House Speaker Charles McCall approved dozens of interim studies requested by lawmakers and assigned them to House committees.
Speaker McCall approved 63 interim studies after receiving 136 study requests from members. Thirty two requests were either withdrawn by the requester or unapproved and many others were combined. The approved studies will cover a range of topics from criminal justice reform and education to economic development and budget reform. In 2015, the last non-election year, 76 studies were approved.
McCall limited each member to no more than three approved studies. Lawmakers may attend any interim study, but only those lawmakers who are assigned to the committee in which the interim study is being held will receive the lower non-session per diem rate of $25 and mileage reimbursement.
“We want to ensure that we are providing citizens a proper balance of substantive work and cost savings during the interim, and one way to do that is to reduce the number of studies and maximize time so we can save taxpayers money,” said McCall, R-Atoka. “But these are complex issues, and it is important that we devote time during the interim to these topics. Interim studies give lawmakers an opportunity to dive into issues more deeply than they can during the busy legislative session, and they allow more time for legislators to hear varying viewpoints and ask more questions so we have a better understanding of the benefits and consequences of enacting particular policies.”
House committee chairs will now determine the dates and times for holding interim studies, which may be held on Tuesdays and Wednesdays only to maximize time and reduce travel costs. The studies can begin August 1 and must be completed by November 8.