Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Government Agency Accountability Bill Passes House 92-0

House Bill 2176 by Rep. Jason Nelson, R-Oklahoma City, passed the Oklahoma House of Representatives today unanimously. The bill is designed to hold state agencies and agency directors accountable to the tax payers and protect licensees from intimidation.

HB 2176 contains amended language from House Bill 2187 which failed to get a hearing in the Senate Rules Committee earlier this session. The Bill provides for financial penalties for agencies that fail to file required financial reports. The measure also prevents agencies from asking their licensees to support or oppose legislation.

"This bill will prevent agency directors from using their licensees as a lobbying force for the agency," said Nelson. "It also provides a financial incentive to agencies to comply with existing laws requiring annual financial reports to be filed by assessing a monetary penalty on agencies that fail to do so. It also provides for an auditor to prepare the financial report and charge the agency for the audit. If a taxpayer fails to file required documents on time agencies are ready to pounce but many agencies regularly fail to file financial reports as required without any penalty. This bill will change that. These agency financial reports provide a way to hold agencies accountable for the revenue they take in and how they spend this money."

HB 2176 is now headed to the Senate for a vote.
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