Steele comments on House passage of DHS governance reforms

On Tuesday (May 22), Speaker of the House Kris Steele issued the following statement on House Joint Resolution 1092, which passed the House 80-7, and House Bill 3137, which passed the House , 67-23:
“These measures will make a necessary, positive culture change at DHS. The system has been struggling under an outdated, ineffective governance model that has tended to isolate the agency from any real accountability.

“Under these reforms, it will be perfectly clear that this agency answers to all the people of Oklahoma. Vulnerable citizens will be far better served as a result.” 
H.J.R. 1092 would create a state question allowing voters to decide whether to abolish the Commission for Human Services, the constitutionally-mandated, nine-member group of unelected volunteers that has overseen DHS since 1936.

House Bill 3137 would require the DHS director to be appointed by the governor and confirmed by the Senate should the state question pass. HB 3137 would also establish advisory panels that would monitor each of the agency’s divisions to help agency leadership make informed decisions. The measures now go to the Senate.

A budget accord announced previously includes $25 million in state money to finance the first year of the Pinnacle Plan designed to reform state welfare policies.