By State Rep Gus Blackwell
The Speaker Designate for the upcoming legislative session, Rep. T.W. Shannon, will be in the panhandle area on Thursday and Friday of this week. I will be hosting an event for him, open to the public, at the Pub on the Bricks in Guymon, 7 PM Thursday, Aug. 2. If you would like to come and discuss issues with him, please stop by at this “Dutch Treat” event.
One of the emphases on legislation, in the past two years, has been to modernize and downsize state government. The purpose has been to maximize tax dollars, while minimizing duplication in agencies.
Several bills were passed, this 2012 session, dealing with government modernization and agency consolidation. These bills dealt with computers, agency consolidation, and reducing costs.
Following last year’s information technology (IT) consolidation efforts, HB 2939 prohibits any agency from purchasing IT equipment or machines with state funds without authorization from the state Chief Information Officer (CIO). Under the measure, each agency must provide the chief information officer with a list of integral IT assets.
Several state agencies are consolidated under HB 3053, which changes the name of the Office of State Finance to the Office of Management and Enterprise Services (OMES). The director of the Office of Management and Enterprise Services will be the chief administrative officer. The following agencies will be merged into this office:
∞ Department of Central Services;
∞ Office of Personnel Management;
∞ Oklahoma State Employees Benefits Council, and
∞ State and Education Employees Group Insurance Board.
HB 3053 also mandates that the OMES director will develop the processes and procedures to guide state agencies in the preparation of performance metrics, which are measurements to be used to improve efficiencies within state agencies.
HB 2197 creates the Cost Reduction and Savings Act, which allows the state purchasing director to form an advisory committee to develop shared state purchasing contracts, explore joint purchases of general use items and integrate purchasing platforms. The bill also states that prior to approving software acquisition requests, the state CIO must require the purchasing entity to consider whether proprietary or open source software is the most cost-effective solution for the agency.
The drought continues to negatively impact our agriculture entities in this area. Please pray for rain for our area and the entire stricken area.
If you have any other questions, please do not hesitate to call me at my Capitol office at 405-557-7384 or at my home in Laverne. As always I am delighted to visit with constituents when they visit the Capitol. If you are there come by my office in 305A and contact my assistant, Christi. I also love to visit with you in events around the district.