Monday, June 6, 2011

Modernization Efforts Approved

Three weeks ago I wrote an article in which I described how most our 2011 modernization initiatives were still pending in the legislative process. With only one week left in the session, it was our challenge to win approval for all these initiatives.

I am happy to report that during the last week of session, each of these proposals were approved by the Legislature and all the legislation has been signed by Governor Fallin over the last few days.

The proposals aggressively consolidate a significant number of state government processes and several state agencies. These changes are transformative and if implemented correctly, will result in millions of dollars of yearly savings to the taxpayer.

Additionally, there are a myriad of smaller accompanying proposals designed to utilize technology to provide transparency and process efficiencies that will continue to transform Oklahoma state governance structure into a more open and efficient model.

It is my goal to write about a number of these initiatives in the upcoming weeks. In the past, I provided House District 31 constituents with an end-of-the-year update of modernization efforts over the course of a few updates. However, this year the reforms are so comprehensive and wide ranging, I could write a book describing the changes and the impact I believe they will have.

These changes came about because of the dedicated effort of a number of individuals.

Our House Speaker Kris Steele and our House leadership made a 100% commitment to modernizing state government. They stood by that commitment through the entire session and I cannot recall a single modernization proposal that was stopped by leadership. The members of our House Government Modernization Committee stood by, and sponsored or co-sponsored the modernization efforts and helped elevate the importance of the issues with our House colleagues.

The reforms would never have happened without the work and support of Senate President Pro-Temp Brian Bingman, Senators Clark Jolley, Anthony Sykes and Josh Breechen. These four senators sponsored almost all of the legislative modernization proposals and did a great job vetting the issues with and winning the support of the Senate.

Governor Mary Fallin made all the difference by calling for reforms from the very beginning of session. After her call for change, some of these proposals met with significant resistance; however, the Governor never backed down from her proposals but worked through the opposition. In my view this leadership was very much the reason for why we were able to maintain the necessary support for these far-reaching reforms in the face of opposition.

At some point in the future I also intend to write about the support and input regarding modernization and streamlining of services that we have received from nearly all of the other statewide elected officials.

It has been such a privilege to work with those who are committed to reducing the burden of government on Oklahoma taxpayers while taking to heart the taxpayers’ trust to guard their money.

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