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State House Passes Modernization Measures (Mar 09, 2012)

OKLAHOMA CITY – A series of government modernization measures aimed at creating a streamlined, leaner and more transparent state government have been approved by the Oklahoma House of Representatives.

Initiatives wining approval include a plan to keep agencies from indefinitely double-filling state employee job positions with two state employees, a bill to enact common-sense reforms of the state’s centralized fleet system, a proposal to strengthen previous money saving reforms of the state’s purchasing system, the consolidation of state agencies, and a proposal allowing the state auditor to conduct performance audits of state agencies.


“Due to the dedication of House leadership and with the support of the membership House of Representatives this year’s government modernization effort remains on track to provide the taxpayers with a less-costly and more transparent state government,” said state Rep. Jason Murphey, a Guthrie Republican who chairs the Government Modernization committee.


The 2012 government modernization initiatives include the following bills.


House Bill 3053, by Speaker Steele and state Sen. Kim David, follows up on Speaker’s Steele’s successful government agency consolidation bill and consolidates additional state agencies. A report released by the Office of State Finance demonstrates that the taxpayers will save $6 million each year from the consolidation. This amount is far in excess of the savings initially mandated by last year’s bill.


House Bill 2520, the State Government Reorganization Act, by Murphey and State Senator David Holt, puts an end to the practice of double-filling state employees’ positions for long lengths of time. One state agency alone has been observed to have double-filled in excess of 700 positions with the average double-filled position being occupied for over 400 days.


House Bill 2991, by state Rep. Mike Ritze, will streamline and cut the cost of delivering vital records such as birth certificates through the Department of Health website. Ritze’s proposal would allow those ordering vital records to have access to an online portal for monitoring the status of their order.


House Joint Resolution 1075, by Murphey and state Sen. Greg Treat, will allow the state auditor to conduct performance audits of state agencies and programs. Currently the auditor cannot conduct a performance audit of an agency unless requested to do so by the agency or by certain politicians.


House Bill 2647, by state Rep. David Brumbaugh, strengthens past House reform efforts to manage the state’s centralized fleet program to ensure state-owned vehicles are being properly procured and utilized.


House Bill 2939, by state Rep. David Derby, builds on the reform in last year’s House Bill 1304, which consolidated much of state government’s information technology infrastructure. Derby’s reforms are on course to save taxpayers millions of dollars in the upcoming years.


House Bill 2197, the State Government Reorganization Act, by Murphey and state Sen. Josh Brecheen, builds on past reform of the state’s purchasing system. These reforms have saved taxpayers $22 million over the past two years.


House Bill 2379, by state Rep. Josh Cockroft, is still pending consideration and is expected to receive a vote next week. Cockroft’s bill will establish an online open records request portal to empower taxpayers with quick access to government documents.


House Bill 2482, by state. Rep. Lewis Moore, also awaits House consideration. Moore’s proposal would enable the state to better manage the issuance of worker’s compensation insurance.


House Bill 2940, by state Rep. David Derby, is pending action on the House floor calendar. Derby’s proposal would implement provisions of a recently concluded consultant’s report showing millions of dollars could be saved from the consolidation of the state-owned IT fiber networks including the OneNet fiber network.


House Modernization efforts receiving approval prior to March 8 include the following.


House Bill 2771, by state Rep. Aaron Stiles, builds on the recently created business one-stop, which is designed to allow Oklahoma small business owners to receive their licenses and permits online instead of having to wait in line at a state bureaucracy.


House Bill 2587, by state Rep. Elise Hall, would allow taxpayers to see the debt incurred by state officials. Her bill creates an online one-stop where the amount of the state’s debt can be easily visualized.


House Bill 2646, by state Rep. David Brumbaugh – much like House Bill 2197, this bill also significantly expands the House’s recent purchasing system reforms, which have saved $22 million over the past two years

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