Legislative BIlls Offer Possibility of Joint Projects

Article excerpt

A pair of bills that would affect intergovernmental activities between cities and counties were approved by the House Committee on County and Municipal Government Thursday.

The committee approved an amended version of Senate Bill 737, and endorsed Senate Bill 788 intact. Sen. Ged Wright and Rep. Rob Johnson, both R-Tulsa, are the authors of the companion measures.

Senate Bill 788 would empower municipalities and counties to link arms in contracts to jointly finance the construction, maintenance and operation of public facilities, such as jails.

A similar measure, House Bill 1984 by Rep. Bart Bates, chairman of the County and Municipal Government Committee, would direct the Legislative Service Bureau to evaluate "the feasibility of establishing multi-county jail facilities in this state." Johnson said he wants to merge Senate Bill 788 with House Bill 1984.

Both bills apparently are headed to a joint House-Senate conference committee to iron out the wrinkles.

Although a few counties, such as Tulsa and Muskogee, already have jointly maintained city-county jails, state statutes do not expressly authorize such arrangements, officials indicated.

The other measure considered Thursday, Senate Bill 737, would clarify statutes governing the "liability for the conduct" of any municipal police officer cross-deputized by a county sheriff. …