Rep. Martinez to File Legislation Protecting State Assets
Mike Seals - January 14, 2021 9:47 pm
OKLAHOMA CITY – State Rep. Ryan Martinez, R-Edmond, today announced he is filing legislation to create accountability and transparency regarding the movement of state assets.
His forthcoming House bill will specify that no state asset is to be moved further than 10 miles from wherever it was located on July 1, 2020, without the approval of the Oklahoma State Legislature.
“State assets, which can be valued in the millions of dollars, should only be moved through the publicly transparent legislative process,” Martinez said. “This gives Oklahoma citizens the opportunity to ask questions and voice their opinions to the people they’ve elected to represent them in state government before major decision are made that affect their livelihoods and tax dollars.”
Martinez said the legislation was spurred when the governor announced in October his plan to move the Public Health Laboratory to Stillwater. The plan had no legislative input, Martinez said.
“This is not solely about the health laboratory,” he said. “It also helps us avoid similar moves in the future. We want the public to have a say in where their assets are located, and that happens best when we use the legislative process.”
State health officials said they would use $25 million in state funds along with federal coronavirus aid funds to move the laboratory into temporary leased space in Stillwater. Martinez said at the time that keeping the lab in an already established major medical complex in the state’s capital was in the best interest of the state. This would help with the recruitment of top doctors and other medical staff as well as keep services central for all Oklahomans, he said.
It also makes sense, Martinez said, to keep the public health lab in close proximity to its overseer, the Oklahoma State Department of Health. He also questioned if this was the best use of coronavirus aid funds.