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04/18/2021 06:57 AM
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
https://www.legis.state.pa.us/cfdocs/Legis/CSM/showMemoPublic.cfm?chamber=H&SPick=20210&cosponId=32838
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House of Representatives
Session of 2021 - 2022 Regular Session

MEMORANDUM

Posted: December 2, 2020 09:47 AM
From: Representative Seth M. Grove
To: All House members
Subject: Reorganization of the Legislative Service Agencies
 
In the near future, I plan to introduce legislation which will reorganize the service agencies of the Legislative Branch. The bill will reorganize the service agencies by doing the following:
  • Consolidating most existing service agencies under Title 46
  • Establishing two new offices to serve the legislature on financial matters
  • Elimination of three outdated or redundant agencies.

1. Consolidation of Existing Legislative Service Agencies (LSA).
Under the bill, the laws establishing the certain LSA’s would be repealed and transferred to Title 46. The agencies which will be consolidated under the bill:
  • Legislative Reference Bureau
  • The Independent Fiscal Office
  • Joint State Government Commission
  • Capitol Preservation Committee
  • Legislative Data Processing Center
  • Legislative Audit Advisory Commission
Under the bill, most of the laws which established the LSA’s being consolidated under the act were left untouched. However, the bill does make minor changes to the Legislative Data Processing Center in so much that it establishes a Legislative Transparency Portal modeled after the Treasurer’s Transparency Portal. The portal will detail spending by each legislative caucus and service agency.
The bill also establishes a committee to appoint the head of an LSA which serves the House and the Senate.

As drafted, the committee consists of the President Pro-Tempore of the Senate, the Speaker of the House and the Majority/Minority Leader of both chambers. The committee will appoint the head of an LSA by 2/3rd vote which will ensure a collaborative process in selecting qualified individuals to lead an agency.

2. Establishment of the Office Legislative Fiscal Analyst and Legislative Auditor General.

The legislation also establishes two new offices to examine state spending and ensure expenditures meet the legislative intent of the General Assembly. In order to do this, the legislation establishes the Office of Legislative Fiscal Analyst and Legislative Auditor General.

Legislative Fiscal Analyst

This office, modeled after a legislative service agency in Utah, would review state expenditures and detail anticipated changes in state revenue and expenditures along with performance measures for state expenditures. The office would also provide the members of the General Assembly with an assessment of the financial condition of the commonwealth. Following the end of each legislative session, the office will provide the legislative branch with a fiscal assessment of every new law passed by the General Assembly during the session. The office would also provide the legislature with a report on the fiscal outlook of the commonwealth over three years. The first year of the report would detail the volatility of the commonwealth’s revenue sources. The second year would provide a thorough examination of the long-term expenditures and commitments within the state’s budget. In the final year, the office shall provide an assessment of the difference between anticipated revenues and expenditures during a moderate or severe economic recession.

Additionally, the Office of the Legislative Fiscal Analyst would also provide the legislature with a nonpartisan fiscal analysis of legislation being considered either chamber. The fiscal analysis of legislation would include changes in agency expenditures and state revenue collections along with the regulatory changes for businesses and individuals.

Legislative Auditor General

This office, created under the legislation, is also modeled after a legislative service agency in Utah. The office would be given the oversight powers of the General Assembly in order to audit and review the expenditures of state agencies. The offices would review at least one commonwealth agency ever fiscal year and provide a report to the General Assembly along with recommendations to the agency.

The legislation also requires the Office of Legislative Auditor General to review any new program or agency created by the General Assembly. The review would include if the program is achieving its desired objectives and if the agency is adhering to the intent of the General Assembly when the law was enacted.

In addition to the scheduled audit and review of state agencies or new programs, the office may perform an audit when the audit is requested by a legislative leader in either chamber. At the same time, the office may perform an audit which is adopted by the passage of a resolution in the Senate or House. However, due to the constraint of available resources, the office would not be required to perform an audit requested by a passage of a resolution or requested by a legislative leader.

3. Elimination of Outdated or Redundant Legislative Service Agencies.

The bill, as drafted, would eliminate several outdated or redundant LSA’s. The agencies eliminated under the bill are the Legislative Budget and Finance Committee, the Local Government Commission, and the Rural Pennsylvania Commission.

This legislation not only organizes the various LSA’s existing under law but consolidates them within Title 46 which is designated for the legislature. The bill also establishes two new agencies which are modeled after agencies which have helped make Utah the best financially run state in nation. At the same time, the bill also serves to reduce the size of the legislature by removing three agencies which are either duplicative or outdated and no longer necessary.