Okla. Legislature Ranks Among Worst For Using Copy-Paste Bills
OKLAHOMA CITY - A two-year investigation shows Oklahoma lawmakers filed more than 400 bills that were either modeled off of or directly copied from bills written by special interest groups, designed to benefit companies rather than voters.
The investigation was done by USA Today, The Center for Public Integrity and The Arizona Republic.
Oklahoma was fifth highest in the country for copy and paste bills filed. When it came to passing those bills Oklahoma ranked third, after Illinios and Arizona, respectively
Earlier this year a News9/Newson6 investigation into copy-paste bills asked lawmakers whether they'd favor of disclosing who wrote their bills to the public. The majority of lawmakers never answered.
Last year, a bill was authored by Rep. Colin Walke (D-OKC) to require lawmakers to show who wrote the bills and required they attach their names, but it was never heard. Walke recently said he would be running the legislation again.
“I think part of the reason lobbyists are not for transparency is because they think, like many legislators, that you can hoodwink your constituents,” Walke said in a February interview about the legislation.
The use of model legislation and copy-paste bills has come under scrutiny in recent years, mainly from open records and transparency advocates, among them the Freedom of Information Oklahoma.
“We believe the public has a right to know where their laws come from, who requested the, and why they were requested,” FOI-Oklahoma Executive Director Andy Moore said. “Model legislation has a place, but that place should not be outside special interests trying to push a secret agenda in our state.”
Where copy-paste bills came from varied from state to state according to the investigation, however most of Oklahoma's copied bills came from corporate and politically conservative lobbies.