Legislation is needed to provide oversight and accountability to the Turnpike Enabling Act
To permanently temper the unchecked power of the Oklahoma Turnpike Authority, authentic modifications need to occur in Statute 69 Section 1701-1705—The Oklahoma Turnpike Authority Enabling Act. Without changes to this statute the OTA will keep building wherever and whenever they want.
“Litigation and legal cases win battles. Legislative change is truly what creates a lasting peace and better world.” -attorney Robert Norman, 2023
We need Oklahomans throughout the state to reach out to their legislators in support of responsible transportation legislation!
2024 Bills to support
In the House of Representatives
- West (Kevin) co-authored by Rosecrants, Gollihare, Menz – Title 27, Section 5 – Amendatory to change what direct delegations of the state can condemn lands for: public “purposes” has been changed to public “uses.” New Law. Adds language into the statute for how eminent domain would work for abandoned and blighted property. Adds language explaining that “the public purpose or public benefit of economic development, including an increase in tax base, tax revenues, employment, or general economic health, does not constitute a public use.” Also adds in language protecting the citizens and asking the courts to construe eminent domain statutes in favor of the property owner and against the condemning authority.
HB3159 Eminent domain; Landowner’s Bill of Rights; right of first refusal or first offer; effective date
- Roberts (Eric) – Title 27, Section 18 – Amendatory. Provides first right of refusal to landowner and first generation of heirs at the lower of either the current market value or the price received by the landowner under eminent domain sale.
- Menz – Title 27, Section 17 – Relating to the Oklahoma Turnpike Authority surplus land; when the OTA buys land that is not used in construction, they must give first right of refusal to the homeowner at a cost no greater than what the OTA purchased land for.
HB2262 Turnpikes; modifying certain powers and duties of the Oklahoma Turnpike Authority; effective date.
- Sterling – Title 69, Section 1705€ – Amendatory. Prior to legislative authorization, feasibility studies must be conducted. Sunset existing location authorizations unless construction has occurred within five years.
HB2264 Oklahoma Turnpike Authority; requiring Authority to conduct certain studies; requiring Authority to obtain certain approvals; effective date.
- Sterling – Title 69, Sections 1705 & 1718 – Amendatory. Bonds can only be granted after review of reliable, data-driven transportation planning and public policy studies, and appropriate public notice and input. Prior to filing an application for approval of any bond issue with the Council of Bond Oversight, or prior to the issuance of any bonds, the OTA is required to notify and obtain express approval of any municipality, county, federal or state agency affected by the project. OTA is required to provide actual notice via certified mail to all real property owners within one mile in any direction of the routes and conduct public meetings to present, review and receive public comment. Any studies conducted to provide the justification or impacts, must be conducted in such a way to limit the conflicts-of-interest between the consulting firms providing the justifications and the engineering firms performing the work. All studies must be reviewed by an independent body.
HB2976 Roads, bridges, and ferries; Roads, Bridges, and Ferries Modernization Act of 2024; effective date.
- West (Rick) – Title 69, Section 1707 – Relating to the Acquisition of Lands; providing that the Oklahoma Turnpike Authority shall acquire land under certain circumstances.
HB2968 Motor vehicles; removing ability of Service Oklahoma to deny renewal vehicle registration for unpaid tolls; effective date.
- Menz – (coAuthored Humphrey) Title 47, Section 11-1401.2 – Amendatory. Removing ability of Service Oklahoma to deny renewal of vehicle registration due to unpaid tolls.
- Humphrey – Title 69, Section 1705 – Amendatory. Clarifies legislative intent and certain powers of the Oklahoma Turnpike Authority. (Mirror to SB1435)
- Menz – Title 51, Section 24A.5 – Amendatory. Requiring public bodies to respond to open record requests within a 10-day timeline. (Mirror to SB89)
In the Senate
SB41 Eminent domain; requiring return of surplus property; placing burden of proof on condemning authority; granting certain rights to private property owners. Effective date.
- Sen. Dahm, co-authored by Rep. Olsen (similar to HB2191)– Title 27, Sections 5 & 17 – Eminent domain bill. Amendatory to change what direct delegations of the state can condemn lands for: public “purposes” has been changed to public “uses.” The bill requires condemners to “return at no cost” surplus lands “to the person from whom the property was taken or the heirs of the person,” rather than offering first right of refusal on re-sale only after condemnation. This bill does not address what should happen to surplus lands that occur from a pre-condemnation negotiated settlement
SB419 Turnpikes; removing authority to revise toll rates from certain authority; requiring legislative approval for toll increases; stating process of approval or disapproval for toll increases. Effective date.
- Boren – Title 69, Section 1711 – Amendatory. Requires legislative approval for toll increases.
SB785 Turnpikes; requiring certain audit of the Oklahoma Turnpike Authority; prohibiting certain transfer of funds. Emergency.
- Boren – Title 69 Section 1717 – -Amendatory. Requires audits prior and after issuance of certain bonds and defines the scope of certain audits. It prohibits revenue from turnpikes to be used to fund other turnpikes or turnpike projects (no crosspledging). This bill allows the Authority to be annually audited by the State Auditor and Inspector.
SB1435 Turnpikes; clarifying legislative intent; prohibiting turnpike projects without certain approval; requiring special elections for approval of turnpike projects. Effective date.
- Jett –Title 69, Section 1705 – Amendatory. Clarifies legislative intent and certain powers of the Oklahoma Turnpike Authority. (Mirror to HB3151)
- Boren – Title 69, Section 1709 – Amendatory. Establishing a bond debt ceiling of $2.71 BILLION.
SB1784 Turnpike Authority; capping toll evasion penalties to fifty dollars per vehicle owner per year; removing ability of Authority to contract with collections agencies to collect toll evasion penalties. Effective date.
- Boren – Title 47, Section 11-1401.2 – Amendatory. Places a limit and removes method of collection on certain fees charged on unpaid tolls.
- Standridge – Title 69 Section 1703 – New Law. Creating a joint legislative 10-member task force made up of 5 members for the House of Representatives and 5 members of the Senate for the purpose of studying the Oklahoma Turnpike Authority functions, activities, policies, procedures and expenditures and any related issues the task force deems appropriate. The task force may also compel the Turnpike Authority to provide any relevant documentation.
SB1973 Turnpikes; modifying powers of the Oklahoma Turnpike Authority; removing authority to construct certain turnpike projects. Effective date.
- Jett – Title 69, Section 1705(e) – Amendatory. Sunsetting existing location authorizations unless construction has occurred within five years (Mirror to HB2262).
SB89 Oklahoma Open Records Act; requiring written notice when records request cannot be completed within a specified time. Effective date.
- Kirt (co-author Rep. Echols) – Title 51 – Open records bill. Amendatory to require notice to the requestor when open records requests cannot be completed within ten (10) days. Requires agency to indicate the reason for delay and specify a date within a reasonable time when the information requested will be available for inspection or duplication. (Similar to HB2730).
Resources for Legislators
Statutorily Approved Future Turnpikes and Today’s Legislative Districts
- Oklahoma Turnpike Enabling Statutes and Future Impacted Districts
- Map of House Districts and Potential Future Turnpikes
- Map of Senate Districts and Potential Future Turnpikes
Resources for Citizens
Oklahoma Legislators: House and Senate
- Oklahoma legislators contact list (downloadable spreadsheet)
- OAEC 2023 Legislative Guide – District Maps and Legislator Photos (downloadable file)
- Oklahoma House Of Representatives Website Link
- Oklahoma Senate Website Link
- Sign up for the House and Senate newsletters to keep up with bills
House of Representatives: https://okhouse.gov/
- Oklahoma State Legislature Bill Search (search a bill by number)
- Sign up to track a specific bill through the process
Create an account and then enter in the specific bill number to get immediate notification as it moves through stages of the legislative process.
Oklahoma Legislative Guide
- Download the Oklahoma Legislative Guide. This is a great asset to have at your disposal. In it, you can find out where your Senator and Representative are located in the Capitol, you can keep notes on meetings you might have, and you can take a roll call on votes from the floor. Check it out on the App Store or Google Play:
Who, What, Where, Why, and How does the legislative process work?
The legislative process can be convoluted and confusing. The video below demystifies the process and walks through this slide deck explaining each step: How a Bill Becomes a Law.pptx