State Sen. Darrell Weaver has filed legislation to require anyone presenting budget information on behalf of a state agency to the legislature to do so under oath. Under Senate Bill 332, it would be a misdemeanor to knowingly present inaccurate budget information to lawmakers.
Weaver, a former director of the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs, said his legislation was aimed at increasing transparency, accountability and restoring public trust in government.
“I believe the single most important job we have as legislators is to write and approve a balanced budget on behalf of the citizens we were sent here to represent,” said Weaver, R-Moore. “But that requires the most accurate data possible. It’s bad enough if poor financial oversight results in inaccurate information that hurts their employees and the citizens who depend on vital services. If bad information is presented intentionally, there should be consequences and accountability.”
Senate Bill 332 says a person would be guilty of a misdemeanor if they violate their sworn testimony by falsifying or concealing any material fact, make any materially false, fictitious or fraudulent statement or representation or present any false written information or documents to legislators.
“When I was an agency director, I treated my testimony at budget hearings like I was under oath. But when agency representatives do not give accurate information, there are multiple problems,” Weaver said. “Inaccurate, misleading budget information prevents legislators from being the best stewards possible with public dollars. When that happens, it undermines the public’s trust in their government. My bill is an effort to rebuild and restore that trust.”