Oklahoma House panel zeros in on state agency

A legislative inquiry will be started if the agency fails to provide requested information, the chairman of an Oklahoma House committee says. The chairman declined to identify the agency.
BY MICHAEL MCNUTT mmcnutt@opubco.com Published: May 1, 2013
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A proposed legislative inquiry into a state agency is an attempt to get information and to make sure an Oklahoma House committee has the ability and time to pursue an investigation before the session ends later this month, the chairman of the panel said Tuesday.

Rep. Gus Blackwell, chairman of the House of Representatives Administrative Rules, Government Oversight and Repealer Committee, would not identify the agency.

“We're getting toward the end of session and if they don't get me the information and the committee feels like we should do something else, I have a seven-day window of notice that I have to give,” said Blackwell, R-Laverne. “If I get the information I need, which I expect I will, then we'll drop it and we just won't do anything.”

Legislative leaders have talked about possibly adjourning by May 24; by using the legislative maneuver, the committee also would have three weeks instead of two weeks to deal with an inquiry.

Blackwell said he didn't want to identify the agency before Wednesday's meeting.

“If the agency is forthcoming with the information, why would I want to tarnish their image?” he asked.

Joe Griffin, spokesman for House Speaker T.W. Shannon, R-Lawton, said the speaker is aware of “some issues with a state agency, and we are working with that state agency to clear those up.”