OKLAHOMA CITY – The State of Oklahoma’s legislature has passed a bill, HB 2647, which would require State agencies to use the Oklahoma Department of Central Services’ Trip Optimizer system when computing the most cost-effective method for State employees. State entities would use the system to determine whether an employee should use a State-owned vehicle or be reimbursed. The bill would also set reimbursement rates to the “lowest cost option as determined by the Trip Optimizer system.”

These rules would apply to situations where a State employee is not assigned a State-owned or leased vehicle and needs to travel at least 100 miles. The rules would apply before a decision about the employee’s method of travel has been made.

There are exceptions to the new rules, though, as employees of State agencies would be exempt from the reimbursement requirements of using the Trip Optimizer system if the employee uses a personally owned vehicle and uses a separate schedule (as detailed in the bill) to determine reimbursement. Related to that schedule, the bill requires the Oklahoma Office of State Finance to publish a reimbursement rate schedule for State employee travel. The schedule would categorize reimbursement rates by vehicle type and can’t exceed the standard mileage reimbursement rates established by the IRS.

Another exception applies to employees of “non-appropriated” State agencies (an entity within the executive branch of Oklahoma’s government that doesn’t receive funding through the annual legislative appropriations process) who use personal vehicles for State business. They won’t have to use the Trip Optimizer system to determine the reimbursement rate they receive.

The bill was passed by both the Oklahoma Senate and House and was sent to the governor to be signed.