The Speaker of the Oklahoma House used to have essentially absolute power over bills introduced in the House.
Repeat: “used to.” Rep. Jason Murphey (R-Guthrie) explains:
Over the past few weeks, I have enjoyed serving on a committee tasked with reforming House rules. I observed as Speaker of the House T. W. Shannon commissioned the committee’s work and seeded the idea for dissolving absolute power from the Speaker to the members of the Legislature.
Under the leadership of Speaker Pro Tempore Mike Jackson, the committee worked out a process for commissioning a House calendar committee with the responsibility of determining which bills are scheduled for a vote of the House. The committee contains House members from both political parties and holds public meetings where the members must hold a recorded vote on the slate of bills to go before the House.
These decisions are no longer behind closed doors, nor are they made by one man.
The GOP holds a 72-29 majority in the House. Speaker Shannon could easily have told the remaining Democrats to go pound sand. But that’s apparently not the sort of guy he is.