Greater localized control of a variety of issues and help with the completion of the American Indian Cultural Center and Museum are among items at the top of the Oklahoma City Council's list of legislative goals for the next year at the state and national levels.
The Oklahoma City Council voted unanimously Tuesday to adopt resolutions outlining its goals for the 2013 session of the Oklahoma Legislature and first year of the next U.S. Congress, which begins in January.
The documents provide a basic plan for the council's legislative liaison to lobby legislators for changes that benefit the city.
But Councilman Pete White, a member of the city's legislative committee, reminded his colleagues that face-to-face contact with lawmakers can be the key to getting some of those goals accomplished.
“I think there's a gulf between us and the Legislature that we can do some things to overcome by trying to make more contact,” White said.
In the past year, council members often have voiced a desire for greater local control on a variety of levels, and that was reflected in local control being at the top of the council's wish list.
Council members have advocated for more control over everything from local election finance disclosure rules to the length grass can be on private property before code enforcement officers can mow it.
Smoking laws also have been cited as something some Oklahoma City Council members would like to have more control over.
Oklahoma's smoking laws are an example of one of the many statutes that limit a city from implementing more stringent standards than the state does.
City council members also voted this year to pledge an additional $9 million in funding for the American Indian Cultural Center and Museum, but it was dependent upon a $40 million contribution from the state that never came.
The council's goal to secure the funding necessary to finish the delay-plagued museum extends to the state and federal levels.
Transit investment, water supply security and economic development tools are among the council's other agenda items for legislative lobbying.
The council's legislative committee seeks input from city department heads on ways that changes to state or federal laws could help the city operate more effectively, and the committee uses that input to form the recommendations that the full council adopted during its meeting Tuesday.