Pauls Valley, OK, Pauls Valley Democrat

Government News

July 14, 2011

House Increases Transparency of Legislative Studies

Oklahoma City, Oklahoma — Following the conclusion of the session, lawmakers conduct numerous studies on issues that could require legislation in the coming year.

Unfortunately, in the past, public access to those studies typically required being physically present at the Capitol. Although much productive work can occur during these meetings, the Legislature has not chronicled or recorded study results the way we document our activity during the session. As a result, the public was often kept in the dark about the outcome of studies.

Thankfully, reforms implemented this summer will allow all Oklahoma citizens to review the findings and presentations from all House studies for years to come.

Starting this year, the House will publish official reports detailing the outcomes of all interim studies. Once an interim study is complete, a summary report of its work and recommendations will be posted on the House website and archived for future reference. All documents and presentations used during interim study committee hearings will also be posted on the House website and archived.

In addition, audio of interim study committee hearings will be streamed live on the House website and archived on the House website for future review.

I believe this simple reform will pay dividends for years to come. I

For one thing, an incomplete record of interim committee work shortchanges the legislative process and, ultimately, the public.

Even if an interim study does not lead directly to legislation, the findings of the study may prove useful for some other initiative in future years. By preserving the work of interim study committees, we can prevent future duplication of efforts and ineffective use of time and resources.

Also, in this age of term limits, it is important to keep institutional knowledge intact at the Legislature.

These changes are just the latest in the House’s ongoing commitment to transparency and public access.

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