Not just too long ago, on a nice weekend day, a member of the local constituency stopped to fuel up at an area gas station. As the motorist waited on the gas pump, an off-duty police officer approached and pointed out that his car's tag had expired. The officer explained that if he saw this car on the street that he would possibly have it towed.
This created a problem as the motorist couldn't simply go down to the tag agency. It was closed for the weekend. But, he clearly wanted to use his vehicle before Monday. Should he have been forced to give up commuting on the weekend just because he made a simple mistake and forgot to renew on time?
In the past, he would not have had an option. But, times have changed!
In 2009, I authored House Bill 1032 which was subsequently signed into law by then-Oklahoma Governor Brad Henry. House Bill 1032 kicked off a multi-year effort to place state government processes online. The bill required, subject to certain exception, state government to offer access to licenses online. It specifically required state officials to allow you to renew your car tag online.
The Oklahoma Tax Commission and the OK.gov web development team went to work to comply with the new legislation through the creation of Cars.OK.gov. They did a remarkable job of tying together all of the necessary technologies to confirm the payors' insurance information, car tag information and payment information in real time. This allows someone to have instant confirmation of their renewal.
This was extremely useful to the motorist who had forgotten to renew his registration but still wanted to use his vehicle over the course of the weekend when the tag agency wasn't open. Cars.OK.gov allowed him to pay and receive instant confirmation.
Cars.OK.gov represents one of the best executed modernizations of a licensing process that I have seen. But, it is one of many as state agency after state agency brings their licensing processes online in order to comply with the modernization laws.
Realizing the vision of HB 1032 has required constant attention and follow-up. It's been vital for us to clear through any legal hurdles which prohibit agencies from carrying out the intent of HB 1032 or which prevent the agency from offering features through the Internet.
For example, this year a modernization project, House Bill 2594, allows the state's Bureau of Investigation to accept electronic transfer payments from those who are applying for or renewing a Self-Defense Act conceal-and-carry permit. The Bureau has created an online portal for this purpose which should take away a considerable amount of strain upon its employees and a tremendous amount of frustration from those who must apply or renew.
House Bill 2594 has already won approval of both the House and Senate and now awaits the Governor's signature. It allows the Bureau to accept the electronic funds transfer as payment through the new online portal.
Finally, just days ago, the House approved a measure which enabled the Department of Public Safety to advance its plan for forever bringing to an end the long lines at the drivers' examination stations. Working with OK.gov, the Department has already deployed its "Inline Online" web portal which allows patrons to schedule their appointment instead of waiting in line. Now, DPS will start offering components of the drivers' examinations online.
Thanks to the commitment of Oklahoma's modernization-minded lawmakers and innovative state officials we are moving into a time when there will be very few reasons for why a person should have to wait in line at their favorite bureaucracy.
REP. JASON MURPHEY, R-Guthrie, represents House District 31, which encompasses all of Logan County and a portion of northern Edmond. He may be reached via email at email@example.com.