The government of the U. State of Oklahomaestablished by the Oklahoma Constitutionis a republican democracy modeled after the federal government of the United States.
The state government has three branches: Through a system of separation of powers or "checks and balances," each of these branches has some authority to act on its own, some authority to regulate the other two branches, and has some of its own authority, in turn, regulated by the other branches. The state government is based in Oklahoma City and the head of the executive branch is the Governor of Oklahoma.
The legislative branch is called the Legislature and consists of the Oklahoma Senate and the Oklahoma House of Representatives. The state government of Oklahoma is divided into an executivea legislative and a judicial branch. The governorOklahoma state gov state's chief executive, has a degree of direct executive power but must share executive power with other statewide elected officers. The lieutenant governor serves as the first-in-line successor to the governorship should a vacancy occur. It passes statutes, votes on the budget, Oklahoma state gov controls the action of the executive through oversight and the power Oklahoma state gov impeachment.
The independent judiciary is based on the common law system which evolved from use in the British Empire. It is divided into the two courts of last resortone the Supreme Court dealing with civil law and the other the Court of Criminal Appeals dealing with criminal law. A popular referendum approved the constitution of the Oklahoma on September 17,which came into effect upon Oklahoma's ratification of the United States Constitution on November 16, The ratification of both documents marked Oklahoma as the 46th US State.
The constitution contains a bill of rights in itself, Oklahoma state gov its preamble mentions the principles the government of Oklahoma is to uphold.
The constitution's preamble states that the state government is to:. Among these foundational principles protected by the Oklahoma bill of rights are: The legislative branch Oklahoma state gov the branch of the Oklahoma state government that creates the laws of Oklahoma.
The Oklahoma Legislaturewhich makes up the legislative branchconsists of two chambers: The state legislature has the power to levy and collect taxes, borrow money, and raise and maintain the militia of the state. The constitution grants the state legislature the authority to legislate on "rightful subjects" of legislation. The Oklahoma Legislature meets for four months in regular session each year from February to May.
Legislation must be approved by a majority in both houses and signed by the governor to be enacted into law. Under the Oklahoma Constitutionmembers of both houses enjoy the privilege of being free from arrestexcept for treasonfelonyand breach of the peace. This immunity applies to members during sessions and when traveling to and from sessions.
The Oklahoma state gov also guarantees absolute freedom of debate in both houses, providing, "for any speech or debate in either House, shall not be questioned in any other place. Members of the legislature are limited Oklahoma state gov a combined total of 12 years service in the Oklahoma Legislature, regardless of house.
The Oklahoma Senate is the upper house of the state legislature with its 48 seats divided equally among the state's 48 senatorial districts. The state senators serve a four-year staggered term, with half of the senate up for reelection every even numbered year. By tradition, the lieutenant governor presides in ceremonial occasions, leaving in charge the President pro tempore of the Oklahoma Senatewho is third in line to succeed the governor in the event of his removal from office.
The state senate is required to give their advice and consent to many executive branch appointments made by the governor.
The Oklahoma House of Representatives is the lower house of Oklahoma state gov state legislature with its seats divided equally among the state's house districts. Each member serves for a two-year term with the entire House up for reelection every even numbered year. Bills for raising revenue may only originate in the House of Representatives though the state senate may alter and amend them as the body sees fit.
The executive branch Oklahoma state gov the branch of the Oklahoma state government that executes the laws of Oklahoma. Oklahoma state gov
The branch, consisting of over state agencies, boards, and commissionsis headed by the Governor of Oklahomawho Oklahoma state gov assisted by eleven other statewide officials.
The governor is both head of state and head of government for Oklahoma. Under the constitution, the governor is elected to serve a four-year term.
Originally, the governor was term limited to only one term in office at a time but this has since been modified to allow up to two consecutive terms. The governor is the state's chief representative and spokesperson to the other states within the United States, the United States federal government, and foreign nations. The governor must sign bills passed by the state legislature in order for those bills to become law. Should the governor veto a bill, the state legislature may override his or her veto with a two-thirds vote.
In certain emergencies the governor may assume special, comprehensive powers. These Oklahoma state gov involve greater police power and near absolute control over state, county, and local agencies and resources. During emergencies, the governor is also allowed a limited-form of rule by decree. State, county, and local officers and personnel become subject to the governor during the emergency and must obey his or her directions.
With the exception of the members of the state legislature, any official who fails to obey any of his or her orders may be removed from office by Oklahoma state gov governor. However, in normal times, the governor may not enact legislation or directly control the county and local agencies. The governor may issue executive orders when empowered to do so by a specific provision of the Oklahoma Constitution or an act of the legislature which are binding throughout Oklahoma state gov state.
Such executive orders do not have the force of law and may only be issued when related directly to the governor's duties. In order to be elected governor, any gubernatorial candidate is required to obtain a statewide plurality of Oklahoma state gov cast in their election.
Given the dominance of the two-party system in Oklahoma between the Democrats Oklahoma state gov the Republicansthe plurality is often a majority as well. However, in case the event that two or more candidates have an equal number of votes, the state legislature, by joint ballot, elects one of those candidates governor.
The constitution names the governor the state's Oklahoma state gov magistrate and vested in him the supreme executive power. As a consequence, the governor is the preeminent figure in Oklahoma politics. Though he or she shares power with many other executive officers, in the event of a vacancy anywhere in the executive branch, he or she appoints their successor. The governor appoints the heads of state departments and agencies as well as the members of most state commissioners and boards.
However, these appointments do require Senate approval. Some serve at his or her pleasure while others serve fixed terms.
Mary Fallin became governor on January 10,succeeding Brad Henry. The Lieutenant Governor of Oklahoma is the second highest official in the Oklahoma government and the first in line to succeed the governor in the event of a vacancy. Though both the governor and lieutenant governor are Oklahoma state gov in the same year, the two are not running mates.
In the absence of the governor, the lieutenant governor assumes the powers and duties of office of governor.
However, as long as the governor remains in the state and is capable of discharging his or her duties, the lieutenant governor's main role is that of the president Oklahoma state gov the Oklahoma Senatea position of limited de jure influence.
The lieutenant governor's de facto power is based primarily upon the individual holding the office. When the governor and lieutenant governor are of the same political party, the governor often uses the lieutenant governor as a chief adviser or appointee.
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However, when the two are differing political parties, the lieutenant governor's influence is minimal. Oklahoma also has nine other independent executive offices that do not owe loyalty to the governor as they are elected statewide and exercise authority outside the control of the governor. The general rule is that, while independent of the governor, the other statewide Oklahoma state gov officers are at the disposal of the governor as he is the chief executive.
This Oklahoma state gov enforced through statutory restriction on the independent offices authority to act without the governor's approval and the ability of the governor to force the independent offices to act according to his will. The greatest power of the governor over the independent executive offices is the governor's ability to determine each office's annual budget. These executive officers have some specialized regulatory power, some executive power, and some quasi-judicial power.