A bill requiring the hundreds of reports submitted by state agencies to legislators be transmitted electronically was signed this week by Gov. Brad Henry.
Senate Bill 1507 could potentially save taxpayers thousands of dollars in printing and postage costs every year. The measure was sponsored by Senator Jay Paul Gumm, D-Durant, and Rep. Joe Dorman, D-Rush Springs.
“State government kills an untold number of trees every year just to send reports to the Legislature; worse, agencies squander taxpayer dollars on slick printing that is no longer necessary,” said Gumm. “In the age of electronic documents, that printing is very wasteful; government can and should do better.”
Dorman said the plan also would require agency budget requests and the governor’s annual budget to be transmitted electronically rather than through hard copies in the mail. The transition, he said, from expensively printed documents to a paperless system will modernize state government and make it less wasteful.
“Here is a perfect example how the bill will save money,” Dorman related. “According to state records, it cost more than $5,700 to print the governor’s budget proposal to lawmakers this year. That is money that would be saved next year.”
The annual budget is just one of dozens of reports state agencies print and send to representatives and senators. Every year, Gumm said, lawmakers’ mail boxes are jammed with expensively produced reports from state agencies that could simply be transmitted as an attachment to an email message.
Gumm said Oklahomans should have no concerns about the lack of a “paper trail” for the information produced. “The work product trail that currently exists for these documents will still be there,” he said. “The only change is that the end result will be delivered in a far more cost-effective manner, resulting in reduced costs for taxpayers.”
Dorman said the measure will help save precious natural resources, and make state government more streamlined and more effective. “It is more important to put dollars into critical state services like schools and roads,” he said.
“Wasting money on expensive printing projects does not improve highways or make public schools better. That should be our focus, and this is a smart step in a new and better direction for efficiency and productivity in Oklahoma.”