Agency consolidation approved in committee

CapitolBeatOK Staff Report

Published 19-Feb-2011

A significant consolidation of state government administrative overhead could be set to take place following this week’s approval of House Bill 2140 by the House of Representatives Government Modernization Committee.

House Bill 2140 proposes to consolidate seven of Oklahoma’s central service state agencies into one agency.

Governor Mary Fallin made administrative consolidation and other efficiencies a focus of her State of the State address. She and top advisors are counting on such changes to contribute to the cost savings needed to forge a balanced budget by the end of the legislative session.

“We are committed to right sizing state government,” stated House Speaker Kris Steele who serves as the author of the legislation. “Consolidating central services agencies is a great first step toward the goal of making state government more efficient and responsive to the needs of Oklahoma taxpayers.”

Steele crafted the legislation after an interim study found that Oklahoma could realize millions of dollars of savings if Oklahoma followed best practices that are occurring in other states.

The legislation is patterned after the central services governance structures used in Montana, Indiana and Utah.

“This vote represents the first time in recent history that a significant consolidation of state agencies has been approved by a standing House committee,” said state Rep. Jason Murphey, a Guthrie Republican and chairman of the Government Modernization Committee. “The consolidation of these seven state agencies will save the taxpayers millions of dollars every year.”

Murphey observed in December, ““Oklahoma has more agencies, boards and commissions than any other state our size.”

Murphey said the bill will also set the stage for future significant consolidations.

“This bill makes the case for consolidating state agencies based on similar mission and subject matter,” he said.

House Bill 2140 was approved by a vote of 11-2 and now heads to the full House for additional consideration.

Note: Editor Patrick B. McGuigan contributed to this report.