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Voters Could Decide to Expand Gov's Power (Mar 14, 2011)

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Nearly all statewide elected officials could become political appointees under a bill narrowly approved by the Oklahoma Senate over the objections of members who complained the plan could lead to political patronage and corruption.

The Senate voted 25-19 on Monday to send to a vote of the people a proposal to make seven of the 11 statewide elected officials appointees of the governor. If approved, the governor would appoint all three corporation commissioners, the state treasurer, superintendent, labor commissioner and insurance commissioner. The Senate would have to confirm the appointees.

Sen. Cliff Aldridge, R-Choctaw, said the proposal was designed to "put some power behind the governor." The original bill also included the state auditor and inspector, but was amended by Sen. John Sparks to keep that post elected.

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