he or she outlines their policy proposals for the next year. It’s a great resource for learning about policy proposals from […]
From time to time I am asked to speak to various groups regarding the state budget process. I always encourage the audience to become knowledgeable in matters of state government finance and direct them to a plethora of tools online that will give the public far more knowledge of state finance than that possessed by […]
There is some very good news from this session: the first meaningful step in the effort to reverse term limits was unexpectedly and overwhelmingly defeated!