The City Sentinel, Staff Report
OKLAHOMA CITY – A bill to ensure Oklahomans are informed about the costs associated with a state question and where that funding could come from is now law. Senate Bill 947, by two Oklahoma City legislators was signed by Gov. Kevin Stitt on Tuesday (April 27).
“We’ve worked diligently to increase fiscal transparency and accountability in state government. This really is an extension of this effort,” Senator Paul Rosino, R-Oklahoma City, said.
“This will simply make sure that if a state question has a cost, it has to say so on the ballot description as well as how it could be paid for. This is basic information citizens should have in order to make informed decisions when they cast their ballots.”
Under S.B. 947, ballot titles would have to include information about whether a state question would have a fiscal impact, including the amount and where the funding could come from, such as federal funding, or a legislative appropriation, which may require a new tax, an increase of an existing tax, or elimination of existing services. The requirement would apply to state questions created by the initiative petition process as well as those submitted by the Legislature.
“Before Oklahomans vote on a question that could result in new state law, they should be aware if there will be a potential cost and possible sources of funding. This bill ensures they have that information,” State Rep. Tammy West, R-Oklahoma City, in a press release sent to CapitolBeatOK.com, The City Sentinel newspaper and other news organizations.
West, the leading House sponsor of the legislation, added, “I’m thankful to Senator Rosino and the governor for helping pass this common-sense legislation.”
The legislation garnered overwhelming Republican support in both the Senate and House, with Democrats in opposition.
S.B. 947 secured a 36-8 majority in the upper chamber (with three members not voting), and a 70-18 margin (with 13 not voting) in the lower chamber.
Senate Bill 947 will take effect Nov. 1, 2021.
Note: Pat McGuigan contributed to this report.