After the buydget deal was initially announced, conservatives rightly were critical of the education funding shifts, the borrowing against the tobacco settlement annuity and other considerations.

At the time, Mitch Berg and other conservative bloggers insisted that the deal include serious reforms. Rep. King Banaian’s Sunset Advisory Commission legislation is part of the final budget deal. Here’s part of what the State Government Finance bill summary says about King’s reform:

Sunset Commission. Provides that the Sunset Commission consists of 12 members appointed as follows:
(1) four senators appointed according to the rules of the senate, with no more than three senators from the majority caucus;
(2) four members of the house of representatives, appointed by the speaker, with no more than three of the house members from the majority caucus;
(3) four members appointed by the governor.
All members serve at the pleasure of the appointing authority. With respect to governor appointees, provides two-year terms expiring in January of each odd-numbered year. Provides term limits for service on the commission.

Staff. Requires the Legislative Coordinating Commission to provide staff and administrative services for the commission.

Rules. Authorizes the commission to adopt rules to carry out this chapter.

Agency report to commission. Provides that before September 1 of the odd-numbered year in which a state agency is subject to sunset review, the agency commissioner shall report specified information to the commission. The September 1 deadline does not apply in 2011.

Commission duties. Requires that before January 1 of the year in which a state agency is subject to sunset review, the commission must review the agency based on criteria specified in section 3D.10.

Public hearings. Requires that before February 1 of the year an agency is subject to sunset review, the commission must conduct public hearings regarding the agency, including the criteria specified in section 3D.10.

Commission report. Requires that by February 1 of each even-numbered year, the commission shall report on agencies subject to review, including findings on criteria specified in section 3D.10.

Criteria for review. Specifies criteria for the commission to consider in determining whether a public need exists for the continuation of a state agency or for performance of the agency’s functions.

Recommendations. Requires the commission’s report to make recommendations on the abolition, continuation, or reorganization of agencies, on the need for performance of the functions of the agency; on consolidation, transfer, or reorganization of programs within agencies not under review when programs duplicate functions of agencies under review; and for improvement of operations.

Requires the commission to submit draft legislation to carry out its recommendations, including legislation necessary to continue the existence of agencies that would otherwise sunset, if the commission recommends continuation of an agency.

Essentially, the Sunset Advisory Commission will conduct a performance review of state agencies according to the provisions and criteria of the Minnesota Sunset Act.

The advisory commission’s report “make recommendations on the abolition, continuation, or reorganization of agencies, on the need for performance of the functions of the agency.” In short, the commission is responsible for recommending agencies, commissions and panels should be eliminated, reorganized or continued.

King said that there are commissions and panels that the legislature can’t verify how or when they were created, much less know whether they’re performing the function they were created to do. This advisory commission will rectify that problem.

It will save the state money, though it’s impossible to know how much until the first report comes out.

Here’s the bottom line: King’s reform will change government’s structure by determining if an agency, commission or panel is doing its job and whether it’s doing something worthwhile. The direct result of this legislation is the end of autopilot budgeting because it might result in the abolition of line items in the budget.

Congratulations, King, and congratulations to all of the GOP freshmen. Without them, these majorities, much less these reforms, wouldn’t have been possible.

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11 Responses to “Freshman GOP Legislator Makes His Mark Through Key Reform”

  • Wolverine says:

    Wow, so the GOP got another commission put together to see if other commissions/programs are outdated, obsolete, or needed? Will there be a commission put together in future years to judge whether the Sunset commission is outdated, obsolete, or needed? No matter how much perfume you put on this, it still has the stench of government as usual politics.
    We don’t have years to wait for some commission to decide if a program needs to be cut, the budget needs to be cut now. We elected this crop of republicans to cut the budget and they did nothing of the sort.
    I will never vote DFL but at least when you vote for them you know what you are getting. With the GOP, it is a crap shoot.

  • Joseph says:

    Gary:

    This is good news. Do you have the original bill number from session or know if it was passed during the session and vetoed by Dayton?

  • Bob J. says:

    Wolverine, the Sunset Commission represents a proper function of the elected, meaning actual oversight of the operations of government. Were the group not specifically empowered to draft, and actually charged with, drafting legislation sunsetting wasteful government operations, I might otherwise agree with you. Given the growth of state government under Republicans (read: not conservatives) like Arne Carlson, this is a fine first step.

  • Gary Gross says:

    The Sunset Advisory Commission was part of the first bill King submitted, HF2. HF2 was broken down for the final omnibus budget bills. The bill was passed & Gov. Dayton vetoed it.

  • Gary Gross says:

    Wow, so the GOP got another commission put together to see if other commissions/programs are outdated, obsolete, or needed? Will there be a commission put together in future years to judge whether the Sunset commission is outdated, obsolete, or needed?

    While your cynicism is historically well-founded, it might’ve been more useful to think this through & figure out whether this commission has real teeth to it. This isn’t a blue-ribbon panel of retired hacks whose goal is to have one last moment in the sun. It’s made up of real legislators facing re-election.

    We elected this crop of republicans to cut the budget and they did nothing of the sort.

    These GOP legislators were stopped from making more substantial reforms because there was a DFL governor who put catering to the DFL’s special interests ahead of doing what’s right for Minnesota. If you had followed them like I have, you’d know that they would’ve achieved a much more favorable result.

    Finally, take a thoughtful look through these reforms & tell me that these legislators didn’t do great work:

    Reforms Included:

    Pay for Performance Bonds. A pilot program to demonstrate the feasibility and desirability of using state appropriation bonds to pay for services from Non-Profit providers based on performance and outcomes. The holders of these bonds would be private sector companies and individuals who would normally separate investment and charitable activity.

    Permission for Rochester which just became a first class city to use a private CPA firm as they have been doing to conduct it’s audits which then will be reviewed by the State Auditor, rather than having the auditor do them (and charging for them) (Mandate relief)

    Reform of the use of technology in government. Consolidating it under the Office of Enterprise Technology with the creation or modification of existing governmental organization; incorporates several important changes to the way that technology works in state government, streamlining and making government more efficient and effective, saving money down the road.

    These are just a few of the reforms passed in this budget. There are many others that will have a major impact on Minnesota’s budgets going forward. If you want to act like a spoiled brat because we didn’t get everything you wanted, perhaps you should redouble your efforts to get a veto-proof majority elected in 2012 & electing a Republican governor elected in 2014.

  • eric z. says:

    Pork for SCSU.

    $43 million in choice cutlets.

    Now we have to give King Banaian Karl Malone’s old nickname, The Mailman, because he delivers.

  • eric z. says:

    Oink until sunset.

  • Yes! Finally! A way to start reviewing state agencies.

    TNF

  • Lou DeMars says:

    Just another way to spend more money and time for a job the legisltors should be doing. Also this will from time to time frustrate some business that are involved in the potential sunset provisions.

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