Governor Stitt has approved the emergency rules to modernize the merit system pursuit of House Bill 1146. The Oklahoma Public Employees Association supports House Bill 1146 mandating that the state of Oklahoma modernizes its personnel policies regarding adverse actions for Oklahoma state employees.
HB1146 expanded state employees’ rights by creating an equitable process for state employees to dispute an adverse action taken against them. The most important difference is 95% of state agency employees will now have the right to dispute an adverse action taken against them. The 5% excluded from the new state employee rights are executive staff. Each state agency will determine what jobs fall under the 5% executive staff. This legislation eliminates the classified and unclassified titles. Previously only classified state employees had due process rights under the Merit Protection System. Over the years state agencies have slowly eroded away classified positions leaving less than 60% of state employees with the right to dispute adverse actions. The emergency rules will go into effect on January 1st, 2022.
While these rules go into effect at the start of the new year they are not set in stone. Emergency rules must be approved through the legislative process. This allows us to continue to edit and improve the rules as issues are exposed during the first year of implementation. The rule approval process also requires public hearings on the rules. Details on public hearings will be communicated to OPEA members as they are released. The following paragraph explains the legislative process that the emergency rules must complete before being finalized.
Since the Governor approved the rules, notice has been sent to the proposing agency, Speaker, Pro Tempore, and Joint Chairs. The rules are then filed in the Oklahoma Register and considered in effect until legislative review. The Joint Committee on Administrative Rules is comprised of members of the House and Senate appointed by the Speaker of the House and Senate President Pro Tempore. This committee has the authority to review and recommend approval, disapproval, repeal, or encourage further consideration of emergency rules. If the Joint Committee approves the rules, a Joint Resolution is filed to be voted upon by the House and Senate. Upon their approval, the Joint Resolution is sent to the Governor for final approval. Once the Governor signs the Resolution, the emergency rules become permanent rules.
The new emergency rules have been developed by state elected officials, HCM, and OPEA. We will continue to improve and advocate for Oklahoma state employees throughout the legislative session to finalize permanent rules.
Each section of this advocate examines the documents provided to the agencies. Please share these documents with your coworkers especially those previously unclassified so they can develop an understanding of their expanded rights due to HB 1146.
Below is the communication each Agency has received regarding the emergency rules.
Summary of Highlighted Changes as provided by OMES
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Read the entirety of the emergency rules below!
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