This year I enjoyed the opportunity to work with several of Oklahoma's new statewide elected officials in their efforts to modernize state government. I served as the House author for modernization legislation on behalf of State Treasurer Ken Miller, State Auditor Gary Jones, Attorney General Scott Pruitt and State Superintendent Janet Barresi.
When State Treasurer Ken Miller took office, he commissioned his staff with the responsibility of finding inefficiencies and drafting proposed updates of state law when necessary to address those inefficiencies.
Miller’s modernization proposal was sponsored in the form of Senate Bill 571. The bill was authored by Senator Clark Jolley in the Senate and I carried the bill in the House.
Senate Bill 571 targeted several areas. The bill updated procedures for the liquidation of properties deposited into the state’s unclaimed property fund. In the past, state officials had to engage in antiquated and duplicative procedures that added unnecessary cost and had to eventually be paid by those who owned the property. Miller’s bill streamlined those unnecessary process procedures so that the unnecessary cost was not passed on to property owners.
Miller also noted that the state had thousands of dollars remaining in an old account that had been used to pay claims from a 2004-era tax refund program. The fund had not experienced a claim for several years but the funds were tied down awaiting claims that were obviously never going to be filed. SB 571 closed down this unnecessary fund.
SB 571 also put an end to redundant reporting processes that interfered with each other because they used the same data but had to be filed at two different times. SB 571 synchronized the filing process so that the reports could be filed using the same data sets.
These provisions of SB 571 probably won’t receive any attention from the media. Very few citizens realized any of these issues even existed. But that bill will save taxpayer money and resources that otherwise would have been wasted. I especially appreciate Treasurer Miller’s commitment to doing the right thing and modernizing government process even when no one was paying attention. I believe that speaks to his good intent and am happy to have been able to assist Miller and Senator Jolley in doing the right thing for state taxpayers.
Next week I intend to write about some of the other modernization initiatives requested by other state officials.