SQ 765: Repeals sections of the Constitution relating to the Department of Public Welfare

October 19, 2012 Posted by zachary

State Question 765 is a rather unwieldy beast of a question. This question will drastically change the way the State manages the needs of those less fortunate.

Here is the text of the question.

The measure amends the Oklahoma Constitution. It abolishes the Oklahoma Department of Human Services, the Oklahoma Commission of Human Services and the position of Director of the Oklahoma Department of Human Services. These entities were created under different names by Sections 2, 3 and 4 of Article 25 of the Oklahoma Constitution and given duties and responsibilities related to the care of the aged and needy. The measure repeals these sections of the Constitution and consequently, removes the power of the Commission of Human Services to establish policy and adopt rules and regulations. Under the measure, the Legislature and the people by initiative petition retain the power to adopt legislation for these purposes.

The measure adds a provision to the Constitution authorizing the Legislature to create a department or departments to administer and carry out laws to provide for the care of the aged and the needy. The measure also authorizes the Legislature to enact laws requiring the newly-created department or departments to perform other duties.

Perhaps you have heard all the stories over the last few years about kids in the foster system dying at the hands of their foster parents, or the general mismanagement of the children under the care of the DHS. You may have also heard about the DHS being sued for these problems as well.

This question seeks to address that issue. What this question does is remove the DHS and its services from the State Constitution and grant the state legislature the power to create such an agency as it sees fit. It also provides the Governor, with the approval of the Senate, to appoint a new head of the agency. This would place the agency under a more direct accountability to the Governor and the citizens as well.

Based on all the problems that the DHS has been having in recent years, I think it is time to restructure and rethink how we take care of the needy. Making this agency more accountable to the Legislature, Governor and the people is a good way to go about it.

Vote “Yes” on SQ 765

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