Secretary of State of Oklahoma

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

The 29th and current Oklahoma Secretary of State is M. Susan Savage, appointed by Governor Brad Henry. Her first term began in 2003 and Governor Henry re-appointed her to a second term in 2007, set to end in 2011.

Constitutional Requirements

The Oklahoma Constitution sets the requirements to hold the office of Secretary of State as the appointee must 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, Confirmation, and Term(s)

Unlike any other high level executive office, the Governor of Oklahoma appoints and, with confirmation of the Oklahoma Senate, to serve a four year term that is runs coequal with the term of the Governor. As the office is not elected, the Secretary may succeed their self in office as many times as the Governor-elect appoints, and the Oklahoma Senate confirms, them.

Official Duties

Executive Function

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 Governor's Cabinet.

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

Legislative Functions and Referendums

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 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

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

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 twenty-five thousands dollars ($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, bonds of public officials and employees are also filed in this office.

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.

Oath of Office

"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

External links

* [http://www.sos.state.ok.us/ Official Secretary of State of Oklahoma home page]


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