Law to modernize state vendor payments signed on May 24
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Published: 24-May-2011

House Bill 1086 proposes to utilize electronic payments methods such as direct deposit to pay the state's thousands of vendor invoices. The bill --sponsored by state Reps. Jason Murphey of Guthrie, Josh Cockroft of McLoud, and state Sen. Clark Jolley of Edmond -- is one of several major reforms Republicans pushed this legislative session.

Consolidations of some services and agencies, and greater use of information technology, are intended to make government more efficient, the sponsoring legislators say. Governor Mary Fallin plans to sign the law, and other efficiency reforms, today.
 
Fallin called on legislators to pass such reforms during her State of the State address in January. Fallin proposed the change after the Office of State Finance indicated that the state could be spending up to $13.50 per vendor payment for each payment made using traditional paper conveyances such as payment warrants. This compares to electronic payments which cost the state approximately five cents per transfer.

Currently, approximately 230,000 checks are made with traditional paper payment conveyances. House Bill 1086 will require nearly all vendor payments to be made by electronic payment and could result in millions of taxpayer dollars being saved.

“This is an important reform,” Murphey explained. “This should have occurred several years ago and I appreciate the leadership of Governor Fallin and Treasurer Ken Miller in introducing and supporting this innovative plan.”

“This legislation will help the Treasurer’s Office in putting the state’s checkbook online,” said Miller, who has pledged to provide the expanded financial transparency. “I appreciate Representative Murphey’s work on this issue. It’s a natural progression of the partnership he and I had in the Legislature and a step forward in providing government accountability.”

He noted that more than a dozen state treasurers maintain online checkbooks to track state spending.

In addition to the electronic payment proposal, Murphey and other advocates say House Bill 1086 represents an omnibus approach to using technology to enable taxpayer savings through efficiencies and spending transparencies. 

The new law includes Governor Fallin's proposal for a shared state payroll system which is also estimated to save 2 million dollars each year, the placement of common education spending transactions on the data.ok.gov website and a one-stop shop for many state documents and annual reports to be located in a searchable format for easy preview by the taxpayers at the website documents.ok.gov.

The law will go into effect later this year.

 
NOTE: Editor Patrick B. McGuigan contributed to this report. 

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