CapitolBeatOK Staff Report
OKLAHOMA CITY – At the state Capitol this week, Gov. Mary Fallin signed a major reform of the state's initiative and referendum process, and joined state Attorney General Scott Pruitt in opposition to an Environmental Protection Agency mandate.
A measure that would ensure that citizens have a full 90 days to collect signatures for initiatives and referendum petition was signed into law .
House Bill 1484, by state Rep. Randy Grau, R-Edmond, requires the Secretary of State to set the date on which circulation of an initiative petition may begin no less than 15 days, or more than 30 days, from the date when all appeals, protests and re hearings have been resolved or have expired.
The bill requires notification be sent to the proponents stating the date when circulation of the petition will begin and that signatures are due within 90 days and requires that signatures supporting a referendum petition be filed with the Secretary of State no later than 90 days after adjournment of the Legislature that enacted the measure that is the subject of the referendum. Finally, the measure repeals the penalty for circulation of an initiative or referendum petition by an unqualified elector.
“This measure will ensure that citizens get a fair shot at enacting reforms through the petition process,” said Grau. “The purpose of the bill was to set some specific dates so that those gathering signatures could know how much time that they would have and when the date to start collecting signatures started to run, which would be after there had been a time for objections or that any objection had been resolved..”
Rep. Grau said he worked very closely with Secretary of State Chris Benge on this issue, and that he tried to work with all interested parties to ensure that Oklahoma would have a clear and fair initiative referendum petition process.
H. B. 1484 contained an emergency clause, meaning the law will take effect immediately.
In other legislative news, State Representatives David Brumbaugh and Jon Echols issued the following statements Thursday (May 30) after Gov. Mary Fallin issued an executive order yesterday stating that Oklahoma will not file a State Implementation Plan (SIP) with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulating carbon dioxide emissions produced by Oklahoma power plants. The order also requests Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt “take such action as is necessary to enforce the rights of the State of Oklahoma and its citizens from such federal actions as may impact the freedoms of its people.”
“As a state that depends heavily on agriculture and energy exploration and production, it seems that we are disproportionately affected by the constant promulgation of EPA rules and regulations,” said Brumbaugh, R-Broken Arrow.
“Compliance with these unnecessary and arbitrary rules will likely cost energy producers, and by extension consumers, billions of dollars during the next several decades. I am grateful for both Governor Fallin and Attorney General Pruitt for using the power of their offices to stand up to a federal government that obviously has an agenda to diminish the role of fossil fuels in our nation, regardless of how those efforts impact hardworking Oklahoman's.”
“Governor Fallin took a strong stand yesterday against federal bureaucrats that want to micromanage our energy production to fit their big government agendas,” said Echols, R-Oklahoma City. “The implementation of these plans will cost states billions of dollars and will destroy thousands of jobs. There are simply no compelling arguments for complying, and I am I grateful for the diligent and dutiful efforts of our governor and our state Attorney General Scott Pruitt and his staff, who are tasked with defending our state against these arbitrary rules.”
Echols concluded, “I am proud Oklahoma has a strong team of Governor Mary Fallin and Attorney General Scott Pruitt defending our citizens from a rogue, out-of-control federal bureaucracy.”