OKLAHOMA CITY –Sen. Bryce Marlatt and Rep. Mike Jackson said a bill to ensure more equitable representation on the Oklahoma Water Resources Board has been signed into law. Marlatt and Jackson are the authors of Senate Bill 965, which was signed by Gov. Mary Fallin on Friday.
“Right now the make-up of the board includes one member from each congressional district and four at large members,” said Marlatt, R-Woodward. “But that doesn’t really ensure that every part of the state is represented. Currently there are three members representing eastern Oklahoma but they all are from the Tulsa area. That means people from southeastern communities don’t have a voice. This new law will give all the regions in our state representation.”
Under SB 965, the nine members of the board will be selected by regions instead of congressional districts, ensuring all areas of the state, including the panhandle, have someone representing those citizens on the board.
“There probably is not a more complex public policy issue than water, and the needs of one part of the state compared to another can be vastly different,” said Jackson, R-Enid. “Whether you are in a rural community or a large metropolitan area, in the panhandle, western Oklahoma, the central part of the state, the north or in the southeast, those differences all need to be represented and considered when developing Oklahoma’s water policy.”
Under the provisions of SB 965, new members representing nine regions will be appointed as current members terms’ expire. The new law goes into effect beginning July 1, 2014.