'A Huge Step In Transparency': Oklahoma Senate Leader Lays Out New Budget Process

The Senate is following a new budget process for the 2024 session, which will emphasize transparency to the public.

Monday, December 4th 2023, 5:18 pm



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The Oklahoma Senate will follow a new budget process in the 2024 legislative session.

It follows a year that required a special session when the legislature failed to pass a budget on time.

Senate leadership says the proposed changes will provide a better blueprint for the future. These are changes long desired by the Oklahoma Senate Pro Tem. Greg Treat.

“From the very first day I stepped into this building,” he said.

Internally, his team began working to make those changes happen about two years ago. They will finally be implemented after a less than desirable budget process.

“The last session left a sour taste in a lot of members’ mouths,” said Treat.

He believes transparency will be a palate cleanser.

“We have been trying over the last decade really to make it more transparent,” Treat said. “We’re going to take a huge step in the transparency this year.”

He says Oklahomans can expect greater subcommittee attendance, longer meetings with a more robust agenda and weekly updates from staffers.

Subcommittee budget recommendations will be presented before the full Appropriations Committee.

“In an open meeting, not in a closed door meeting where they will be able to take questions, debate and have a voice vote,” Treat said.

Once the Appropriations Committee approves a budget, a Senate Budget Resolution will be drafted. It’s expected seven weeks into session.

“You will see a resolution that really gets vigorously debated, vigorously questioned,” the Senator said. “That will be the starting point to negotiations with our counterparts.”

They are counterparts that often provide counter proposals. Treat aims to keep negotiations transparent.

“We’re going to try to make sure everything goes into an open meeting regardless of the origin,” Treat said.

While the origin of these changes may have begun as a hope in his first session, they will be implemented in Senator Treat’s last.

“Whenever we’ve been transparent, we’ve gotten more of what we want,” he said. “But more importantly [with] transparency – Oklahomans win.”

The change long desired, he hopes will continue after he’s left the building.

Regular session begins February 5th and ends the last Friday in May.

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