|Posted:||January 28, 2019 02:43 PM|
|From:||Representative Seth M. Grove and Rep. Francis X. Ryan, Rep. Matthew D. Dowling, Rep. Paul Schemel, Rep. Jason Ortitay, Rep. Jonathan Fritz, Rep. Justin M. Walsh|
|To:||All House members|
|Since taking over the majority, House Republicans have promised the people of Pennsylvania we would work to reinvent government to improve delivery of government services while reducing the cost to taxpayers. As part of this effort, we introduced a series of bills last session which were based on Governor Wolf’s proposal of merging the Department of Health and Human Services and added several other agencies. In total our proposal would have taken eight state agencies and merge them into four while consolidating the commonwealth’s economic development programs and eliminating outdated boards/commissions.
As we enter the new legislative session, we plan to not only reintroduce this package, but expand our vision for how we can improve establish BEST practices (Better Government, Economic Prosperity, Stronger and Healthier Communities for Taxpayers) in Harrisburg.
In order to provide taxpayers and the people of Pennsylvania the Better Government, promised in our proposal, these bills will merge eight existing state agencies into four new state agencies. These new agencies would be the Commonwealth Office of Management and Budget (OMB), the Department of Business, Tourism and Workforce Development (DBTWD), the Department of Local Government and Community Affairs (DLGCA) and the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS). Each merger in the legislation will require the adoption of a strategic plan detailing how the agencies described in the legislation are to be combined. To provide adequate time to prepare for the mergers, the legislation gives seven months following the effective date to develop the strategic plan.
While each merger is explained in greater detail below the strategic plan for each merger contains similar requirements. These requirements include:
This package of bills also aims to provide Pennsylvanians with a Better Government by consolidating the Commonwealth’s Information Technology under the Office of Information Technology (OIT). The consolidation of the IT projects and management under the office will allow the state to prevent IT projects like the State Police Radio project and the Unemployment Call Center.
Our proposal will serve to foster Economic Prosperity by creating a one-stop shop for workers and job creators through DBTWD. At the same time, our proposal would consolidate all economic development within the one state agency. This allows state government to coordinate these programs, while eliminating redundancies, to meet industry needs and match more workers with employment.
Our proposal would work to establish Safer and Healthier Communities by realigning state government to strengthen its cybersecurity, improve delivery of healthcare and be more responsive to the needs of local governments. In order to bolster the state’s cybersecurity capability our proposal creates a Joint Committee which will be staffed by OIT to coordinate executive, legislative and judicial branch policies on cybersecurity issues. This committee would asses and recommend policies to improve our ability to prevent and react to growing cybersecurity threats.
Additionally, our proposal improves delivery of healthcare services which will create healthier communities by adopting Governor Wolf’s proposal for establishing the new Department of Health and Human Services. This new agency will allow the state to place greater emphasis on continuity of care and coordinate the delivery of care.
Finally, our proposal will improve the responsiveness of state government to the needs of local communities by establishing the DLGCA. This agency would work with local governments to reduce the burden of complying with state regulations and mandates.
Should you have any questions about the individual proposals which make up the package please contact Jordan Grant by email at Jgrant@pahousegop.com.
Introduced as HB52
|Description:||Office of Management and Budget
This legislation would merge the Budget Office, the Department of General Services, the Office of Administration and the Governor’s Office of Policy and Planning into one agency. This agency, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), would oversee and supervise all aspects of the commonwealth’s governance including budget preparation, oversee state expenditures along with handling all procurement, HR and IT. This model is used by the federal government and by 29 states to improve the coordination and management of governance.
In order to fulfill its important role and the duties of the merged agencies, the new agency is going to be comprised of several important bureaus. OMB will be organized to include:
Introduced as HB53
|Description:||Department of Business, Tourism and Workforce Development
Under current law, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania has decentralized its job creation, economic development and business programs throughout several different state agencies. To improve economic development and strengthen job creation, we plan introduce legislation merging economic development, business and workforce development policy under a single agency.
Introduced by Representative Frank Ryan, the proposal merges the Department of Labor and Industry with functions from the Department of Community and Economic Development and Department of State. Under the legislation the new Department of Business, Tourism and Workforce Development (DBTWD) would be organized as follows:
Introduced as HB54
|Description:||Department of Local Government and Community Affairs
Under Governor Ridge, the commonwealth merged multiple departments together to form the Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED). This merger diluted the commonwealth’s focus on economic and community development by merging the two under DCED.
Pennsylvania has the second most local governmental entities of any state with almost 5,000 local governments. This proposal would merge different state agencies to create a new state department to address local community needs and concerns. Introduced by Representative Matt Dowling, this proposal would create the Department of Local Government and Community Affairs (DLGCA). This department would be comprised of powers and authorities from the Department of State and the Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED)
The department would be overseen by a cabinet secretary who would act as Secretary of the Commonwealth, which is a constitutional position. The department would oversee and assist counties across the state with managing elections. The department would also handle local government grant and tax credit programs transferred from DCED. Similar to the newly created Department of Business, Tourism and Workforce Development, the DLGCA would have an office of Local Government Consultant. The role of this office would be as a liaison between the department and local governments assisting with grant applications and other issues facing local government. DLGCA will be divided into:
Introduced as HB55
|Description:||Department of Health and Human Services
During his first term Governor Wolf twice proposed merging the Department of Health with the Department of Human Services. The unification of the two agencies would achieve savings for taxpayers while improving the delivery of services to Pennsylvanians. The proposed unification presents us with a significant opportunity to reinvent state government, streamline bureaucracy and break down the silos which prevent agencies from serving residents most effectively.
We applaud Governor Wolf for this bold proposal as merging the two agencies allows the commonwealth to achieve savings while improving the quality-of-care provided to those in need. Introduced by Representative Schemel, this legislation would address the overlap and redundancies between state agencies which oversee our social safety net programs.
An example of this overlap can be seen through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Women Infants and Children Program (WIC), and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families Program (TANF). Each program is similar in nature and often serve overlapping populations. Many individuals receiving WIC are also receiving SNAP due to the limited types of food and supplies that can be purchased with each. Yet SNAP and TANF are administered by DHS and WIC is administered by the Department of Health. WIC is distributed to individuals by check and SNAP and TANF are distributed on Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) cards.
By merging the two agencies into the Department of Health and Human Services, the new agency can coordinate these programs to provide needed services. As a result, we can improve care while saving taxpayer money.
Introduced as HB56
|Description:||Consolidation of State Information Technology Services and Strengthening State Cyber Security
This legislation sponsored by Representative Jason Ortitay, reflects House Bill 1704 passed by the House State Government Committee last session. Under the bill, (OIT) is given the broad necessary powers to consolidate and oversee all IT systems and contracts within the executive branch. These powers include:
As amended by the House State Government Committee, the legislation includes House Bill 2610 from last session which requires contractors to use software to verify billable hours. This software is meant to reduce fraudulent charges as seen with New York City where fraudulent billing caused a $62 million project to run over budget by more than $660 million.
Equally important to the IT consolidation within the bill, is the improvements made to the commonwealth’s cybersecurity capabilities. As cyberattacks within the United States from hackers or hostile nations continue to increase, the commonwealth must begin to update our security. The director is also required to develop a two-year schedule to test the cybersecurity capabilities of all state agencies which are to be paid for by the respective agency. These cybersecurity audits/assessments are to be performed by a nationally recognized organization in the field of cybersecurity. The bill also establishes a committee including each branch of government and their IT staff to collaborate on how to handle future cybersecurity threats.
Introduced as HB57
|Description:||Elimination of Outdated Boards and Commissions
Currently, there are many state boards and commissions which have been underutilized or have become outdated and never were repealed. These boards or commissions, listed below, have failed to meet for years and in most cases no longer issue reports for us to see any progress in their work. Our proposal introduced by Representative Jonathan Fritz, equates to “cleaning out the closet.” During our efforts to restructure, streamline and reinvent government we should be looking at every area where we can remove waste in Harrisburg. This is an easy place for us to begin.
The following boards and commissions would be eliminated:
• Interstate Rail Passenger Advisory Council
• Pennsylvania Public Television Network Commission
• Industrial Resource Center Strategic Advisory Board
• Small Business Advocacy Council
• Advisory Committee on Probation
• Joint Committee to Review Cost of Living
• Legislative Representative for Collective Bargaining
• Pennsylvania Quality Leadership Awards Council
• Tobacco Use Prevention and Cessation Advisory Committee
• The Weather Modification Board
Introduced as HB58
|Description:||Consolidation of Economic Development Programs
As part of the continuing effort to make government more efficient and effective, please join me as a co-sponsor of legislation to improve the commonwealth’s workforce development system. This proposal will improve services for job seekers and prospective employers, while providing better value for the taxpayers who fund these programs.
Currently, our workforce system is fragmented and spread across a number of state agencies. This leads to duplication of services and missed opportunities, both for prospective employers and those who are seeking to obtain employment. When the federal government re-authorized the federal workforce development system in 2014, an emphasis was placed on coordination of services. Progress has been made, and this proposal builds on that foundation.
Under this proposal, introduced by Representative Justin Walsh, the programs that comprise our workforce system under the Department of Labor and Industry, the Department of Community and Economic Development, and the Department of Human Services will be consolidated under the direction of one state agency.
The need for a qualified and available workforce is one of the most common issues raised by employers who are seeking to expand or remain in Pennsylvania. This proposal will give the commonwealth the tools to help connect the employers who have job openings with qualified candidates.