Know Your State Government
Know Your Legislature
The Oklahoma Legislature is made up of two bodies, or chambers: the House of Representatives and the Senate. Representatives and Senators run and are elected in areas called districts, which are drawn up every 10 years on completion of the federal Census. Your legislator is determined by the address where you are registered to vote.
These elected people in the legislature are responsible for drafting, debating, and passing the laws of our state, which are then either approved or vetoed by our Governor.
The House of Representatives is made up of members of 101 districts. There are 72 Republicans and 28 Democrats. Representatives are elected to two-year terms, and all Representatives are up for election every two years. The House of Representatives is led by the Speaker of the House and Speaker Pro Tempore. In 2020, these positions are held by Speaker Charles McCall (R-Atoka) and Speaker Pro Tempore, Harold Wright (R-Weatherford). Though Speaker Pro Tempore Harold Wright terms out this year, so he will be replaced for next session 2021.
The Senate is composed of members of 48 districts. There are currently 48 members of the Senate with 38 Republicans and 10 Democrats. Each Senator is elected to four-year terms, with elections staggered so that half the Senate is up for election every two years. The Senate is led by the President Pro Tempore and the Majority Floor Leader. In 2020, these positions are held by President Pro Tempore Greg Treat (R-Oklahoma City) and Majority Floor Leader Kim David (R- Porter).
The first day of Legislative Session begins at noon on the first Monday in February and must adjourn by no later than 5:00pm on the last Friday in May. During legislative session, legislators are at the Capitol from Monday through Thursday, and they return to their home districts on Fridays. Legislative session is
when pieces of law, or bills, are introduced, debated and amended in committee, researched, and voted on – it’s when a lot of the work of lawmaking happens. But after session adjourns in May, legislators still have lots of work to do, meeting with residents of their districts, or constituents, and researching the bills they
may propose at the next session. Sometimes, the Governor calls Special Sessions or additional meetings of the state legislature in the event that they are not able to come to agreements on vital issues such as the state budget.
Know Your State Executive Branch
The role of the executive branch of Oklahoma is to enforce the laws. The executive branch is made up of over 300 state agencies, boards, and commissions led by the Governor of Oklahoma.
The Governor of Oklahoma commands state and local law enforcement agencies. They act as Commander-in-Chief of the Oklahoma National Guard. The Governor has the power of appointment for any state office that becomes vacant, unless otherwise provided by the law. Every bill that passes through the state legislator is presented to the Governor, who has the option to sign it into law or veto it, in other words, reject it.
The Lieutenant Governor of Oklahoma is the second in command if the Governor resigns or is removed from office. The lieutenant governor is the president of the Oklahoma Senate and may cast a vote in the event of a tie.
The Oklahoma State Auditor and Inspector is responsible for examining the financial information of all boards, commissions, and agencies in the executive branch and make judgments on their financial status.
The Attorney General of Oklahoma is the chief legal and law enforcement officer of the State of Oklahoma. The attorney general provides legal advice to other departments and agencies and is responsible for the prosecution of offenses to Oklahoma law and is meant to be an advocate for the basic legal rights of Oklahoma residents. The attorney general’s office also enforces Oklahoma’s anti-discrimination laws, providing educational resources, and partners with the public to positively advance the cause of civil rights in the state.
The State Superintendent is the chief executive officer of the Oklahoma State Department of Education. They oversee, implement, and review the policies of the Oklahoma’s public school system.
The Labor Commissioner is the head of the Oklahoma Department of Labor. They promote and develop the well-being of wage-earners in the state. They improve working conditions and advance opportunities in employment, income, and benefits.
The Oklahoma Corporation Commissioner is the head of the Oklahoma Corporation Commission. They regulate public utilities such as electricity, water, sewage, telephone lines, and transportation. They also regulate oil and drilling production and enhance environmental protection.
The Insurance Commissioner is the responsible for the administration and enforcement of the Oklahoma Insurance Code. They have authority over complaints against all persons engaged in the business of insurance. They also may educate consumers and make recommendations regarding insurance policy in the state.