Legislation Would Change Agency Rule Process

Legislative Staff Release  
Published 31-Jan-2011

Certain Oklahoma agency rules would not take effect without the express approval of the Legislature under a measure filed by state Rep. George Faught.
House Bill 1044 would strike language under current law that gives the Legislature the opportunity only to disapprove rules, and replace it with language that would make major rules void without legislative approval.
Faught said his legislation will simply bring representation back into the process of agency rules becoming laws.
“Primarily, laws are created through the legislative process of passing bills or by the vote of the people,” Faught, a Muskogee Republican, said.
“However, state agency rules automatically become law if the Legislature fails to disapprove them within a certain time period. We’ve seen a growing tendency among state agencies to do an end-run around the Legislature and fill budget holes by enacting fee increases on working Oklahomans without legislative approval. Since agency heads are not elected officials, this constitutes taxation without representation, in my opinion. My legislation requires legislative approval of major administrative rules before they can take effect.”
Faught said that he plans to add language to the legislation to also require legislative approval on fee increases or any expansion of the scope of an agency’s authority.
“There are numerous examples of agencies raising fees to address budget cuts,” Faught said. “This backdoor form of taxing citizens is highly inappropriate and should at minimum be subject to legislative approval.”