UPDATE: HB 1648 passes Oklahoma House committee

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HB 1648, a bill sponsored by Tulsa Rep. Pam Peterson, passed the House today. The bill requires competitive bidding even if a construction project is initiated as a public/private partnership. From Mike McCarville's report:

"This bill protects taxpayers from the 'good ol' boy' deals that have plagued our highway and road construction projects for decades," said Peterson, R-Tulsa. "The only people disadvantaged by this bill are those who want to gouge taxpayers."

Due to a loophole in the Oklahoma Competitive Bidding Act, government entities are currently allowed to award construction projects to a single vendor if the private company "partners" with the state by loaning start-up money for the project. The state usually agrees to repay the private entity at very high interest rates.

The proposal was vigorously opposed by the construction industry, including Manhattan Construction, a large and politically influential firm. Rep. Peterson deserves a great deal of praise for her courage in taking on this issue.

Now we'll see if it can survive the Senate.

UPDATE: I misread the information I was given. The bill still must get scheduled for a full vote in the State House, and that is not yet assured. You can figure that the interests opposed to the bill will fight to prevent a vote, because a vote against it would be a vote against basic fiscal responsibility. Ultimately, the decision as to whether to schedule a vote is in the hands of Speaker Lance Cargill. This will give Oklahoma taxpayers an early indication if "pay to play" will be in effect during his time in the speaker's chair.

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3 Comments

Bob said:

We'll see if Ms. Peterson's political career survives the greedy, grasping clutches of the Rooney Family, and their insatiable lust for our hard earned money.

Their greed has so many needs, what with so many gaping pie-holes to fill.

Twatch said:

HB 1648 is critical in preventing the abuse of Oklahoma's Public Wallet and the transfer of Public assets to Private Foreign Firms now understood to be the case in Texas, Illinois, Indiana, New Jersey and others yet to be discovered. It is absolutely essential and surprisingly effective to personally contact your Legislators and express directly your position on Public Policy issues.

susan said:

Way to go Pam!

Did anyone hear about Catoosa needing to let go of some teachers because Catoosa can't afford to pay them? Maybe Pam could answer about education funding in Oklahoma how the gambling/casino money was supposed to supplement education in Oklahoma. Who oversees the education funding from the casinos in Oklahoma?

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This page contains a single entry by Michael Bates published on March 6, 2007 12:04 AM.

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