Oklahoma residents are set to benefit from a package of modernization initiatives designed to cut the cost of state government, add transparency to government activities and provide convenience to those forced to interact with state government.
State Reps. Jason Murphey (R-Guthrie) and Mike Turner (R-Oklahoma City), chairman and vice-chairman, respectively of the House Government Modernization Committee, report that a series of these modernization measures were approved by the Oklahoma House of Representatives prior to today’s legislative deadline.
Among the measures is House Speaker T.W. Shannon’s House Bill 1910 to privatize unneeded state-owned property. Shannon’s proposal requires state officials to use the proceeds to fund an eight-year plan for meeting deferred maintenance needs such as the Oklahoma State Capitol building. The multi-year plan for improving state infrastructure imitates the highly successful transportation improvement plan used by the Oklahoma Department of Transportation, which Shannon previously oversaw as House Transportation Committee Chairman.
“As elected officials, we must challenge ourselves to become better stewards of taxpayers’ money,” said Shannon, R-Lawton. “This session, the House has proven the will is there for reform and better government efficiency.”
State Rep. David Derby (R-Owasso) won approval for his plan to significantly increase the amount of savings from the state’s recent information technology consolidation. Derby’s House Bill 2062 enables millions of dollars of additional savings from the ongoing consolidation effort. To date, the IT consolidation is estimated to generate approximately 40 million dollars each year and was just highlighted in Government Technology Magazine, a nationwide publication.
State Rep. Ken Walker (R-Tulsa) designed his House Bill 1451 to allow state officials to forego using costly law books instead of online resources. Walker proposed the bill after noticing large amounts of unsolicited law books being unnecessarily issued to state officials who will likely never need them.
House Bill 2221, by state Rep. Joe Dorman (D-Rush Springs) establishes a one-stop resource for Oklahomans to receive information during an emergency situations such as an ice storm or tornado event.
State Rep. Marty Quinn (R-Claremore) sponsored House Bill 1229 to allow those who must take a Department of Public Safety administered examination to reserve a spot ahead of time through a convenient online-reservation system instead of having to wait in line only to potentially not receive service. Similarly, state Rep. Mike Ritze’s House Bill 1489 modernizes the method by which Oklahomans apply for concealed carry permits by allowing for online applications. The Ritze proposal is designed to relieve the backlog of concealed-carry applications and speed up processing time.
State Rep. Elise Hall (R-Oklahoma City) won passage of House Bill 1414, which removes a number of antiquated and unneeded state laws. Hall’s proposal follows up on a recently approved constitutional amendment and will remove costly bureaucratic paperwork mandates that had been placed upon state agencies.
House Bill 1415, also by Hall, proposes to establish a deliberative sunrise process prior to the creation of any state agencies. Hall’s legislation seeks to prevent future expansion of unnecessary state government overhead cost by encouraging policymakers to use existing administrative overhead instead of creating new spending.
State Rep. David Brumbaugh (R-Broken Arrow) proposed House Bill 1990 and House Bill 1984 in order to allow state government to manage state-owned resources more efficiently. House Bill 1984 removes a potentially costly mandate upon the state’s fleet management system and keeps the state from competing with free-market fuel providers.
Murphey secured the vote for House Bill 1002 which brings to the end the practice by which state agencies are double-assigning identification numbers to multiple state employees for months at a time. Murphey believes the tactic is used to disguise the number of full-time employees that are assigned to state agencies.
Turner received House approval for his House Bill 1431, which provides support to those government entities that choose to take advantage of technology to modernize their processes.
At the request of Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin, Murphey and Turner won approval for a series of bills to consolidate, eliminate and streamline a large number of state agencies, boards and commission. Fallin’s proposals are estimated to save hundreds of thousands of dollars each year.
“Each year, more and more House members are advancing aggressive government modernization proposals,” explained Turner. “The effort to streamline state government has become an important and prominent part of House agenda.”
Each of the listed initiatives have been sent to the state Senate where they await additional action.
Thank you for reading this article. Your interest and input are much appreciated. Please do not hesitate to email Jason.Murphey@hd31.org with your thoughts and suggestions.