Government of Oklahoma - General Principles

General Principles

The state government of Oklahoma is divided into an executive, a legislative and a judicial branch. The governor, the state's chief executive, has a degree of direct executive power but must share executive power with other state-wide elected officers. The Lieutenant Governor serves as the first-in-line successor to the Governorship should a vacancy occur.

The legislature comprises the House of Representatives and the Senate. It passes statutes, votes on the budget, and controls the action of the executive through oversight and the power of impeachment. The President pro tempore of the Senate presides over the Senate and the Speaker of the House presides over the House of Representatives. Both officers are in line to succeed to the Governorship in the event of a vacancy, behind the Lieutenant Governor.

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 resort, one (the Supreme Court) dealing with civil law and the other (the Court of Criminal Appeals) dealing with criminal law. The Court on the Judiciary is responsible for monitoring the activities of judges, except those of the Supreme Court. The Court of Impeachment monitors the activities of all state-wide elected officials, including the Justices of the Supreme Court.

The people of the state reserve the right to directly participate in the government by referendum, recall, and ratification.

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