The Woodward News

Local News

March 9, 2013

Okla. bills both expand, restrict access to info

(Continued)

Woodward, Okla. —

A proponent of more openness in government, Murphey has also introduced bills in recent legislative sessions to make the Legislature itself subject to open records and open meetings laws, an exemption that has also played a factor in Oklahoma's low ranking for openness. Although his bill last year cleared a House panel, this year's measure is languishing in committee.

Still, Murphey says progress is being made with changes to House rules and upgrades in technology that give the public more access to legislative activity than ever before.

"It may not ever be as rapid as those of us who are really aggressive on this issue would like it, but there's no doubt about it, we're making progress every year," he said.

Last year, House rules were changed to require conference committees to meet publicly, rather than just agree to changes to legislation — a process still commonplace in the Senate. House Speaker T.W. Shannon said last week that practice will continue this session and that his creation of a Calendar Committee that meets in public to determine which bills are scheduled for a hearing in the House also helps open the process.

"Things are more open than they've ever been before," said Shannon, R-Lawton. "I don't know that there's much reason to go beyond that right now."

But some open records advocates disagree. Joey Senat, a journalism professor at Oklahoma State University, said there is "no good excuse" for the Legislature to be exempt from the same statutes that govern the executive branch, law enforcement and virtually every state agency.

"It's a shame, and people need to start holding their legislators accountable for this," Senat said. "The reason is that they don't want us to know what they're doing. They want to be able to play politics behind closed doors, at least many of them do."

Text Only
Local News
  • State board votes again to delay education plan

    OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Oklahoma's State Board of Education voted on Wednesday for a second time to delay a formal plan for adopting new education standards in math and English amid opposition to the proposal from three education groups that represent public school boards and administrators across Oklahoma.

    July 24, 2014

  • Winners of Cudd Legacy award named

    Three veterans of the oil industry will receive this year's Bobby Joe Cudd Legacy Award during the Tri-State Oil and Gas Convention on Aug. 7 at the Woodward Conference Center.

    July 24, 2014

  • Benefit gun raffles underway

    Woodward Reserve police officers and other Woodward full time officers have come together to support one of their own.

    July 24, 2014

  • Tulsa man looking for military friend

    There are times in everyone's life when you think back and wonder whatever happened to those old friends from your past.

    July 23, 2014

  • Zoning change approved by commission

    Monday night Woodward city commissioners unanimously approved a zoning change that was contested by one local man who was protesting because he wants the neighborhood to continue its residential growth.

    July 23, 2014

  • Tangier Reunion set for Saturday, Sunday

    When Barbara (Allison) Merwin thinks back to the years she spent in the classrooms of Tangier High School, it takes a few moments for her to recall how school life was 60 years ago.

    July 23, 2014

  • Traveler Majors take regional opener

    ALVA - The Traveler Majors continued their strong Connie Mack playoff showing at Northwestern Oklahoma State University Tuesday.

    July 22, 2014

  • County OKs road use agreement

    Woodward County Commissioners on Monday approved a final version of a road use agreement between a energy company planning a wind turbine construction project near southeast Woodward County.

    July 22, 2014

  • Camp to show art is everywhere

    The Woodward Arts Theatre will become a recycling plant next week.

    July 22, 2014

  • Fairview Wrangler Rodeo turns 50 this year

    Western fun continues in Northwest Oklahoma as the Fairview Wrangler’s hosting their 50th annual rodeo.

    July 22, 2014