Legislators start hearings on agency budgets

The Oklahoma House of Representatives has started holding public hearings to review the five largest appropriated state agencies’ budgets including those directly affecting Oklahoma’s energy industry.

The hearings will be held by the House Appropriations and Budget Committee and the Senate Appropriations Committee.

The first focused Monday on the State Transportation Department, an agency directly affecting the state’s energy industry. Highways and roads provide access to wind farms, electrical generating sites, power lines and of course to oil and gas wells.

In all, the five agencies received $5.71 billion or 74 percent of the $7.67 billion in the Fiscal Year 2019 appropriated budget.

House Speaker Charles McCall said the hearings will give citizens and lawmakers – particularly the 46 new members of the House and 12 new members of the Senate– valuable insight into how agencies develop programs and spend taxpayer dollars and will help lawmakers develop funding priorities earlier than usual.

The hearings will be similar to the 2016 agency budget hearings in the House Chamber, an effort by Speaker McCall to increase transparency into the state budgeting process. The meetings will also allow all 149 members of the Legislature to attend and participate. The hearings will be held in the House Chamber, and the public is encouraged to attend and watch the proceedings from the Chamber gallery. The meetings will also be streamed live online at www.okhouse.gov.

The schedule for the hearings will be as follows:

Monday, January 28, 2019 @ 9:00 a.m. (House Chamber, State Capitol)

Oklahoma Department of Transportation

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Tuesday, January 29, 2019 @ 8:30 a.m. (House Chamber, State Capitol)

Oklahoma Department of Education

Tuesday, January 29, 2019 @ 1:30 p.m. (House Chamber, State Capitol)

Oklahoma Health Care Authority

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Wednesday, January 30, 2019 @ 9:30 a.m. (House Chamber, State Capitol)

Oklahoma Department of Human Services

Wednesday, January 30, 2019 @ 3:00 p.m. (House Chamber, State Capitol)

Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education

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