Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Panel Passes Bill Allowing Secrecy on Business Plans

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Panel Passes Bill Allowing Secrecy on Business Plans

Article excerpt

Closed-door sessions could be held by the Oklahoma Executive and Legislative Bond Oversight Commissions to review business marketing plans, financial statements and trade secrets under House Bill 1960, approved Thursday by a state legislative panel.

The bill, authored by State Rep. Don McCorkell, D-Tulsa, cleared the Economic Development Committee of the Oklahoma House of Representatives and now heads for full House consideration.

McCorkell said the bill would give the bond commissions executive session privileges identical to those afforded to the Oklahoma Development Finance Authority.

State backing of loans under the authority's credit enhancement fund must be approved by the commissions. McCorkell said that during commission sessions which are open to the press and public, members "cannot really look at the information and examine it to satisfy ourselves of the creditworthiness."

The bill would also require the Oklahoma Banking Department to monitor the loan portfolios of the finance authority and the Oklahoma Industrial Finance Authority at the agencies' request.

House Bill 1960 also addresses the requirements for state agencies in hiring underwriters, bond or legal counsel, financial advisors, or financial institutions serving as trustees.

The agency would have to request proposals from at least three firms, and in the selection process would be required to give at least 20 percent weight to cost considerations.

A report would be required to be filed with the state bond advisor on the selection process used.

The bill would require all awards of state and local governmental bond issues sold by competitive sale to be based on the offeror presenting the lowest true interest cost.

Competitive sale bidders could bid on a net interest cost basis, but the financial advisor of the issuer would have to be able to convert the bids to a true interest cost basis.

The bill would provide confidentiality to information on specific businesses obtained by the Oklahoma Department of Commerce from the Oklahoma Employment Security Commission for the purpose of data and statistical surveys. …

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