Federal Election Trigger Bill Passes House
OKLAHOMA CITY – The House today approved a bill that would decouple Oklahoma elections from federal ones should federal election laws substantially change. Rep. Denise Crosswhite Hader, R-Piedmont, described House Bill 1415 as a trigger bill that would only take effect should federal election laws change in a way that conflicts with state laws. If that happened, Oklahoma elections would be held separately, and federal laws would be followed only during federal elections. "Currently, our state election laws are tied to federal regulations," Crosswhite Hader said. "As the U.S. Congress continues to look to amend their election process, as is their prerogative, I am concerned about federal overreach in our state elections. We must be prepared to maintain authority over Oklahoma elections. This bill will simply give us a break from federal elections if it is needed so that we can affirm our state authority. This would only go into effect if the federal government oversteps their authority on our state." The bill would establish that the Oklahoma attorney general with concurrence of the secretary of the State Election Board would confirm if a trigger has taken place. If or when the action is needed, a committee is to be established within two weeks and make a determination on time, place and manner of election dates for the state within 60 days. The Committee would be made up of four members each appointed by the House and Senate, as well as the state's attorney general, the chair of the District Attorneys Council, and the governor or a designee. Crosswhite Hader brought forward the same legislation last year, which passed the House but failed to advance in the Senate. This year, she is working in tandem with the Senate and at the previous request of the State Election Board secretary. HB 1415, presented Tuesday, passed the House with a vote of 77-20. It now moves to the state Senate where it is authored by Sen. Dave Rader, R-Tulsa.