Lawmakers Focus on Interim Studies

Monday, June 29th 2009, 6:14 pm
By: News 9

By Kirsten McIntyre, NEWS 9

OKLAHOMA CITY -- Oklahoma lawmakers are out of session, but politics may still be at play over next year's agenda.

The House recently announced which government studies will be done while on break and, the list is getting mixed reviews.

The Speaker of the House has approved 120 interim studies that could lead to future legislation. But he denied 43 others, leading some to wonder.

School may be out, but summer homework is a must for students who want to stay on top of their studies.

The same could be said for Oklahoma lawmakers. Their homework during the break is to look ahead.

"The study gives you time to really look at the issue a little more in depth without all the politics and all the pressure of an impending vote," Rep. Jason Murphey (R - District 31) said.

Representative Murphey says the studies will range from health care to public safety to modernizing the government.

"How new technology can be applied to government, how better practices can be applied to government and just different innovative ways tax payer's dollars can be saved," Representative Murphey said.

Representative Richard Morrissette submitted 10 projects; six were approved. He's hoping something actually comes from the research.

"You gather this information and when political season starts in January, it's like everyone's brains just evaporate and all the information we've gathered to put in the bill either gets lost, jumbled up or get put in the political grinder," Rep. Richard Morrissette (D - District 92) said.

Robyne Rohde is disappointed a study involving autism didn't get approved. Her son, Nick, is autistic. She's been fighting without success for insurance coverage.

"I don't understand it, it doesn't make sense to me," Rohde said. "Have I cried about it? All the time."

Reportedly there's no exact cost of the studies. But lawmakers are paid a $25 a day per diem, and also mileage for traveling to the Capitol. The cost increases if an expert is called from out of state.