Last week, I wrote of the House of Representatives’ creation of new committees designed to expand legislative purview at the state level. Specifically, I pointed to the attempt to gain a grasp on the state’s overwhelming dependence on federal dollars.
Last week, Representative T.W. Shannon, the new Speaker of the House of Representatives, announced the House committee structure for the next legislative session. This event has been greatly anticipated by members of the Legislature. Shannon campaigned for the Speaker position on the platform of truly allowing the makeup of the House membership to be represented […]
This week marks the first deadline when state legislators (Representatives and Senators) must submit notice of their intent to file bills for the 2013 legislative session.
When many of House District 31 residents, who also live in Logan County, received their new property tax assessments last April, they noticed a refreshing sight. Their property assessment stayed the same or may have even dropped.
Perhaps no effort to shrink the size of state government has been more aggressive than the attempt to consolidate the state’s massive information technology infrastructure. As part of this reform, we included a robust reporting requirement in the legislation that mandated the reform.
Last Wednesday, the new members of the House of Representatives took the oath of office. Unlike Congress, the Oklahoma Legislature does not conduct lame duck sessions. Just eight days after the election, new Representatives are already on the job. Because of this, state policy won’t be determined by those who have been defeated at the […]
There are many within state government who understand that the long term fiscal impact of the federal health care law will be devastating. While the federal government may attempt to incur much of the expense up front, the policy clearly intends to shift massive amounts of cost to state government.
Each day, taxpayers give up millions of dollars due to cost of living increases because of government regulation and taxation. Most taxpayers never realize that the government is the reason they are paying so much. This is because of the hidden costs of government that are baked into every aspect of our lives.
This article is a continuation of last week’s column that answers some of the questions I am receiving about next week’s elections.
As election day approaches, I continue to receive questions from constituents about the items on the ballot and the election process.
You have heard that sunshine is the best disinfectant to corruption in government. In recent years, the House of Representatives Government Modernization Committee has approved numerous transparency initiatives to shine as much light on government activities as possible. We know that when the taxpayer can see how the government spends money, the odds are much […]
On November 14, I will take the oath of office for the next term of the Legislature. I have now served six years as your State Representative and I am at the halfway point of the time I am allowed to serve under Oklahoma’s term limits laws. In reflecting on the past six years, I […]
When a lawmaker decides to accept lobbyist gifts, he enters into a type of welfare system. Like all welfare systems, this tends to destroy the independence of the human spirit and makes the lawmaker dependent on the largess of others. Certainly not all lawmakers who take gifts lose their independence, but the practice of frequently […]
Back in February I wrote an article describing the influence of certain lobbyists over the legislative process. I wrote that lobbyists, ” . . . are professional relationship manipulation experts and expert strategists, and they know the pressure points to push to get a key lawmaker’s vote. Their attempts to kill a good bill appear […]
I believe our nation’s founding fathers designed Congress to be made up of citizens from varied professions and occupations. This concept was applied to the legislatures of the several states, including Oklahoma. Legislators naturally tend to gravitate to the area of policy to which they are familiar and I enjoy watching the contributions made from […]
The issue of pork earmarks or legislative pass-throughs has received a bit of public scrutiny within the past few weeks after the Oklahoma Council on Public Affairs, an Oklahoma City television station, and one of the state’s largest newspapers investigated and criticized the ongoing practice.
Imagine the challenge faced by the citizen who feels the call to become civically involved and hold government accountable only to be denied access to transparency records to which he is legally entitled. Or put yourself in the place of the conscientious journalist who has been trained to do the necessary research to present a […]
Oklahoma taxpayers received some great news as part of a recently released report from Oklahoma State Chief Information Officer Alex Pettit. During the last legislative interim, the Government Modernization Committee was told the state’s information technology consolidation plan allowed taxpayer to realize 30 million dollars of savings each year. CIO Pettit’s latest report has upgraded […]
Last week I described the future model of higher education as being mostly free to use. This begs the obvious question. Who will pay for this education? After all, nothing is really free.
I have found it interesting that it has taken so long for technology to bend the cost curve for Oklahoma higher education entities. Just as in many other areas of the business world, Oklahoma universities should have developed the ability to provide effective administration with far fewer people due to advances in technology. In the […]