For Immediate Release: February 12, 2010
Norman Area Legislators Introduce Legislation
Curbing the Power of Bureaucracy
Elected officials, not un-elected bureaucrats, should be setting important policy in our state. This is the belief of Senator John Sparks (D-Norman) and Representative Scott Martin (R-Norman) who have authored new legislation which would prevent state agencies and boards from enacting rules or policies which go against the intent of laws passed in the Legislature. The pair, who were both elected in 2006, hope their working together in such a bi-partisan manner will encourage members to vote on the merits of the idea.
“When the tax commission flip-flopped on whether or not electric cars would be eligible for tax rebates, we saw the latest example of this problem” Sparks said. “We’re acting to put an end to it at the request of our constituents.”
The two members have coauthored Senate Bill 1920 and House Bill 3311, which would require approval from majorities of both the House and Senate for entities such as the Tax Commission to alter substantive rules or policies. Currently state agencies and boards can alter the outcome of laws passed by the Legislature and signed by the Governor often without even a vote or input from the public.
“These actions subvert democracy” Martin said. “These agencies, who might even have good intentions, are acting against the will of the voters.”
HB 3311 has been assigned to the House Committee on Administrative Rules
and Agency Oversight, while SB 1920 has been referred to the Senate Appropriations
Committee. Sparks and Martin urged members of the public concerned about
the issue to call their legislators and request passage of these bills
before the upcoming deadlines for committee action. The deadline in the
Senate is February 18, while the deadline in the House is February 25.