OKLAHOMA CITY (May 20, 2020 news release) – State Rep. Mike Osburn, R-Edmond, today gave the following statement regarding the status of House Bill 3094, which would modernize Oklahoma’s merit protection system for state employees for the first time in nearly 40 years:
“We owe it to the people of Oklahoma to craft a world-class human resources system,” Osburn said. “The full level of thoughtful, inclusive discussion and collaboration necessary for a heavy lift like civil service reform was not fully possible this year due to factors beyond our control with COVID-19, so I am not advancing this legislation at this time.
“Next session, we will make employment by the State of Oklahoma the gold standard for state employment across the nation. We can do right by the more than 36,000 workers this affects and the taxpayers we all work for by cutting red tape and creating better flexibility for hiring, advancing, promoting, rewarding and paying state employees. Helping agencies better manage their workforces produces better, more efficient government for the taxpayers, and that’s our ultimate goal.
“After working on this legislation for three years and being aware of the issue for more than 20 years, I want to see it done right. Forcing something through in the waning days of an unusual legislative session without time for adequate input and discourse is a mistake, so we are going to do it right next year. I look forward to continuing to work with the House, the Senate, the Governor’s Office, representatives of the agencies, state employees and other stakeholders to get the job done.”
House Bill 3094 would place all new hires into a newly-modernized civil service system called Human Capital Management Administration (HCMA). Existing classified employees would have the option to transfer to HCMA or remain in the existing classified service until they leave their job.
State agencies use the merit system as their human resources management structure. About two-thirds of the state’s more than 36,000 employees are classified within the merit system. The system’s last major reform occurred in 1982 under Gov. George Nigh.
The House and Senate each passed measures addressing civil service modernization prior to the legislative session being interrupted by COVID-19 in mid-March.