Conservative Index Add
pagetitle

Thursday, July 19th, 2018Last Update: Friday, June 1st, 2018 10:41:02 AM

Giving Away Absolute Power For One Year

By: Rep. Jason Murphey

Many taxpayers believe the Legislature operates as described in American Government class. They learn that a bill becomes law after first being approved in a committee, then by votes in the House and Senate, and finally being signed by the Governor.

Imagine the shock of the newly-elected Representative when he discovers that the Legislature is a very different environment than described above.

He can sponsor a bill, convince the chairman of a committee to give his bill a hearing (not always an easy task), present the bill before a committee, and successfully convince a majority of the committee to vote for passage. Because he is new, the Representative can be forgiven for making the assumption that his bill will now go to the entire House for a vote. After all, an entire committee has approved the bill, so naturally the bill will proceed to the next step, right?

Actually, this isn’t how it works.

Unfortunately, the new Representative may learn the hard way that one individual has unilateral authority over his bill. There is absolutely no requirement for the Speaker of the House or his appointee to schedule the bill for a vote on the floor of the House.

He can kill the bill for any reason. Without his consent, a bill cannot live. The Speaker has absolute power over House bills. Or he did, with the sole exception of the 2013 legislative year.

As the 2013 legislative session approached, I enjoyed serving on a committee tasked with reforming House rules. The Speaker of the House, TW Shannon, commissioned the committee’s work and seeded the idea for dissolving absolute power from the Speaker to the members of the Legislature.

The committee acted on Shannon’s idea and worked out a process for commissioning a House calendar committee with the responsibility of determining which bills are scheduled for a vote of the House. The committee contained House members from both political parties and held public meetings where members cast public votes on the slate of bills to go before the House.

For that one year, the final decision to hear or not hear a bill was no longer made behind closed doors, nor was it made by one man.

This proposal wasn’t uniformly popular. It didn’t take long for the defenders of the status-quo to re-assert their authority and get rid of the new transparency.

The reversal of this reform marked the beginning of a three year transparency dark age in which the adoption of new legislative transparency mostly came to a halt.

But as I look back at my time of legislative service, that one year of transparency and openness was a historic one and one that I am so honored to have been a part.

Legislators would be well advised to return to the course of transparency and reform and to seek out new opportunities to dissolve the absolute power of the Speaker into open and transparent processes.

State Representative Jason Murphey (R-Guthrie) represents House District 31. He may be reached via e-mail at: Jason.Murphey@hd31.org

About Rep. Jason Murphey

State Representative Jason Murphey (R-Guthrie) represents House District 31. He is Chairman of the Government Modernization Committee. He may be reached via e-mail at: Jason.Murphey@hd31.org

Other Articles By Rep. Jason Murphey

My Criteria for Voting on Legislative Proposals

Consider the following statement one might hear if they stay around the capitol very long: If...

The Need to Transform the Legislative Process

It is the time of year when legislators file legislation for the next session. Every so often I feel...

The New Ideology of the Legislature

I will detail here the chain of events that transformed what I initially believed could be the best...

Big Government Groundhog Day

State officials are continuing to consider an array of tax and fee increases. I instinctively know...

No to Gas Tax Increase

You may have recently seen news stories describing the impending introduction of a gas tax increase....

Giving Away Absolute Power For One Year

Many taxpayers believe the Legislature operates as described in American Government class. They...

Vote Walking

Each year, members of the Legislature cast votes impacting almost every aspect of life: from public...

Other Constitution Columnists

Tony Lauinger

Abortion: There Is No Silver Bullet
The right to life is a God-given right, and the lives of unborn children should be protected by law....

Steve Byas

Christians and Government
When I read the words of the Apostle Paul, in Romans 13:1-5, penned under the inspiration of the...

Steve Byas

The Teacher Strike
It was called a walkout, or perhaps even a protest, but make no mistake about it, it was a strike....

Richard Engle

A Cornett However...
I was at an event and got stuck talking to a musician. I am not musically inclined, so to make...

Randy Brogdon

Ending Abortion Is Possible by Ending Pro-life Policies
Since 1973 after the Supreme Court opinion Roe v Wade declared that abortion of an unborn baby was a...

Rep. Jason Murphey

My Criteria for Voting on Legislative Proposals
Consider the following statement one might hear if they stay around the capitol very long: If there...

John Michener

Voter Guide for Republican Gubernatorial Primary
After forty-five years of electing pro-life politicians who have promised to fight abortion, we find...

David Deming

Should We Surrender on Bump Stocks?
In the aftermath of the October 1, 2017, mass shooting in Las Vegas, the US Justice Department has...

Charlie Meadows

Have Republican Lawmakers Been Suckered
Since the elections of last November, most Republican lawmakers have been regurgitating the mantra...

Brandon Dutcher

New OU President Gallogly: We will not have waste on campus.
James Gallogly has been selected as the next president of the University of Oklahoma. Oklahoma...

Andrew K. Boyle

State Question 788 brings 420 to the 46th State
Finding Virtue in the Unvirtuous:State Question 788 brings 420 to the 46th stateState Question 788...

Theodore King

The Federal Page for Spring 2018
Jim Bridenstine, NASA AdministratorCongratulations to Congressman Jim Bridenstine, who was finally...

In The News

Constitution Staff

Federal Offices on 2018 Ballot
The U.S. Congress is composed of two chambers. Senators serve six-year terms with only a third of...

Constitution Staff

State Offices Attract Candidates
In non-presidential election years, the governors office, a host of secondary statewide offices, and...

Constitution Staff

Candidates File for Oklahoma Legislature
The candidate filing period for the Oklahoma Legislature this year was April 11-13. Oklahomas...

Constitution Staff

Special Elections for Legislature Come to an End
After an election on March 6, Special Elections for the Oklahoma Legislature are now complete. The...

Constitution Staff

Oklahoma State Legislators Rated
The Oklahoma Constitution presents the 40th annual Oklahoma Conservative Index, rating our state...

Constitution Columnists

Tony Lauinger

Abortion: There Is No Silver Bullet
The right to life is a God-given right, and the lives of unborn children should be protected by law....

Steve Byas

Christians and Government
When I read the words of the Apostle Paul, in Romans 13:1-5, penned under the inspiration of the...

Steve Byas

The Teacher Strike
It was called a walkout, or perhaps even a protest, but make no mistake about it, it was a strike....

© 2001 - 2009 The Oklahoma Constitution, all rights reserved.
Contact the Oklahoma Constitution by calling 405-366-1125 or emailing okconsti@aol.com
Content Management System (CMS) provided by WebTeks CMS.