Claremore Daily Progress

Our View

March 3, 2014

The good and bad news about agency consolidation

CLAREMORE —

Under the guise of saving the state $4 million, Gov. Mary Fallin has set in motion an effort to consolidate several agencies into one, including the Will Rogers Memorial Museum and J. M. Davis Arms and Historical Museum.
She announced her intentions during her State of the State address. She wants to fold the Oklahoma Arts Council, Oklahoma Historical Society,  Oklahoma Scenic Rivers Commission with the Will Rogers and J. M. Davis Museums into the Tourism Department.
She says it will save $4 million or 15 percent.  In the meantime, she plans to cut the Tourism Department by 15 percent too.
On Thursday, HB 3028 — introduced by Rep. Jason Murphey (R), Guthrie — was approved by the House Government Modernization Committee on a 6-5 vote.
Murphey’s bill would create the new Department of Tourism, History and Cultural Affairs. 
It would consist of the Oklahoma Historical Society, the Oklahoma Arts Council and the Oklahoma Tourism and Recreation Department.
This looks to be the framework of Fallin’s consolidation desire with the exclusion of the Will Rogers and J. M. Davis Museums.
That’s good and not so good.
Murphey said he was pleased with the committee’s vote, which he is a member. He wants to keep the bill alive so his fellow legislators will continue to consider agency consolidation.
Voting for the bill were Reps. David Brumbaugh (R), Dan Fisher (R), Elise Hall (R), Jason Smalley (R), Mike Turner (R) and Murphey (R). Voting against the bill were Rep. David Derby (R), Joe Dorman (D), Richard Morrissette (D), Ken Walker (R) and Justin Wood (R).
Murphey can be reached at 2300 N. Lincoln Blvd., Room 437 Oklahoma City, OK 73105 or by telephone at (800) 522-8502. His email address is jason.murphey@okhouse.gov.
 It’s good that Will Rogers and J. M. Davis are not included in Murphey’s bill. That is due to the hard work of Rep. Marty Quinn and Sen. Sean Burrage. And the hundreds of museum supporters who have voiced their disagreement with Gov. Fallin’s plan.

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