Tuesday, March 12, 2019

House passes bill to create Office of Gov't Accountability

House Passes Bill Creating Legislative Budget Office

OKLAHOMA CITY – The Oklahoma House of Representatives today passed a measure creating a legislative office to evaluate agency budgets and programs for lawmakers.

House Bill 2484, by House Speaker Charles McCall, would create the Office of Government Accountability (OGA) within the existing Legislative Service Bureau (LSB). The LSB is a shared office between the House of Representatives and the Senate that currently has limited functions. The OGA would be similar to the federal Government Accountability Office within Congress.

“Citizens expect us to hold those who expend taxpayer dollars accountable, but the Legislature needs additional resources to adequately ensure that agencies are using those funds appropriately,” said Speaker McCall, R-Atoka. “Neither the House nor the Senate currently has the resources or staff to really examine agency budgets and evaluate programs. This office is a shared goal between House and Senate leadership, and I believe we will have these resources available to us before the 2020 legislative session.”

The OGA would have approximately 15 financial examiners who would routinely audit agency budgets and spending and evaluate the effectiveness of agency programs and services. The Office would provide reports to the House and Senate. The OGA would have an oversight committee made up of an equal number of House and Senate members, appointed by the Speaker of the House and the President Pro Tempore of the Senate.

The bill also requires agencies, boards and commissions to turn over to the Office upon request all records, documents and budgets and make personnel available. The Office will also have subpoena and investigation authority.

The bill passed by a vote of 74-19 and now heads to the Senate for consideration.


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