The Oklahoma House of Representatives is the lower house of the legislature of the U.S. state of Oklahoma. Its members introduce and vote on bills and resolutions, provide legislative oversight for state agencies, and help to craft the state's budget. The upper house of the Oklahoma Legislature is the Oklahoma Senate.

The Oklahoma Constitution established the powers of the Oklahoma House of Representatives in 1907. Voters further amended those powers through constitutional referenda. One referendum required legislators to balance the annual state budget. Others specified the length and dates of the legislative session. Today, there are 101 House members, each representing a legislative district. District boundaries are redrawn every decade to ensure districts of equal population.

One must be 21 years of age at the time of election and a qualified elector and resident of the legislative district to serve in the Oklahoma House of Representatives. The state holds district elections every two years coincident with federal elections and special elections to fill vacant seats. The House meets from early February until the last Friday in May. Members elect a Speaker of the Oklahoma House of Representatives as the presiding officer and a Speaker Pro Tempore, who serves as the presiding officer in his or her absence. Members organize in political party-based caucuses to develop partisan policy agendas.

After the 2016 election, Republicans hold almost three-fourths of the House seats.


Early years

The Oklahoma Constitution established both the Oklahoma House of Representatives and Oklahoma Senate in 1907. It met in Guthrie until 1910.[1] William H. Murray was the first Speaker of the Oklahoma House of Representatives. Less than 50 legislative employees aided lawmakers in the first year.[2]

A weakening of the Democratic coalition leading up to the 1908 election allowed Republicans to make gains in the Oklahoma House. Republicans gained an even third of the legislative seats.[3] The largest gains came in Holdenville, Okmulgee, and Guthrie, each of which had a sizable African-American population.[3]

The Oklahoma Democratic lawmakers of the early 1900s opposed integration. The first legislature passed legislation that made it almost impossible for African-Americans to vote.[3] The legislature's first African-American member, A. C. Hamlin, served only one term, though he did gain the support of his fellow lawmakers to fund an African-American school in his district and create more equal accommodations for black and white railroad passengers.[4]

The Democratic Party also pushed to make Oklahoma City the capital over Guthrie, a Republican and African-American voting stronghold.[3]

In 1913, a House investigative committee forced the resignation of the state auditor and impeached the state printer and insurance commissioner.[2] The legislature at the time included Democratic members who were angry at then Governor Lee Cruce over his veto of a redistricting plan that would have gerrymandered Congressional districts and his attempt to remove public institutions established by earlier legislatures.[5] Cruce escaped an impeachment trial by one vote of the House investigative committee.[5]

Women earned the right to vote in Oklahoma in 1918 through a constitutional amendment approved by voters.[6] In 1920, Bessie McColgin became the first woman elected to the Oklahoma House of Representatives. A Republican, McColgin and her female colleague in the Oklahoma Senate, focused on the passage of public health bills, but failed in many of their efforts.[7]

After eight Democratic-controlled Legislatures, Republicans took the majority from 1921-1922 and elected George B. Schwabe as Speaker of the Oklahoma House of Representatives.[8] The Republican-dominated House brought impeachment charges against Lieutenant Governor Martin Trapp and narrowly failed to approve impeachment charges against both the state treasurer and Oklahoma Governor James Roberts. The Democratic-dominated Senate did not sustain the impeachment charges against Trapp.[9]

Members of the Oklahoma House of Representatives voted eleven articles of impeachment against Governor Henry S. Johnston, which led to his expulsion from office.[10]

1930s through 1950s

A severe drought beginning in 1932 in western Oklahoma combined with land consolidation and mechanization in eastern Oklahoma drove farmers out of the state and left others in economic distress.[11] Legislatures of the 1930s battled with governors William H. Murray and Ernest W. Marland, targeting Murray's efforts to generate relief for farmers and Marland's proposals to create a state public works program, reform the tax code and create unemployment insurance.[11] Lawmakers did enact an old age pension system funded by a dedicated sales tax.[11] The rejection of providing state matching funds for New Deal projects resulted in fewer projects.[11] A conservative reaction developed in Oklahoma in the late 1930s and rejected further New Deal programs.[11]

In 1941, Governor Leon C. Phillips pushed the state legislature to send a constitutional amendment to voters to force the Oklahoma House of Representatives to approve a balanced budget each year.[12] Ever since voters approved the state question, the state legislature has been constitutionally required to pass a balanced budget.

The number of Republican Party seats in the Oklahoma House of Representatives plummeted in the 1930s.[13]

1960s to present

The legislative sessions held by the Oklahoma House of Representatives and Oklahoma Senate changed due to two key legislative reforms in 1966 and 1989. In 1966, Oklahomans voted to institute 90-day annual sessions.[14] An initiative petition championed by Governor Henry Bellmon in 1989 further required the legislative sessions to end by 5 p.m. on the last Friday in May.[2]

After earlier attempts to raise legislative pay failed, voters approved a state question in 1968 to create a board to set legislative compensation. It set compensation at $8,400 that year.[2]

State legislators enacted Oklahoma's open meeting and open records laws in 1977, but made the Oklahoma House of Representatives exempt.[15]

A shift in the behavior of Oklahoma voters occurred, beginning in the 1960s. Registered Democrats began to more often vote Republican, due to dissatisfaction with the leftist progressive wing of the national party.[16] After the 2004 Presidential Election, Republicans gained control of the House for the first time since 1921.[17] In 2010, Republicans gained a large majority of 70 seats in the Oklahoma House of Representatives.[18] In 2016, Republicans gained the largest majority in state history winning 75 of 101 seats.

Powers and legislative process

The Oklahoma House and the Oklahoma Senate are responsible for introducing and voting on bills and resolutions, providing legislative oversight for state agencies, and helping to craft the state's budget.[1] Every ten years, legislators are responsible for designating new district boundaries for state electoral districts, along with Congressional districts. The governor must sign these bills into law, or a statewide panel convenes to draw the disputed lines.[19]

Legislators, with staff support, develop and file bills prior to the legislative session. Bill sponsors submit requests for bill drafting to the professional staff of the Oklahoma House of Representatives. The staff ensure bills have proper legal language and meet constitutional requirements. The bills are filed electronically with the Clerk of the House's office by a designated filing deadline. Since 1999, members of the Oklahoma House are limited to a maximum of eight bills that will receive a hearing.[20]

A proposal may be introduced as a bill, a joint resolution, a concurrent resolution, or a simple resolution.[21] Legislators use joint resolutions to propose a constitutional amendment. Concurrent resolutions (passed by both houses) and simple resolutions (passed by only one house) do not have the force of law. Instead, they serve to express the opinion of approving house of houses, or to regulate procedure. Article 5 Section 33 of the Oklahoma Constitution requires bills for raising revenue to originate in the Oklahoma House.

Oklahoma State Capitol

The Oklahoma House meets in regular session in the west wing of the Oklahoma State Capitol in Oklahoma City, from the first Monday in February to the last Friday in May. Special sessions may be called by the governor, or by a written call signed by two-thirds of the members of each chamber of the Legislature.

Bills receive a First Reading when they are published in the House Journal. They then undergo a Second Reading upon assignment to committee. The committee system is designed to screen out legislation that is, in the committee's judgment, unnecessary or not ready for passage.[20]

Committees either stop the progress of a bill or approve it for consideration on the floor of the House. When a bill is called up on the floor, either the principal author or a member of his or her choice will be recognized for the explanation of the bill. Typically, after questions from other members, the bill is advanced to Third Reading and a vote is taken on final passage.[20]

Fifty-one votes are required for bill passage on the floor of the Oklahoma House. Lawmakers also vote on whether or not to make the bill effective upon signature of the governor, which requires a two-thirds majority. Action on the floor is recorded in the House Journal.[20]

Once approved on Third Reading, which is the name for this stage of the floor process, approved bills are sent to the Oklahoma Senate. If amended, bills will return to the Oklahoma House of Representatives for an acceptance of the Senate amendment(s) or to work out the differences in a conference committee, but can go directly to the governor after Senate passage.[20]

The Oklahoma House is not subject to the state's open meeting and open records laws due to provisions to exempt the state legislature in the 1977-enacted laws.[15]

Party composition

Composition of the Oklahoma House of Representatives in Sept. 2017.
  Democratic Party
  Republican Party
Affiliation Party
(Shading indicates majority caucus)
Republican Democratic Vacant
2012-2014 72 29 101 0
2014-2016 71 30 101 0
Begin 2017 74 26 100 1
March 1, 2017[22] 73 99 2
April 15, 2017[23] 72 98 3
May 9, 2017[24] 73 99 2
May 31, 2017[25] 72 98 3
July 11, 2017[26] 27 99 2
September 12, 2017[27] 28 100 1
November 2, 2017[28] 71 99 2
November 30, 2017[29] 72 100 1
February 26, 2018[30] 71 99 2
Latest voting share 72% 28%


Leadership in the state House begins two leaders elected by their fellow lawmakers - the Speaker of the Oklahoma House of Representatives and Speaker Pro Tempore.[1] Party caucuses play a major role in this process by nominating candidates for key leadership positions.[31]

After a speaker assumes office, he or she appoints a majority floor leader and a majority whip. The majority floor leader sets the floor calendar during session.[32] The duties of the majority whip are to assist the floor leader, ensure member attendance, count votes, and communicate the majority position on issues.[32]

The speaker also names assistant floor leaders, assistant whips, and caucus officers. Additionally, the minority party caucus elects a minority leader. The minority leader develops caucus positions, negotiates with the majority party caucus, and directs minority caucus activities on the chamber floor.[32]

The speaker appoints committee and subcommittee chairs and vice chairs.[1] The majority floor leader selects an informal team that assists with management of legislation on the House Floor.[1]

As of December 12, 2016, The Oklahoma House of Representatives has 24 committees and 10 subcommittees.[33]

A non-partisan staff provides professional services for members of the Oklahoma House of Representatives in addition to the Oklahoma Legislative Service Bureau. Individual members are also assisted by partisan staff members, and those in leadership positions have additional partisan staff.[2] Committees are staffed primarily by research, fiscal and legal staff. The current Clerk of the House is Jan B. Harrison.[34]


A.C. Hamlin, the first black member of the Oklahoma House of Representatives.

Terms and qualifications

In order to file for election to the Oklahoma House of Representatives, one must be 21 years of age at the time of their election and a qualified elector and resident of their legislative district.[35] Officers of the United States or state government and individuals who have been adjudged guilty of a felony are not eligible to election to the Oklahoma Legislature. If a member of the Oklahoma Legislature is expelled for corruption, they are not eligible to return to legislative office.[36]

State representatives serve a two-year term and are limited to six terms or 12 years. No member of the Oklahoma House of Representatives can serve more than 12 years in the Oklahoma Legislature. A term-limited member can not run for election to the Senate as both Representative terms and Senate terms are added together in determining the total number of Legislative years in office.[37]

Salaries and benefits

Members of the Oklahoma House of Representatives receive $38,400 in annual pay.[38] The Speaker of the Oklahoma House of Representatives receives $56,332 in annual pay. The Speaker Pro Tempore, minority leader and appropriations chair receive $50,764 in annual pay.[38] Pay is set by a nine-member state board appointed by the governor, Speaker, and President Pro Tempore of the Oklahoma Senate.[38]

State legislators can seek reimbursement for expenses related to meals, lodging, and travel related to their duties at any point during the year. They have access to benefits, including health and life insurance and retirement savings plans.[38]

Current makeup

As of January 2017, members of the Republican Party hold almost a three-fourths majority of seats in the Oklahoma House of Representatives. There are 74 Republicans and 26 Democrats. One seat is vacant pending a special election.[39]


Originally, the House was apportioned according to a method spelled out in the state constitution, in which each county formed a legislative district. Representation was determined by taking the total population of the state, according to the most recent federal census, and that number was divided by one hundred, with the quotient equaling one ratio. Counties having a population less than one full ratio received one Representative; every county containing an entire ratio but less than two ratios was to be assigned two Representatives; every county containing a population of two entire ratios but less than three ratios was to be assigned three Representatives; and every county containing a population of three entire ratios but less than four ratios was to be assigned four Representatives. After the first four Representatives, a county was to qualify for additional representation on the basis of two whole ratios of population for each additional Representative.

In 1964, the United States Supreme Court ruled that this method violated the federal constitution, as it resulted in districts having wildly different populations. State lawmakers implemented a new method that continues to be used today. The Oklahoma House of Representatives must draw new district boundaries within 90 days of the latest Federal Decennial Census. Under the holding of Reynolds v. Sims, 377 U.S. 533 (1964) districts must be apportioned within a five percent margin of the average target size district as determined by the U.S. Census population figures divided by the one hundred and one districts. This allows for certain districts to be slightly smaller or larger than others. The Oklahoma House of Representatives draws its own maps of its district lines, which are subject to the approval of both the state senate and the governor. Should the redistricting not occur in the time limits prescribed by law, the lines are determined by a panel of five statewide elected officials.


As of January 3, 2017, Charles A. McCall is serving his first term as Speaker of the Oklahoma House of Representatives. He was first chosen May 2, 2016, by the House Republican Caucuse as Speaker designate for the 2017-2018 term.[40] Harold Wright, of Weatherford, Oklahoma, was chosen as Speaker Pro Tempore elect on January 3, 2017.

As of 2017, Scott Inman serves as minority leader, David Perryman serves as minority floor leader and Chuck Hoskin is the minority whip. Eric Proctor serves as assistant minority leader.

Leslie Osborn serves as the chairman of the Appropriations and Budget Committee.

Terry O'Donnell serves as the Majority Whip.

Current members

District Representative Party Residence Serving since
1 Johnny Tadlock Democratic Idabel 2014
2 John R. Bennett Republican Sallisaw 2011
3 Rick West Republican Heavener 2016
4 Matt Meredith Democratic Hulbert 2016
5 Josh West Republican Grove 2016
6 Chuck Hoskin Democratic Vinita 2007
7 Ben Loring Democratic Miami 2014
8 Tom Gann Republican Inola 2016
9 Mark Lepak Republican Claremore 2014
10 Travis Dunlap Republican Bartlesville 2014
11 Earl Sears Republican Bartlesville 2007
12 Kevin McDugle Republican Broken Arrow 2016
13 Avery Frix Republican Muskogee 2016
14 George Faught Republican Muskogee 2014
15 Ed Cannaday Democratic Porum 2007
16 Scott Fetgatter Republican Okmulgee 2016
17 Brian Renegar Democratic McAlester 2007
18 Donnie Condit Democratic McAlester 2011
19 Justin Humphrey Republican Lane 2016
20 Bobby Cleveland Republican Slaughterville 2013
21 Dustin Roberts Republican Durant 2011
22 Charles A. McCall Republican Atoka 2013
23 Terry O'Donnell Republican Catoosa 2013
24 Steve Kouplen Democratic Beggs 2009
25 Todd Thomsen Republican Ada 2007
26 Dell Kerbs Republican Shawnee 2016
27 Josh Cockroft Republican Wanette 2011
28 Zack Taylor Republican Seminole 2017
29 Kyle Hilbert Republican Depew 2016
30 Mark Lawson Republican Sapulpa 2016
31 Jason Murphey Republican Guthrie 2007
32 Kevin Wallace Republican Wellston 2014
33 Greg Babinec Republican Cushing 2016
34 Cory T. Williams Democratic Stillwater 2009
35 Dennis Casey Republican Morrison 2011
36 Sean Roberts Republican Hominy 2011
37 Steve Vaughan Republican Ponca City 2011
38 John Pfeiffer Republican Orlando 2014
39 Ryan Martinez Republican Edmond 2016
40 Chad Caldwell Republican Enid 2014
41 John Enns Republican Enid 2007
42 Tim Downing Republican Purcell 2016
43 John Paul Jordan Republican Yukon 2014
44 Emily Virgin Democratic Norman 2011
45 Claudia Griffith Democratic Norman 2014
46 Jacob Rosecrants Democratic Norman 2017
47 Leslie Osborn Republican Mustang 2009
48 Pat Ownbey Republican Ardmore 2009
49 Tommy Hardin Republican Madill 2011
50 Marcus McEntire Republican Duncan 2016
51 Brad Boles Republican Marlow 2018
52 Charles Ortega Republican Altus 2009
53 Mark McBride Republican Moore 2013
54 Kevin West Republican Moore 2016
55 Todd Russ Republican Cordell 2009 [41]
56 David L. Perryman Democratic Chickasha 2013
57 Harold Wright Republican Weatherford 2009
58 Carl Newton Republican Woodward 2016
59 Mike Sanders Republican Kingfisher 2008
60 Rhonda Baker Republican Yukon 2016
61 Vacant Felt
62 John Michael Montgomery Republican Lawton 2014
63 Jeff Coody Republican Grandfield 2014
64 Rande Worthen Republican Lawton 2016
65 Scooter Park Republican Devol 2014
66 Jadine Nollan Republican Sand Springs 2011
67 Scott McEachin Republican Tulsa 2016
68 Glen Mulready Republican Tulsa 2011
69 Chuck Strohm Republican Jenks 2014
70 Carol Bush Republican Tulsa 2016
71 Katie Henke Republican Tulsa 2013
72 Monroe Nichols Democratic Tulsa 2016
73 Regina Goodwin Democratic Tulsa 2015
74 Dale Derby Republican Owasso 2016
75 Karen Gaddis Democratic Tulsa 2017
76 Ross Ford Republican Broken Arrow 2017
77 Eric Proctor Democratic Tulsa 2007
78 Meloyde Blancett Democratic Tulsa 2016
79 Weldon Watson Republican Tulsa 2007
80 Mike Ritze Republican Broken Arrow 2008
81 Mike Osburn Republican Edmond 2016
82 Kevin Calvey Republican Oklahoma City 2014
83 Randy McDaniel Republican Edmond 2007
84 Tammy West Republican Bethany 2016
85 Cyndi Munson Democratic Oklahoma City 2015
86 William Fourkiller Democratic Stilwell 2011
87 Collin Walke Democratic Oklahoma City 2016
88 Jason Dunnington Democratic Oklahoma City 2014
89 Shane Stone Democratic Oklahoma City 2014
90 Jon Echols Republican Oklahoma City 2013
91 Chris Kannady Republican Oklahoma City 2014
92 Forrest Bennett Democratic Oklahoma City 2016
93 Mickey Dollens Democratic Oklahoma City 2016
94 Scott Inman Democratic Oklahoma City 2007
95 Roger Ford Republican Midwest City 2016
96 Lewis H. Moore Republican Arcadia 2009
97 Jason Lowe Democratic Oklahoma City 2016
98 Michael Rogers Republican Broken Arrow 2014
99 George Young Democratic Oklahoma City 2014
100 Elise Hall Republican Oklahoma City 2011
101 Tess Teague Republican Choctaw 2016

Notable past members

Past composition of the House of Representatives

See also


  1. ^ a b c d e Farmer, Rick, "Legislature," Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture Archived May 31, 2010, at the Wayback Machine. (accessed June 23, 2010).
  2. ^ a b c d e "A Century to Remember" Archived 2012-09-10 at the Wayback Machine., Oklahoma House of Representatives (accessed April 24, 2013)
  3. ^ a b c d Scales, James R. and Danny Goble (1982). Oklahoma Politics: A History, University of Oklahoma Press, Norman, p. 41-58.
  4. ^ Bruce, Michael L. "Hamlin, Albert Comstock (1881-1912)", Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture, Oklahoma Historical Society. (accessed April 17, 2013)
  5. ^ a b Gibson, Arrell Morgan (1972). Harlow's Oklahoma History, Sixth Ed. Harlow Publishing Corporation, Norman. OCLC 3404748
  6. ^ Reese, Linda W. Women, Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture (accessed May 9, 2013)
  7. ^ Pappas, Christine. McColgin, Amelia Elizabeth Simison (1875-1972, Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture (accessed May 9, 2013)
  8. ^ Hannemann, Carolyn G. Schwabe, George Blaine (1886-1952), Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture. (accessed April 29, 2013)
  9. ^ O'Dell, Larry. Robertson, James Brooks Ayers (1871-1938) Archived 2013-10-05 at the Wayback Machine., Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture Archived April 16, 2009, at the Wayback Machine. (accessed May 11, 2013)
  10. ^ Burke, Bob. Johnston, Henry Simpson Archived 2013-07-05 at WebCite, Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture Archived April 16, 2009, at the Wayback Machine. (accessed May 9, 2013)
  11. ^ a b c d e Bryant Jr., Keith L. New Deal, Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture Archived April 16, 2009, at the Wayback Machine. (accessed May 9, 2013)
  12. ^ Hudson, Geneva Johnston (AuthorHouse, 2005). Statesman or Rogue: Elected to Serve. ISBN 1-4208-2503-8
  13. ^ Gaddie, Ronald Keith. Republican Party, Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture Archived April 16, 2009, at the Wayback Machine. (accessed May 9, 2013)
  14. ^ Kirkpatrick, Samuel A. (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1978). The Legislative Process in Oklahoma, p. 8. ISBN 0-8061-1421-5
  15. ^ a b Dean, Bryan. Oklahoma legislators consider making themselves subject to openness laws, Oklahoman, March 11, 2012. (accessed April 16, 2013)
  16. ^ Kirkpatrick, Samuel A., David R. Morgan and Thomas G. Kielhorn (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1977. The Oklahoma Voter. ISBN 0-8061-1391-X
  17. ^ McNutt, Michael. "Republicans select speaker designate" http://newsok.com/republicans-select-speaker-designate/article/2969390, The Oklahoman November 10, 2006.
  18. ^ McNutt, Michael. "Oklahoma's legislative leaders pledge to work with Democrats", The Oklahoman, November 7, 2010.
  19. ^ Redistricting, Oklahoma House of Representatives (accessed May 14, 2013)
  20. ^ a b c d e "Course of Bills", Oklahoma House of Representatives (accessed April 19, 2013)
  21. ^ Kirkpatrick, Samuel A. (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1978). The Legislative Process in Oklahoma, p. 109-111. ISBN 0-8061-1421-5
  22. ^ Rep. Dan Kirby (R-75) resigns amid legal issues [1]
  23. ^ Rep. David Brumbaugh (R-76) dies [2]
  24. ^ Republican Zach Taylor elected in District 28 to replace Tom Newell who resigned after election, prior to being seated [3]
  25. ^ Rep. Scott Martin (R-45) resigns to take a position in the private sector [4]
  26. ^ Democrat Karen Gaddis elected to succeed Rep. Dan Kirby (R-75) [5]
  27. ^ Democrat Jacob Rosecrants elected to succeed Rep. Scott Martin (R-45) [6]
  28. ^ Rep. Scott Biggs resigns (R-51) [7]
  29. ^ Republican Ross Ford sworn in after being elected to succeed the late Rep. David Brumbaugh (R-76) [8]
  30. ^ Republican Casey Murdock (R-61) sworn into the State Senate after winning a special election [9]
  31. ^ "Legislative Organization," Inside the Legislative Process, National Conference of State Legislatures. (accessed January 3, 2014)
  32. ^ a b c "Legislative Organization: Legislative Leaders," Inside the Legislative Process, National Conference of State Legislatures. (accessed January 3, 2014)
  33. ^ [10], (accessed January 17, 2017).
  34. ^ "Legislative Committee Structure and Staffing Patterns," Southern Legislative Conference. (accessed January 3, 2014)
  35. ^ Article V, Section 17: Age - Qualified electors - Residents, Constitution of the State of Oklahoma at Oklahoma Legal Research System, University of Oklahoma College of Law (accessed May 3, 2010).
  36. ^ Section V-19: Expelled member ineligible - Punishment not to bar indictment, Constitution of the State of Oklahoma at Oklahoma Legal Research System, University of Oklahoma College of Law (accessed May 3, 2010).
  37. ^ Section V-17A: Limitation of time served in the Legislature, Constitution of the State of Oklahoma at Oklahoma Legal Research System, University of Oklahoma College of Law (accessed May 3, 2010).
  38. ^ a b c d 2013 Legislative Manual, Oklahoma House of Representatives, p. 24. (accessed May 16, 2013)
  39. ^ "Membership". Oklahoma House of Representatives. Retrieved January 17, 2016. 
  40. ^ Oklahoma House of Representatives.
  41. ^ Sworn in Oct. 21, 2009, after special election [11]

External links

Coordinates: 35°29′32″N 97°30′12″W / 35.49222°N 97.50333°W / 35.49222; -97.50333