Okla. Committee Backs Appointed Commissioner

February 25, 2005

Oklahoma’s insurance commissioner would be appointed by the governor instead of elected by the people under legislation that was sent to the Oklahoma House by a legislative committee, the Associated Press reported.

The measure by Rep. John Trebilcock, R-Broken Arrow, is a response to the legislature’s attempt last year to impeach former Insurance Commissioner Carroll Fisher.

Fisher resigned in September before he was removed from office and is charged with embezzlement, operating a charity illegally, perjury, bribery and filing a false income tax return.

Trebilcock said Oklahoma is one of just 11 states where insurance commissioners are elected. Supporters of the measure say the insurance commissioner should not be elected since most candidates raise most of their campaign money from companies that are regulated by the office.

“Appointment of this position would eliminate the power of outside interests to influence regulation,” Trebilcock said. “It makes the office more accountable to voters.”

The legislation requires voter approval to amend the Constitution to permit the governor to appoint future insurance commissioners, beginning in 2007.

The measure is House Joint Resolution 1004.

Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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