Bills to expand governor’s power filed in Oklahoma Senate

OKLAHOMA CITY –  The new Oklahoma Senate leader is introducing a series of bills to expand the governor’s power and give Gov. Kevin Stitt the ability to hire and fire the directors of some of the state’s largest agencies.

Republican Senate President Pro Tempore Greg Treat announced the bills ahead of Thursday’s filing deadline. They apply to the directors of the Department of Transportation, Department of Corrections, Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services, Office of Juvenile Affairs and the Health Care Authority.

Those agency directors currently are hired and fired by agency boards made up of members appointed by the governor and other state officials.

“Our current system of government disperses power too widely so that most agencies aren’t accountable to the governor and in turn aren’t accountable to the voter. The system hasn’t worked. The system has bred dysfunction and allowed the ‘status quo’ to hold sway for far too long. It’s time we change this broken system,” said Treat, R-Oklahoma City. “Regardless of the governor’s political party affiliation, they are elected to serve as the chief executive of the state and to lead the state. The governor should be able to select the men and women he or she wants to run these top state agencies to help fully enact the governor’s vision and agenda.”

Treat’s bills would allow the governor to hire the directors, with Senate confirmation.

Stitt has urged lawmakers to give him more power.

“We heard in Governor Kevin Stitt’s inaugural address that he seeks to provide more accountability. I am encouraged by his commitment to that principle and excited to work with him to bring it about. These bills are a great step toward providing more accountability and returning more power to the people of Oklahoma,” Treat said.

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