The state Senate has advanced a proposal that would allow voters to make the offices of state superintendent, insurance commissioner and labor commissioner gubernatorial appointments.
Sen. Greg Treat, author of Senate Bill 598, said the reform would allow the governor to be the true executive of the state and be more fully responsible for the executive branch.
“I think the governor should be the true CEO of the state, regardless of their party affiliation,” said Treat, R-Oklahoma City. “The governor should have the authority to hire and fire people to run these agencies, and be held accountable for their performance or non-performance. That is what this proposal would accomplish.”
Treat noted Oklahoma is one of 10 states in which an insurance commissioner is elected. Twelve states elect a superintendent of public instruction and just four states elect a labor commissioner.
“Other states have realized that it makes little sense to have so many statewide elected officials,” Treat said. “Dividing executive power in this manner diminishes accountability. The executive functions of government should be under the executive branch, which should be fully responsible for their actions.”
Under the measure, beginning in 2018, the appointments would be subject to consent of the Senate and would run for terms of four years, concurrently with the term of the governor.