The Edmond Sun

May 13, 2013

State cuts 55 boards, commissions

James Coburn
The Edmond Sun

EDMOND — There will be 55 fewer state boards and commissions on the books now that Gov. Mary Fallin signed two measures into law last week. More than 75 boards and commissions have been eliminated or consolidated this legislative session, according to the governor’s office.

“Over the decades, Oklahoma has seen the creation of hundreds of boards and commissions, many of which are now outdated and duplicative,” Fallin said. “The measures I signed into law today will consolidate or eliminate these entities without interrupting services. They also will deliver significant savings to Oklahoma taxpayers.”

House Bill 1455 by state Rep. Jason Murphey, R-Guthrie, and Sen. Greg Treat, R-Edmond, eliminates 27 boards and commissions that are duplicative, or are no longer necessary to include in state statutes.

“That’s a great start toward downsizing and efficiency,” Murphey said at a recent legislative breakfast sponsored by the Edmond Area Chamber of Commerce.

HB 1455 will save more than $50,000 annually by eliminating travel reimbursements and staff time spent on these boards. Fallin’s leadership empowered her cabinet secretaries to find areas where efficiencies were needed, Murphey said.

“We did go after lowest-hanging fruit first and take on those most politically achievable tasks,” said Murphey, R-Guthrie.

Murphey pointed out that House Bill 1467, written by Murphey and Republican state Sen. A.J. Griffin, consolidates 28 boards and commissions into seven new boards into the Department of Health.

The elimination of reimbursements and staff work time related to these boards is estimated to save more than $300,000 annually, according to the governor’s office.

“My thanks go out to the Oklahoma Legislature for working with me to right-size our state government and reduce unneeded government boards and commissions,” Fallin said.

Earlier this legislative session, the governor signed into law other consolidation measures including:

• HB 1481, which repeals the Oklahoma Linked Deposit Review Board;

• HB 1482, which repeals the high-hazard dams study group;

• SB 621, which consolidates the Oklahoma Bioenergy Center into the Oklahoma Energy Initiative;

• SB 767, which transfers the duties, assets and obligations of the Commission on Marginally Producing Oil and Gas Wells to the Committee for Sustaining Oklahoma’s Energy Resources, which is a function of the Oklahoma Energy Resources Board; and

• SB 1011: Eliminates or consolidates 16 boards and commissions within the oversight purview of the Secretary of Agriculture. | 341-2121