Some of the first bills of the 2024 legislative session have been filed. One bill, sponsored by Senator Paul Rosino (R-OKC), is aiming to give state agencies more internal controls and save state money.
Rosino says he’s seen problems crop up for a few years now.
“I hope the agencies appreciate it because they're the ones that have been voicing some of their frustration,” said Sen. Rosino.
SB 1205 would allow state agencies to run their own IT services. Since 2012, all IT services for state agencies have fallen under OMES.
“They should be able to make determinations on what they can do and have some flexibility on their IT services,” Sen. Rosino said.
The Office of Management and Enterprise Services, commonly known as OMES, refers to themselves as the state government’s backbone. They handle finance, property, HR and technology services for all state agencies.
“They do have a whole lot that falls under their umbrella. I would think anything taken off of OMES would lighten their load a little bit,” said Sen. Rosino.
A recent report by the Legislative Office of Fiscal Transparency highlighted a handful of findings around OMES, including billing practices that “limit agencies abilities” and “ongoing IT costs.”
“We have seen an increase in costs and we weren't budgeting for it,” said Sen. Rosino.
Senator Rosino says a lot of agencies were stuck with an IT bill they weren’t expecting, and that money had to come out of their internal budget.
“It affects Oklahomans because then it's a service they can't provide because they're having to pay OMES for it,” said Senator Rosino.
The legislation would ensure that state cybersecurity is still run by OMES for security reasons, but would allow each individual state agency to decide if it wants to house its own IT, or continue to have it run by OMES.
“I hope OMES will get behind it and say look, this is an opportunity for us to work closer with some of these agencies as long as we keep the cyber security, it gives them an opportunity to lead their own direction when it comes to their IT services,” said Sen. Rosino.
The bill is scheduled to be heard on February 5th.
The full statement from OMES:
“Each year, Oklahoma lawmakers propose different pieces of legislation they believe will improve services for citizens. In 2012, the Legislature had the foresight to consolidate redundant services and leverage the state’s economy of scale by creating the Office of Management and Enterprise Services. Since then, OMES has continually worked to mature our service model for our partner agencies. Just in the last few years, OMES has led statewide modernizations such as the implementation of central HR, benefits and financial systems, and a unified communication platform. All of these drive efficiencies and better services for citizens. The OMES Performance Improvement Graph is a live dashboard that tracks specific IT performance metrics. You can find this dashboard at https://pig.omes.ok.gov/information-services.
"We’re always asking for constructive feedback and listening to agency customers. Currently, we’re not aware of any specific issues that may have caused the creation of this legislation but look forward to working with the author and any agencies to improve services further. Since fiscal year 2020, our customer satisfaction survey results came in at 87% in FY 2020, 83% in FY 2021, 87% in FY 2022, 90% in FY 2023, and 93% so far in FY 2024. As we mentioned, we're continually looking to improve and look forward to constructive conversations with both the Legislature and our partner agencies.”