A Tulsa, Okla.-area legislator plans to take up the mission he began nearly a year ago to change the position of state insurance commissioner to one that is appointed rather than elected.
State Rep. John Trebilcock, R-Broken Arrow, announced he will re-file legislation this session to let voters decide whether to amend the state Constitution to allow the now-vacant position to be appointed.
Trebilcock filed a similar measure last year, House Joint Resolution 1038, but it never received a committee hearing.
The sophomore lawmaker said there has been growing support for his proposal, especially after the impeachment of former Insurance Commissioner Carroll Fisher. Trebilcock was the author of the resolution that created the special committee to investigate Fisher, which ultimately led to his impeachment and resignation.
Rep. John Carey, D-Durant, announced plans to co-sponsor Trebilcock’s legislation. “In the spirit of bipartisanship, this is an issue I believe needs to be addressed,” he said. “We are following suit with what many other states are already doing.”
Oklahoma is one of just 11 states that elect an insurance commissioner. The top insurance official in several neighboring states, such as Texas, Colorado, New Mexico, Arkansas and Missouri, are appointed by the governor.
Trebilcock said that during the course of the past year many state officials have reconsidered whether the position should be appointed. “I’m happy to see that similar legislation has been introduced in the Senate,” he said. “I look forward to the Senate’s support of my proposal.”
“This is not a partisan issue,” Trebilcock said. “There is an inherent conflict of interest when the vast majority of the contributions to this office comes from the groups the officer regulates. Appointment of this position would eliminate the power of outside interests to influence regulation.”
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