In an announcement on Facebook, Representative Paul Wesselhoft, Republican District 54, announced that he had just been appointed to a new committee in the House.
It is my honor and responsibility to be appointed by Speaker Hickman to the Chairmanship of an important new Committee on Elections and Ethics.
I have several reform bills that I hope to pass that will improve the election process and the ethics and requirements of candidates.
This will be a busy year for me; and I am eager to make a significant contribution to Oklahoma. If you have suggestions, I am always open to them. I am looking for partners, you, to help me reform elections & ethics. Thanks.
This is a first for Oklahoma as far as I know. With this committee, all election and ethics related bills will be going to his committee. This means that a lot of bills, such as those seeking to reform Oklahoma’s ballot access laws, will be going here rather than to the Rules Committee.
While it is still too early to see what kind of impact this will have in the coming session, it is a huge step forward. We also will be watching Rep Wesselhoft in this position. While he is active in a number of independent groups on Facebook, he has a mixed record when it comes to ballot reform bills. He voted for HB2134 in 2014, but he voted against similar bills in 2011 and 2009.
On the plus side, the Vice Chair is Representative Donnie Condit, Democrat District 18. He has voted for HB2134 in 2014 and the 2011 bill. He was not in office when the 2009 bill was up for a vote. This also means that the committee has at the start a good bi-partisan mix of representation.
We will keep you posted on what happens in this committee.
I am not optimistic about having Wesselhoft as Chair.