We Paid For It: State Organizations Dues

Friday, November 16th 2012, 10:56 pm
By: News 9

Oklahoma lawmakers are traveling to other states to attend meetings. To do so, our state must join certain organizations and we're paying for it.

This year alone, $571,509 of our money pays for dues toward just 8 organizations. Those funds come out of a joint House-Senate budget.

Lawmakers then attend various conferences in places like Chicago and Seattle. The topics are anything from energy to education. But then there are other organizations that are a little less obvious.

For example - The National Conference of State Legislatures. Its mission, "...to serve the legislators and staffs of the nation's 50 states."

Oklahoma's price tag to join: $141,551 a year. We asked the House Appropriations chair, what's the benefit of belonging to such a broad group?

"I think they're just up on the latest research in helping state and state legislatures and state governments throughout the nation in helping them develop some of the things they want to go forward," Rep. Earl Sears said.

We asked is belonging to all these organizations really worth more than half a million dollars?

"I think it's very beneficial of members that have attended on a regular basis," Rep. Sears said. "They've come back with new and fresh ideas that they think would enhance our state in funding and policy and day to day operations. What they think would be good for Oklahoma."

We're told Senators and House Members who wish to attend these conferences pay their own travel expenses.


ORGANIZATION                                                                               2013

Emergency Council                                                                          $32,000

NCSL                                                                                               $141,551

Council of State Governments                                                        $104,952

Southern Growth Policy Board                                                   Not Billed Yet

Education Commission of the States                                               $60,930

Southern States Energy Board                                                        $29,261

National Conf. on Com. On Uniform St. Laws                                   $28,620

Southern Regional Education Board                                                $174,195

Interstate Compact on Educ. Ops. Military Children                  Not Billed Yet

                                                                                                Total      $571,509