A draft state constitution that would remove regulation of the oil
and gas industry from the Oklahoma Corporation Commission and repeal
most of the current corporate article was released Wednesday by the
Oklahoma Constitution Revision Study Commission.
The draft constitution, prepared by the 27-member commission,
also would repeal the entire article on insurance and would create a
cabinet Secretary of Financial Regulation appointed by the governor.
Public hearings on the proposal are planned in six cities at 10
a.m. June 24. In Oklahoma City, the hearing will be in the Scarab
Room of the Student Union Building at Oklahoma City University, 2501
N. Blackwelder Ave.
The commission's final report is due to Gov. Henry Bellmon on
July 1. The governor last year appointed the group, which is
chaired by Attorney General Robert Henry. Nancy Davies of Enid is
Putting the commission's recommendations into action will be a
piecemeal process that will take many months. Bellmon said he hopes
to narrow the recommendations to three issues for a petition drive
for state questions that could appear on the 1990 general election
He said the priorities would be strengthening the executive
branch, removing obstacles to business and industrial development,
and the establishment of an independent ethics commission.
The first petitions would focus on two to four issues, Bellmon
said, adding that he would propose other changes to state
legislators and ask that they vote to put additional questions on
future ballots at the rate of three to five questions per election.
The draft constitution would repeal a section of the state bill
of rights that says corporate records are subject to state review.
Under this change, state officials could not access corporate
records without a search warrant, said Andrew Tevington, chief of
staff to the governor and a commission member.
However, income tax statutes would still apply to corporations,
including the ability of the Oklahoma Tax Commission to review and
audit tax records.
The draft constitution wipes out article 9 on corporations
except for language on the Oklahoma Corporation Commission, which
would be renamed the Public Utility Commission. Corporation
commissioners would serve on the renamed commission.
The commission would regulate railroads, transportation
companies, public utilities, motor carriers and public service
corporations, but not the oil and gas industry. The State
Legislature would be charged with statutory regulation of oil and
The corporate article would be repealed because it contains
antiquated antitrust and stock regulation language, and corporate
law is more practical as statutory law which can be modified by the
Legislature, said John Andrews, the Oklahoma City attorney who
chaired the committee that worked on that section.
Tevington said the same line of reasoning applied to Article 19
on insurance. Although the draft recommends repealing that section,
the constitution would still provide for a state insurance
Tevington said in cases where a portion of the constitution was
repealed and authority given to legislators, a scheduled effective
date would be activated so no industry would be in a limbo situation
regarding laws to govern it. …