House Speaker Serves as Acting Governor
The absence of three of the state's top elected officials has put House Speaker Glen Johnson into the role of acting governor. Johnson began presiding as the state's chief executive at 11 a.m. Saturday and will continue in the post until around 8 p.m. today, when Lt. Gov. Jack Mildren is scheduled to return from the Democratic National Convention in New York.
Gov. David Walters left Oklahoma on Friday for the National Governors Association meeting in New York. He also is attending the Democratic National Convention and is not expected to return to Oklahoma until Saturday. Mildren left Saturday for the convention. Senate President Pro Tempore Bob Cullison, D-Skiatook, who is next in the line of succession after the lieutenant governor, also is out of the state.
The order of succession spelled out in Article 6 of the Oklahoma Constitution specifies that on such occasions, the governor's mantle shall devolve to the Speaker of the House. Johnson "shall exercise the powers and discharge the duties of the Office of the Governor," Robert B. Task, the governor's deputy legal counsel, wrote in a memorandum to the 38-yeard Speaker on Friday.
When the Okemah Democrat was elected Speaker of the 101-member Oklahoma House on Jan. 8, 1991, at age 36, he was the youngest Speaker of any House of Representatives in any state in the nation, records indicate. Former Speaker Jim Barker said he served a brief term as acting governor during the absence of thenv. George Nigh. And former Speaker J.D. McCarty was acting governor for a day, on March 30, 1961, in the absence of Gov. J. Howard Edmondson, Lt. Gov. George Nigh and Senate President Pro Tempore Everett S. Collins. PikePass Program Named Finalist in Contest
Oklahoma's PikePass system for collecting tolls on state turnpikes was named among 25 finalists Monday in the 1992 Innovations in State and Local Government Awards Program. The annual contest seeks to recognize programs and policies considered to be unusually creative in addressing public needs at state and local levels. It is sponsored by the Ford Foundation and is administered by the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.
The PikePass program will receive a $20,000 grant for being named a finalist, contest organizers said. Ten final winners will be named in September, each getting a $100,000 grant. The PikePass provides electronic, nonop collection of tolls at reduced fares to turnpike users. Sensors read a small electronic card placed on windshields and automatically deduct the tolls, eliminating a need to stop. Although other states have such …