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Oklahoma State Senate

Communications Division
State Capitol
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma 73105

For Immediate Release: February 18, 2005

Audio Clip

Sen. Debbe Leftwich

Leftwich Authors County Reform Bill in Senate

State Senator Debbe Leftwich announced on Friday that she will be principal Senate author of a bill to allow Oklahoma and Tulsa Counties to operate under “home rule.” Leftwich and House principal author
Mike Shelton, D-OKC, said House Bill 1945 was the result of citizen outrage over the move by two of Oklahoma County’s three commissioners to disband the county budget board.

“I specifically went to Rep. Shelton when I heard he had a vehicle for this for a couple of reasons. First of all, I heard from a lot of county and state elected officials when that incident occurred. More importantly, I heard from a lot of citizens—a lot of taxpayers in my district and around the county that were terribly upset,” said Leftwich, D-OKC.

The lawmakers explained that the measure would establish a 16-member commission to head county government for Oklahoma and Tulsa Counties if eight elected county officials approve a resolution calling for creation of the commission. Each commissioner would then appoint two members, with the county clerk, court clerk, treasurer, assessor and sheriff each naming two members.

“I worked for many years in a small state agency of 60 to 70 employees with not more than a three to five million dollar budget. We had at least eight people that had the final say in that budget. But you’re looking at $50 million that this county operates with—to only have two sole people in control of it I think is just a horrible mistake,” Leftwich said. “We have got to put a stop to this train before it has a wreck.”

For more information contact:
Senate Communications Office - (405) 521-5774

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