On a cold, wintery day in January 2004, my family and I drove to the north side of Marshall, Oklahoma where I solicited the support of my first voter for the office of State Representative. It would be the first of thousands of such visits over the course of the next eight months.
It was deja-vous. A few days ago, the State Purchasing Director attempted to walk the Government Modernization Committee through the ins and outs of state government purchasing policy. His unenviable task faced two primary challenges: capturing the attention of legislators for what at first glance appears to be an extremely dry (though important) subject matter, […]
Voting on legislation is the singular most important part of the state representative’s job and in that role, I have endeavored to cast the approximate 1,000 yearly votes according to a set of clear and consistent criteria.
Consider the following statement one might hear if they stay around the capitol very long: “If there is one consistent thing about that legislator, it is that he is consistently inconsistent!”
I have enjoyed the opportunity to observe the leadership of six different Speakers of the House. It’s said to be the most powerful position in all of Oklahoma government; stronger in influence than even the Governor. Based on careful observation over the years, I have attempted to learn all I can about the strengths and […]
I have frequently expressed my view of the inappropriate influence of lobbyists over the legislative process.
I once watched, “The Best Government Money Can Buy,” a documentary that details the considerable influence of lobbyists over the development and implementation of policy.
It is the time of year when legislators file 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.
OKLAHOMA CITY – Rep. Mike Ritze, R-Broken Arrow, has requested Oklahoma House staff to draft legislation designed to limit the amount of tax dollars spent on the salaries of statewide elected officials, agency heads, and other highly compensated governmental employees.
Here is an antiquated House procedure that should be corrected: members of the House of Representatives vote on key legislation during a limited two-minute time frame.
Every so often, I field this question from those who are interested in state government: “How can I see state finances?”
Here’s some encouraging news: notwithstanding this year’s repeated ferocious attack by the Legislature upon the wallet of Oklahoma taxpayers, there is hope for the future.
For much of Oklahoma’s history, the conservative fiscal values of Oklahomans were upheld because state officials were unable to issue general bonded indebtedness without first receiving approval through a vote of the people. This is because Oklahoma’s constitution requires a balanced budget and prevents debt issuance without a vote of the people.
When asked to point out what I believe to be the most wasteful and inappropriate form of government spending, I can answer without hesitation. Without a doubt, it is the extremely inappropriate tendency of government agencies to hire private lobbying firms.
“We have a LOT of travel! There are a lot of savings to be found in this area.”
How would you reduce the state budget? To answer this question, I have maintained the following framework for restoring a responsible and fiscally conservative budget — without increasing taxes.
Observing the Legislature over the past 11 years have given me much perspective. I now have a tremendous appreciation for those courageous legislators who are willing to defend the taxpayer interests even under the most difficult of circumstances.
I have made it a practice to keep on file notable correspondence both written and emailed. From time to time, I go through these archives. Some of this correspondence is quite timeless and still relevant.
Prior to holding office I had heard the commonly used Action quote: “Absolute power corrupts absolutely.”
It is a very old story and I have heard it repeated many times. It seems that legislators cannot hold a budget hearing or meet with representatives of state government agencies without being subjected to a long and nuanced description of the agency’s great financial needs.