GOVERNOR STITT SIGNS AGENCY ACCOUNTABILITY BILLS, PRAISES HOUSE AND SENATE LEADERSHIP
Oklahoma City, Okla. (March 13, 2019) – Governor Kevin Stitt today signed five agency accountability bills that give the executive branch the authority to hire and fire agency leaders for the Oklahoma Healthcare Authority (SB 456), Oklahoma Department of Transportation (SB 457), Oklahoma Department of Corrections (HB 2480), Oklahoma Office of Juvenile Affairs (HB 2479), and Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services (HB 2483).
“This marks a historic day for the State of Oklahoma,” said Stitt. “With this legislation we are ensuring Oklahoma’s government is truly accountable to the people of Oklahoma. These reforms empower elected officials to deliver stronger oversight, better services, and accountable leadership across the state’s five largest agencies, and by maintaining governing boards, we will continue to ensure transparency in all agency operations. I would like to thank Speaker McCall and President Pro Tem Treat for championing these pieces of legislation that will undoubtedly help move our state forward.”
“Under our current structure, agency directors and boards are not accountable to anyone – certainly not to the governor or the taxpayers of Oklahoma,”said House Speaker Charles McCall. “This historic agreement transforms our government in a way that delivers real accountability for Oklahoma’s citizens. This has been a shared goal between the governor and House and Senate Republicans, and I am very thankful for the cooperation and leadership of Gov. Stitt and President Pro Tempore Treat. These bills ensure that the governor will truly be the chief executive of the executive branch by allowing him to hire and fire those agency directors, and it ensures that the Legislature maintains more oversight over those agencies that spend taxpayer money.”
“Since I’ve been in the Oklahoma Senate, Republicans have done a lot of great things like workers’ comp reform, pension reform, DHS reform, enacting the largest teacher pay raise in state history, and advanced the cause of life,” said Senate President Pro Tem Greg Treat. “But the government accountability measures, in my opinion, are the most substantial reforms Republicans will achieve in my tenure at the Capitol. For too long, agencies have been unaccountable to the people of Oklahoma. That’s wrong and that is changing for the better. Now, Oklahomans will know who to hold accountable for the successes or failures of these five agencies. This truly gives Governor Stitt the ability to put into place the leaders who can carry out his vision that will make Oklahoma a Top 10 state. I want to thank Governor Stitt and Speaker McCall for their hard work and cooperation. This is an amazing achievement that will transform Oklahoma for the next century. It’s the dawn of a new day across Oklahoma and it’s a day that will help us achieve an even better and brighter future.”
The agency accountability bills include the following provisions:
- The Governor will have the authority to hire and fire the agency leader.
- Senate will have confirmation authority of the agency leader.
- State agencies will maintain governing boards, but board members will serve at will and the legislation will include a conflict of interest provision.
- The Governor will appoint a majority of the board members, and the House and Senate will gain appointment seats on the boards.
- The House and Senate will be able to remove agency leaders by achieving a two-third vote in both Chambers.