Gov. Mary Fallin signed legislation into law Tuesday that sets up the process for Oklahoma's crumbling state Capitol to get a face-lift.
House Bill 1910 forms a state board that will oversee repairs to the state Capitol and create a pay-as-you-go plan to fix other state buildings.
The Long-Range Capital Planning Commission also will provide recommendations on reallocation, reuse or liquidation of state properties.
“It's important we maintain and improve state assets rather than watching them deteriorate,” Fallin said.
“House Bill 1910 puts us on a path to ensure state infrastructure and buildings like the Oklahoma Capitol are well-maintained and cared for.”
The measure was part of a three-bill package of priorities agreed to late last month that was sought by Fallin and Republican legislative leaders. The other measures lowered the state's top personal income tax rate from 5.25 percent to 5 percent in 2015 and changed the workers' compensation court to an administrative system.
House Speaker T.W. Shannon, author of HB 1910, said the intent of the bill is to take care of the state's building needs without seeking a bond issue to pay for repairs or new buildings.
“The signing of this bill shows this Legislature's commitment to becoming better stewards of the people's buildings and the taxpayers' money,” said Shannon, R-Lawton.
“Oklahoma now has a process in which responsible decisions can be made on repair and maintenance issues without taking on unnecessary debt which will burden future generations of Oklahomans.”
Senate President Pro Tem Brian Bingman, the Senate sponsor of HB 1910, said taxpayers own the Capitol and other state buildings and “simply deserve better than an endless carousel of deterioration and depreciation.”
Law effective July 1
State officials plan to seek bids to repair the nearly 100-year-old building's crumbling exterior.
Pieces of limestone have been falling the past two years from the building's exterior.
HB 1910 takes effect July 1, so official action on awarding bids for the exterior work would have to wait until after that.
It's been estimated the exterior work could cost about $8 million and would take several months.
Work could start in late summer or early fall.