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Speaker T.W. Shannon Calls for Moratorium on Fees

OKLAHOMA CITY – The House of Representatives today overwhelmingly passed a measure that would place a moratorium on the fees Oklahomans pay to state agencies for services.

House Bill 1914, by Oklahoma House Speaker T.W. Shannon, would place a moratorium on all agencies and prohibit them from creating new fees or increasing current fees through Jan. 1, 2016. This measure would stop the rampant rises in fees and require agencies to disclose and justify current fee levels to taxpayers.

Since 2007, state fees have increased by $113 million – a 38 percent increase in less than six years.

“This measure forces our state agencies to be more efficient with their appropriated dollars,” said Speaker Shannon, R-Lawton. “When a family is out of money at the end of the month, they can’t go raise fees to pay for things they don’t need. Families have to prioritize when they are making a budget and get rid of extraneous expenses, and state agencies should operate under the same principle.”

If approved and signed by the governor, the measure would become effective Nov. 1, 2013. After that point, fees charged by an agency will be required to come forward with a fee justification statement disclosing in detail the reason for the fee charges. An exception to the measure would be in the case of raises mandated by federal law or inflation costs.

The bill will now move to the Senate for further consideration.