OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — The directors of ten different state entities would be fired effective Jan. 1, and the governor would have the authority to appoint their successors under a bill narrowly passed by a Senate committee on Monday.

The Senate General Government Committee voted 5-4 for the bill by its chairman, Sen. Nathan Dahm, who said he selected the ten agencies because the executive director of each one has access to a state prescription drug database.

"Since these members have access to sensitive information about so many Oklahoma citizens on that drug registry database is why I wanted to open this conversation," said Dahm, R-Broken Arrow.

By allowing the governor to appoint members, and requiring Senate confirmation, Dahm said an extra layer of oversight would be added to ensure agency directors are properly vetted. The first-term senator said he primarily wanted to start discussions on the issue and likely won't bring the bill to the full Senate for a vote this year.

The bill calls for the heads of ten different state agencies and boards to be fired effective Jan. 1 and allows the governor to name their replacement, with confirmation by the 48-member Senate. Currently, each of the ten directors is appointed by the agency's governing board.

The affected agencies include the Oklahoma Health Care Authority, Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services, Board of Health and Office of Juvenile Affairs. It also includes the state boards of pharmacy, medical licensure and supervision, osteopathic examiners, veterinary medical examiners, podiatric medical examiners and dentistry.

Gov. Mary Fallin's spokesman Alex Weintz said the governor did not request the bill, but does support its intent.

"The governor has been generally supportive of any bill giving her the tools to more effectively govern the state," Weintz said. "Oklahoma has more agencies and boards outside of the governor's control than almost any other state. This makes it very difficult to achieve change or pursue improvements in state services."

There have been numerous disputes involving Fallin's office and the governing boards of state agencies. In her first term, Fallin pushed for changes to the State Board of Education and Department of Human Services that gave the governor more influence over those agencies. She also clashed with the former director of the Oklahoma Department of Corrections, Justin Jones, before he finally stepped down three years into her term.

Woodward dentist W. Trent Yadon, who serves on the Oklahoma Board of Dentistry, said he believes dentists are in the best position to make decisions about the profession and questioned whether gubernatorial appointments would inject politics into the equation.

"I would certainly lean against it," Yadon said. "It sounds like then you'd have a lot of political maneuvering."

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