Capitol Report Notebook: Public employee bumps
BY RANDY KREHBIEL World Staff Writer
Sunday, March 03, 2013
3/03/13 at 3:09 AM
Two bills offering state employees modest bonuses survived House committee scrutiny and may be heard on the House floor in coming weeks.
House Bill 2019, by Rep. Sean Roberts, R-Hominy, provides for $200 to $750 bonuses for corrections employees based on length of service.
House Bill 1794, by Rep. Mike Christian, R-Oklahoma City, would give all state employees meeting a certain "performance standard" a $1,000 "performance pay" stipend. Christian said about 90 percent of state employees would qualify for the payment.
State employees have not had a general pay increase in seven years.
Boards and commissions: Rep. Jason Murphey, R-Guthrie, says his 171-page HB 1477 would abolish 47 inactive boards and commissions and consolidate eight with limited functions into other areas of state government.
Those slated for elimination include the Fire Ant Research and Management Advisory Committee, the Buffalo Soldiers Heritage Corridor Advisory Committee, the Spaceport Territory Advisory Council and the War on Terror Memorial Design Committee.
Reducing the number of boards and commissions is a long-standing goal of reformers, including Murphey and Gov. Mary Fallin, but the problem with eliminating dormant ones is that it doesn't actually save the state much money.
Another bill, HB 1467, reduces about 40 health advisory boards down to eight, which Murphey said would save $370,000 a year in staff time and travel expenses.
Online checking: State Treasurer Ken Miller unveiled the Oklahoma Treasury Online Checkbook last week. The simplified ledger gives users access to 6 million expenditures since 2007 and 200,000 deposits from various sources over the past three years.
"Banks give their customers online access to their accounts. It only makes sense for the state's chief financial officer to provide the same access to Oklahoma taxpayers," Miller said.
The database can be accessed at tulsaworld.com/treasurer
'Morning after' bill withdrawn: A bill banning the use of Medicaid for so-called "morning after" contraception was withdrawn from the House calendar on Wednesday, reportedly because it threatened all federal Medicaid funding.
Rep. David Derby, R-Owasso, who was handling HB 2039 for Speaker T.W. Shannon, said the measure would be amended and returned to the calendar at an unknown date.
Bye-bye bills: Last week's committee deadlines slashed active legislation by more than half, from over 2,300 bills and resolutions to just over 900.