A bill targeting the association that regulates high school athletics is headed to the governor to be signed into law.
The state House of Representatives on Monday approved 59-30 the latest version of the bill that even supporters acknowledged had been watered down.
Supporters said it would still send a message to the widely disliked Oklahoma Secondary School Activities Association.
The bill will require the OSSAA to have written policies consistent with the Open Records Act and Open Meeting Act.
It also must have a performance audit done every five years.
The OSSAA oversees extracurricular activities for nearly every public school in Oklahoma for grades seven through 12. It makes decisions on the makeup of athletic districts, playoffs and student transfers and eligibility.
The bill’s author, Rep. Bobby Cleveland, said it will make the association more transparent and accountable to the public.
On Monday, many legislators again voiced their complaints about the association and its treatment of students seeking exceptions in order to play sports.
“I’ve seen how they bully kids around. I’ve seen it time and time again,” said Cleveland, R-Slaughterville.
Opponents of the bill called it unprecedented government overreach.
The House approved a longer version of the bill 51-38 in February.
The Senate in April approved 42-0 an amended version of the bill. The House vote Monday was on the amended version.
Cut from the original bill was a requirement that the association follow the state Administrative Procedures Act. The OSSAA complained that proposal would have delayed any rule changes because the changes would have had to go through the Legislature and governor.
The OSSAA fought to defeat the bill even after it was amended in its favor. Its executive director, Ed Sheakley, asked school administrators this month in an email to “please contact your state representative immediately and explain the serious negative and unintended consequences of HB 2730 and encourage them to vote no or not hear the bill.”