A little more than a year ago, the new leadership of the House of Representatives created a new committee structure. The Committee on Administrative Rules now has the stated mission to repeal unnecessary laws. When providing the committee with this directive, Speaker of the House T.W. Shannon sought to institutionalize the important principle that we as representatives should aggressively seek to reduce the number of laws on the books. This year several of us have taken this directive to heart and have filed numerous measures to repeal existing laws.
The importance of this challenge can be illustrated by a picture that you may view at hd31.org/564. This picture shows two stacks of books containing Oklahoma state statutes that are published every 10 years. The books in the first stack were published in 2001 while the second (a significantly taller stack of books) were published in 2011.
The comparison is shocking. In those 10 years, even as Oklahomans were electing a wave of small government conservatives, the number of laws that regulate every aspect of Oklahomans’ lives has greatly increased.
The importance of repealing laws isn’t lost on the public. Consider this email I recently received from a member of the local constituency:
“I often wonder why the Legislature is always trying to change or fix things. I would think that at some point you would be able to walk in and say, ‘Our work is done; no more bills or new laws.’ Only then would it be prudent to look at the old outdated laws, regulations, etc., and see if they are relevant to life today. I know you have discussed that in the past and it should be done during each term to purge old items from the books. In a way, this would be homework so when the Legislature convenes, the first thing to accomplish is to clean up the books.”
His point is well taken.
During the next few weeks I expect the Administrative Rules Committee will advance numerous repealer proposals. I have personally authored 11 repealers and look forward to doing my part. Other legislators have sponsored an array of additional proposals.
It should be our goal to ensure that when the 2021 law books are published, they are smaller in size than the 2011 series.
There is recent precedence for this type of progress. The Oklahoma Department of Libraries recently released the annual directory of Oklahoma government, which is commonly referred to the ABC (Oklahoma’s State Agencies, Boards and Commissions) directory. The most recent edition is actually 14 page lighter than its immediate predecessor. That’s 14 pages of government boards and commissions that are no longer in existence because of the consolidation and elimination proposals that we passed last year. This year we will continue the work of consolidating and eliminating more of these entities.
Session starts in just a few days and I look forward to repealing unnecessary laws and completely eliminating more state government organizations. It may be be painstakingly slow, but we are making progress in the effort to roll back government intrusion and restore individual liberty.
I look forward to discussing these and other ideas with constituents at this year’s House District 31 town hall meeting. It will take place at Waterloo Road Baptist Church at 7 p.m. Feb. 24. The invited guest is House Speaker T.W. Shannon. I hope you can attend.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.