Three bills that would reform county government were approved in House committees before the deadline for committee hearings on House bills.
House Bill 2951, by state Rep. Marty Quinn, would open up the training currently available to county officials through the Cooperative Extension Service at Oklahoma State University to all Oklahomans.
House Bill 2952, also by Quinn, would make county officials subject to accreditation, providing for a test to show they had earned a certain level of knowledge from their training.
“There are five basic courses offered to county officials that are specifically tailored to their offices,” said Quinn, R-Claremore. “My legislation is intended to ensure county officials are prepared for the open meeting requirements and other specific knowledge areas of their office. When I first came to the Oklahoma Legislature, I wish I had been given the opportunity to take job-specific courses to help me more quickly learn the legislative process. I would guess that newly elected county officials feel the same way. Expanding training to all citizens allows candidates for office to prepare for the difficult job of county government and allows all Oklahomans to learn more about their county government.”
Both bills were approved by the House General Government Committee.
House Bill 1231, by Quinn, would provide an enforcement mechanism for the accreditation of county officials. Under the bill, failure to earn accreditation would preclude the county official, with less than four years in office, from running for reelection.
“There are county officials that don’t take advantage of the current training available,” Quinn said. “These three bills work together to make sure officials can demonstrate their knowledge of the basic skills needed to run their office.”
House Bill 1231 was approved in the House Government Modernization Committee unanimously.