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Oklahoma lawmaker's plan would effectively eliminate the state House

Oklahoma state senator wants to eliminate all 101 representatives in House
by Graham Lee Brewer Modified: January 14, 2014 at 1:00 pm •  Published: January 13, 2014

A state senator wants to eliminate 101 elected positions across the state, and he's asking for help from Oklahoma voters.

Senate Joint Resolution 43, filed by Sen. Patrick Anderson, R-Enid, would allow voters to create a constitutional amendment creating a unicameral legislature consisting of 48 legislators, effectively dissolving the Oklahoma House of Representatives.

“That may be a tall order, but I think as a legislative body we're always looking to state agencies, asking them to become more efficient, asking them to save taxpayer dollars, and I think if we really look at what we do as a legislative body switching to a unicameral legislature would be a great step forward for the taxpayers of Oklahoma,” Anderson said.

If the bill were to pass, it would make Oklahoma the second state to have a unicameral, or single house, legislature. Nebraska has had a unicameral system since 1937.

Anderson contends the move would save taxpayers the $16.5 million dollars it costs to operate the House annually, adding having two chambers duplicates many legislative efforts.

“Why not just eliminate one of those chambers and make it the one that has the most members and is most inefficient in its operations,” Anderson asked.

Anderson acknowledged it will be difficult to ask House members to essentially vote to eliminate their own jobs, but he said the money saved could be put to better use.

“I think $16.5 million is a significant sum, and if we're able to put that money into education and we're able to put that money into public safety then I think we're making a better investment with those dollars than any legislative salary,” he said.

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by Graham Lee Brewer
General Assignment/Breaking News Reporter
Graham Lee Brewer began his career as a journalist covering Oklahoma's vibrant music scene in 2006. After working as a public radio reporter for KGOU and then Oklahoma Watch, where he covered areas such as immigration and drug addiction, he went...
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