Contact: Jason Sutton, Press Secretary
Office of House Speaker Charles McCall
Capitol: (405) 557-7421
Cell: (405) 328-8382
OKLAHOMA CITY – Three bills that are part of the historic government accountability reforms agreement announced this week cleared the House floor today. Gov. Kevin Stitt and House and Senate leadership announced the agreement yesterday.
The plan gives the governor the ability to hire and fire the directors of five state agencies, including the Office of Juvenile Affairs, the Department of Corrections, the Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services, the Oklahoma Health Care Authority and the Department of Transportation. The plan also retains the agency boards that provide oversight over those agencies and rebalances the appointment authority for those boards. It makes all board appointments “at will,” meaning they can be removed at any time by the appointing authority. Those boards would remain subject to the Open Records and Open Meetings Acts and would retain the ability to promulgate rules and perform other board activities.
The plan gives the governor five appointments on each board and gives the Legislature four appointments each, divided between Speaker of the House and the Senate President Pro Tempore. The plan also gives the Senate advice and consent on the governor’s agency director appointments. In addition, the plan allows the Legislature to remove any of the five agency directors with a vote of 2/3’s approval in both chambers.
All three bills were authored by House Speaker Charles McCall. The other two measures that are part of the agreement will start in the Senate.
“This has been a shared goal between the House, the Senate and the Governor’s Office, and it is a significant restructuring of how our government operates,” said Speaker McCall, R-Atoka. “We all recognize that Oklahomans expect much more accountability in their government, and this plan will ensure that agency directors and agency board appointees are held accountable to those who have been elected to hold them accountable. Under our current system, these directors and board appointments are not really accountable to anyone.”
House Bill 2479 applies to the Office of Juvenile Affairs and passed by a vote of 76-22.
House Bill 2480 applies to the Department of Corrections and passed by a vote of 76-20.
House Bill 2483 applies to the Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services and passed by a vote of 76-20.
All three bills now head to the Senate for consideration.