After a brief conference committee detour, the bill that creates an Oklahoma Workforce Commission is back on track.
Senate Bill 621 returned to the Oklahoma Senate and was approved with a 34-10 vote on Wednesday.
The bill, written by Sen. Adam Pugh, R-Edmond, and Rep. Brian Hill, R-Mustang, is a key piece in the comprehensive effort to revitalize and refocus Oklahoma's workforce system.
"The role [of the Workforce Commission] is not to create, the role is to identify the need, connect it with the providers and identify the funding sources to us so we can more strategically spend dollars for the betterment of our Oklahoma kids and our communities and jobs," Hill said.
The Commission is to be composed of nine members, each a representative from Oklahoma's private business sector, with the governor appointing three members, the House speaker appointing three members and the Senate pro tem appointing three members.
SB 621 was amended in conference committee to allow officials from relevant state and local agencies, departments, educational institutions, boards and commissions to participate in the Commission's process in an advisory capacity. The individuals serving on the advisory committees will be actively engaged in the process in a non-voting capacity. The Commission will retain ultimate control and decision-making authority.
"This bill, in essence, just provides that coordination in terms of reworking our state workforce commission to ensure that it's got legislative input, it's got executive branch input, it's got all these stakeholders in government as well as in the private sector. We'll know where to go when we have workforce challenges that the state needs to solve," Pugh said. "And so as far as some of the changes that were made, it's still a strong majority of private business leading the way, but other people will be at the table to make sure the tracks are smooth."
The bill will next return to the Oklahoma House for one more vote. If it succeeds in the House, it will proceed to Stitt for final approval.
Click here for more information about the Oklahoma Workforce Commission and the conference committee's amendments to SB 621.