OKLAHOMA CITY –The governor would have 30 days to consider a parole if legislation passed out of the House yesterday becomes law.
House Bill 2957, by Rep. Sue Tibbs, would give the governor’s office 30 calendar days to approve or deny a parole before the recommendation of the parole board automatically goes into effect.
Currently, the governor is allowed 30 days to review paroles, but the statute’s wording doesn’t give a clear start date and the limit is often disregarded, said Tibbs, R-Tulsa.
Paroles sought for all violent crimes as defined in Oklahoma statute and aggravated drug trafficking would still have a 30 calendar day limit, but the board’s recommendation would not go into effect automatically if the governor does not respond within that window, said Tibbs.
“This law would allow the governor to continue to review the most heinous crimes, while cutting through the bureaucratic red tape and saving the taxpayer money in the process,” said Tibbs.
A recent independent performance audit of the Department of Corrections recommended the removal of the governor from the parole process, with a possible savings of up to $40 million. Oklahoma is the only state in the country where the governor must review every parole.
The bill passed the House with a vote of 98-1 and will now go to the Senate for consideration.