Oklahoma Secretary of State

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Office of the Secretary of State
Seal of Oklahoma.svg
Great Seal of the State of Oklahoma
Agency overview
Formed 1907
Preceding Agency Office of the Territorial Secretary
Headquarters Oklahoma State Capitol
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Employees 36 unclassified
Annual budget $2.5 million
Minister responsible Chris Benge, Secretary of State
Website Office of the Secretary of State

The Secretary of State of the State of Oklahoma is the chief clerical officer of Oklahoma and a member of the Oklahoma Governor's Cabinet. The Secretary of State is the only appointed constitutional member of the executive branch of the Oklahoma state government. The office of Secretary of State was elective from statehood until 1975 when the Constitution was amended and it became an appointive office, running concurrent with the Governor effective in 1979.

The 33rd and current Oklahoma Secretary of State is Chris Benge, appointed by Governor Mary Fallin. His term began in 2013 and is set to end in 2015.

Democrat John Rogers served the longest in office, having been elected three times to serve. He only served eight and one-half years, however, when he resigned just six months after taking office for the third time for a four year term. [1]The shortest term of any Secretary of State was just nine days, served by H.G. Oliver in 1915. He was appointed to fill the job after the resignation of B.F. Harrison. He left office when newly elected S.L. Lyon took office on January 15, 1915.[2] Although she was named as "interim" by Governor Mary Fallin and served only one month, Republican Michelle Day is considered the 31st Secretary of State.

Constitutional Requirements[edit]

The Oklahoma Constitution sets the requirements to hold the office of Secretary of State: the appointee must be a citizen of the State of Oklahoma, at least thirty-one years of age and a resident of the United States for ten years, the same as all high-level executive branch officials.

Appointment[edit]

The Governor appoints, with confirmation by the Oklahoma Senate, the Secretary of State to serve a four-year term that runs concurrently with the term of the Governor. As the office is not elective (the only appointive constitutional office in Oklahoma), a Secretary of State may succeed himself/herself in office as many times as the Governor-elect appoints and the state Senate confirms him or her.

Official Duties[edit]

Seal of Oklahoma.svg
This article is part of a series on the
politics and government of
Oklahoma

Executive Functions[edit]

The Secretary of State is required by law to attest to the Governor's signature and to file all the official acts of the Governor. Executive orders, appointments and proclamations signed and issued by the Governor are certified and distributed by the Secretary of State. Original certificates of pardons and paroles, including revocation of same are recorded and filed in the Office of the Secretary of State. Extraditions, both foreign and domestic, are also recorded and maintained by the Secretary. The office is the custodian of the Seal of Oklahoma. The Secretary of State is an ex officio member of the Oklahoma Governor's Cabinet.

As required by the Oklahoma Administrative Procedures Act and Executive Order 88-16, the Secretary of State is responsible for overseeing and operating the Office of Administrative Rules (OAR). ORA files all rules, rule making notices, and executive orders issued by all state agencies and the Governor. OAR collects all such rules and represents them to the Governor for his approve or disapproval. With very limited exceptions, no agency rule may be enforced until it is filed with OAR, approved by the Governor, and then published by OAR.

The most important, though ceremonial, function of the Secretary of State is to "sacredly preserve" the original State Constitution signed in 1907.

Legislative Functions[edit]

After legislation has been passed and signed by the Governor, along with the President of the Senate and Speaker of the House, the Secretary of State is required to fill and record the original acts in the Office of the Secretary of State. Each act is designated a chapter number and published in the Oklahoma Session Laws and the Oklahoma Statutes. The Secretary of State is also required to distribute copies of all new laws, as soon as possible, to each of the seventy-seven County Court Clerks. The original acts and resolutions are bound into volumes and then preserved by the Secretary’s office.

Any and all initiatives, petitions, and referendum (called State Questions) are filled with the Secretary and addressed to the Governor. After circulation of the petition, the Secretary’s office counts and binds the signature pamphlets. If the signatures are sufficient, the state question is placed on the ballot for a vote of the people. New laws adopted by the people are published in the Oklahoma Statutes or Oklahoma Constitution and are immune from override by the Oklahoma Legislature, Governor of Oklahoma, or the Oklahoma Supreme Court.

Judicial Functions[edit]

Under the provision of the Oklahoma Constitution, the judges of any court exercising judicial power shall be subject to removal from office, or to compulsory retirement from office by the Oklahoma Court on the Judiciary. The Secretary of State is required to determine and designate five district judges to serve on the Appellate Division and eight district judges to serve on the Trial Division of the Court on Judiciary. Every odd-numbered year this office is responsible for organizing the meeting for the Court on Judiciary to make or amend their rules of procedure as mandated by the Oklahoma Constitution.

Certification Functions[edit]

The main duties of the Secretary of State revolve around filling, recording, and certification of miscellaneous items. They include:

  • Persons wishing to form a corporation, limited partnership or limited liability company register in the Office of the Secretary of State. Foreign corporations (those formed in other states or countries) who desire to transact business in Oklahoma must also file in this office.
  • The Secretary’s department issues trademark renewals, assignments and cancellations.
  • The Secretary of State appoints and commissions notaries public. Each notary public is required to file a $1,000 surety bond with the court clerk in their county of residence. Once this bond is filed, the court clerk sends the bond to the Secretary of State where it is recorded and filed.
  • Every officer of a state agency, board, commission, court, institution, and the state legislature, before entering upon the duties of office, is required to file an oath of office and a loyalty oath with the Secretary of State.
  • All state agencies, boards, commissions and public trusts are required to file in the Office of the Secretary of State all meeting notices, including cancellations, postponements and rescheduling of meeting in compliance with state open meeting laws.
  • The Secretary of State acts as registered agent for all foreign corporations, limited partnerships and limited liability companies unless an additional agent has been appointed. The Secretary of State also acts as registered agent for any domestic corporation whose agent has resigned.
  • Every mortgage, deed of trust, and instruments supplementary thereto of a public service corporation covering any real or personal property situated in this state made to secure any indebtedness incurred pursuant to law, shall be executed and acknowledged in the same manner as conveyances of real estate and shall be recorded or files with the Secretary of State.
  • Every invention developer rendering or offering to render invention development services shall maintain a surety bond equal to either ten percent (10%) of the invention developer's gross income from the invention development business in this state during the invention developer's preceding fiscal year, or twenty-five thousand dollars ($25,000), whichever is larger. A copy of the bond shall be approved by the Attorney General and filed in the Office of the Secretary of State before the invention developer renders or offers to render invention development services in this state.
  • Every mineral owner or lessee who is engaged in drilling or preparing to drill for oil or gas is required to file a corporate surety bond, letter of credit from a banking institution, cash, or a certificate of deposit with the Secretary of State in the sum of $25,000. The Secretary of State is required by law to file and record each bond filed.
  • Required to file and/or certify policy statements of each public institution of higher education. Personality rights as successor-in-interest, public trust indentures and amendments thereto, preliminary and final official statements, facsimile signatures.

Office of the Secretary of State[edit]

Organization[edit]

  • Secretary of State
    • Administration Division
    • Accounting Division
    • Information Services Division
    • Central Filing Division
    • Notary Division
    • Business Services Division
    • Executive and Legislative Services Division
    • Office of Administrative Rules

The Office of Administrative Rules (OAR) is one of the most important offices within the Office of the Secretary of State. OAR files state agency rules, rulemaking notices, executive orders and compiles those rules, rulemaking notices, executive orders, and local project announcements for publication in The Oklahoma Register, which OAR publishes semi-monthly. OAR is also responsible for compiling and codifing the permanent rules and executive orders for publication in The Oklahoma Administrative Code (OAC). OAC is the codification of the general and permanent rules and regulations issued by the executive departments and agencies of the state government. OAR publishes the OAC in annual supplements.

Staff[edit]

The Office of the Secretary of State, with an annual budget of over $4 million, is one of the smaller employers of the State. For fiscal year 2011, the Office was authorized 37 full-time employees.[3]

Division Number of Employees
Administration Division 11
Business Services Division 14
Executive and Legislative Services Division 3
Central Filing Division 5
Office of Administrative Rules 4
Total 37

Budget[edit]

The Office of the Secretary of State's budget is genereated primarily be fees it generates from the entities it regulates.[4] Agency fees make up 90% ($3.8 million) with the remaining 10% ($0.4 million) coming from annual approrpriations from the Oklahoma Legislature.

For fiscal year 2011, each of the operating units of the Bureau operate with the following budgets:

Division Funding (in millions)
Administration Division $1.7
Business Services Division $1.3
Executive and Legislative Services Division $0.2
Central Filing Division $0.4
Office of Administrative Rules $0.5
Total $4.2

Salary[edit]

The annual salary of the Secretary of State is set by law at $90,000.[5]

Agencies Overseen[edit]

The Secretary of State oversees the following state entities:

Oath of Office[edit]

"I, . . . . . . . , do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support, obey, and defend the Constitution of the United States, and the Constitution of the State of Oklahoma, and that I will not, knowingly, receive, directly or indirectly, any money or other valuable thing, for the performance or nonperformance of any act or duty pertaining to my office, other than the compensation allowed by law; I further swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully discharge my duties as Secretary of State of Oklahoma to the best of my ability."

Office-Holders[edit]

Statewide Election (1907-1975)

# Name Party Term
1 Bill Cross Democratic 1907-1910
2 Thomas Smith Democratic 1910-1911
3 B. F. Harrison Democratic 1911-1915
4 H. G. Oliver Democratic 1915
5 S. L. Lyon Democratic 1915-1919
6 Joe Morris Democratic 1919-1923
7 R. A. Sneed Democratic 1923-1927
8 Graves Leeper Democratic 1927-1931
9 R. A. Sneed Democratic 1931-1935
10 Frank C. Carter Democratic 1935-1939
11 C. C. Childer Democratic 1939-1943
12 Frank C. Carter Democratic 1943-1946
13 Kathrine Manton Democratic 1946-1947
14 Wilburn Cartwright Democratic 1947-1951
15 John D. Conner Democratic 1951-1955
16 Andy Anderson Democratic 1955-1959
17 John D. Conner Democratic 1959-1959
18 Wm. N. Christian Democratic 1959-1963
19 James M. Bullard Democratic 1963-1967
20 John Rogers Democratic 1967-1975

Gubernatorial Appointment (1975-present)

# Name Party Term Governor
21 Jerome Byrd Democratic 1975-1979 David L. Boren
22 Jeannette B. Edmondson Democratic 1979-1987 George Nigh
23 Hannah D. Atkins Democratic 1987-1991 Henry Bellmon
24 John Kennedy Democratic 1991-1994 David Walters
25 Glo Henley Democraitc 1994-1995
26 Tom Cole Republican 1995-1999 Frank Keating
27 Mike Hunter Republican 1999-2002
28 Kay Dudley Republican 2002-2003
29 M. Susan Savage Democratic 2003-2011 Brad Henry
30 Glenn Coffee Republican 2011-2013 Mary Fallin
31 Michelle Day Republican 2013
32 Larry Parman Republican 2013
31 Chris Benge Republican 2013

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ https://www.sos.ok.gov/home/former_secretaries.aspx
  2. ^ https://www.sos.ok.gov/home/former_secretaries.aspx
  3. ^ FY 2011 State Budget, Oklahoma Office of State Finance
  4. ^ FY 2011 State Budget, Oklahoma Office of State Finance
  5. ^ Paragraph 9, Section 10.5, Title 74, Oklahoma Statutes

External links[edit]