Last week presented the first major legislative deadline. Proposals that didn’t receive committee approval by last Thursday are no longer eligible for additional consideration.
As the chairman of the Government Modernization committee it was my responsibility to sort through a large number of proposals and work with the authors of those proposals to make them both politically viable and practicable for implementation if approved.
This year, the committee considered more proposals than in any other year.
Here are just a few:
Based on our interim study regarding the need for reform in county government, the committee approved a proposal to require county commissioners to follow the state’s training laws in order to be eligible for re-election. It appears this important law is being ignored by commissioners and frustrated lawmakers are desperate to entice compliance. We also approved a proposal to look at the consolidation of county administration, place county spending online for all to see and place term limits on commissioners.
The committee approved multiple transparency proposals including cataloguing the state’s data collection practices so the citizens may view what data is being collected by government, mandating state agencies to place video recordings of their board meetings online for everyone to see, allowing the public to request the dash cam footage from Oklahoma Highway Patrol units, requiring the actual state budget to be placed online through documents.ok.gov, and a proposal requiring local governments to list the salaries of their employees on their websites.
We continued our work to consolidate duplicative processes and overhead. This includes a renewed focus on streamlining shared services–those services, which are identical but currently split amongst state agencies and a continued focus on consolidating and selling off state-owned real property assets.
We also approved proposals to lower state employee healthcare costs through encouraging the use of healthcare providers, which provide transparent health service pricing online and approved allowing for conceal and carry license applicants to pay for their license renewals online through electronic funds transfer.
Finally, perhaps the most important reform considered by the committee would completely modernize and transition the antiquated state employee merit system to something that better strikes a balance between protecting employees from political influence and enabling agency officials to hold poor performing employees to account.
In all, the committee approved more than 40 measures.
These ideas came from both members of the public and those who work within state government and who requested the modernization. Many of the proposals were sponsored by the members of the committee who have taken their commission to modernize government very seriously.
It’s been a neat experience to work with those other representatives in this endeavor and this concludes what may be the most productive committee hearing schedule since the committee was first created in 2009.
For me, this work will now come to a close as I have been re-assigned by the new House leadership. It’s been an awesome honor to be the modernization chairman for the past five years and I thank you for reading these emails and sharing that experience with me.
I also would like to thank all of those who joined me and House Speaker-Emeritus T.W. Shannon at last week’s town hall meeting. I enjoyed getting to meet and speak with you and your attendance was much appreciated.
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.