Unicameral legislature proposed

OKcapitolLgOklahoma Senator Patrick Anderson has filed legislation that would allow voters to reduce the size of the Legislature by 101 members. Senate Joint Resolution 43 would send to a vote of the people a constitutional amendment creating a unicameral Legislature consisting of 48 legislators.

Transitioning to a unicameral Legislature would reduce costs, while providing increased transparency and procedural openness, Anderson said. The Nebraska Legislature has operated as a unicameral body with just 49 legislators since 1937.

Anderson said the bicameral Legislature is costly, inefficient and unnecessary.

“We are asking all of our state agencies to make cuts and reduce costs,” said Anderson, R-Enid. “As lawmakers, we should reserve the same scrutiny for our own process. Why not lead by example and eliminate the unnecessary expenses that exist in the Legislature?”

Oklahoma Senate Chambers 1918

Oklahoma Senate Chambers 1918

Anderson said his proposal would generate savings greater than $16.5 million annually.

“Although the Oklahoma Legislature is a bicameral body, both chambers perform identical functions,” Anderson said. “As a result, the legislative process is unduly burdensome and extremely costly to the taxpayers.”