Oklahoma Lawmaker: Changes Coming To Conference Committee Process

Wednesday, July 28th 2010, 3:41 pm
By: News On 6


OKLAHOMA CITY -- A leading state lawmaker is taking an important first step in trying to reform the Legislature's controversial conference committee process.

Earlier this month, our Oklahoma Impact Team showed you how, under current rules, this process gets abused and legislators are voting on bills at the end of session that they may never have read or know little about. Kris Steele, the next Speaker of the House, has announced the formation of a committee to explore a series of changes.

7/8/2010 Related Story: Conference Committee Process: Do Oklahoma Lawmakers Use It Or Abuse It?

They'll start with a requirement that bills sent to conference committee get heard in a public setting.

"What that would mean is that the conference committees, once they're assigned, those committees would actually meet, and discussion would ensue, debate would take place if necessary," Representative Steele said. "And members would actually vote on conference committee reports."

Other proposed reforms include a rule requiring 24-hour notification before a bill emerging from conference committee can be taken up on the floor. Steele hopes to get the reforms approved and in place at the start of next session in February.