Building off of greater oversight and transparency initiatives by the House over the past three years, House Speaker Charles McCall says a new measure has been launched to increase legislative oversight and assess the performance of agency governing boards.
“The Legislature has been too deferential and hands-off with these governing boards for most of state history, and the House is going to change that,” said McCall, R-Atoka, whose District 22 includes an eastern portion of Garvin County.
Speaker McCall is assigning House committees to regularly monitor the governing boards of more than three dozen state agencies and identify legislators to attend governing board meetings as necessary, including attendance at private executive sessions as authorized by state law, so legislators can be better informed and increase their watchdog role over agencies.
Additional government oversight by the House began in 2016, when the House launched more robust budget hearings for the largest state agencies. In 2017 and 2018, the House exposed waste and mismanagement at agencies through agency accountability hearings.
In 2019, the Legislature created the Legislative Office of Fiscal Transparency, which next year will start providing legislators with independent budget information and agency performance reviews.
“Citizens want more oversight of government, and we are continuing to deliver it,” McCall said.
“The House is continuing to build on the oversight efforts we have made in the past three years. This time, we are rolling up our sleeves, getting out of the Capitol and visiting agency governing boards ourselves to inform our policymaking.
“This work will occur year-round – regardless of whether the Legislature is in session.”
The initiative has five goals:
• Improve legislator understanding of agency governance and operations.
• Assess each board’s oversight efforts and the effectiveness of the agency.
• Monitor whether state appropriations are being used as intended and if adequate consideration is being given to potential liabilities attached to federal or other grants agencies may pursue.
• Ensure enactment of new and existing laws, including rule-making, is consistent with legislative intent and facilitates effective service delivery to the public.
• Determine if executive sessions closed to the public are being used properly.
“Oklahomans elected a record number of new legislators to bring real change to government, and this increased oversight is one way we will fulfill that voter mandate,” McCall adds.